Many tasty recipes and dishes are prepared with a decent wrapping of foil, and for a good reason. Foil creates an ideal cooking environment for many foods, letting them blend juiciness and flavor. But the introduction of air fryers to our kitchen appliances list stirred a significant question: Can it work with foil? And here, we’ll put an answer to this query and offer ideal ways by which these two essential kitchen items can be combined.
Foil in Air Fryers- Why the Question?
When compared, the cooking procedures of the air fryer and the function of foil may seem to clash. Foil is mostly used to wrap food, so it steams in its juice or any added sauce, which is why it’s a regular item in baked and grilled recipes. And the air fryer works by circulating air heated by an element using a fan that blows it around food. This creates pressure around food, where the hot air speed cooks food with tons of crisp texture.
Looking at these two functions, one may worry that foil may hinder the possibility of properly cooked food in an air fryer. Others may feel the hot air may cause a reaction in the aluminum, releasing its particles onto food. While these fears may not be far-fetched, they’re mostly exaggerated. And in control situations, air fryers can successfully cook food even when wrapped or layered in foil.
Proper Use of Foil in Air Fryers
Yes, air fryers can work with foil and turnout with excellent results. But this only happens when the foil is used correctly and in adherence to the appliance’s directions. So, below, we’ll talk about the proper ways to combine foil and air fryers for your recipes.
Use it in the Basket
One main reason people consider adding a layer of foil to the air fryer is to reduce cleanup. And here, it works fantastically, provided you do it right. The key is to only place the foil sheet at the bottom of the basket, ensuring it doesn’t cover the sides. This way, the hot air can circulate the food and cook it to doneness while the foil catches whatever moisture you plan to prevent from dropping to the bottom.
But you may wonder why you shouldn’t put the foil directly at the bottom of the air fryer instead of the basket. And the reason is simple; the foil layer could blow around the compartment or lodge in the heating element, causing a fire hazard. And this situation occurs regardless of whether the fan is located at the bottom or top. So, to avoid such a disaster, the basket is the best place to use a foil layer.
Use Only for Non-Acidic Foods
Acids combine with aluminum to create a reaction that breaks it down. And though this process takes a long time with low acidic foods in controlled situations, the reverse is when the food is heated. And since the air fryer is a high heat appliance, cooking acidic foods in foil can lead to the compound breaking down. And the result isn’t only a ruined dish, but also a possible metallic poisoning to your body, should you eat it.
Use Less Foil
Another way to safely use foil in an air fryer is to minimize its presence as much as possible. For example, a large sheet of foil will block the air holes, creating pressure that can damage your air fryer. But in small amounts, foil can be used in the appliance without worry.
But if the foil is loose or too small, it’ll blow around the compartment and lodge in the air hole or heating unit. So, how best can you use it and prevent this problem? Consider these tips;
Crumple thin foil sheets and use them as an elevation in the basket. This way, the food is lifted high enough to reach the heating element. Such a technique works, especially if you’re searing steak or roasting dense vegetables.
Wrap the foil around the food so that only it sits in the basket and doesn’t move around. So if you’re making baked potatoes in an air fryer, you’ll come across this tip in recipe notes.
Use it as a sling by rolling it into a narrow strip. This strip is then rolled around the food you’re cooking, and when ready, pulled to bring the item out.
Use for Low-Moisture Foods
Air fryers can’t hold goods with drippy batter in the basket, as the fluid will drop to the bottom. So, many may consider placing a foil sheet at the bottom of the basket. But this won’t be as effective, as the liquid will cook from the pressure and seep to the sides, eventually dropping on the bottom. So, avoid using it with such foods in the air fryer.
More foods with high moisture to avoid include leafy greens and cheese-based recipes. The hot air will blow the latter around, causing them to stick to the walls, and the latter will melt, resulting in a gooey mess. If you must cook cheesy foods in the air fryer, only do so when the cheese comes in at the last minute or if you’re heating frozen sticks.
To help, here’s a video you can watch to guide you on the proper uses of foil in air fryers.