What You Should Know Before Putting Plates In The Air Fryer

Browsing TikTok can provide hours upon hours of high-quality entertainment, as well as some very creative food hacks and cooking guides. While some users have found success courting rage clicks by creating disturbing concoctions, others on the app have brought some high-value life hacks to your kitchen, free of charge. Given the mixed variety of food-based content found on your algorithmically created front page, it can be difficult to pinpoint what information on the app is reliable, and what videos have been designed to prank the viewing public into setting off their smoke alarms.

One TikTok trend has seen users placing their dishes, plates and all, directly into their air fryers for the purpose of shaping, ease of access, or simply to remove plating as an additional step in the preparation process. While many of us have become accustomed to utilizing plates and bowls in other convenient cooking methods such as the microwave, there are many important health and safety factors to consider before placing your stone or glassware into your air fryer.

How does the air fryer cook?

In order to fully comprehend what is safe to place in an air fryer, we must first understand how an air fryer works. Air fryers are often compared to convection ovens, though there are some minor distinctions between the two. Air fryers utilize a powerful fan alongside a convection heating element to leave the interior of your food moist and juicy while rendering the exterior a perfect crispy brown. Though this heating method is perfect for cooking in small portions, quick reheating, and basic weeknight meals, most air fryers can reach internal temps of over 400 degrees Fahrenheit, rendering certain materials, such as paper plates or plastic Tupperware containers completely out of the question.

Of course, most metal objects are perfectly safe for the air fryer, and some manufacturers, such as Ninja, sell different inserts made from metal, silicone, or even non-stick parchment paper.

What materials are safe for your air fryer?

Of course, all air fryers are not created equally. If you find yourself questioning what materials are safe to place inside your appliance, it's always best to check with the manufacturer before making any bold assumptions. A good rule of thumb when placing items inside your fryer is to only rely on materials you would feel comfortable using in a traditional oven. Most dishware will have explicit statements on their underside or original packaging which outline whether or not they are oven safe.

Due to their relatively small size, the heat source is often much closer to the food or container than it would be in a traditional home oven, which allows for quicker cooking times, but also may leave your containers and plates overheating rapidly. Obviously, be sure to use oven mitts or potholders when removing plates or other containers from the air fryer basket, as even the least conductive materials will be far too hot to the touch after the food within has finished cooking.

For all other questions and concerns, consult the owner's guide likely found in the air fryer's original packaging. Good luck and happy frying!