The Real Reason You Should Never Make Rice In An Air Fryer

As convenient and innovative as an air fryer is, sometimes there's just no substitute for good ol' pots and pans. A meal where you need a heaping bowl of tender, fluffy rice is one of those times. Yes, an air fryer can yield perfectly crispy french fries and create some restaurant-worthy mozzarella sticks but, sadly, it cannot turn raw rice into anything other than a hot mess.

The Kitchn explains air fryers work by quickly circulating hot air around your food, similar to a convection oven. Some come with a handy little insert that might look like it would be an appropriate vessel for rice and water but the Food Network notes an air fryer's heating element and fan will not produce enough heat to allow the internal temperature to reach the boiling point. Without boiling water, your grains of rice have little hope of cooking properly. You're better off sticking to the stovetop or a rice cooker. But don't banish rice from your air fryer for good. If you cook the rice first, a world of air-fried fried rice possibilities is at your fingertips.

You can make fried rice in an air fryer

While you can't expect an air fryer to boil water and cook a serving of rice properly, you can use it to turn pre-cooked rice into some pretty delicious fried rice. An article on Taste written by Air Fry Every Day author Ben Mims explained how he used his air fryer to recreate a famous restaurant's crispy rice salad bowl. He combined air-fried grains of cooked jasmine rice with air-fried broccoli florets and dressed it with a General Tso's-style sauce. Genius!

The Food Network dresses up their version of air fryer fried rice with an egg, frozen peas and carrots that have been thawed, sesame oil, and a sauce made from sriracha, soy sauce, more sesame oil, and sesame seeds. Once the cooked rice is tossed with the oil, water, salt, and pepper, it's cooked in a 350-degree air fryer until it's toasted and crunchy, which takes about 12 minutes. Hmmm, could you use that time to wash the pot you cooked the rice in? Just a suggestion. Before serving, the egg and the vegetables get added to the rice in the air fryer and, after a few more minutes of cook time and a drizzle of sauce, you're in fried rice heaven. So, an air fryer may be an ideal tool for already-cooked rice but it won't get you very far when you're starting from scratch. To cook raw grains of rice, embrace the past, and stick to the stovetop.