Follow These Tips To Air Fry Without An Air Fryer

First it was the slow cooker. Then it was the Instant Pot. Now it's the air fryer. It seems that every few years, there's a new "must-have" gadget to buy and take up valuable real estate on your kitchen countertop. And air fryers don't appear to be going away anytime soon. They were the "it" Christmas gift in 2018 (via Business of Business), and demand for them has only increased since then, according to Grub Street. If you're one of the few people who has yet to own an air fryer, you may be wondering what all the fuss is — what is an air fryer, and do you really need one?

An air fryer is a small electric appliance that uses a heating element and a fan to quickly blow hot air around food to "fry" it to a crisp with little to no oil. If that sounds like a convection oven, that's because it essentially is a mini version of one. According to Allrecipes, if you already have a convection oven or even a toaster oven with a convection setting, you don't need an air fryer. However, since there are still some differences between an air fryer and an oven, there are things to be aware of when attempting an air fryer recipe in a non-air fryer.

Follow these steps to air fry without an air fryer

Allrecipes lists out several considerations when air frying without an air fryer. First, cut your food into long strips or bite-sized pieces, or tear them into jagged pieces (such as with tofu), to maximize the surface area to crisp. You should also dry your food as much as possible. Then spray, brush, or toss with a little bit of a neutral oil to help with browning and crisping.

Using a perforated pan or an oven-safe cooling rack, spread out your food evenly with enough space between items for the air to circulate properly. If the recipe calls for the food to be flipped halfway through cooking, make sure you do so, and add some oil to the other side as necessary. If you're using a regular oven without a convection fan, adjust the temperature called for by the air fryer recipe upwards by 25 degrees, and make sure the oven is fully preheated before you start cooking. If you're using a convection oven, you can use the same temperature setting the recipe calls for.

If you do decide an air fryer is right for you, learn the mistakes to avoid, like what foods to never cook in an air fryer, as well as the handy hacks to take advantage of to get the most out of your latest kitchen gadget.