How Shaking The Basket In Your Air Fryer Could Improve Your Food

Imagine that you're a first-time air fryer user. You've heard all the rave reviews about how it gives your food that deep-fried taste without all the oil and trans-fats, so you want to see for yourself if that's really true. You fill the basket up with your favorite style of fries, set it to fry for 10 minutes, and wait. Sure enough, the fries seem to be a delicious golden-brown color, crispy on the outside and soft on the inside — that is, until you actually bite into one. To your disgust, most of the fries on the bottom of the basket are pale, wet, and taste more like they were microwaved instead of fried. What went wrong? Did you buy a faulty air fryer?

While it's true that an air fryer can produce a basket full of undercooked and chewy fries, popcorn chicken, and onion rings, it could be that you missed a crucial step. According to The Daring Kitchen founder Chris Riley, who spoke to Insider, it's recommended that you take the basket out halfway through the cooking process and give it a few healthy shakes. This allows for even browning and crispier food, as smaller foods that may not have been exposed to the circulating heat in the air fryer will be moved around. It's the same idea behind rotating baking sheets in the oven to ensure even cooking.

Other tips to make your food crispier

If you're still not sure that just shaking the air fryer basket a few times will give you the crispy texture you want, there's plenty of other ways to ensure that your food — be it fish sticks, chicken wings, or cauliflower bites — will have a crunchy, golden exterior.

Taste of Home recommends that you add a small spritz of cooking spray to the top of your food. The oil in the spray will be just enough to give the exterior that classic fried crunch, alongside ensuring the food won't stick to the bottom of the basket as it cooks. The only drawback could be that you're trying to cut out oil-based products and don't want to negate the purpose of an air fryer altogether.

Reader's Digest also recommends that you focus more on how much food you're putting into the basket. By overfilling the basket, only a small amount of food will be exposed to the circulation of heat. While a large air fryer could handle that problem, it's suggested to fry different items separately or cut back on them completely. It's also recommended to avoid placing wet foods inside the fryer and expecting them to turn crisp immediately. Instead, focus on breaded foods or dry vegetables for that satisfying crunch.