How To Keep Your Air Fryer Salmon From Drying Out

We may not all know how the first air fryer was invented, but the rise of these kitchen gadgets has been a treat for anyone who is either inexperienced with cooking or dislikes the mess often associated with preparing a meal. Air fryers have simplified the cooking process by allowing the small appliance to essentially take the place of an oven, often with a dishwasher safe shelf and basket for easy cleanup.

Though air fryers are a great method for cooking a variety of foods, as with any form of cooking, you don't want to overheat your food for the risk of drying it out. While you can certainly cook fish in the air fryer, a delicate fish, such as salmon, needs proper care to ensure that it doesn't get too dry in the cooking process.

According to Cooking Light, the first step to perfectly cooked salmon is to preheat the air fryer. The outlet suggests preheating to make sure the fish can properly caramelize. From there, it all comes down to what's in the fryer basket.

Pay attention to the salmon in the air fryer basket

In traditionally fried foods, overcrowding the pan can cause your food to cook improperly, per Cooking Clarified. When air frying, too, the rule stands: don't overcrowd. Overcrowding in the basket can result in uneven cooking because of the way food is heated in the air fryer. Since heat circulates around the food to cook it, Cooking Light explains that overcrowding the pan could prevent the heat from properly cooking the salmon.

The size of the fillets also matters when cooking in an air fryer, since setting the timer and temperature could cook one fillet perfectly while leaving the other one too dry if they're different sizes.

Of course, beyond drying out the salmon, you also want to pay close attention to your cooking process to avoid steaming rather than frying. Insider recommends patting the salmon dry with a paper towel before air frying it in order to ensure it doesn't release moisture, which will affect its ability to crisp up. Once you've mastered this preparation method, why not dive into other different but perfect ways to cook salmon?