You’ve just invested in an air fryer and you’re eager to whip up some delicious food. Perhaps you’re trying to catch those excess oils with paper towels, or maybe you’re just wondering about the dos and don’ts of this wonderful kitchen appliance. This post delves deep into the query: Can you put paper towels in an air fryer? Let’s find out!

Overhead photo of paper towel in an air fryer with a banner saying :Can you put paper towel in an air fryer?".

In a nutshell: No, it is not recommended to put paper towel in an air fryer as it can pose a potential fire hazard due to the circulating hot air and high temperatures.

πŸ”₯ How Air Fryers Work

Air fryers have rapidly gained popularity as a healthier alternative to traditional frying methods. Instead of using copious amounts of oil, they work by circulating hot air around your food. This heated air crisps up the exterior while ensuring the inside remains juicy and well-cooked. With this method, you can achieve the same crispy texture as deep frying but with significantly less oil, making it an excellent choice for those looking to prepare healthy meals.

One main reason why air fryers are efficient is the high heat they produce. The hot air inside the fryer circulates, touching every surface of the food, ensuring even cooking. But this process also means the temperature inside the fryer is extremely high – and it’s these extreme temperatures that can make certain items like sheets of paper towels a potential fire and safety hazard.

😬 Potential Risks of Using Paper Towels

Regular paper towels, as most of us know, are not designed to withstand high temperatures. When you put a paper towel inside an air fryer, it could easily catch fire, leading to unwanted outcomes. Not only is there a fire risk, but even if the towel doesn’t ignite, it can still affect how evenly your food cooks. A paper towel in the bottom of your air fryer can obstruct the circulating hot air flow, resulting in uneven cooking or even undercooked food.

Another concern is the tiny food particles that might be on the paper towel. If they come into direct contact with the heating coils, they can produce smoke. This is not something you want when aiming for a delicious food experience.

Paper towel in an air fryer basket.

βœ‹ 5 Alternatives to Using Paper Towel in an Air Fryer

We all love our air fryers, right? But sometimes, we might be tempted to throw in a paper towel to soak up the excess grease or just keep things neat. However, given the potential risks, it’s a good idea to look for safe alternatives. If the main concern is catching excess oil or keeping the bottom surface of the air fryer clean, there are safer alternatives to using paper towels. So, here are 5 handy alternatives to using a paper towel in an air fryer:

1. Parchment Paper

Specifically made for cooking, parchment paper (or baking paper) is a superstar in the kitchen. It’s designed to withstand high temperatures and ensures your food doesn’t stick. Plus, they now come in air fryer-friendly perforated circles, making them a breeze to use. However, it’s essential to ensure that the parchment paper doesn’t cover any heating coils or elements.

2. Aluminum Foil (Tin Foil)

It’s versatile and can be molded to fit the shape of whatever you’re cooking. Just ensure that it doesn’t block any air vents, and always be wary of overusing it to avoid uneven cooking.

3. Silicone Mats

These are heat-resistant and reusable! They’re perfect for the bottom of the air fryer basket and can be easily cleaned after each use. I personally think that is the best way to ensure an easy clean up after cooking. I love my silicone mats!

4. Air Fryer Liners

These are specially designed liners made to fit perfectly inside your fryer. They’re non-stick and make cleanup super easy.

5. Oven-Safe Baking Dishes

If you’re cooking something saucy or messy, consider placing a small oven-safe dish inside the basket. This way, your food stays contained, and there’s less mess to clean up afterward.

Remember, while all these alternatives are great, unlike a regular oven you must always ensure there’s enough space for air circulation in your fryer to get that perfect crispy finish on your dishes.

Glass bowl in an air fryer.

πŸ’¦ What About Wet Paper Towels?

It’s a hack many of us have used in microwaves to keep food moist. But when it comes to air fryers, things are a tad different. Let’s dive into this.

Using a wet paper towel in an air fryer might seem like an innovative idea. Maybe you’re thinking it could add some moisture to the cooking process or help with cleaning. However, it’s essential to approach this with caution.

  1. Fire Hazard: Even though the paper towel is wet, the intense heat from the air fryer can quickly dry it out, potentially making it a fire risk. Always remember, safety first!
  2. Uneven Cooking: A wet paper towel could disrupt the hot air circulation within the fryer. This might result in unevenly cooked dishes or longer cooking times. And who wants to wait more for those scrumptious crispy fries?
  3. Potential Mess: As the water from the towel evaporates, it could condense and mix with the food particles and oil. This could create a messy situation at the bottom of the fryer.

So, what’s the verdict? While a wet paper towel might seem like a handy trick, it’s best to avoid using it in your air fryer. Stick to the tools and accessories designed for your appliance to ensure you get delicious results while staying safe. Remember, your air fryer is a master of crispy delights, and sometimes it’s best to let it do its thing without any added frills! 

Paper towel in an air fryer basket.

😍 Why Air Fryers Are Worth the Hype

Air fryers have truly revolutionized the way we approach cooking. Gone are the days when achieving that perfect crispness in your French fries or chicken wings meant submerging them in excess fat. With the advent of air fryers, delicious food with less fat is within everyone’s reach. The secret? It’s all in the circulating hot air. This amazing kitchen appliance allows you to enjoy your favorite fried foods with a fraction of the oil, making them a popular choice for health-conscious foodies everywhere.

Moreover, many air fryers come with multiple settings allowing you to roast, grill, and even bake! Craving a cake? Your air fryer has got you covered. Want to cook some roasted veggies? Just pop them in the fryer basket. It’s versatile, efficient, and can easily become your go-to kitchen appliance.

Paper towel in an air fryer basket.

βœ… Tips for Getting the Best Out of Your Air Fryer

To truly maximize your air fryer’s potential, there are a few key things to keep in mind:

  1. Avoid Wet Batters: Coating foods in wet batters might not yield the desired results in an air fryer. Instead, opt for dry coatings like breadcrumbs or panko for a better crunch.
  2. Don’t Overcrowd: It might be tempting to cram as much as you can into the fryer basket, but doing so can lead to uneven cooking. Give your food some space to breathe and let the hot air do its magic.
  3. Shake It Up: For foods like fries or small pieces of chicken, give them a good shake halfway through the cooking process. This ensures that every side gets its fair share of the heated air, resulting in an even, golden-brown finish.

πŸ”§ Maintaining Your Air Fryer for Longevity

To keep your air fryer in good condition, regular maintenance is crucial. Beyond the basic cleaning of the frying basket, it’s vital to inspect the heating element and ensure it’s free from food residues. Over time, these residues can burn and produce smoke, affecting the overall taste and quality of your food.

Using kitchen appliances with the right accessories also goes a long way. While it might be tempting to use steel dishes or baking sheets not designed for the fryer, always opt for recommended accessories. This not only ensures even cooking but also prolongs the life of your appliance.

Air fryers are undoubtedly a fantastic investment for both seasoned chefs and kitchen novices. They provide a healthier way to cook food and enjoy fried foods without compromising on taste. With a little care and the right techniques, you’ll be whipping up delicious meals in no time.

Overhead photo of a paper towel in an air fryer basket.

πŸ’­ Final Thoughts: Can you put paper towels in air fryer?

Now that you’ve got the lowdown on the ins and outs of air fryers and why paper towels might not be their best companion, you’re all set to embark on a culinary adventure. Remember, it’s all about experimenting, finding what works best for you, and most importantly, enjoying the process. Here’s to many delicious meals and happy memories with your air fryer. Bon appétit!

❓ Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use baking dishes in my air fryer?

Yes, but make sure they’re suitable for high temperatures and fit comfortably inside the fryer basket.

Are all parchment papers safe for air fryers?

Most parchment papers can handle the higher temperatures from the heat, but always check the temperature rating to be sure.

Can I use wax paper in my air fryer?

While wax paper is a kitchen wonder for many tasks, it’s not ideal for air fryers as it can melt or pose a fire risk. Stick with air fryer-friendly alternatives like parchment paper for those crispy delights!

Can I use paper plates in my air fryer?

Using paper plates in an air fryer isn’t recommended since they can pose a fire risk and may not withstand the heat. It’s best to use air fryer-friendly accessories to ensure both tasty and safe cooking!

How often should I clean my air fryer?

After every use for the basket, and occasionally for the heating elements and interior surfaces.

Can I fry wet-battered foods in an air fryer?

It’s not recommended as the wet batter can drip and cause a mess. Opt for dry coatings for better results.

Paper towel in an air fryer basket.

πŸ˜‹ More Air Fryer Recipes and Posts You Will Love

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