What You Do and What You Don’t Need
Let’s just start by saying that you can make plenty of things with just your air fryer unit and no air fryer accessories. Don’t think that you have to immediately cough up for loads of extra bits and pieces. The standard basket, pan and tray that are included in all models are all you need to make sweet potato fries, spicy chicken wings and a batch of crunchy arancini.
However, if you want to really make the most of your new toy and all of its cooking functions, then arming yourself with a few extras is a good idea. All you have to do is decide what you want to cook and the accessories you should buy will become clear.
WARNING! Check Compatibility!
Before you do anything other than window shopping, a word of warning first.
There are lots of different brands of air fryer and often many models per brand. Inevitably, this means that there are appliances of all different shapes and sizes.
So before you buy, check that whatever accessory you have your eye on is compatible with your air fryer. Some air fryer accessories fit a range of machines, but not all do, so it pays to be careful and make sure that your particular model is listed in the accessory specifications. After all, it would be a total pain if you bought square cake pans for your fryer only to realise that the cooking chamber is round. Doh.
You Really Need One Of The Following Accessories
Seriously, if you only cook pre-frozen oven chips in your machine and buy no other air fryer accessories, you’ll find the next two things are culinary life-savers.
Air Fryer Liners
Also called parchment liners, these are the most popular of all the air fryer accessories on the market and you’ll soon see why once you start using your machine.
What Are They?
A piece of parchment paper which sits in the bottom of your frying basket. They are cut to fit the exact shape and dimensions of your particular basket. They are perforated with small holes so that the heated air that the device produces can move around the food and cook it.
Why Do I Need Them?
No mess. As simple as that.
Air fryer liners catch all the little scraps of batter, crumbs and loose bits that fall off the food during cooking. They also collect any excess grease from the air frying process. All you have to do when you have finished using your machine is take the air fryer parchment out and throw it away. It is so much easier than scrubbing food remains off the wires of your frying basket.
Sadly, you have to buy them and can’t make your own liners with baking paper because baking parchment doesn’t come with those important little holes that allow air movement.
Air Fryer Silicone Pot
What Is It?
A silicone pot which sits in the air fryer and catches all the excess oil and stray food scraps that falls off during the cooking process.
They are made from food-safe silicone which won’t deteriorate in the high temperatures of your air fryer.
Some brands have perforations to allow the hot air that is so important for air frying to circulate around the food. Others have specially molded ridges on the bottom for the same purpose.
Why Do I Need One?
A silicone pot helps to keep your air fryer clean and means that you don’t have to spend hours scrubbing cooked-on bits from the basket of your device.
Basically, this is the eco-friendly answer to air fryer liners or parchments. The liners are great, but they cannot be reused. This means that they are both bad for the environment and an ongoing expense.
In contrast, silicone pots can be used repeatedly and are easy to clean. In fact, they are dishwasher safe which is a major bonus as most air fryer baskets will eventually lose their non-stick surface if you continually put them through the dishwasher. They are also a one-off cost.
Silicone pots are practical, good for the environment and cost effective. We have found, after testing dozens of air fryer accessories, that silicone pots have proven to be a practical and worthwhile investment.
Obviously, there are plenty more air fryer accessories on the market. If you wish to know more about what’s out there and hear our views on what’s useful, please see our next article, Best Air Fryer Accessories (Part 2).