Air fryers are popular kitchen gadgets that are capable of producing some of the most delicious foods you’ve ever had, right in your own home. But once you step away from the most popular, easy recipes, you may be confronted with questions about your air fryer that you don’t know the answer to.
One of the most common questions people have about their air fryers is can you put metal in an air fryer? If you’re reading this article, chances are that you aren’t so sure about the answer yourself. So let’s get to it and find out.
Can You Put Metal In an Air Fryer?
To put it simply, yes, you can put metal in an air fryer, as long as it’s oven-safe. Essentially, if the metal dish you’re wanting to use can be used inside your oven, you can use it in your air fryer. This applies to any oven-safe metal container or utensil.
If you’re unsure about using metal in an air fryer, you’re not alone. Many people feel a bit uneasy about using metal cookware, likely because of the well-known rule that you can’t put metal in a microwave.
It’s important to remember that air fryers work differently than microwaves. Air fryers don’t use radiation or electromagnetic fields, so there won’t be a potentially harmful reaction with metal.
Instead, an air fryer uses heating elements that heat up almost instantly. Then, fans circulate that heat throughout the chamber to cook the food inside. Your food sits in a basket inside the cooking chamber that allows air to flow on all sides, resulting in a flavorful, crispy finish similar to what you’d get with a deep fryer but without the oil.
Plus, while temperatures inside the air fryer can reach as high as 500ºF, the outside of the air fryer should remain cool enough to touch. This makes for a much safer cooking experience.
Can You Use Aluminum Foil In an Air Fryer?
While we always recommend checking the manual for your specific model, you can use aluminum foil inside most air fryers as long as it’s placed in a way that won’t restrict airflow.
Unlike microwaves, you won’t see any sparks flying off your aluminum foil when it’s used in your air fryer. As mentioned in Southern Living, lining the basket of your air fryer with aluminum foil can actually be super helpful when cooking things like fish that may fall apart easily.
That said, you want to make sure to use the foil on the bottom of the air fryer basket, not the bottom of the fryer itself. Otherwise, you will interrupt the flow of air and cause your food to cook improperly.
You can fold up the edges of the foil to create a makeshift “dish” that will catch any juices from the food you’re cooking. Just make sure you’re not obstructing any heating elements or blocking the airflow.
You can also fold the aluminum foil to create a thicker, sturdier bottom layer that will support the weight of the food you are cooking. Again, just keep in mind that airflow and proper circulation is important when it comes to ensuring that your air fryer works properly and safely.
So remember: It can be helpful to use a small amount of aluminum foil in the bottom of your air fryer basket and try to avoid covering your food with foil.
What Is Oven-Safe Metal?
If you are unsure whether your metal cookware is oven-safe, check the label or manufacturer’s guide. Oven-safe metal will be labeled as such.
So what is oven-safe metal? Oven-safe metal is metal that has been made to withstand extremely high temperatures over long periods without becoming damaged. The metal won’t crack, melt, or warp when exposed to intense temperatures.
Common types of oven-safe metal include stainless steel, cast iron, and aluminum. Any painted metal containers or utensils should not be used in your air fryer. The paint isn’t guaranteed to withstand high heat.
Also, the paint can potentially release toxic gasses when exposed to heat. Those gasses will then be absorbed into your food and could cause some pretty concerning health issues.
You should also make sure the metal dish you are using doesn’t have any kind of wooden component or plastic finish. Any accessories, like handles, should be made of heat-proof, oven-safe materials, like oven-safe silicone.
When Is It Necessary To Use a Metal Dish In an Air Fryer?
There are surprisingly few air fryer recipes that call for the use of a metal dish, but they do exist. More times than not, metal cookware is used in an air fryer recipe that calls for dough, like bread or cake.
Many home cooks like using metal cookware like steel bowls in their air fryer because they are great conductors of heat and make for easy and quick cleanup.
There are certainly perks to using metal. Still, you should still consider how much a dish or bowl, whether made of metal or a different material, would obstruct the air flow within the air fryer. Then ask yourself whether that recipe might turn out better if cooked in the oven instead.
What Happens If You Put Metal That Isn’t Oven-Safe In an Air Fryer?
Placing a metal bowl in your air fryer is potentially dangerous, which is why it’s so important to be sure that your metal bowl is oven safe. Some metal bowls are dangerous when heated to high temperatures because harmful chemicals can leach into your food.
There is some debate over just how harmful these compounds can be, but if you are at all concerned you’re better off sticking with cookware that is specially made to use in an air fryer.
Alternatives To Metal Cookware
If you’re unsure whether your metal cookware is safe to use in the air fryer, or if you would simply prefer an alternative, consider using one of the following types of cookware instead (as long as they are oven-safe).
Silicone is a great alternative to metal dishes or cookware. Silicone is able to withstand high temperatures, making it safe to use in your air fryer. It also comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. You’ll be able to find a silicone cooking vessel that will work optimally in your air fryer, for whatever recipe you decide to make.
Glass dishes like Pyrexes are great because they can withstand the high temperatures inside an air fryer. In some cases, oven-proof glass like Pyrex is safer to use than metal, but only if proper precautions are taken.
Glass dishes are commonly used in the kitchen but, like metal dishes, many people question whether it’s safe to use glass in kitchen appliances like an oven or an air fryer.
Fortunately, there are plenty of oven-safe or oven-proof glass containers available that can be used in an air fryer. These are especially useful for desserts like cakes, where the recipe calls for a dish to hold the batter while it cooks.
Ceramic is yet another option because most ceramic dishes are clearly labeled as oven-proof, making them safe to use in your air fryer. Ceramic dishes are specially made to hold up against high temperatures and can be used for a variety of recipes.
Can You Put Metal Skewers In an Air Fryer?
Yes, as long as you leave enough room for proper air circulation you can put metal skewers in an air fryer. Metal skewers are made to be used in high temperatures.
Can You Put A Metal Rack In an Air Fryer?
Yes. Some air fryers come with racks, but if you’re looking to use your own to elevate your food, it is safe to do so. You’ll be able to enjoy an extra-crispy finish!
Can You Use Stainless Steel In an Air Fryer?
Yes, as long as the steel dish is clearly marked as oven safe and it is small enough to fit inside your air fryer without touching any of the heating elements.
My Metal Bowl Isn’t Labeled “Oven Safe,” but I’m Pretty Sure It Is. Is It OK To Use It In My Air Fryer?
Possibly. It is always better to err on the side of caution, or as many would say: “better safe than sorry.” If you don’t know for certain that your metal dish is safe to use in an oven, and therefore your air fryer, you probably shouldn’t use it.
The simple answer to “can you put metal in an air fryer” is yes. However, you should only use metal cookware that has been deemed oven-safe. If the cookware you are considering using in your air fryer isn’t clearly labeled as oven-safe, you are better off using a different dish.
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