The appeal of air fryers isn’t only their ability to “fry” food with a minimal amount of oil. It’s also the ease with which they do it: You just add the food, turn it on, and wait. So, cleaning a mess of stuck-on food afterward? That doesn’t jibe with the air-fryer allure.
When the experts on our ATK Reviews team tested air fryers, they preferred models with nonstick inserts because they clean up effortlessly. The nonstick surface also prevents food from sticking. But depending on what you’re cooking, you might need to take an additional step or two.
Here are tips on how to stop food from sticking to your air fryer, from our cookbook Air Fryer Perfection.
Air Fryer PerfectionFrom crispy fries and juicy steaks to perfect vegetables, we show you what to cook and how to get the best results.
1. Use a Small Amount of Oil
One thing you should do both for crispy texture and to prevent sticking is use a small amount of oil. Cooking without any oil whatsoever may sound appealing, but fat promotes browning and can help food crisp up. It also makes it less likely to stick.
For example, before placing trimmed boneless, skinless chicken thighs into the air fryer in our Air-Fryer Thai-Style Chicken Lettuce Wraps, we dry the chicken and then rub it with oil. We use the same dry-then-oil technique with the steaks and pork chops in our Air-Fryer Spice-Rubbed Steaks with Snap Pea and Cucumber Salad and Air-Fryer Roasted Bone-In Pork Chops recipes, respectively.
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2. Spray the Basket Lightly with Vegetable Oil Spray
3. Make a Foil Sling
- Fold one long sheet of aluminum foil so that it is 4 inches wide. Lay the sheet of foil horizontally across the basket, pressing the foil up and into the sides of the basket.
- Fold the excess foil as needed so that the edges of the foil are flush with the top of the basket.