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Learning how to use an air fryer is really simple. This tutorial is a great place to start to learn how to fry with practically no oil at all.

You can even find a few of my favorite recipes to start with.

How to use an air fryer. Cooked French fries in an air fryer basket being dumped into a white bowl.

If you’ve been considering getting one of these, or have sitting in its box waiting to be used, this is everything you need to know.

Here are a few simple tips to get you started using it.

How to Use an Air Fryer

If you enjoy fried foods but don’t want all that extra fat, or the extra mess of oil and lard in your kitchen, you might be considering getting an air fryer. But, how do they work?

There are lots of different brands and styles of air fryers. But, they all use the same basic principle when it comes to how they fry food.

Learn how to use an air fryer with this easy tutorial, photo of black air fryer with buttons illuminated on the front.

Traditionally, fried foods are made by filling a deep fryer with oil and heating it up. Food is submerged in the oil to give it a crispy coating. 

While this is certainly tasty, it also means that the food has a much higher oil content. That’s not a healthy option for people watching their heart health or their weight.

How does an Air Fryer work?

Basically, this works in much the same way a convection oven does. Heat rises in a traditional oven so the rack needs to be toward the top.

But, with an air fryer, a small fan blows the hot air around your food so the temperature of the air fryer remains constant throughout.

Essentially, your food is frying in circulated air rather than in oil.

How do you cook with an air fryer?

There are many different brands and models so the exact method will vary depending on the type you have.

But, this is the basic process:

  • Preheat the fryer
  • Add a very small amount of oil if your recipe calls for it
  • Add your food
  • Cook

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Do you put oil in an air fryer?

You can add a very small amount of oil when using most air fryers.

Unlike the cups of oil you need for a deep fryer, your air fryer needs only about a tablespoon or less depending on the brand.

You can use almost any type of oil you have on hand including vegetable oil, coconut oil, and canola oil.

I would not suggest using olive oil. It has a low smoke point and will often smoke in an air fryer.

Where do you put the oil in an air fryer?

It really depends on the model you have.

Some models have a wire basket. If this is the case, you need to add the oil to your coating or breading so that it gets crispy when you cook it.

If your unit has a solid tray rather than a basket, you can add the oil to the tray itself. Or, you can add it to the breading.

For most recipes that call for oil, add it to the food by brushing it on lightly. This will help give the crispiness you desire in fried foods.

What can you not cook?

There’s not a whole lot you can’t cook in your air fryer. But, if you’re wondering how to use an air fryer, one of the first things you need to know is what not to do.

The main thing you can’t do is put anything that is overly wet in it, like really wet batters. They tend not to cook properly.

What can I cook?

A good place to start as a beginner who is learning how to use the air fryer is to cook prepare frozen food, fresh vegetables, and even bacon.

Learn how to use an air fryer, an air fryer half open with cooked French fries inside

Frozen fries are really easy to make. Just fill the basket about 1/2 way, and use the french fry button on your machine! It’s that easy. They’ll be done in no time.

The sky is the limit though, you can make everything from steak to seafood, and even desserts in your air fryer.

Check out these healthy air fryer appetizers for a few ideas you can try.

You can really do so many different things with an air fryer besides fry in them. Make wonderfully crisp chicken wings and even cookies. Try these Chocolate Chip Cookies on for size.

Air fryer for beginners

Tips for achieving the best results

You will need to check the food partway through the cooking process and move it around, even flipping it over, so it cooks evenly.

Don’t layer your food or pack it too closely together. The air needs to be able to circulate around all sides of the food. Things like frozen French fries are sort-of the exception to this rule. You can put quite a few in the air fryer basket and they’ll still come out crispy and delicious.

French fries in air fryer basket being poured into a serving bowl.

Homemade potato fries shouldn’t be layered too much, they won’t come out crispy if there are too many in the basket.

If you choose not to preheat your unit, you will need to add 3 to 5 minutes to the cooking time.

Don’t use too much oil. It can build up on the tray and cause smoking. If there is fat in the food already, you don’t generally need to add more oil.

Parts of the appliance may get hot. If you’re new to using one, make sure that you’re careful around it so you don’t get burned.

Get yourself an Air Fryer here »

Remember, the sky is the limit. Start now, explore, experiment, and make delicious food!

How to use an air fryer for beginners, a collage photo with air fryer and French fries.

Beginner Air Fryer Recipes

These are some of the easiest recipes you’ll want to try! Like I said, you can make pretty much anything you want in the air fryer. It’s just one of those super versatile appliances that you’ll always find new ways to use and new recipes to explore.

But first, let’s kick off with a handful of simple recipes to get started. Don’t be intimidated, you can do it!

Don’t hesitate, just jump right in and start cooking!

Chicken Tenders

Easy air fryer chicken tenders on a plateEasy Chicken Tenders

Keto Churro Sticks

Keto churro sticks for dessert in your air fryerChurro Sticks 

Buffalo Cauliflower

Buffalo Cauliflower in the air fryerBuffalo Cauliflower

Air Fryer Bacon

Air fryer bacon recipe, cooked bacon on a plate

Crispy Bacon

Pork Chops

Pork chops inside the air fryer basket for an easy air fryer pork chop recipePork Chops

Crab Rangoon

crab rangoon air fryer recipeCrab Rangoon

How to use an air fryer, plus easy recipes for beginners and those new to using an air fryer.

I hope these easy recipes for your air fryer will get you off on the right foot! There’s a little something here for everyone, try them today!

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