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Your air fryer is not getting any air

Your air fryer is not getting any air
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It might be small—and mighty—but air fryers need their space. That’s because these mini convection ovens rely on a constant flow of air to move the high-temp heat around the food for all-over crispness. Make sure your air fryer has at least 12.5cms of space on all sides. And keep it on a stable surface, too, so the vibration won’t send it tumbling onto the floor. Learning how an air fryer cooks your food will help you understand how to cook with it safely.

You use too much oil

You use too much oil
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Most air fryers call for only a teaspoon or two of oil. If you dump in too much, you’ll get regrettable results. “An air fryer is not a deep fryer,” says Jim Mumford, recipe writer and blogger at Jimcooksfoodgood.com. “I’ve seen people dump over a litre of oil into an air fryer and wonder why their food didn’t work. An air fryer moves very hot air around your food as it bakes, aka a mini convection oven.”

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The foods are too light

The foods are too light
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An air fryer is like an oven: It needs to be hot so it can properly cook whatever you put in it from the moment the door shuts. If it’s too cold, the final food may suffer. Check your recipe’s suggested temperature when you begin pulling out ingredients for cooking. Go ahead and turn the air fryer on so it can be plenty hot when you’re ready to use it. It won’t take long—that small space can reach the right temperature in under five minutes, which makes it great for weeknight cooking.

You cook in the air fryer without cleaning

You cook in the air fryer without cleaning
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A dirty air fryer can be dangerous for your stomach and your nose. “You put yourself at a much higher risk of food contamination if you do not clean your air fryer between uses,” says Candess Zona-Mendola, editor of a food safety blog. “Aim to clean your air fryer after every meal that’s cooked in it.” It might seem like a big mess, but it’s quite easy, Zona-Mendola adds. “Just use hot water with a bit of dishwashing liquid. Let the basket soak as long as it needs so you don’t have to scrub off baked-on food. Three minutes of your time will keep your air fryer fresh [and] your tummy safe, and your kitchen won’t stink.”

The food is too wet

The food is too wet
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Deep fryers can expel moisture from foods like batters, but an air fryer isn’t capable of that, Mumford says. “Don’t put in limp, wet veggies and expect a miracle. Instead, an air fryer should be used to quickly crisp up already breaded or crunchy foods,” he says. “Think breaded chicken tenders or Brussels sprouts.”

You don’t check the food’s temperature

You don’t check the food’s temperature
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Don’t neglect your food safety know-how when you turn on an air fryer. The rules of cooking meat thoroughly apply here just as they would on a grill, oven, or stove surface. “Those who think that there is no need to check the internal temperatures when food is air-fried are serving up a recipe for disaster,” Zona-Mendola says. “You want to make sure that you are practicing the same sanitary precautions, as well as cooking temp precautions, as you would with any other method of cooking.”

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You put too much food in the basket

You put too much food in the basket
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The machine needs air around it, and the food does, too. If you overcrowd the basket in your air fryer, your food won’t have a lot of exposed surface area. Where the hot air meets the surface of the food and any oil is where the cooking (and flavour) happens. Because air fryers cook quickly, you can cook in small batches—and that will ensure each piece has the best flavour and texture possible, Cooking Light says. If you loathe the multi-batch approach, look for a larger air fryer. Cooking for a crowd may still require some batch cooking, but for a family of four, it’ll be plenty of space for a weeknight round of crisp cauliflower or broccoli.

You don’t use any oil

You don’t use any oil
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You can have too much oil—and you can have too little, too, says Mumford. Most recipes will recommend the amount that’s right for that dish, but when in doubt, give everything a quick spritz with oil. “Oil is a great medium to transfer heat,” he says. “Using a little on your food, via non-stick spray, will make your food infinitely more crisp and browned.”

The food is too small

The food is too small
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Food that is too small in an air fryer basket could slip right through the slots and fall onto a heating element. The pieces will burn quickly, which could fill your food—and your kitchen—with fumes and smoke. Instead, keep everything larger than the size of a regular French fry. When in doubt, drop the food in the basket and give it a shake over a sink or garbage bin. If anything slips out, don’t put it in your air fryer.

You let fatty foods drip

You let fatty foods drip
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You might have purchased an air fryer to complement a lower-fat eating plan, but you can also use the quick-cooking appliance to fry up favourite high-fat options like burgers, sausages, and even bacon. Before you hit the start button, make sure you put water in the bottom of the cavity under the frying basket. This way, when the fat drips onto the hot surface, it will hit water—not hot metal, where it will burn, smoke, and smell.

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