Can you put oil in an Air Fryer is a very valid question that all Air Fryer owners have.
You’ve purchased an Air Fryer thinking that everything I cook in my Air Fryer I will cook without oil.
After all, you purchased an Air Fryer to avoid deep frying food.
Do I really need to use oil in an Air Fryer? I have been using an air fryer for a decade now.
I own two air fryers currently and am a recipe developer for air fryer.
In this article I will tell you all there is to know about air Fryers and oil.
Do You Put Oil in an Air Fryer?
Yes, you can put oil in an Air Fryer. But, you will not require it for many foods and in large quantities.
Even when you do need to use oil in an Air Fryer, it is still significantly more healthy than if you had cooked the same food by deep frying.
Later in the article we’ll see which foods typically need some oil to cook and which foods don’t need any oil for cooking.
Why Must You Use Oil in an Air Fryer?
One of the main reasons for using oil in an air fryer is that it can help prevent your food from sticking to the basket.
This is especially important when cooking foods that tend to stick, such as chicken or fish.
Another reason for using oil in an air fryer is that it can help give your food a crispy, golden exterior.
This is because the hot air in the air fryer can cause the oil to evaporate, leaving behind a crunchy coating on your food.
Finally, using oil in an air fryer can help enhance the flavor of your food.
Apart from adding its own flavors to the food, oil can help distribute the seasonings and spices evenly across your food, resulting in a more flavorful dish.
But you had purchased an Air Fryer to move towards a more healthy diet by doing away with oil.
Don’t worry, you wouldn’t be needing more than a tsp. or two of oil at any time.
Which Foods Need Oil?
While it is true that oil is not always necessary when cooking with an air fryer, there are certain foods that benefit from a little bit of oil.
Adding oil to these foods can help improve their texture and flavor, and prevent them from drying out.
One such food is potatoes.
Meats like chicken, fish, and pork can also benefit from a little bit of oil.
This can help prevent them from sticking to the air fryer basket and give them a nice, crispy exterior.
Frozen foods can use a dab of oil to prevent from drying out.
A rule of thumb while using oil in air fryer to heat up frozen foods is to check the ingredients and see if there is already oil used in the food.
If there is oil while cooking the food (like french fries) then no need to use oil.
But if there is no oil used in the food like frozen veggies then you could use oil on it.
You may like My detailed Philips Air fryer User Review
Which Oils Can You Use in an Air Fryer?
When it comes to choosing an oil to use in an air fryer, it is important to consider the smoke point.
Oils with a high smoke point, such as avocado oil, extra light olive oil, peanut oil, and sesame oil, are best for cooking at high temperatures.
Vegetable oil like sunflower oil, have a high smoking point and are also suitable for use in an air fryer at higher temperatures.
Oils you typically use in ovens are safe to use in an air fryer too.
Best Oil for Air fryer
It is important to use the right oil for air fryer. While my favorite is olive oil, there are many oils that you can use in the air fryer.
The important criterion is using an oil with a high smoking point at least 400F or 200C.
Using a low smoking point oil will cause it to break down and release toxins.
As mentioned earlier, Avocado oil, sunflower oil, light olive oil, peanut oil are all good for use in air fryer.
Choose depending upon your budget and the taste you like.
How to Use Oil in an Air Fryer?
There are different ways to add oil to the food you are cooking in an air fryer.
One way is to take a teaspoon or two of oil in a small bowl with all the seasonings you want to use in the cooking.
Brush it over the food and rub it in on the food by hand.
Another way is to use a basting brush and run the oil on the food with it.
Another way is to use a spray bottle to apply a light mist of oil on the food.
When using an oil sprayer it is better to spray oil on the food as well as on the air fryer basket.
You can also spray or brush oil on the food when it is being air fried.
How Much Oil Should be Used in an Air fryer?
When it comes to using oil in an air fryer, the amount can vary depending on the recipe and personal preference.
Some recipes may require more oil than others, while some people may prefer to use less oil for health reasons.
Oil is used in air fryers only as a coating. So you would hardly ever require more than a teaspoon or two of oil for basting the food before cooking.
Where Do You Put Oil in an Air fryer?
Open your air fryer basket and using a spray or brush, spray or apply oil on the inside surface of air fryer basket.
This is done to prevent food sticking to the basket. You can do the same by using parchment paper in air fryer.
You can also lightly brush or spray oil on the food that you are cooking for an even sheen and golden appearance while air frying.
Alternatives to Using Oil in an Air Fryer
While using oil in an air fryer is a common practice, there are alternatives for those who want to reduce their oil intake or simply prefer not to use it.
1. Dry Rubs and Seasonings
One alternative to using oil in an air fryer is to season your food with dry rubs and seasonings.
This can add flavor without the added fat and calories that come with using oil. Some popular options include garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and cumin.
You can also experiment with different spice blends to find your favorite combination.
2. Using Liquids
Often oil is used to help adhere seasonings to food like vegetables or meat.
Using liquids like aquafaba, lemon juice or vegetable stock help adhere seasonings while being very low calorie.
Use these alternatives. You may not get a golden fried appearance though.
3. Cooking with a Non-Stick Air Fryer Basket
Another alternative is to use a non-stick air fryer basket.
These baskets are designed to be used without oil, as they have a non-stick coating that prevents food from sticking.
This can be a great option for those who want to reduce their oil intake or simply prefer not to use it.
It's important to note that while using oil in an air fryer can help achieve a crispy texture, it's not always necessary.
With the right seasoning and cooking technique, you can still achieve a delicious and crispy result without using oil.
4. Using parchment paper or silicone mat
These not only help in lining the air fryer basket and making them a breeze to clean, they also help in preventing food from sticking to the basket.
Parchment paper in air fryer a great substitute for using oil especially for the purpose of preventing food from sticking.
By experimenting with different cooking methods and seasonings, you can find the best option for you.
What Foods Don't Need Oil?
While oil can enhance the flavor and texture of some foods, there are many foods that don't require oil when cooked in an air fryer.
Frozen Foods: Most frozen foods, such as french fries, chicken nuggets, and fish sticks, come pre-coated in oil.
They don't require any additional oil when cooking in an air fryer.
In my experience with air frying, I’ve seen that most foods I cook require a bit of oil for spraying or brushing.
But, I don’t go overboard with the use of oil in my Air Fryer.
Do let me know if you have any questions regarding this.
You may also download my FREE Beginner's Guide to Air fryer Cooking
You can buy my Indian Air fryer Recipes Cookbook here and buy Air fryer Vegan and Vegetarian Recipes cookbook here.
Also join my Awesome Air fryer Recipes Facebook Group for more recipes, conversations and fun.