Hailed for making perfectly puffed pies in minutes, roasting chicken until golden brown and juicy on the inside and turning potatoes into crispy morsels of deliciousness, air fryers are fast becoming everyone’s favourite kitchen gadget.
If you’re one of those people who raves about all the fabulous things they’ve made using their air fryer, you might be surprised to find that there’s so much more you can do with it than you realised. From whipping up gravy for your roast dinner with the collected drippings to turning stale bread into a fresh loaf ready to be devoured, these tips and tricks will make you love your gadget even more.
7 air fryer hacks you have to try:
Revive stale food
When you bite into a cookie, expecting that satisfying crunch, only to be met with your teeth sinking into something soft and dense, you’re left feeling robbed. This is probably because somebody forgot to seal the bag properly, causing the cookie to absorb moisture from the air. Fortunately, just after just a few minutes in the air fryer and an extra few minutes of cool-down time, you’ll be back to munching on your favourite sweet treat in no time. This trick can be used for dry cereals such as puffed rice, bran flakes and cornflakes as well as crackers, potato and veggie crisps.
Revive soft food that’s become hard
Stale pastries? No problem. This hack will revive your baked goods in no time. Picture: Pxfuel.
Remember that bag of croissants you bought but forgot to reseal? Well, after a few days of sitting at the back of the fridge they’ve become tough and hard. Your first instinct might be to toss them in the air fryer or microwave and hope for the best. But, in order to give them that fluffy, buttery inside without drying them out further, you’ll need to add a few tablespoons of water to the basin of the air fryer while the croissants are in the basket. This will prevent your baked goods from drying out and losing flavour. The trick works well for other pastries and breads too.
Collect your drippings
When cooking anything from sausages to chops or chicken in your fryer, make sure you save the drippings that collect at the bottom of the basin. Use them for sauces and gravies as that is where all the flavour lies. Simply pour the juices into a pan, simmer until thickened, add flour, herbs and seasoning to suit your taste – it’s as easy as pie.
Use in place of microwave
Reheat pizza in an air fryer for maximum crispiness and zero sogginess. Picture: Pxfuel.
A lot of people use their air fryers only for cooking meals. However, the beauty of the device is that it can also be used to heat food, so that it tastes as fresh as it did when it left the pan or oven. Whether it’s pizza, leftover fries that have become a starchy, soggy mess, anything crumbed (chicken wings, mozzarella sticks and so on.), samoosas or pies, preheat your air fryer, toss in your leftovers for a few minutes and enjoy them for a second time.
When cooking things like meat or veggies, make sure you also use oil. Although they’re marketed as oil-less deep fryers, you can achieve some of the best cooking results by incorporating a few tablespoons of oil during cooking. Just be sure to choose an oil with a high smoke point, to prevent clouds of white smoke in your kitchen. Opt for sesame oil, sunflower oil, avocado oil, almond oil and canola oil.
Shake your basket
Roasting vegetables or making a batch of potato wedges but not getting the crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside result you hoped for? This could be because your basket is overcrowded, you used too much oil or you did not give your goods a good toss during its time in the fryer. Shaking the basket is an especially important step as it helps the food to cook evenly as well as forces excess oil to drip through the basket, giving you food that has a roasted appearance.
Use foil or wax paper
Meat cooking on foil in an air fryer. Picture: Instagram.
Due to their nifty size and structure, air fryers are generally easy to clean. But, if you’d like to save an extra few minutes of your time, line the bottom of your basket with foil or wax paper to prevent both the basket and basin from getting dirty. When you’re done cooking, remove the lining and wipe down any spills.