Back to the basics: air fryer edition

These tips do not just apply to air fryers



Not everyone has the same level of cooking experience, and that is okay.

CARSON HOLLAND, Evergreen columnist

If you have been following this series the past couple of weeks, you have seen recipes of all shapes and sizes. Generally speaking, as I have been learning how to use my air fryer, I have tried to give easy, delicious recipes that did not break the bank with ingredients or equipment. I know all too well the feeling of seeing something delicious-looking on a cooking show but then seeing the price tag attached to a stand mixer. 

While sharing recipes is a great start, I feel remiss in not sharing some of the basic steps and more tips in using the air fryer. Not everyone has the same amount of experience with cooking, and that is not a problem. Thus I decided that instead of a recipe this week, I would provide some more insights into the air fryer itself. 

Of course, these tips do not just apply to the great appliance that is the air fryer; if used right, they are the building blocks for any good beginner cook. Some of these tips may be a good reminder, even for experienced readers. Either way, I hope that these tips can come in handy, especially in dealing with the dishes afterward. To all college students who do not keep up on their dishes, take note.

Some Useful Equipment:

  • Skillet or Pan — Now, this may seem counterintuitive if you have an air fryer, and in some ways, it is. Why would you use a pan if the air fryer can do most of the things a pan and oven can do? One of the great things about the air fryer is the number of dishes it reduces and taking up less space. Being able to confidently cook two different things at once without having to use two pans is excellent, so having one on hand for bigger dishes could come in handy. 
  • Sponge or a Scrubber — Most air fryers have only one compartment, making dealing with the dishes relatively easy. But sometimes, you cook something that is sticky or gets into the crevices of the air fryer, looking directly at anything with melted cheese in it. So having a good brush or scrubber that can get the grime off is essential. I would personally recommend the Scrub Daddy Sponge. It has some good handholds and can get lots of nasty gunk off of dishes, but anything should do. 
  • Measuring Cups — To be entirely honest, these are not needed as much as I initially thought they would have been in cooking. Usually, recipes call for precise amounts of seasoning. Still, as you become more comfortable with cooking, you start to get a vibe of what quantity of seasonings you like on things, so you can usually eyeball that. If a recipe is new, I would always advocate using the exact baking amounts. Purchasing a set of dry and wet measuring cups isn’t very expensive and can help you follow along on those recipes better. 

Tips for Cleaning:

  • Not a significant leap in logic, but one of the most important steps to cleaning is soap. It may be very tempting to apply the dish soap directly to the air fryer vat container, but I have found that putting it on your scrubber is a lot easier. If you used the metal tray to help cook, then having that sit in some soapy water can help get some of the more complicated stuff off of it.
  • Clean your air fryer! Sometimes things can get messy in the kitchen but keeping the outside of the air fryer cleaned and ready to go is just as important as keeping the inside clean. If nothing else, it certainly makes the next time you use it a little easier. 
  • Keep the area around your air fryer clean when you are using it. Like a microwave or toaster oven, an air fryer is an electrical appliance. Keeping the area around the cord-free of spills and food is just as essential for safety as avoiding excessive stickiness. 

I hope these tips help propel you on your air fryer journey!