12 Widespread Air Fryer Mistakes You Need To Change Today


They can be incredibly helpful, but that doesn’t mean they’re always used correctly. Here are the most common air fryer mistakes and how to avoid them.

You’ve got an air fryer but you’re a little nervous about using it today. I’m going to show you the top 12 air fryer mistakes people make when using it. Knowing these will prevent you from making mistakes, so you can get the best results from your air fryer rather than learning the hard way… Don’t worry, I made some of these mistakes myself, so my loss is your gain. if you’re new to the air fryer, be sure to also check out those helpful articles:

let’s go with air fryer mistakes


Air Fryer Mistakes


01 _ Not investing in a good air fryer


It’s tempting to buy a cheap air fryer to save a few extra dollars, and this one of the most popular air fryer mistakes, but in the long run, it’s a waste of money. If you’re not going to buy a good one, not only will you get subpar results from your food? A common complaint with cheap air fryers is that the non-stick coating starts peeling off within a few months, and then you’re just going to have to replace it anyway. If you haven’t purchased your air fryer yet, or if you haven’t used it yet, consider returning it and doing some research. 

Be sure to take some time to read through the reviews and make sure you’re buying an air fryer of excellent quality. 

I recommend looking for products that have a few thousand reviews and an average star rating of four to four-point five stars.


02_ Overcrowding the basket


One of the most common air fryer mistakes and important rules of air frying is not over-cropping baskets. You’ll see in the marketing pictures that they’ve got the baskets overflowing with food, and that’s just not right. Instead, fill your basket so it is not more than halfway full. The only exception that I found to this rule is frozen air fryer wings. I generally do load up the basket because they shrink and lose a lot of water as they’re cooking.

If you don’t want to cook your food in batches to avoid overcrowding, consider getting a larger air fryer. In fact, I advise that you get an air fryer that’s a little bit larger than you think you actually need, I don’t think you’ll regret that purchase, and instead of looking at the capacity size.

I recommend looking at the dimensions of the basket and, most importantly, paying attention to that horizontal space where you can lay food flat. My 9×9 basket it’s a great size for me and it doesn’t take up a ton of counter space, also, keep in mind when you’re looking for an air fryer, the square pan is going to be able to fit more inside of it than a circular panel.


03_ You’re doing the oil all wrong 

Biggest air fryer mistakes that I did by myself, even though an air fryer is marketed as a healthier way to fry foods, most of the foods you cook will need a little oil if you’re looking for that truly crispy finish. I’m going to help you know when you need oil, how much oil to use, and what the best type of oil to use is. Some people go crazy and use way too much oil, while others aren’t using enough or they’re not using any at all when they really should be.

Oil not only helps transfer the heat, but it is also going to help make the food crispier. As a general rule of thumb, you only need one to two teaspoons of oil for breaded foods like fries if you want a clear conclusion. If you want your food to be more crispy, a light coating will suffice, and you can always add additional oil towards the end of the frying cycle. And rather than a spray, you can just stir the food up in a mixture of oil and seasonings, which leads me to another reason you might want some oil:

It helps the spices and seasonings adhere to the food, like in these air-fried chicken thighs. If your food is already fatty, like hamburger patties or chicken wings, you don’t even need oil. And of course, if you’re using your air fryer for baking, like cookies and cakes, you don’t need any oil at all. You’ll also want to make sure you’re using the right kind of oil.


First of all, it’s best to avoid pressurized and canned sprayers because they contain propellants and chemicals that have been shown to cause problems with the coating inside the air fryer basket, plus they contain chemicals that you don’t want in your food anyway, so instead purchase a good oil sprayer and put your favorite oil in it. 

In the meantime, while you’re waiting for that, just pour a little oil on a paper towel and you can wipe down the inside of your basket for cooking foods like chicken or donuts or things like that. 

That last note about the oil, you need to know about smoke points. When you cook food in your air fryer, you’re going to want to use an oil that has a higher smoke point. I have more details about that down in the notes below. I personally like to use avocado oil because it has a higher smoke point and it’s healthier than vegetable oil and canola oil.


04_ Not rotating or shaking your food 

For a perfectly cooked meal, you’re going to want to take the time to flip or rotate the food or shake it when it’s halfway through cooking. Some air fryers have a reminder for you, others don’t, so if you find yourself always forgetting to rotate the food, what I suggest is just setting the timer for the first half, letting that go off, rotating the food, and then setting the timer for the second half of the cooking time. 


05_ Not checking the food’s temperature


If you want to get the best results from the meat that you cook in your air fryer, you’re going to want to invest in a small instant They’re cheap, under twenty, and so helpful to make sure you don’t undercook or overcook your food. I go into more detail about this in my video all about cooking chicken in the air fryer, so be sure to check the notes below for that one.


06_ Not enough air

One of the hidden air fryer mistakes is you’re not giving your air fryer enough air. What the heck am I talking about? Air fryers need air to cook. Make sure your air fryer is getting enough circulation to ensure you’ve got at least five inches of space between your air fryer and the wall that’s going to allow it to have enough circulation and also protect the walls.

You’ll also want to make sure that there’s some space underneath your air fryer. This is going to help with the air circulation and also protect the countertops when you have them on a wood cutting board or something else that’s a heat-resistant surface. I have another cutting board that I use to set the hot basket on when I’m pulling it out and rearranging food or serving the food. 


07_ Cooking fatty foods incorrectly.


As I mentioned earlier, you don’t need oil for fatty foods since the fat is going to be cooked off the food and land in the drip basket. You’ll have better results if you put a little water down there. That way, when that fatty oil lands down there, it’s going to hit the water instead of metal, and it’s going to prevent all the yucky smoking that sometimes people experience in their air fryers.


08_ Cooking in the air fryer without cleaning at first

Cleaning is one of our popular air fryer mistakes, thinking about cleaning the air fryer in between cooking sessions can sound like a pain in the neck right? but it’s actually super easy the longer you leave your food in the air fryer the harder it’s going to be to clean it off the crumbs that are left behind.
The basket is going to burn to a crisp the next time you use your air fryer and be even harder to clean plus it could be changing the taste of your food, and will likely lead to a lot of smoke and funky smells.

The basket is going to burn to a crisp the next time you use your air fryer and be even harder to clean plus it could be changing the taste of your food, and will likely lead to a lot of smoke and funky smells. 

So just take a few minutes and put it in your sink fill it up with some hot soapy water and let it soak it doesn’t take long because most air fryers have that nonstick coating, some air fryer baskets are dishwasher safe but they take up so much room in the dishwasher, and I want to be a little extra careful with it to protect that coating so just washing it off in the sink is so quick and easy, then I set it out to air dry.

So just always plan on cleaning the basket right after you use it if you got grease in the bottom of the basket, you can pour it out immediately, if you have a safe place to dispose of it or let it harden up a little bit and I just like to use paper towels to wipe that out then I soak the pan in the hot soapy water, and occasionally you’re going to want to do a deeper clean of your air fryer.


09_ Cooking wet food

 First of all, you cannot air-fry foods that have a wet batter but more importantly any unbreaded food that you want to get crispy and browned you need to pat it dry first so this applies to all of your proteins and your veggies it’ll get you a nice crispy finish without drying out the food or steaming it .


10_ Not adapting recipes


Air frying food is not a perfect one-to-one conversion from baking instructions to air fryer instructions since the air fryer is so compact it cooks food faster, so you will need to adjust the time and the temperature when you cook food. A good rule of thumb is to decrease the temperature by 10 to 25 degrees and then start with half of the cooking time. That’s the beauty of an air fryer; you can easily adapt and adjust any sort of recipe.


11_ Not using your air fryer to reheat

So when you say goodbye to soggy leftovers, reheating leftovers in the air fryer is the best way to bring food back to life. Yes, it does take a little bit longer than the microwave, but it’s faster than reheating in the oven and so worth it. I love reheating leftovers from a restaurant, french fries, or leftover pizza, so I usually just throw leftovers in the air fryer at 350 for three to five minutes. Sometimes that’s perfect, other times I just add a couple more minutes. Easier peasy.


12_ Not using helpful tools 


Now you don’t need to go out and buy more accessories for your air fryer. You can if you want, but there are other things you can use. For example, I love using foil to make a foil sling, which helps with lifting delicate meats and cookies out of the air fryer. Or I can buy parchment paper with holes. It’s great for foods like chicken parmesan or coconut shrimp. They’re a little bit messier in the air fryer. Do note that you should never ever put wax paper or paper towels in your air fryer. They could melt or blow up into the heating element and start a fire, so let’s not do that. 

If you’re going to use foil, make sure you don’t go all the way to the sides. You want to make sure you have room for the air to circulate since that’s how it cooks. You could put some little splits in the soil to make some more room for air, but usually, just the bottom grate of the air fryer basket works <great. Should catch that pun? It’s safe to go in your air fryer. I’ve used ramekins, cupcake liners, silicone molds, oven-safe glass dishes, and even small cake pans in my air fryer.

We’ve all made these air fryer mistakes at some point. Don’t feel bad. We must learn from our air fryer mistakes. Be sure to avoid them next time you fire up an air fryer, and enjoy the delicious results!





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