Paper Towels and Air Fryers: A Risky Combination

Can you put paper towels in an air fryer?

Air fryers have gained popularity in recent years as a versatile kitchen tool that allows you to cook a variety of foods. However, there is often confusion about what can and cannot be used in an air fryer. One common question is whether it is safe to put paper towels in an air fryer.
The answer: No, it is not recommended to put paper towels in an air fryer, especially while it is running. Paper towels can impede proper air circulation and pose a fire risk. However, there are alternatives.

Understanding how an air fryer works

Before looking at why paper towels shouldn’t be used in an air fryer, it’s important to understand how this kitchen appliance works.
An air fryer uses rapid air technology to cook food. It circulates hot air around the food placed in the cooking basket, which is heated by a heating element. This process creates a high-temperature environment that cooks the food.
The cooking basket is designed to allow proper air circulation for even cooking and crisp results. Any materials that obstruct the airflow can affect the cooking process.

Why paper towels should not be used in an air fryer

There are several important reasons why you should not use paper towels in an air fryer:

  1. Fire hazard: Paper towels are highly flammable and can easily catch fire when exposed to high heat. Air fryers generate intense heat, and when paper towels come in contact with the heating element, they can ignite and cause a fire hazard.
  2. Uneven cooking: Placing paper towels in an air fryer can block airflow, resulting in uneven cooking. Food may not cook evenly, resulting in inconsistent texture and potentially compromising food safety, especially when cooking meat.

Using paper towels for seasoning

While it is not recommended to use paper towels in an air fryer during the cooking process, they can still be used to season the fryer basket.
Here’s how to use paper towels for seasoning:

  1. Turn on the air fryer with the basket inside for about 3 minutes.
  2. Open the fryer and remove the basket.
  3. Use a paper towel to coat the walls of the basket with a thin layer of oil to prevent food from sticking.
  4. Place the basket back in the fryer and turn it on for another 2 minutes.

By following these steps, you can season the basket and create a non-stick surface without compromising safety or interfering with the cooking process.

Alternatives to paper towels

If you want to avoid using paper towels in your air fryer, there is a safe alternative: parchment paper, also known as baking paper.
Parchment paper is perforated to allow proper airflow inside the fryer. It serves a similar purpose to paper towels without interfering with the cooking process. Here are some tips for using parchment paper in an air fryer:

  • Line the basket of the air fryer with parchment paper, making sure it doesn’t overlap the edges.
  • Place the parchment paper after preheating the basket and wear oven gloves to avoid burns.
  • Do not cover the entire bottom of the fryer with parchment paper; leave some space for airflow.
  • Never place empty parchment paper in the air fryer without food on it, as it may catch fire.

By using parchment paper instead of paper towels, you can ensure safe and effective cooking in your air fryer.

Bottom line

While paper towels are a versatile kitchen tool, they should not be used in an air fryer. They can pose a fire hazard and block proper airflow, resulting in uneven cooking. Instead, choose safe alternatives such as parchment paper to enhance your air frying experience. By following these guidelines, you can get the most out of your air fryer while ensuring safety and delicious results.

FAQS

Can I use paper towels in a deep fryer?

No, it is not recommended to use paper towels in an air fryer, especially while it is running. Paper towels can block proper airflow and create a fire hazard.

Why are paper towels not recommended for use in an air fryer?

Paper towels are highly flammable and can easily catch fire when exposed to the high heat of an air fryer. They can also block airflow, resulting in uneven cooking results.

Can paper towels be used for any purpose in an air fryer?

While it is not advisable to use paper towels during the cooking process, they can be used to season the fryer basket. Lightly oiling the walls of the basket with a paper towel will create a non-stick surface.

What can I use instead of paper towels in an air fryer?

A safe alternative to paper towels in an air fryer is parchment paper, also known as baking paper. Parchment paper allows for proper airflow and can be used to line the fryer basket without risk of fire or interfering with the cooking process.

Can I use aluminum foil instead of paper towels in an air fryer?

While aluminum foil can be used in an air fryer, it is important to use it correctly. Avoid covering the entire bottom of the fryer with aluminum foil, as it can block airflow. Instead, use small pieces to protect specific areas or to wrap food.

Are there any other safety tips for using an air fryer?

Yes, here are some additional safety tips for using an air fryer:
Read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions and safety guidelines.
Avoid overcrowding the fryer basket as this can affect cooking performance.
Clean the fryer regularly to prevent the buildup of grease and food residue.
Use oven mitts or heat-resistant gloves when handling the hot air fryer basket or accessories.