Several kitchen implements make food preparation an easy process, and one of them is the air fryer. It is gaining much popularity due to how easy it is to use and its precision in cooking low calory foods.
When using such equipment, you need to look at the safety factor to prevent hazards in the cooking area. This is why you find many people asking, can you put aluminum foil in an air fryer?
For long, there has been a conversation about the use of aluminum and other metal foils and how safe or dangerous they can be. This article will tackle this question and show you ways through the use of aluminum foils.
Can You Use It?
The answer is yes; you can put aluminum foil in an air fryer when cooking your food. When you consider that you may get some of your meals, especially the delivered ones in aluminum foil, you may want to heat it directly without first removing it from the covering.
RELATED READ: Does Air Fryer Cause Cancer?
There are some benefits of using aluminum foil in an air fryer, as we can see below.
Benefits of Using an Aluminum Foil in an Air Fryer
1. Ease of Cleaning
Cleaning the air fryer is a challenging but necessary task if you want to uphold hygiene standards. The air fryer’s configuration makes it hard to reach some areas, especially if you have some spills. With food like rice, batter or those with too much sauce, you can use a foil to prevent the fryer from being messy.
The trick is to put the food in the foil and cover it in a certain way to curb spilling when it begins cooking. Once your food is ready, you lift the aluminum covering which leaves no traces behind.
2. When Cooking Aromatic Foods
Some foods may have a strong aroma, and they may leave some scent on the air fryer after cooking. The smell may affect the smell and taste of other foods that will pass through the cooking device.
One way to deal with the aroma is to cover the food with the foil. The covering will contain most of the scent, and all you need is to open the cooking implement to get rid of residual smells.
3. Food Storage
The foil is also good food storage material and can save you from cleaning platters and other items you put in the fryer when cooking. If you want to put the food right into the fridge after cooking, you can wrap it generously then put it in the cooker.
When cooked, you let it cool a bit before serving on the wrapping or storing it in the refrigerator.
4. Moisture Retention
Another benefit of using the foil is to retain the moisture of some foods such as meat or vegetables. You may prefer some of these foods to be juicy, and the air fryer can take up most of the water content during preparation. In this case, the aluminum covering will retain a decent amount of moisture content.
It is a suitable move for preparing vegetables. The wrapping also keeps food warmer for quite some time, suitable if you do not want to eat at the moment.
Things to Note When Using Aluminum Foil in an Air Fryer
Looking at the advantages, you get the idea that it is good to use an aluminum wrapping in the air fryer. However, there are vital things to keep in mind when using aluminum foil for your safety, and some of them are highlighted below.
Place the Foil in The Basket
When using the foil to prevent the fryer from getting messy, put it in the basket and not at the pan’s bottom. The placement part can be very confusing, particularly when you consider that the grease and food particles fall in the pan below.
The pan should be totally free and not come into contact with the foil as you may risk a fire hazard. Line the basket before putting the food, and you are good to go.
Still, on the placement of the foil, you should not cover the entire basket. You can leave some spaces on the side, extending to the top uncovered. The cooking process needs the air spaces as it uses convection to prepare your food.
As such, the air spaces are the access points of the hot circulating air. Covering all the air spaces may result in partially cooked meals or even cause the cooker to malfunction due to excess heat buildup.
Do Not Let the Foil Stick out
The aluminum wrapping should also not stick out of the cooking basket as it may interfere with the hot airflow and spell a hazard in extreme cases. To prevent such a situation, you should pay attention to how you fix it. It is also advisable to use a small cutting of the wrapping, which won’t stick out or cover the air spaces.
Beware of Edges
You need to ensure that the wrapping material has no edges sticking out as it may touch the heating element and cause an electric malfunction. Either the fryer will stop working, or it can lead to an electric fire problem in severe cases.
The aluminum cover should never exceed the height of the basket as there are high chances of it coming to contact with the element.
Perforating the Wrapper
It is advisable to make perforations in the wrapper to boost the airflow of the convection currents. It helps in the fast cooking of your food as you have enough room for the currents. You can make holes in the foil if you are not preparing messy food, like one with too much sauce or juices.
Suitable foods include potatoes or other hardy vegetables, which you may want to steam.
Using with Acidic Foods
When using aluminum foil with acidic foods such as tomatoes or citrus foods, there is a probability that there will be leaching of the metal to your food. The acid reacts with the aluminum and makes it more volatile.
While aluminum does not pose many adverse effects to your health, large intakes past the recommended levels can be severe. If using acidic foods like lemon slices, you can put the pieces some minutes after the main food achieves the desired cook.
With vinegar, marinade, and other acidic cooking substances, make sure you have a liner, which will prevent damage to the fryer.
Have Some Weight on it
Aluminum food wrapping is light, and the hot air currents in the air fryer can lift it. This is a dangerous occurrence as it may touch the heating elements and cause short-circuiting of the electric cooker.
Ensure that there is some weight atop the foil to prevent it from being carried by the moving air.
Do Not Preheat the Fryer If There Is No Food in The Foil
Another safety measure to uphold is during the preheating of the air fryer. Preheating is a crucial stage when using this cooking implement as it makes it ready for use. Be sure you do not have the foil in the cooker as it may cause serious electric malfunction and even result in fires.
After using the foil in the cooker, you should remove and discard it.
Read the Air Fryer’s Manual
The air fryer’s manual is the to-go site to guide you on various things, including aluminum foil. While you can use the wrapping with several air fryers, some models highly discourage it. Others will advise you on the right way to use it for the cooker to serve you longer.
Are There Any Dangers in Using Aluminum Foil in an Air Fryer?
The question – can you use aluminum foil in an air fryer – needs to look at the possible implications if there are any. There are dangers, and below are some of them.
There is the looming danger of electrical faults if you do not use the foil correctly. The focus is mainly on how you place it in the fryer. You should always put it on the basket, but do not cover the basket entirely to the point of sealing the air spaces.
When using this material, you need to know that it is a good conductor of electricity, hence, improper use can lead to electrical faults.
Damage to the Fryer
The foil can damage the fryer due to short-circuiting, as earlier indicated. There can also be damage to parts of the air fryer, primarily when you use the foil with acidic foods or condiments such as vinegar. This is due to the acid and the metal’s reaction, and you may witness some spots on the basket or other parts.
Are There Health Effects of Using Aluminum in An Air Fryer
Aside from the electrical faults, there are reports indicating that aluminum wrapping can pose serious health effects. Aluminum is not entirely inert and can lead to some conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Medical reports on a certain patient showed increased aluminum content in his body over an 8-year period, which contributed to the Alzheimer’s disease. There is also an association of aluminum with bone conditions, especially osteoporosis witnessed in 35% of dialysis patients.
There is a risk of pulmonary fibrosis due to long exposures, though it is not as severe as aluminum oxides. There are also unconfirmed reports that this metal, in large amounts, can cause fertility issues, mostly in males.
The consumption of this metal increases due to the effect of heat, and it may be higher in the case of leaching when in contact with acidic foods. While aluminum foil is not that dangerous due to the small amounts it exposes you to, care should be observed to be on the safe side.
Parchment Paper as an Alternative to Aluminum Foil
A better alternative to aluminum foil is parchment paper, also referred to as baking paper. You can use it the same way as aluminum foil, by placing it on the cooking basket, where it prevents the air fryer from being messy.
The baking paper is made of cellulose, which gives it non-stick properties. This non-stick characteristic makes it adaptable in preparing various meals from meat dishes, pastries, and even vegetables.
You can also use it to wrap food in some situations.
Advantages Parchment Paper Has Over Aluminum Foil
- Minimal Chance of Fire Hazards– Unlike the metallic wrapping material, the baking paper is not a good electricity conductor. It translates to minimal fire hazards due to short-circuiting. Even if it comes to contact with the heating element, the worst that can happen is getting charred.
- It Does Not Affect the Taste of Food– There are times when you use the wrapping, and you feel a distant metallic taste, particularly with seafood. This paper will not affect your food’s taste in any way as it does not have reactive components.
- Does Not React with Acidic Foods– Aluminum is quite reactive and reacts with acidic foods such as vinegar, and can cause leaching of the metal into your food. The reaction can also stain the air fryer. The baking paper has an advantage as it does not react, leading to such results.
- They Come Perforated– Some parchment papers are already perforated and are made specifically for use with the air fryer. They allow for hot air movement in the cooker and improves its overall efficiency.
The air fryer is one of the must-have cooking implements if you want a revolutionary kitchen experience. It is easy to use and one of the ways to prepare healthy foods with fewer calories.
Can I put aluminum foil in an air fryer? Yes, you can, but there are several things to keep in mind for safety purposes. Exercise extra care when using the foil to prevent fire and electrical danger, while also understanding that the foil may affect your health in some ways.
Optionally, you can use parchment paper, which works similarly if not better than the metallic wrapping.