Air Fryer Mistakes I Learned the Hard Way

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Air Fryer mistakes are not as uncommon as you may think. While this popular kitchen appliance is all the rage and truly is super simple to use, there are some common errors that people make. I learned these myself and am sharing my trial-and-error tips with you so you can avoid them too.

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In a recent poll I conducted, Air Fryers have become even more popular than Instant Pots. Likely, this is because it’s the newest trend in convenience cooking. But it’s also probably the time of year since using an Air Fryer creates less heat in the kitchen, cooks quickly and lets you enjoy your meal with less prep work.

I’ve been using my Air Fryer for well over a year now and for the most part have had success with the recipes I’ve been using. Still, there have been fails too! Here are the top 7 errors I’ve learned from. If you have others to share, please add them to the comments below!

Air Fryer Mistakes #1: Soggy foods

If you want the end result to be crisp, you need to ensure the food you add to your Air Fryer is as dry as possible.

I noticed this especially when I make Buffalo Cauliflower. The recipe calls for a flour/milk coating that creates a crisp exterior. For best results, ensure you add just a thin layer of the coating or it will never become crisp. With this tip, I’ve found this recipe works even better in an Air Fryer!

Air Fryer Mistakes #2: Easy to Overcook

Keep in mind that an Air Fryer works by circulating hot air around your food. This helps food cook faster but makes it super easy to go from almost-done to over-done. I’ve made many patches of extra crispy bacon this way!

The key is to check your food often while it’s cooking. Do not set it and walk away as you do need to turn your food to ensure nothing is sticking. When it’s getting close to the end of your cook time, I’d recommend you check it even more often to avoid burning.

Air Fryer Mistakes #3: Melted Cheese

This mistake certainly falls in the trial-and-error category. Some people swear by the amazing Air Fryer Grilled Cheese they can make.

Personally, I’m not a fan. I find that the cheese melts too quickly and doesn’t give me that buttery-fried toast I’m used to having. Also, you may have to hold down your bread using toothpicks so it doesn’t fly off with the wind circulation.

I’ve had the same issues with other cheese recipes like crispy cheese balls. Ultimately, the outside coating never reaches the browning level I’d like to see before the inside melts away…. on the flip side, this did give me a nice cheese dip 😂

Air Fryer Mistakes #4: Overstuffing the Basket

No matter how many times I’ve been guilty of this, I continue to do it! I really can’t explain it except to say that I’m relatively impatient and don’t want to cook food in batches.

If you overstuff your basket, a number of things will happen. It will either take you a very long time to properly cook everything (with regular turning), food will cook unevenly, or your food will stick together. Consider putting less in your basket or cooking in batches…. You’re more likely to get your desired effect!!

Air Fryer Mistakes #5: Not Preheating

Most recipes – especially if you’re converting an oven recipe to instant post – call for a pre-heated oven. This is to ensure the food cooks completely and evenly. It also ensures your food will cook faster.

I find that 3mins of preheating is all you need to get your Air Fryer up to the desired temperature. So much faster than an oven!

Air Fryer Mistakes #6: Not Turning Food

Although hot air circulates around your food in an Air Fryer, the top does brown faster because the heating element is at the top of the unit. If you don’t turn your food, even if everything is in a single layer, it will not cook evenly.

A good rule of thumb is to turn your food at the half-way point. But, if there’s more than a single layer of food like french fries or bacon, you do need to do this more often to ensure everything gets a chance to cook at the top of the basket.

Air Fryer Mistakes #7: Leafy Vegetables

I had the bright idea to make crispy bok choy and that was a total fail. Even though I had seasoned this leafy green with some sesame oil and soy sauce, as it began to cook, the leaves became light and started to fly around the Air Fryer. I essentially ended up with tissue paper.

I’ll need to play around with this recipe because I have a few ideas that could work (a post of another day) but if you have had success with leafy greens in an Air Fryer, please let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear your tips.

I hope you enjoy your Air Fryer as much as I do and that these tips will help you get the most out of this fantastic kitchen appliance. I’ve included a section for Air Fryers on the blog but if Instant Pots are you thing, there’s definitely lots of content for you as well.

Happy cooking!

xoxo, Mary


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