Amazing kitchen appliances called air fryers use heat and air to cook and crisp food. Nevertheless, you should decide what kind of pan you want to use in your air fryer before turning it on.
Any oven-safe dish or mold, including those made of silicone, glass, ceramic, metal, or metal alloy, can be used in the Airfryer. Any baking pan sporting an oven-safe label will be safe to use in air fryers.
I’ll discuss the various pan materials you can and cannot use in an air fryer in this guide. I’ll also talk about whether or not a pan is even necessary for air frying.
How Does An Air Fryer Work?
Some people consider air fryers to be miniature versions of convection ovens, and, to be completely honest with you guys, that’s exactly what they are.
Compact kitchen appliances called air fryers use a built-in fan to circulate heat from a heating coil throughout a small internal compartment, allowing food to cook on all sides. As a result, the food is perfectly crisp and golden brown.
The requirement for non-fat cooking in an air fryer is its main selling point. You don’t have to put in oil, butter, or grease of any kind inside an air fryer to crisp up your food. Instead, the fan spreads heat throughout your food, quickly and evenly cooking everything. Having said that, you are welcome to add a tablespoon of your preferred fat to your dishes to enhance their flavor.
Because air fryers are essentially small convection ovens, you must locate the proper baking pan to place in the food basket. Otherwise, you might end up with a melted mess on your hands (and all over the inside of your air fryer)!
Types of Pans to Use in An Air Fryer
In this section, I’ll cover the various bakeware materials that are deemed oven-safe. When buying the following bakeware, you should still exercise caution and look for an oven-safe label.
It is essentially impossible to run out of metal baking utensils. The most common metals for bakeware are aluminum and stainless steel, but metals such as copper and cast iron will also work in an air fryer.
The ability of the bakeware to conduct heat makes a difference between different types of metal bakeware. Although it heats up quickly, aluminum is prone to warping, whereas stainless steel is similar but much more robust. The dish should be preheated in your air fryer before using it to cook food. Cast iron is a popular choice for searing and grilling.
In your air fryer, do you have a small pizza stone you’d like to use? The good news is that you can! Stone is completely safe to use in air fryers, even when in such close proximity to the ceiling-mounted heating coil. Finding a pizza stone small enough to fit in the food basket of the air fryer is the only difficulty.
This 12-inch model should fit inside an air fryer that holds at least 6 quarts if you’re having trouble finding a suitable pizza stone.
Cast iron and stone take a lot longer to cook food than ceramic bakeware, such as casserole dishes and Dutch ovens, because ceramic bakeware retains heat exceptionally well. To preserve the enamel coating, just be careful not to bang the baking dish against the walls of the food basket.
If you want to use a glass baking dish in your air fryer or oven, always look for the “tempered” label. Glass that has been treated to prevent millions of razor-sharp fragments from flying out when it breaks is known as tempered glass. This kind of glass is perfect for crisping food in an air fryer because it can typically withstand oven temperatures above 450°F.
Is it rubber? Is it plastic? It makes no difference; silicone is completely safe to use in an air fryer. In fact, you can purchase liners and baking molds made of silicone for your air fryer. The silicone mold is naturally non-stick, which is the best part; no need to grease it beforehand.
While heat resistant, silicone has a tremendously low thermal conductivity level. Food can take longer to cook in a silicone baking dish because it transfers heat much more slowly as a result. This won’t be a problem if you use silicone molds for making cupcakes and muffins, as well as reheating single-portion casseroles.
What Types of Pans Are Not Safe for Air Fryers?
Now, let’s cover the various dish materials that you should not put in an air fryer.
Paper Cupcake Molds
While it is safe to bake cupcakes in paper molds in an oven, doing so in an air fryer can go horribly wrong. Although using paper cupcake liners in an air fryer is technically safe, there is a chance that they could catch fire because of the confined vertical space between them and the heating coil. So, instead of using paper muffin cups, stick to silicone.
Given that so many people end up with melted plastic all over their ovens, even though this is a no-brainer, it is still important to mention. Considering plastic’s low heat tolerance, it cannot be used in ovens. Plastic containers start to melt at just 175°F, and nobody likes to eat near melted plastic bits!
If you do end up with melted plastic in your air fryer (because you found this guide too late), remove the food basket, place an ice cube on the plastic, and let the plastic harden before picking it off with a fingernail or an anti-scratch sponge.
This may seem contradictory given that the interior of an air fryer’s food basket or grill/pan accessory is coated in Teflon. Teflon, however, is typically not regarded as oven-safe because it can actually turn toxic when exposed to extremely high heat (around 530°F).
Although air fryers typically have a maximum cooking temperature of 400°F, you still shouldn’t risk damaging your Teflon pan by putting it so close to an air fryer’s heating coil. If you really want a nonstick surface to bake your food on, stick with silicone baking dishes or lightly oil glass bakeware.
Do I Need a Pan to Cook Food in An Air Fryer?
The motor base, the food basket, and the food pan make up the bulk of an air fryer. You really don’t need anything else to start using your air fryer to cook food that is incredibly crispy.
As a result, cooking food doesn’t necessarily require the use of additional bakeware. Only when you want to bake foods that would spill or get all over the place is this not applicable. On the other hand, you can generally get away with cooking food directly in the pan when preparing foods like French fries, steaks, chicken thighs, shrimp, and pretty much any other kind of meat or vegetable under the sun.
What is the Best Pan to Use in An Air Fryer?
Using a certain type of pan is not always specified in air fryer recipes. So how do you decide which pan is the best option? The answer depends on what you are cooking.
Choosing the best pan for your recipe will depend on what foods you are cooking, how “wet” they are, and what results you hope to achieve. You won’t use any pans at all with some recipes. Other dishes will need a grill, pan, baking dish, bowl, or another specialized pan.
The use of a pan is completely unnecessary for fresh meats and packaged frozen foods like fish sticks or chicken wings. If you’d like, you can just drop them right into the air fryer basket.
Since some fresh meats have a tendency to drip fat while they cook, it’s possible that the juices will pass through the vents in the basket and land on the fryer’s bottom. Although it poses no risk, this will make cleanup more difficult.
“Wetter” foods, such as recipes with sauces, will need a pan with sides to keep everything contained. For instance, air fryer shrimp scampi is baked in a pan that is circular and resembles a cake layer.
If you’re baking something such as cupcakes or bread, you need something that is appropriate for the shape you want your baked goods to take. A loaf pan or silicone baking cups that fit your air fryer might already be in your possession.
The option to buy a set or a single custom air fryer pan is available. These have been specially sized and shaped to fit inside the air fryer’s basket. Though some are made of silicone, the majority are made of dark, nonstick metal.
Cake pans, pizza pans, grilling pans, racks, crisper pans, and cupcake or muffin pans are just a few of the frequently used pans. These are fairly inexpensive and may be a good investment, considering that standard oven pans may not easily fit into an air fryer.
Can You Use Bamboo Skewers in An Air Fryer?
Yes, you can; however, to keep the skewers nice and moist, soak them in water for at least 30 minutes (ideally overnight).
A wet skewer is much better able to withstand the heat of a grill or air fryer than a dry skewer. Additionally, soaking your skewers will prevent them from igniting in your air fryer and turning into kindling. The same idea also applies to wooden skewers.
Are Aluminum Foil Baskets Safe to Put in An Air Fryer?
You might be tempted to make a small food basket out of some aluminum foil if you don’t feel like cleaning silicone baking mats. But the issue is: Is it secure?
It is possible to make a makeshift baking dish out of nothing but aluminum foil, or to use aluminum foil as a liner for baking dishes. Aluminum foil is fantastic because it won’t burn in an extremely hot air fryer. Additionally, once you’re finished, you can throw the foil away!
Can Plates Go in An Air Fryer?
Once more, as long as a dish is marked “oven safe,” you can use it as a baking dish in your air fryer. If it doesn’t, it’s best to assume that you should not use it as a baking dish. So, what about regular dinner plates?
You can use an air fryer to cook ceramic materials used in common dining plates. However, because glass plates aren’t frequently tempered, they may experience thermal stress and crack as soon as you remove them from the air fryer.
Can You Line a Baking Dish With Paper Towels in An Air Fryer?
Considering how flammable paper towels are and how close they are to the heating coils of the air fryer, you shouldn’t use them. Your air fryer might tempt you to use it like a microwave, but its main similarity is to a convection oven.
Since you can buy perforated pans that let grease and moisture fall into the food basket and keep your food nice and crisp, paper towels are completely unnecessary in air ovens.
What you are cooking in your air fryer determines whether you need special pans for your air fryer or not. For instance, you can’t cook bread and cakes directly on the air fryer basket or some other recipes that call for wet ingredients. But bear in mind that the pan you select must fit your air fryer and be ovenproof. You must now take your time to find the ideal pan for your requirements.
Do I Need Special Pans for Air Fryer Oven?
For air frying in the oven, dark baking or sheet pans are advised. In addition to better browning and crisping, they absorb more heat. When using a baking grid or basket, be sure to place a broil-safe pan on the rack beneath it to catch any drips.
What Type of Cookware is Best for Air Fryer?
Any item that can withstand an oven can be used in an air fryer. It might be silicone, metal, glass, or ceramic. I’ve had good success with silicone molds as well as success with metal disposable cupcake molds.
How Do I Know If a Pan is Air Fryer Safe?
If you’re looking through your kitchen for air fryer-safe bowls, pans, baking trays, and plates to use, check for the wording “oven-safe” on the product. Basically, any metal cookware that is marked as oven-safe can be used in an air fryer. Cast iron, aluminum, and stainless steel are some examples of metals that are safe to use in ovens.