If you have used your air fryer at all, this question has probably already occurred to you. “Can you put foil in an air fryer?” The reason everyone with one of these machines asks this question is that it would help so much with cleanup and to keep food from sticking.
Let’s be honest – Many foods that you cook in an air fryer have crumbs or fat and that makes the bottom of your air fryer messy VERY quickly! A quick tear of aluminum foil seems like it would solve the problem. But is it the right solution?
The short answer is Yes.
You can put foil in an air fryer. You can even put disposable aluminum foil tins in the air fryer. However, this answer comes with many caveats.
It’s not a simple yes.
Read on to find out all the dos and don’ts of foil in the air fryer. Follow all of these guidelines for how to use foil in an air fryer and you should be fine.
🍤 Foil in the Air Fryer Basket
It’s super important that you *not* put foil down in the bottom of your appliance, below the basket. One of these reasons is that it could potentially block airflow. The air fryer works by circulating air.
Unlike an oven, the air fryer relies on the circulation of hot air to cook your food. If you block that airflow by putting aluminum foil at the very bottom below the basket, your food will not cook beautifully as it should. It may even damage the machine.
That being said, aluminum foil inside your basket is one of the best ways to prevent food from sticking. Line the bottom of the basket trivet or grease drip tray in our oven style machine, leaving enough opportunities for air to circulate around.
Another way to use foil is to create a little foil dish to cook smaller foods in the shape of a silicone cupcake liner.
👨🍳 Foil as a Liner
On the flip side, you really do not want the foil to be blown up into the top of the air fryer and proverbially hit the fan or heating element.
Instead, you should place your food or an air fryer insert directly on top of the foil to prevent this.
Placing any food in direct contact with aluminum foil remains controversial for some, so if you are concerned about it, make sure to use one of several different air fryer liners instead. Silicone and parchment are both excellent options.
Foil can be used a way to make easy clean up for your machine, as long as you follow the guidelines below.
🌬️ Don’t Block the Air Flow
You want the maximum airflow possible because that is what cooks the foods fast and crisps them up so nicely without oil.
Therefore, a basket that is entirely lined with aluminum foil is not a good idea. Instead, you should cut small amounts of foil roughly the size of the food you are cooking to catch drips and crumbs without blocking airflow. Try folding up the edges a bit to create a little boat or pan of sorts!
If you don’t mind spending a couple of bucks, look for aluminum foil liners that are sized exactly for your air fryer.
🍋 No Acidic Foods
Certain foods react with aluminum foil and should never be in direct contact with it during the cooking process or even while the food is hot. This is true whether you are using an air fryer or some other method of cooking.
Foods that are high in acid (tomatoes, lemon juice, vinegar) should not be in direct contact with the foil. As the foil erodes from the acid, it can leech aluminum into your food. These include tomatoes, all citrus fruits, and anything marinated with vinegar.
Check Your Manual
Some air fryer manuals advise to never use aluminum foil in the air fryer. You should certainly follow the manufacturer’s instructions to stay safe and maintain the warranty. Always check your manual before trying something new.
Watch Out for That Metal Taste
Aluminum foil that comes into direct contact with your food can leave a metallic taste in your mouth, especially if you cook in aluminum foil tins that could double as plates. Instead, move your food onto non-metal plates before eating to avoid that nasty taste.
Which Side Goes Up?
Aluminum foil is manufactured with two different finishes, but neither side is more food-safe than the other. So it really doesn’t matter which side goes up, but we find that the shiny side of aluminum foil is more non-stick, so shiny-side up is our preference.
🍞 Baking in the Air Fryer
Disposable aluminum foil pans are one of the best tools for baking in the air fryer. You can make cakes, quick bread, and muffins in your air fryer. Air frying works just like you the convection oven. Just remember that you need smaller pans. The small disposable pans are a great value and super handy at the end of the day.
Yes – with caveats. Be sure to read all of the specific ways you can and cannot use aluminum foil in your air fryer in this post.
Yes. In fact, food-grade parchment is an excellent choice because it is 100% food-safe, easy to dispose of, and disintegrates in the trash, and paper is a renewable resource. If I have a choice between parchment or foil I will generally choose parchment.
Yes. Aluminum foil can be heated higher than most foods without catching fire or burning so it is generally safe to use aluminum in your cooking process as long as it does not involve a microwave. Never put aluminum foil in your microwave.
Yes. Follow your manufacturer’s instructions and be careful to put the foil in the basket and anchor it so it doesn’t get blown up against the fan or coil. Aluminum foil is generally considered safe and will not melt or burn in the air fryer. Some aluminum may leech into food at higher temperatures or when cooking acidic foods such as tomatoes or meats marinated in a vinaigrette. However, in general, the amounts of aluminum that leeches during cooking are so minimal it is not considered a health risk for most.