HomeKitchenDo I Need to Add Oil to an Air Fryer?

Do I Need to Add Oil to an Air Fryer?

If you are the newfound owner of an air fryer (or have added one to your Christmas list), you may be wondering whether you need to use any oil when making meals in it. 

The premise of the apparatus seems to be cooking without oil – yet the internet is full of recipes that advise adding some oil to your air fried food. What should you be doing? Is adding oil necessary? Let’s find out. 

Do You Need to Add Oil to an Air Fryer? 

No, you don’t need to add any oil to an air fryer. 

Air fryers circulate hot air in order to cook food, replacing the oil you would otherwise need to prepare the same meal. There is a heater near the cooking chamber of the air fryer that can bring temperatures up to 250°C. The air fryer’s fan then circulates it around the items placed inside, resulting in a crispy and tasty meal. 

Can You Put Oil in an Air Fryer?

Yes, you can put oil in an air fryer if you really want to. It’s not a prerequisite for cooking, but if you want to make your food extra crispy, you can add a bit of oil to it. 

In order to determine whether you want to add some oil to your air fried meals, do a test run first. Make your meal without using any oil, and see how you like the taste. If you are fine with the result, you can forgo the oil each time, making your meal that little bit healthier. 

Do this for every recipe, and you’ll soon perfect them with the use of your air fryer. 

How Much Oil Do You Use in an Air Fryer?

You won’t need more than 1 teaspoon of oil when preparing food in an air fryer. 

Air fryers have been designed to prepare food without the use of any oil. If you are adding oil to your air fried meals, as little as a couple of sprays will most often be enough. 

If you are looking for an extra level of crispiness though, a teaspoon should be plenty. Any more than that, and your oil may drip to the bottom of the tray, which can cause it to burn and smoke. It won’t make for a pleasant taste, trust me. And it will make cleaning your air fryer a pain too. 

Where Do You Put Oil in an Air Fryer?

You shouldn’t put oil in an air fryer, rather coat the items you will place in it beforehand. 

Add your items to a bowl and coat them in a bit of oil. Always add less than you feel you will need. It’s easy to throw in a bit more oil, but it’s practically impossible to remove it if you’ve used too heavy a hand. 

This is also the right time to season your food. 

What Kinds of Oil Can I Use in an Air Fryer?

You can use a lot of different oils in an air fryer. The higher the smoke point of an oil, the better choice it will be. 

Here are some oils you can try:

  • Avocado oil
  • Extra light olive oil
  • Soybean oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Peanut oil
  • Vegetable oil

Make sure to align your choice of oil with the meal you are preparing. Some meats will for example taste absolutely strange if you coat them in coconut oil. 

Which Oils Should You Never Use In An Air Fryer

There are two oils you should not use in an air fryer: olive oil and extra virgin olive oil.

Both of these oils have a smoking point of 195 degrees Celsius, and will lose a lot of their amazing nutritional benefits when heated up to a high temperature. You will essentially be adding empty calories to your meal when using these oils in an air fryer, so go for an extra light olive oil instead, or one of the options I listed above. 

What is the Healthiest Oil to Use in an Air Fryer?

Avocado oil is the healthiest oil you can use in an air fryer. 

Just like extra virgin olive oil, it is unrefined, and it has a high smoking point that makes it ideal for air frying. It also doesn’t have an overpowering flavour, and is simply smooth and nutritious. 

It contains both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, and is also a great source of Vitamin E. 

Can You Use Butter Instead of Oil in an Air Fryer?

Yes, you can also use butter in an air fryer, as long as you stick to the “coat your food in it, as opposed to placing it in the air fryer” method.

Butter can make your meals even tastier, especially if you are making a sweet dish in your air fryer. Make sure not to use too much of it, as it will likely melt all over your basket, which will be very difficult to clean. 

Do You Add Oil to the Air Fryer for Frozen French Fries?

You don’t need to add oil to your air fryer when making frozen french fries. They will be just as crispy without it. 

The key to making perfect frozen french fries in an air fryer is not to let them thaw first, just throw them into the basket straight out of the freezer. Make sure not to overcrowd it, as the air needs to be able to get to every fry evenly. 

Shake your basket up a couple of times while cooking, and you should get perfect french fries every time. 

Wrapping It Up 

Using an air fryer is an amazing way to cook healthier meals. And while it may take some getting used to, you will soon learn to love your air fried meals.

Don’t forget that oil is not your enemy though, and that you do need to consume fats in order to stay healthy. All you need to do is make sure you don’t eat an excessive amount of them, or consume them with every single meal. 


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