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Getting to know all of the gadgets in your kitchen can sometimes feel confusing. Do you want to use your air fryer but only have aluminum pans? Is it safe to place an aluminum pan inside an air fryer? Well, we've done some digging and have the answer below. Let's discuss!
Generally, as long as your aluminum pan is oven-safe, it should be fine to go into an air fryer. Like any material cookware, you want to avoid placing objects into an air fryer that aren't explicitly safe in high pressure/temperatures, so keep that in mind.
With that said, some brands recommend placing a baking sheet into the bottom of your air fryer before an aluminum pan, so please refer back to the user manual before cooking.
As we begin, we will cover all things air fryers and discuss whether or not it's safe to use aluminum pans inside them. Whether this is your first time cooking in a fryer or you recently bought new aluminum cookware, we're here to assist. With that said, let's dive right into this topic below!
Can An Aluminum Pan Go Into An Air Fryer?
If the aluminum pan you're using has an oven-safe logo, you should be fine to place it into an air fryer. As we mentioned, most cookware that is oven safe will also be safe to use inside an air fryer.
Of course, you want to read the instructions with your fryer before cooking. Even though your aluminum pan may be oven safe, your air fryer may have additional steps.
For example, according to Frigidaire, you need to set down a baking sheet on a rack a couple of positions below your tray if you're using one of their air frying devices.
The brand goes on to mention how you should never place any aluminum bakeware in the bottom rack of your appliance, as this can become dangerous.
Many companies and professionals agree with placing a barrier sheet or tray into an air fryer before aluminum cookware. The same goes for other materials, so grab a baking sheet or piece of oven-safe paper when in doubt.
Remember, even though aluminum is a durable material, that doesn't mean it's invincible against the pressure and heat inside your air fryer.
Are All Aluminum Pans Oven-Safe?
In general, aluminum pans will be safe for the oven. Considering how well this material conducts heat, your cookware should handle high temperatures well.
With that said, you want to take the proper steps to ensure your air fryer is safe to operate.
As we said, you can lay down a baking sheet at the bottom of your appliance so the aluminum isn't directly touching it.
Furthermore, you may want to use a holding accessory whenever you cook in an air fryer. Even if your pan has an oven-safe logo, that doesn't mean it will do well in an exposed air fryer.
One of the benefits of aluminum is that it won't typically crack, melt, or burn, but that's not to say your air fryer can't damage it.
Even using a piece of oven-safe parchment paper or a baking sheet under your aluminum cookware can be beneficial. The key here is separating the two, whether placing your pan on a higher rack or using a barrier material.
Luckily, most air fryers come with built-in or removal racks, which can keep items off the bottom of your system.
What Types Of Pans Are Safe For An Air Fryer?
For those wanting to know what types of pans can go into an air fryer, worry no more! As we said with aluminum cookware, anything with an oven-safe logo is safe to go into a fryer.
Whether your pan is aluminum, glass, ceramic, stainless steel, or even a mix of materials, if it says "oven-safe," you can safely place it into your appliance.
Again, you want to try and keep your pans off the bottom of your fryer, so make sure to use a separator. Placing your pan on the middle or top cooking rack can keep you and your food safe.
According to Philips, some silicone pans and cookware are even safe for an air fryer, so this is an expansive list of okays.
Regardless of what you make, it's best to read the instructions on your fryer before making any decisions (or food).
How Does An Air Fryer Work?
If you're new to air frying, knowing exactly how they work can be tricky. An air fryer will generally hold a heating mechanism and a fan.
You place your food into a "fryer-style" basket, where it will be surrounded by hot air. When you turn an air fryer on, hot air begins to circulate around the food inside.
This rapid circulation will cause your food to become crisp, much like a deep fryer. Of course, air frying doesn't require you to use oil, which is why so many people enjoy doing it.
A common misconception about air fryers is that they deep fry food. This is untrue. Even though your appliance will make whatever is inside a bit crispier, it cannot deep fry anything.
How Hot Does An Air Fryer Get?
Most air fryers can reach a maximum internal temperature of 400 degrees Fahrenheit. As we mentioned above, these devices rely on hot air to cook food, so your fryer will need to reach high enough temperatures to do its job correctly.
With that said, you may be able to find an air fryer that gets hotter than 400 degrees. On the other hand, some fryers may also be less hot than 400 degrees on their max setting, so this can be a hit or miss.
According to Cooking Light, you can generally find an air fryer at the store that reaches internal temperatures of 325-400 degrees, which will be sufficient for most recipes.
Think of your oven. Do you regularly need to cook your food in 500-degree plus temperatures? No.
Therefore, finding an air fryer that can reach those extreme climates may not always be worth it. Instead, switching back to a traditional oven might be best if you need to cook at higher temperatures.
COSORI Air Fryer
This air fryer can reach 450 degrees Fahrenheit, holds five quarts, is dishwasher-safe, has a tempered glass display screen, and a non-stick basket.
What Are The Disadvantages Of Using An Air Fryer?
There are some drawbacks to consider for those on the fence about getting an air fryer. Most importantly, an air fryer uses high-speed heating methods to cook food, making burning more prevalent.
According to Cleveland Clinic, burned food can become carcinogenic, making it unsafe to consume. In addition, most air fryers can't prepare much food at once.
For example, a standard-size air fryer will cook between one and three pounds of food. This won't be enough if you're making dinner for 4-5 people.
That means you'll need to prepare various servings throughout multiple cooking sessions, which can waste time. Furthermore, air fryers are not always safe to operate.
As we said before, forgetting to cook food on the middle or top rack can result in burning, damage to your cookware, and even an explosion.
Not only is that something to think about, but it's unfortunately very common. Of course, as long as you follow the directions on your air fryer, there shouldn't be any danger, but it's always a possibility.
Is Cooking In An Air Fryer Unhealthy?
Although air frying your food isn't the healthiest, it isn't necessarily bad for you. In general, choosing to air fry food is far better than deep frying it in oil.
According to WebMD, air frying food versus deep frying cuts calories by 70% to 80%. On top of that, air frying your meal will reduce overall fat content, which is always a positive thing.
An air fryer uses hot air circulation to prepare meals, which is very similar to an oven. So if you're worried about this fast alternative being "worse" for you than a standard oven, that's not true.
That said, you may even have better-cooked food using an air fryer. As long as you follow the directions for preparing meals in your appliance, it should be safe and healthy to eat.
Is Aluminum Cookware Better Than Stainless Steel?
Between aluminum and stainless steel cookware, this comes down to what you're making. Usually, stainless steel pots and pans won't tarnish as easily as aluminum options.
Additionally, stainless steel will be roughly 2-3 times for rugged than aluminum, which means it won't become damaged in hotter temperatures.
On top of being hardier, stainless steel cookware doesn't have an anodized layer or coating, meaning you can use metal utensils.
Again, that's not to say aluminum pots and pans are bad; they just aren't as durable or easy to use compared to stainless designs.
It's also worth mentioning that aluminum cookware has been distantly linked to Alzheimer's disease, although the research between the two is still somewhat limited.
So if you choose between the two materials, we recommend stainless steel.
To Wrap Up
Whether you need to use an air fryer to prepare a meal or want to try out your new cookware, it's essential to know how your kitchen appliances work.
From what we found, you can safely use aluminum pans in your air fryer as long as they are oven-friendly. Furthermore, aluminum pans conduct heat evenly, so you don't need to worry about a half-cooked meal.
It is imperative to use a divider, like a rack, parchment paper, or a baking sheet between your pan and fryer. Even if your cookware says it is oven-safe, that doesn't mean it should sit directly in an air fryer without protection.
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