9 Things You Shouldn’t Cook in an Air Fryer?

Discover what you can’t cook in an air fryer with this comprehensive guide. From battered foods to raw meats, learn about the limitations of air fryer cooking and alternative methods for preparing your favorite meals.

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Ian Sparrow

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What Can You Not Cook in an Air Fryer?

Air fryers have taken over everyone’s kitchen, but not all foods are suitable for the gadget.

What can you not cook in an air fryer? Battered foods, fresh greens, whole roasts, cheese, raw grains, and hamburgers are some of the items that should be avoided while cooking in an air fryer. Air fryers imitate the results of deep-frying with some intense hot air and only a fraction of the oil. With this healthier alternative, you don’t have to reserve crispy foods for nights out and state fairs. So, before you hop on the trend, know which foods you can and cannot cook in your air fryer.

Battered Foods

The Difficulty of Cooking Battered Food in an Air Fryer.

Wet batter contains a high proportion of moisture, which makes it unsuitable for cooking in an air fryer. The machine works by circulating hot air around the food to create a crispy and crunchy texture on the outside. However, wet batter will not allow this process to happen since it will only turn soggy and unappetizing. Attempting to cook wet batter in an air fryer could also pose a fire hazard due to its tendency to drip and splatter.

Alternatives Cooking Methods for Battered Food

Fortunately, there are alternative methods that you can use if you want your food to have a crispy coating. One way is by using dry breading, such as panko or breadcrumbs, which can coat your food evenly without adding too much moisture. Another method is by spraying a light mist of cooking oil on top of your food before cooking it in the air fryer. This will help create a crispy crust without adding too much fat and calories.Battered foods can be cooked in an air fryer, but it requires some attention to detail. The key is to prepare the batter correctly and apply cooking spray on both sides of the food. This will help the batter adhere to the food and prevent it from sticking to the basket. When cooking battered foods in an air fryer, make sure not to overcrowd the basket as this can cause uneven cooking.

Battered Food That Can Cook Well in an Air Fryer

Some popular battered foods that can be cooked in an air fryer include onion rings, chicken tenders, fish fillets, and shrimp. To achieve a crispy texture similar to deep-fried versions of these dishes, consider adding breadcrumbs or cornmeal to your batter mixture. You could also experiment with spices like paprika or cayenne pepper for added flavor.

Overall, while battered foods are possible to cook in an air fryer, they may not turn out exactly like their deep-fried counterparts. However, if you’re looking for a healthier alternative that still offers a satisfying crunch and taste appeal, using an air fryer is certainly worth a try!

Fresh Greens

Fresh greens are a great addition to any meal and can be easily prepared in an air fryer. Leafy greens such as kale or spinach can be tossed with a little bit of olive oil and seasoning, then placed in the air fryer for a few minutes until they become crispy. This is a great way to make healthy snacks that taste indulgent.

However, it’s important to note that not all fresh greens are suitable for cooking in an air fryer. Vegetables with high water content, such as cucumbers or zucchini, may not fare well in the dry heat of an air fryer and could end up becoming mushy instead of crispy. It’s also important to avoid overfilling the air fryer basket with too much fresh produce at once, which can cause uneven cooking and result in some pieces being burnt while others are undercooked.

Overall, fresh greens can be a delicious and nutritious addition to your air-fried meals when cooked properly. By following proper guidelines and experimenting with different seasonings, you can create tasty snacks or sides that everyone will enjoy!

Leafy greens like spinach are not recommended for air frying due to their uneven cooking and high risk of burning.

While air fryers have become popular for their ability to cook food with less oil, not all types of food are ideal for this cooking method. Leafy greens like spinach, kale, and lettuce are delicate and have high water content, which can cause them to turn into a soggy mess in the air fryer. Additionally, these vegetables tend to cook unevenly when exposed to the hot air inside the fryer basket.

Another reason why leafy greens are not recommended for air frying is that they have a high risk of burning. If you leave them too long in the air fryer or if they come in contact with the heating element, they can quickly go from crispy to charred. This not only affects their taste but also reduces their nutritional value as burnt food is known to produce harmful compounds.

While it’s possible to use an air fryer for some types of vegetables like Brussels sprouts or carrots, it’s important to consider whether your leafy greens will hold up well under this cooking method. To enjoy them at their best, try steaming or sautéing these vegetables instead.

Whole Roasts

When it comes to cooking whole roasts, an air fryer may not be the best option. While some models come with rotisserie features and larger capacities, they still may not accommodate larger cuts of meat such as a whole chicken or beef roast. Additionally, the high heat and fast cooking time of an air fryer may result in dry and overcooked meat.

However, there are some types of whole roasts that can be cooked in an air fryer with great results. Small game birds such as quail or Cornish hens can be easily roasted in an air fryer, resulting in crispy skin and tender meat. Pork loin or tenderloin can also be cooked in an air fryer if sliced into smaller portions and seasoned appropriately.

Overall, when considering cooking a whole roast in an air fryer, it’s important to consider the size and type of meat being used as well as adjusting cooking times and temperatures accordingly for optimal results.

When attempting to cook a whole roast in an air fryer, you run the risk of having the outer layer overcooked while the inside remains undercooked. This can result in a tough and unappetizing meal. It’s best to stick to smaller cuts of meat that will fit comfortably inside the basket and allow for even cooking.

While it may be tempting to try and use your air fryer for everything, knowing its limitations can help you achieve better results when cooking with this appliance. Stick to smaller cuts of meat or consider using other methods such as grilling or roasting in an oven for larger meals like whole roasts.


While it may seem tempting to throw some mozzarella sticks into your air fryer for a quick snack, it’s important to know that the result won’t be as tasty as you might expect. Cheese tends to melt quickly and can easily stick to the basket or rack in an air fryer. This can make cleaning up a nightmare and leave you with burnt cheese instead of ooey-gooey goodness.

Delicate Fish

One of the main issues with using an air fryer for delicate fish is that the high heat can cause the moisture inside to evaporate rapidly. This leads to a dry texture and loss of flavour. Additionally, because air fryers rely on circulating hot air around the food, there is a risk of overcooking or burning certain parts of the fish while leaving others raw or undercooked.

Better methods for cooking delicate fish include baking or poaching.


Why Popcorn Should Not Be Cooked in an Air Fryer

While air fryers are a great tool for cooking a variety of foods, popcorn is not one of them. Popcorn kernels require constant movement and heat to pop, which makes them unsuitable for an air fryer. The lack of movement in an air fryer can cause the kernels to burn or fail to pop, resulting in unpleasantly hard or chewy kernels.

Additionally, most air fryers have a non-stick coating on their basket or tray. This coating can be damaged by the high heat needed to cook popcorn, leading to potential health hazards caused by consuming the non-stick coating material.

While an air fryer may seem like a convenient way to make popcorn without using oil or butter, it is not recommended due to the potential damage that can be caused and poor results when compared with traditional methods such as stovetop popping or microwave popping.


When it comes to cooking pasta in an air fryer, there are certain things to keep in mind. While you can technically cook pasta in an air fryer, it’s not recommended as the texture may become too dry and chewy. However, you can use your air fryer to add a crispy crunch to cooked pasta dishes like macaroni and cheese or spaghetti carbonara by sprinkling breadcrumbs or panko on top before frying for a few minutes.

Another way to incorporate pasta into air fryer cooking is by making crispy fried ravioli. Simply coat store-bought ravioli in egg wash and seasoned breadcrumbs, then place them in the air fryer for a few minutes until golden brown and crispy. Serve with marinara sauce for dipping.

Additionally, boiling pasta is a tried-and-true method that has been around for generations because it ensures perfectly cooked noodles every time. While air frying may be trendy, it’s important to remember that it doesn’t work for everything. Stick with traditional methods when making your favorite pasta dishes to ensure optimal results.

Overall, while pasta may not be the best fit for cooking in an air fryer on its own, there are still ways to incorporate it into your favorite dishes using this handy kitchen appliance.


Can You Cook Rice in an Air Fryer?

Rice is a staple food in many households and is used as a side dish or the base for many recipes. However, can you cook rice in an air fryer? The answer is yes but with some reservations!

It’s important to note that while you can cook rice in an air fryer, it may not be suitable for all types of grains such as brown or wild rice due to their longer cooking times. Additionally, an air fryer may not be able to accommodate larger quantities of rice compared to traditional cooking methods such as using a stovetop or rice cooker.

The challenges of cooking rice in an air fryer.

Cooking rice in an air fryer can be a bit of a challenge. Unlike conventional cooking methods, the heat distribution in an air fryer is not uniform, making it difficult to cook rice evenly. Moreover, the rice grains tend to stick together due to the limited space in the basket.

While an air fryer may not be your first choice for cooking rice, it’s certainly possible with a bit of experimentation.

Foods Coated in Sauce

While it may seem like a quick and easy solution to cook up some chicken wings or sweet and sour pork, using an air fryer for saucy dishes can lead to disappointing results.

The primary issue with using an air fryer for foods coated in sauce is that the hot circulating air can cause the sauce to splatter and create a mess inside the machine. Additionally, because most air fryers rely on dry heat, the sauce may end up becoming too thick or drying out completely during cooking. This can result in overcooked meat and an unappetizing meal overall.

Alternative cooking methods for cooking foods coated in sauce rather than an air fryer include baking, broiling, and roasting. These methods are best for cooking saucy dishes that require less time over the heat and allow for the sauce to mix with the food more during cooking.


Understanding Air Fryer Limitations: What You Need to Know

Air fryers are a great addition to any kitchen, but it’s important to know what foods you should avoid cooking in them. With this guide, you’ll be able to air fry like a pro without any undesirable results.


Frequently Asked Questions

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Q: Can you put raw meat in an air fryer?

A: Yes, you can put raw meat in an air fryer, but it’s important to make sure it’s cooked to the appropriate temperature to ensure it’s safe to eat. Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature and cook until it reaches the recommended temperature.

Q: Can you put aluminum foil in an air fryer?

A: Yes, you can put aluminum foil in an air fryer, but it’s important to use it correctly to avoid any issues. Use enough foil to cover the bottom of the basket or wrap the food, but make sure there is enough space for air to circulate.

Q: Can you cook frozen food in an air fryer?

A: Yes, you can cook frozen food in an air fryer, and it’s actually recommended for some items like vegetables because they retain more moisture from the ice.

Q: How do you clean an air fryer?

A: To clean an air fryer, first unplug it and let it cool completely. Then, remove the basket and any other removable parts and wash them with warm, soapy water. Wipe down the interior of the air fryer with a damp cloth, and use a brush or toothbrush to clean any hard-to-reach areas. Make sure everything is completely dry before using it again.

Q: Are air fryers healthy?

A: Air fryers can be a healthier alternative to deep-frying because they use less oil, but it’s still important to make sure you’re cooking balanced meals with a variety of nutrients. It’s also important to use the air fryer correctly and avoid cooking certain foods that can be unhealthy, such as processed or fried foods.

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