Can You Put Parchment Paper in an Air Fryer?
An air fryer can expand your cooking possibilities for the better, especially if you know how to best use it.
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Countless home cooks have added the air fryer to their stable of kitchen gadgets in recent years (like this home-chef, who tried using an air fryer every day for two weeks!), and for good reason—it really is a wonder appliance. From perfectly crispy chicken breasts to golden French fries, air fryers produce mouthwatering foods without the mess and added calories and fat of deep-frying.
But as easy as it makes cooking and crisping, it’s crucial to know how to clean the air fryer—and how to avoid air fryer mistakes along with these foods you probably shouldn’t cook in an air fryer. In addition to commonly asked questions, like can you put foil in an air fryer? And how does an air fryer work? We also got to the bottom of: Can you put parchment paper in an air fryer? Here, discover when you can put parchment paper in your air fryer, how it can help you clean the appliance, and how to do it safely.
Can you put parchment paper in an air fryer?
Yes! “You can use either rolled parchment paper or parchment paper that is made specifically for air fryers, with holes. It’s a great way to reduce cleaning time,” says air fryer expert Laurie Fleming, author of The Essential Air Fryer Cookbook for Beginners.
While you can always use regular parchment paper in an air fryer—and, in fact, it’s recommended for foods you don’t want falling through the holes or grates, such as cookies—the parchment paper liners with holes do double duty to streamline cooking and cleanup.
“The holes allow for the hot air to circulate around the food and basket, which is how food cooks in the air fryer,” explains Fleming. “But if there are no holes, the parchment paper is still thin enough that the food will cook up.” The holes also limit the chances of the parchment paper blowing around in the air fryer, which can be a fire hazard if it gets caught in the coils and catches fire.
When should you use parchment paper in an air fryer?
While there are different types of air fryers, Fleming notes that parchment paper is most often used with basket air fryers, as opposed to oven or paddle-type air fryers, to keep food from falling through the holes in the basket. “Parchment paper is commonly used for any recipe that has breading, like shake-and-bake pork chops, or those that you need to flip, like funnel cakes, because it helps the breading stay on,” says Fleming.
While parchment paper is also helpful for baked treats that don’t go in a pan, like cookies, biscuits, and other things you don’t want sticking to the basket or falling through the grates, Fleming says that you don’t need parchment paper for molded pans. “If you are using a muffin pan, scone pan, or even a donut pan, you would not need any parchment paper,” she notes. Though there are a few differences between air frying and baking, this is not one of them.
You can also skip the parchment paper if you’re cooking foods from frozen. “Most of these foods slide out without any parchment,” Fleming adds. While generally you can put parchment paper in an air fryer for anything you’re cooking, it’s not required for any foods. It may make cleaning up easier, but it’s not a necessity.
Where do you put parchment paper in an air fryer?
If you’re putting food directly into an air fryer, use the parchment paper to line the basket or rack that your ingredients will sit on or in. Whether you’re using air fryer–specific liners or a regular roll of parchment paper, you can cut it to the size and shape of your air fryer to prevent bunching, and to avoid the risk of your parchment burning from being too close to the heating element.
Safety tips for using parchment paper in an air fryer
One of the reasons some people avoid putting parchment paper in an air fryer is because of the fire hazard. Fortunately, this is easy enough to avoid: “The air fryer should not be preheated with parchment paper, as there will be loose paper flying around the air fryer, and it could hit the heating element,” notes Fleming. Instead, wait until your air fryer is heated and lay the parchment paper down right before adding your ingredients.
Once you’re ready to top the parchment paper with your chicken strips, waffle fries, candied nuts, or any of the other tasty things you can make in an air fryer, make sure to spread out the food in an even layer, says Fleming. “I would highly recommend weighing down the parchment paper evenly, so there is no chance that it hits the heating element.” As long as the parchment paper isn’t blowing around the air fryer, it’s perfectly safe to use.
In addition to the best things to make in an air fryer, you may be wondering what can you not cook in an air fryer? The air fryer is excellent for cooking dry breaded foods, but it’s important to note that foods coated in wet batter don’t come out as well, and you should probably find another way to cook them. Happy air frying with our favorite air fryers of 2022!
- Laurie Fleming, author of The Essential Air Fryer Cookbook for Beginners