Can You Put Aluminum Foil in an Air Fryer?

published Mar 22, 2024
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Credit: Joe Lingeman

We all know that an air fryer is a conveniently sized, countertop-worthy appliance. It uses hot air circulation to cook our food evenly and quickly, without using too much oil. From making small meals like chicken parm to easy sides like roasted potatoes, and even delicious desserts like Biscoff cheesecake, this mini-convection oven works wonders. 

With so many air fryer recipes to try, your appliance might be heavily used, so it’s a good thing they are easy to clean. But sometimes, you may wonder whether you can put aluminum foil in an air fryer to catch those pesky crumbs and oily drips and to make clean-up easier. We discuss the in and outs below.

Quick Overview

Can You Put Aluminum Foil in an Air Fryer?

The short answer is yes, but there are nuances to consider when using aluminum foil in an air fryer.  In general, you should only line the fryer basket where the food sits, not put foil on the bottom of the air fryer itself, and make sure the foil is weighted down by food before turning it on.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

How Does an Air Fryer Differ from a Microwave?

An air fryer is essentially a small convection oven, not a microwave oven — an appliance that also cooks food but by means of high-frequency electromagnetic waves. Therefore, putting aluminum foil in an air fryer will not run the risk of sparking unlike putting it in a microwave oven (in which thin pieces of metal get overwhelmed by the currents, heat up quickly, and can cause a fire).

Benefits of Using Aluminum Foil in an Air Fryer

  • Easy cleanup: Using aluminum foil in your air fryer can make cleaning up a breeze, as it helps catch any drippings or crumbs that may otherwise stick to the basket. 
  • Prevent sticking: Wrapping delicate or sticky foods in foil can help prevent them from sticking to the air fryer basket. 
  • Even cooking: Aluminum foil can help conduct heat, leading to more even cooking, especially for thicker cuts of meat. 
Credit: Jesse Szewczyk

Tips for Properly Using Aluminum Foil Safely in an Air Fryer

Knowing what type of air fryer you have (basket-style or toaster oven-style) will help you use the foil safely and successfully, prevent waste, and allow you to cook food evenly. Here are some nuances to consider when putting aluminum foil in an air fryer. 

  • Only line your fryer basket where your food sits. Use a small amount of aluminum foil in the bottom of the basket and make sure not to cover the food. 
  • Don’t put foil on the bottom of the air fryer itself. This can interrupt the air flow, prohibiting your food from cooking properly. 
  • Make sure the food holds the foil down before turning on your air fryer. Otherwise, it can blow up toward the heating element, creating a fire hazard. 
  • Avoid overcrowding the basket. Overcrowding can restrict airflow and lead to uneven cooking. 

Even with these tips in hand, we still recommend you to check your manufacturer’s recommendations for your particular air fryer. Some brands detail in their instruction manuals whether or not aluminum foil is recommended. For instance, Frigidaire says it’s okay as long as you line the baking sheet, not the bottom of the oven. MayTag, on the other hand, does not recommend using foil in your countertop air fryer, because “it may obstruct the airflow and cause it to overheat.” (However, they do state it’s okay to use foil in a range with the air fry [function], if you line baking sheets with foil or use foil disposable baking dishes.) Both KitchenAid brand and Philips brand do not recommend using aluminum foil in the air fryer. 

What About Parchment Paper?

You may be tempted to use parchment paper in an air fryer instead if you don’t have aluminum foil on hand. Parchment paper, often used in baking and cooking, has long been relied on by home cooks for easy cleanup. But is it safe to use in your air fryer?

Meredith Laurence, known to her followers as Blue Jean Chef and author of Air Fry Everything, in an article from Business Insider, says it’s more than safe to use parchment paper in an air fryer, but don’t let it blow around. “If it blows around, then there’s a chance it could get tangled up with the elements, and then it would actually catch on fire,” says Laurence. In short, make sure the food is heavy enough to keep the parchment paper in place. 

Larry Ciufo, senior test project leader at Consumer Reports, also warns that while you can use parchment paper inside an air fryer, it’s not recommended for regular use there, as quoted in this article. He says it has the potential to block 99% of the fryer’s airflow. 

As for brands, American manufacturer of home appliances Whirlpool does not recommend using parchment paper in an air fryer. However, it can be used in the same way as aluminum foil in an oven with air fryer capabilities, so you can line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place it on a rack. 

On another note, wax paper is another common kitchen paper that is not recommended in the air fryer because it’s not heat-resistant.

In a nutshell, it is always important to read your air fryer manual to help you learn more about the appliance. Always take precaution and confirm what the specific appliance can handle.