Preheating Your Air Fryer With Parchment Paper Is A Dangerous Mistake

Versatile and convenient, air fryers are a great device for virtually all home chefs. And while these appliances are relatively safe, avoiding certain practices is key for preventing a major kitchen mishap. Many recipes (such as this one for easy air fryer salmon) call for preheating the device prior to cooking, and one might be tempted to place a piece of parchment paper in the basket as the appliance warms up. However, this is a definite no-no, as preheating an air fryer with parchment paper in place is a potential fire hazard.

It has to do with how air fryers function. As you may already know, air fryers don't technically fry food. Instead, these devices use the same process as convection ovens in the sense that they use fans to disperse heat. Without the weight of food to keep the paper in place, it may become dislodged. And should the paper come into contact with the component that generates heat inside the device, a fire could possibly break out.

How to use parchment paper when air frying

Parchment paper has lots of uses in the kitchen, including in air fryers and ovens. It's ideal for reducing messes, such as the fat and oil that can collect on the bottoms of air fryers as you cook french fries and other tasty foods. Parchment paper also offers good heat resistance, as many varieties can be used in temperatures as high as 420 degrees Fahrenheit.

While it's perfectly fine to use parchment paper inside of an air fryer after the device has been preheated, and food is holding it in place, there are a few precautionary steps to consider. To ensure decent air flow, it's best to cut some holes in the parchment paper prior to cooking. These holes will allow hot air to evenly disperse around food, which is key to achieving the right texture and doneness. You can also boost air flow by cutting the parchment paper so it's a bit smaller than the basket.

Are air fryers compatible with other materials?

If you don't have parchment paper at home, there's a substitution you can use in its place. Aluminum foil offers good heat resistance, as it can withstand temperatures as high as 400 degrees Fahrenheit. That means it can hold up to the temperatures generated by most air fryers. However, foil should never be placed under the basket of the device, as it could damage the heating element.

There are also reusable liner options made from silicone, and these liners come in all shapes, sizes, and configurations. Some silicone liners even have small holes to ensure the proper flow of air (which is key to creating a crisp texture). While aluminum foil and silicone can be safely used within your device, there is one type of liner that may ruin your air fryer due to its heat-sensitivity. Parchment paper is a much better alternative to this common kitchen liner, especially when you keep these helpful tips in mind.