A version of a convection oven, an air fryer is quite different from a conventional oven and offers a couple of advantages. Traditionally, the top and bottom of an oven has a heating element for distribution of heat to cook the food. An interior fan can be found in a convection oven that circulates the heat around the food being cooked. This speeds up the cooking time and provides evenly browned food.
Thus, despite its name, you don’t fry food in an air fryer, but it does has a lovely crisp. Thus, Ido Fishman says that it is an excellent fit for recipes that are fried, grilled or baked. Its convenient size, quick preheating time and a user-friendly design, air fryers have become the top appliance for cooking frozen foods. However, if they are not prepared well, frozen foods can turn decisively unappetizing and soggy. Here are some tips by Ido Fishman for cooking your frozen food in the air fryer correctly for the best results:
- Adjust cook time and temperature as well
As an air fryer is basically a convection oven, the cook time recommended on the package would be too long. Furthermore, Ido Fishman says that the heat settings of most air fryers can reach 400 F, so this also needs to be factored in when preparing your food. If the heat setting recommended on the package can be reached by your air fryer, you should reduce it by 10 to 25 degrees and also cut the time in half. This allows you to check on the food and make a judgment call on how much longer it will need.
- How and when to use grease
Just as you coat your grill, skillet, or sheet pan with fat or oil, you should do the same with an air fryer. You will only require a light coat, but Ido Fishman says that if the food you are making already has some fat, then you may not require it at all. The kind of product you use for greasing your air fryer is also an important consideration. A lot of air fryers come with a non-stick coating, so the coating can be eroded over time when you use a spray with propellants or other additives. It is better to use a brush for coating your food and basket in the fat or oil of your choice.
- Don’t overcrowd your basket
Overall, it is very convenient to prepare frozen food in an air fryer. But, Chef Ido Fishman says that you shouldn’t be tempted to overstuff the basket of the air fryer because your food may not be evenly cooked and this will lead to a less than tasty meal or snack. Instead, when you are cooking foods that are wrapped or beaded, such as egg rolls or mozzarella sticks, you should fill the basket halfway and shake it halfway through cooking. However, if your food is uncoated or open-faced, such as chicken wings or potato skins, you should place it in a single layer in the basket.
- Preheat the air fryer
As frozen food thaws, it is naturally more prone to becoming mushy because it releases water. But, Ido Fishman says that it is not that difficult of a hurdle to overcome. You can just preheat the air fryer beforehand because the water in your frozen food will quickly evaporate due to the high heat. There is no preheat setting in some air fryers, but you can still open the basket and estimate the temperature, or you can also get an exact reading with an oven-safe thermometer.
Other than these tips, you should also bear in mind that not all frozen foods are treated equally. Experts like Ido Fishman will tell you that you should think of the inherent properties of the food before you stick it in the air fryer, as this can help you avoid any mistakes.