Many home cooks new to air frying often wonder if it's safe to wrap chicken breasts in foil when using an air fryer. The good news is that not only can you use tin foil in your air fryer, but it's a great way to fix a delicious meal in a short amount of time.
There are several easy recipes to whip up a smorgasbord of succulent chicken breasts, wings, or even whole chickens. Cooking chicken in an air fryer that's wrapped in a foil pack is a great alternative for a quick and easy meal.
Even better, it makes cleaning up a cinch.
- Is Aluminum Foil Safe in an Air Fryer?
- How To Use Foil in an Air Fryer Safely?
- The Benefits of Wrapping Chicken in Foil
- How To Put Aluminum Foil in the Air Fryer?
- Can I Wrap Frozen Chicken in Foil?
- Does Chicken Wrapped in Foil Take Longer To Cook?
- How Long Does It Take Air Fryer Chicken To Cook?
- Recipe Tips for Your Air Fryer Chicken Breasts and Wings
- When You Shouldn’t Use Aluminum Foil in Air Fryer
- Alternatives To Using Aluminum Foil in Your Air Fryer
- Favorite Air Fryer Chicken Breast Recipes
- More Air Fryer Recipes To Try
Is Aluminum Foil Safe in an Air Fryer?
People are often hesitant to use aluminum foil in their air fryers because they believe it's a fire hazard. It's often associated with the same idea of using tin foil in a microwave. However, air fryers don't cook food using electromagnetic radiation like microwaves do.
Instead, air fryers rely on circulating hot air. Therefore, using tin foil in your air fryer is no different than using tin foil in your oven and, with a little guidance, is completely safe. Plus, it's extremely durable and can withstand temperatures over 1000ºF or 538ºC.
Tips for Using Aluminum Foil in Your Air Fryer
It's always a good idea to check your owner's manual, as not all air fryers are created equal. If you don't have a manual, you can always do a Google search to find your manual online.
Here are a few kitchen tips to maximize your safety:
- Make sure your chicken foil isn't touching the heating element of your air fryer.
- Ensure the airflow is not obstructed.
- Don't line your air fryer basket with foil.
How To Use Foil in an Air Fryer Safely?
As mentioned, you don't want to line your air fryer basket with foil because you want the air to be able to circulate throughout. Covering your basket with aluminum foil can cause your food to cook unevenly.
On the other hand, if you have an air fryer oven with two trays, you could wrap the bottom tray to catch your drippings and grease, which would help tremendously with your cleanup.
However, you should never line the drip pan of your air fryer with aluminum foil.
Tips for Using Foil Safely in Your Air Fryer
While it is perfectly safe to use foil in an air fryer, there are a few safety guidelines to follow:
- Use as little foil as possible.
- Ensure the air can flow freely without any obstruction. The hot air should be able to reach all sides of your food so it cooks evenly.
- Make sure your foil packs aren't overlapping any edges of your air fryer.
- Avoid overcrowding your air fryer basket.
- Avoid including foods like tomatoes, citrus fruits, or vinegar marinades in your foil packets. Foods high in acid can chemically react to aluminum.
- Ensure the packaging is tightly sealed to avoid any leakage while your chicken breasts are cooking.
The Benefits of Wrapping Chicken in Foil
One of the main benefits of wrapping chicken in foil is that it makes cleaning up a breeze. The aluminum foil holds all of the grease, so all you have to do is throw the foil away when you're done. Then simply wipe your fryer clean.
Placing your chicken in foil can prevent sticking, as well as keep smaller pieces from slipping through. The best part about cooking your chicken in foil is that it seals in natural juices, leaving you with moist, delicious chicken.
Plus, it better helps your chicken breast cook evenly.
Wrapped food can also reduce burns and make removing the chicken from your air fryer much easier.
How To Put Aluminum Foil in the Air Fryer?
There are several ways to place tin foil in your air fryer, depending on what kind of make and model you have, as well as the type of food you're cooking.
1. Place fresh chicken on a piece of loose foil and wrap the chicken in foil tightly to create a foil packet. Then place the chicken breast in the bottom of your air fryer basket or top tray of your air fryer oven.
2. Make a tin foil packet by folding your edges upward, creating a foil basket. Place your raw chicken breasts or wings in your tin foil basket, and then place your tin foil tray in your air fryer.
3. Buy premade air fryer foil liners and place chicken breasts inside the liner. Then place it inside your air fryer, covered or uncovered.
4. Place your air fryer chicken breasts or wings on a piece of aluminum foil and fold up the corners together in a teepee fashion. Then place your chicken-wrapped foil in your air fryer.
Ideally, you want as much unobstructed airflow as possible throughout your air fryer to prevent uneven cooking.
Tips and Tricks for Wrapping Chicken in Foil
Over the years, I've learned a few kitchen tips, tricks, and hacks to help keep your chicken moist and delicious for quick, easy meals.
- Crumbling your foil packets first helps create a more crispy texture. Be sure to use good quality foil that doesn't rip or tear easily. There's a huge difference between tensile-thin generic tin foil and heavy-duty foil.
- Let your chicken breast sit at room temperature for half an hour for the best results. It helps with even cooking.
- Before placing foil in the air fryer, make sure it is tightly wrapped. Allowing air to escape foil packets can cause your chicken breast and wings to dry out.
- When placing your air fryer chicken breast or wings in the fryer, make sure you don't interfere with the airflow through the bottom of the basket.
- To reduce the risks of burns with your air fryer, create narrow foil strips to place under your foil packet. These can be used as handles for removing your chicken when it's done cooking.
- It's always best practice to tenderize your raw chicken breasts before placing them in tin foil. Placing your chicken inside a ZipLock bag before using a meat tenderizer streamlines your cleanup.
- Let your chicken cook until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Use a standard meat thermometer to check for doneness.
- Your air fryer chicken breast will cook faster, better, and crispier if you remove as much moisture as possible. Be sure to pat dry before adding oil, seasonings, or spices.
Can I Wrap Frozen Chicken in Foil?
Believe it or not, yes, you can, actually. Whether prepackaged chicken or chicken you've frozen yourself, both can easily be prepared in an air fryer.
Steps to Air Frying Frozen Chicken
- Spend a few minutes preheating your air fryer to 200 degrees. Then thaw your chicken at this temperature for 10-15 minutes.
- Remove it from your fryer and pat dry. Then season to taste.
- For premade frozen chicken, like Tyson's chicken nuggets, instead of completely wrapping the nuggets in foil, make a foil tray or boat instead. Place the nuggets on the foil tray.
- For fresh chicken you've frozen yourself, after seasoning to taste, wrap in foil and place in your air fryer and set your timer for 30 minutes. Check at the 15-minute mark and flip if it needs to cook longer.
- Cook until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
Does Chicken Wrapped in Foil Take Longer To Cook?
There is much debate about whether or not foil-wrapped chicken takes longer to cook, but in my experience, it does—especially chicken breasts. In truth, it largely depends on the type and quality of your air fryer.
Choosing the correct side of the foil contributes to how long it takes before your chicken breasts are fully cooked.
If you wrap your chicken breasts in aluminum foil with the shiny side facing outward, then it may slightly reduce your cooking time and prevent browning.
Conversely, if you wrap your aluminum foil around your chicken breasts with the shiny side facing inward, then your chicken breasts will cook faster and brown a little more.
Your overall cooking time may vary between five and fifteen minutes, depending on the quality of your fryer.
Keep in mind that the ideal air fryer temperature for perfectly cooked chicken is 350-425 degrees. Preheating your air fryer before cooking chicken helps minimize the time needed. Plus, it helps keep your air fryer chicken extra juicy.
Always keep an eye on your air fryer chicken throughout the cooking process to prevent overcooking.
How Long Does It Take Air Fryer Chicken To Cook?
The amount of time it takes your air fryer chicken to cook depends on the individual recipe, the temperature you're cooking at, and the type of chicken you're cooking.
How Long Does It Take To Cook a Chicken Breast in an Air Fryer
Generally speaking, a small air fryer chicken breast wrapped in foil will cook for 8-10 minutes at 400ºF or 205ºC. Of course, chicken breast sizes vary drastically, so there's quite a bit of wiggle room here.
Larger chicken foil packs can take up to an hour or more, depending on the size of the breast. Preheating your air fryer can substantially reduce your cooking times.
How Long Does It Take To Cook Chicken Wings in an Air Fryer
Cooking air fryer chicken wings takes approximately twenty minutes per batch, but this is because the temperature is usually reduced to the neighborhood of 360-380ºF or 180-195ºC.
Air fryer chicken wing-related recipes have an array of temperatures and times depending on the recipe being used. Additionally, some recipes call for the chicken to be completely wrapped in foil packets, while other recipes call for a simple foil lining or tray.
How Long Does It Take To Cook a Whole Chicken in an Air Fryer
Whole chickens take closer to an hour or slightly longer to cook, depending on the weight of your bird. Still cooked in the neighborhood of 360-380ºF or 180-195ºC, start with chicken breast side down for half an hour and then flip for an additional half hour.
Again, specific recipes call for varying temperatures and times.
Recipe Tips for Your Air Fryer Chicken Breasts and Wings
Sealing your air fryer chicken breast or wings with a dry rub before placing them in your air fryer not only gives them extra flavor but also helps create a crispy outside while keeping the inside tender and juicy.
In addition to enhancing the natural flavor, using the right rub can tenderize your poultry and introduce tantalizing complimentary flavors.
Dry Rub Recipe for Your Air Fryer Chicken Breast
Here's the mixture I like to use for a dry rub, but if you don't like spicy, feel free to leave out the cayenne.
- ¼ teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon ginger
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 teaspoon pink Himalayan sea salt (or table salt)
- ½ teaspoon freshly cracked white and black pepper
- 1 teaspoon rosemary
Grind pepper and herbs if needed. Then mix thoroughly together in a small bowl.
Making a few shallow cuts into your chicken breast will help the spice mixture secure itself to the chicken better.
Sprinkle rub mixture over your chicken breast or wings and massage into the chicken until all sides of your chicken are well coated.
Use a small amount of avocado or olive oil to grease one side of your tin foil. Then wrap the chicken in foil and place the foil in your air fryer.
When You Shouldn’t Use Aluminum Foil in Air Fryer
There are times when aluminum foil is not advisable for your air fryer chicken breast, but you'll find some alternatives discussed below.
There's a general consensus that acidic foods should never be cooked in aluminum foil because it can cause the aluminum and other metals to leach into your chicken breasts, creating a metallic taste and making your food potentially unsafe to eat.
Some of these foods include:
Many believe that ingesting aluminum is linked with Alzheimer's Disease. However, there is no conclusive research to support this correlation.
Alternatives To Using Aluminum Foil in Your Air Fryer
When you don't want to use foil packets in your air dryer, there are other things use can use instead.
A popular alternative to chicken in foil is using perforated parchment paper instead. Since it's specifically designed for air fryer baskets, it does an excellent job of regulating temperatures and neutralizing hot spots.
It's also especially useful for skin-on chicken breasts. Since it can prevent sticking, it makes clean-up super easy. Just throw the parchment away and clean your air fryer basket or tray.
You can even wrap your chicken in parchment paper just like foil, and it will also keep your chicken tender by sealing in moisture and preventing overcooking.
There are a variety of air fryer liners on the market ranging anywhere from craft paper to aluminum to even silicone that can be used in your air fryer instead of foil packets.
You can also try commercial air fryer parchment paper. While you could wrap a small chicken breast in one of these, they're probably best suited as a base layer to make for easier cleanup.
At the very least, they will prevent your chicken from sticking to your air fryer.
Favorite Air Fryer Chicken Breast Recipes
Chicken is probably one of my favorite meals because of its versatility to be cooked in so many different ways. Here are just a few of my favorite air fryer chicken recipes.
Cheesy Ranch Air Fryer Chicken Breast
This is a spin-off of your traditional hobo or boy scout dinner. It's super quick and easy and makes for a convenient weeknight meal when the schedule is hectic. There's no need to measure the ingredients with this one. Just toss in whatever satisfies your appetite and season to taste.
Here's what you need:
- Chicken breast
- Baby red potatoes
- Black pepper
- Garlic powder
- Cooked bacon (optional)
- Hidden Valley Ranch packet
- Green onions
- Shredded cheddar cheese
- Olive oil
- Spend a few minutes preheating your air fryer to 425 degrees.
- Slice your potatoes and onions into bite-sized chunks. Since potatoes take a little longer to cook, cut them extra small to reduce their cooking time. Dice your green onions, and place them in a small bowl and set aside.
- If you're using foil, crinkle it a little, as mentioned above. Drizzle a little avocado or olive oil over your foil or parchment paper. Then score your chicken and place one chicken breast in the center of your foil.
- Sprinkle a little powder from your ranch dressing packet over the top.
- Lay your potatoes and onions over your chicken breast and salt and pepper to taste.
- Crumble a piece of cooked bacon over your potatoes and onions. You can use raw bacon, but in my experience, it turns out a little too soggy for my liking.
- Add a tablespoon of butter and top with cheddar cheese.
- Then fold your tin over your chicken meal and roll the edges towards the center so nothing can leak out.
- Place your chicken foil in the air fryer making sure there is enough room for air to flow between and around your packets.
- Cook for 20 minutes and then flip the foil in the air fryer and cook another 20 minutes or until the chicken breast is done.
- The result is a mouth-watering masterpiece.
Italian Chicken Recipe
Enjoy this quick and easy recipe for a taste of Italian air fryer chicken breast. Here's what you'll need for this scrumptious recipe:
- Chicken breast
- Olive oil
- Garlic powder
- Pink Hemilyan sea salt
- Fresh cracked black pepper
- Italian seasoning
- Powdered parmesan cheese
- Preheat your air fryer to 425 degrees.
- After patting the chicken dry, score chicken breasts and drizzle with olive oil.
- If you have access to it, herb-infused olive oil such as basil or oregano really enhances the flavor of the chicken. Season to taste with pink Hemilyan sea salt, freshly cracked black pepper, and garlic powder.
- Sprinkle Italian seasoning and powdered parmesan cheese over your chicken breast and massage it into the chicken. I like to make my own Italian spice by combining homegrown basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, and sage.
- I typically don't use powdered parmesan, but in this case, it helps create a crispy crust and seal in juices.
- Wrap your chicken in foil following the same steps above, and place foil packets into the air fryer. Alternatively, you can place your chicken in a commercial foil air fryer liner or foil boat instead.
- Air fry for 15 - 30 minutes, flip, and air fry for an additional 15 -20 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked.
More Air Fryer Recipes To Try
If you enjoy using your air fryer as much as I do, try some of these mouth-watering recipes:
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