Chances are good that you have an air fryer. They've become quite popular in recent years.
Using your air fryer seems simple: Preheat the air fryer, set the dials based on the recipe you're using, put the food inside, and let it work its magic for a relatively short period of time.
The result? Beautifully and deliciously crispy food that's healthier than what you could make in a deep fryer.
Did you know, though, that you can think outside the box (or basket) and use different types of containers in your air fryer? You might be wondering whether you can put a bowl in an air fryer. The answer is yes…sometimes!
Learn about what kinds of bowls you can use, why you might want to use them, and how to stay safe while using your air fryer.
Why Would You Want to Put a Bowl in the Air Fryer?
There's a saying that goes, "Just because you can doesn't necessarily mean you should." Is that the case when it comes to air frying with a bowl?
After all, you can easily place your food in the air fryer basket, as it's meant to be used. Why would someone even want to put a bowl in the air fryer in the first place?
If you're making chicken wings, heating up pizza, or cooking something dry like baked potatoes or French fries, you won't want to use a bowl most of the time. These items will just sit on or in the basket.
However, if you're making something that starts off as a liquid or batter, you're not going to be able to put that directly in the basket. Since the basket is perforated, it will fall through and make a huge mess.
Instead, you'll need a bowl or some other receptacle to contain the wet ingredients.
Would a Bowl Interfere With the Air Fryer Basket?
Most of the time, if you're using a bowl, you won't be using the air fryer basket. The basket is used to keep the food off of the bottom of the air fryer shelf. This allows for better airflow and lets the hot air get around the food you're cooking.
If you're using a small, shallow bowl, you might decide to use it along with the air fryer basket. This is also fine.
The main consideration is whether the bowl is blocking the air vent or fan. If it is, then remove the basket to see if that helps. If it still is, you can't use that bowl.
What Types of Bowls Are Safe to Use in an Air Fryer?
Choosing a bowl to use in the air fryer can be a challenge. There are a lot of considerations to keep in mind.
First, you'll want to ensure the bowl is oven safe. If you can put it in the oven, it should be safe in the air fryer.
Keep in mind that while the air fryer temperature is comparable to the oven temperature, the air circulation better directs the heat to the food and the container it's in.
For this reason, you'll want to ensure that the bowl can withstand not only the high heat but also the heat distribution that occurs in the air fryer.
You'll also want to consider the bowl shape and size. Any bowl that blocks the fan from circulating hot air should be avoided, as that will stop an air fryer from working properly.
Remember, air fryers circulate heated air, and if the bowl is occluding the air from blowing around, it can't crisp up the food.
Oven Safe Glass Bowl
For the most part, oven safe glass cookware should be safe in an air fryer. Oven safe bowls, one example of which is a Pyrex bowl, are usually fine as long as you aren't putting them into the air fryer (or the oven) cold.
Related: Can You Put Pyrex in Air Fryer?
If you were to take a cold glass bowl and put it into a heated oven or air fryer, it would be at risk of shattering. The issue with an air fryer is that even if the bowl can normally withstand high heat, it might heat too quickly. Air fryers heat up much more quickly than ovens.
Also, not all glass is suitable for use in air fryers. It has to be rated to the high temperatures used in the fryer.
Since it can be confusing to know what type of glass is and isn't fine to use, it might be best to avoid using a glass bowl in the air fryer if you have other materials available.
Ceramic bowls are ideal for putting in the air fryer. They don't typically shatter, and they won't warp or melt.
Ceramic is also known to conduct heat efficiently, plus it's heat resistant. These qualities make it a good choice for using in an air fryer.
There is one caveat, though. A ceramic bowl is going to be an excellent heat conductor. This means that food can overcook more quickly than you might expect in an air fryer.
If you're going to use ceramic bowls, be sure you check the food a few times to make sure it's not cooking too quickly.
Ceramic ramekins and baking dishes will be a better option than a ceramic soup bowl. So aside from choosing the right material, also choose the right shape, size, and thickness.
Stainless Steel Bowl
If you have stainless steel bowls or pans without plastic handles, you're in luck—they're perfectly fine to use in an air fryer!
Stainless steel is a good conductor of heat, it's heat resistant, and it won't warp, bend, or melt when exposed to high temperatures.
Any steel bowl with plastic handles or other attachments, however, is not going to be suitable for the air fryer. So, be sure to take a good look at your bowl to ensure it will be safe.
Cast Iron Bowl
Yes, cast iron bowls, pans, skillets, and bakeware can be used in an air fryer if it fits. The same caveat applies when it comes to plastic handles and lid knobs, though. Most cast iron bowls don't have any plastic included but do be sure to check.
Cast iron is a good choice because it retains heat for a long time, is completely heat resistant (you can even stick it on extreme heat, like an open fire, to cook food while camping), and are relatively nonstick. If yours has an enamel coating, that's also fine to use in an air fryer.
Copper bowls are fairly unusual to find, but if you have a small copper pan without a plastic handle, it can be used in the air fryer.
Like other types of metal bowls, copper is great at conducting heat, and it can withstand high temperatures. Copper is also a type of oven safe bowl.
Air fryer cooking can often include silicone bowls, molds, and more. This is a safe material to use in the air fryer.
You can use cupcake liners made from silicone, too. This is excellent for baking in an air fryer.
Silicone doesn't conduct heat especially well, but it remains relatively non-stick (spritz it with cooking spray for less sticking), and although it's a type of plastic, it won't melt as long as it's designed for cooking.
What Is Not for Use in an Air Fryer?
One material you should never use in an air fryer is plastic. A plastic bowl isn't oven safe, and it definitely isn't air fryer safe. Plastic will melt, warp, and bend when exposed to high heat.
No type of plastic—other than silicone—is going to be safe in the air fryer. If you're considering any kind of melamine, soft plastic, hard plastic, or other bowls in this category, just don't try it.
The worst-case scenario is that it could catch fire and cause injury and serious damage to your home.
What Other Containers Could Go in the Air Fryer?
There are other materials that could be used in an air fryer other than the oven safe bowls listed above.
Small pizza stones can withstand high heat like you'd find in an air fryer. These are good for making cookies or heating up pizza in the fryer.
Keep in mind the size of the air fryer, though. Pizza stones are generally going to be too large to fit in the basket or drawer.
Aluminum pans (and also aluminum foil) are perfect to use in an air fryer. They are lightweight, and you can get them in sizes to fit the fryer well.
When using foil, you will want to either make a "boat" to put the items in or wrap the basket in foil to keep it cleaner. It's shiny and reflective, so it will help conduct heat well.
Silicone Liners and Molds
Silicone bowls were already mentioned. There are also silicone molds and liners of various shapes and sizes. You can use these for baking or air frying in your air fryer.
Oven Safe Plates
If you have a plate that you can use in your oven, chances are good it will be okay to use it in the air fryer.
Keep in mind that glassware containers can be hit or miss, depending on the type of glass you're using. Also, if the plate contains any plastic, that's a no-go.
Ceramic plates, stainless steel plates, and silicone plates will be the safest bets.
So, Can You Put a Bowl in an Air Fryer?
The answer to whether you can use bowls in an air fryer is "yes...sometimes." If you want to try it, first, be sure the bowl in question is made from a heat resistant material that can stand up to the high heat it will encounter in the air fryer.
Then, make sure it's the right shape. It needs to be able to fit well within the fryer without blocking the air flow. Just keep in mind the cooking process for air-fried foods and make sure your cooking containers can stand up to those elements.
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