You're not alone in thinking about putting a metal bowl in an air fryer. Air fryers have revolutionized how we cook food, and we are discovering that we can do so much more with this versatile kitchen appliance.
So the question is, can you put metal in an air fryer? The short answer is yes, you can, but some precautions are necessary. Let's look at how air fryers work and what types of metals can and cannot be put in an air fryer.
- How an Air Fryer Works
- Can You Put Metal in an Air Fryer?
- Is It Safe to Use Metal Containers in an Air Fryer?
- What Metals Can Safely Go in an Air Fryer?
- What Metals Can’t Go in an Air Fryer?
- What Is the Problem with Putting Metal Bowls in an Air Fryer?
- Can You Put Aluminum Foil in an Air Fryer?
- What Utensils Can You Use in an Air Fryer?
- What Can You Cook in a Metal Bowl?
- Do Air Fryers Have Stainless Steel Baskets?
- Alternatives to Metal Bowls
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Using Metal Bowls in an Air Fryer
How an Air Fryer Works
There are three types of air fryers: oven style, classic basket style, and larger dual basket style. There is a heating element at the top with fans that blow the heat directly onto the food and around the food. Air fryers heat up almost instantly, and the direct heat produces a crispy exterior coating while locking in the juices inside the food.
Can You Put Metal in an Air Fryer?
Since the cooking chamber of an air fryer is metal, we can take this as a good sign that you can put metal cookware in an air fryer. Case in point: one of the most popular metal cookware is cast iron, and it is often used in an air fryer. This is definitely good news since metal cookware is popular, especially among chefs, because of its durability and easy maintenance.
Is It Safe to Use Metal Containers in an Air Fryer?
Oven-safe metal containers are safe to use in an air fryer. Oven-safe metal will have a stamp on them so you know if it's safe to use. If the metal has no markings, err on the side of caution and don't use it.
What Metals Can Safely Go in an Air Fryer?
There are several kinds of metal bowls that can go in an air fryer. Here are some of the available options for you:
A cast iron pan can go in an air fryer, but what makes it a popular choice is its durability and even heating. Cast iron cookware is simply built to last a lifetime. The material is a great conductor of heat, which makes a great non-stick surface that can make your food extra crispy.
In addition, cast iron pans are one of the most versatile tools in the kitchen. You can cook virtually anything in them.
Quick Tip: Just make sure that you season your cast iron pan correctly. This will keep your cookware rust-free and in good condition for generations.
We can all probably agree on how popular oven-safe stainless steel bowls are these days. The good news is that they can also go in an air fryer.
Aside from that, stainless steel is used in the restaurant business because it is virtually indestructible, corrosion-resistant, and resistant to bacteria. While it’s not as efficient as aluminum when it comes to conducting heat, it does retain heat well, making it a popular choice even for home cooks and chefs.
Finally, there’s aluminum. Oven-safe aluminum can withstand temperatures up to 1220°F, which is well within an air fryer's range. It’s one of the most popular choices for home cooks because it's lightweight and inexpensive.
What Metals Can’t Go in an Air Fryer?
There are several metals that can't go in an air fryer, and it’s not just because they’re not oven safe. Here are some common metal cookware that cannot go in an air fryer and why.
Metal Containers With Handles
Metal containers with handles cannot go in an air fryer, even if they’re made of oven-safe metal. That’s because most handles are made of wood, plastic, or low-grade silicone that can burn or melt in an air fryer.
Any metal containers with lead, pewter, or zinc are unsafe in an air fryer. That’s because these metals can leak toxins into the food and cause harmful fumes when they’re exposed to high heat.
Cookware with Painting
Cookware with painted designs cannot go in an air fryer because its paint can melt and leach chemicals or smoke. However, pans with enamel engravings can be an exception.
What Is the Problem with Putting Metal Bowls in an Air Fryer?
There are a couple of things to consider when choosing a metal bowl to cook with in your air fryer.
- They should be oven-safe. Make sure that the bowl that you are going to use is oven-safe. Air fryers are miniature convection ovens, so if the bowl or pan is safe for a conventional oven, it's safe for an air fryer.
- They should be in the right dimensions. The size of the bowl or pan is an essential factor as well. Remember that an air fryer needs to circulate hot air to operate properly. Large metal bowls block air circulation, making your food less crispy and taking longer to cook. Use the smallest bowl that can safely contain the food without spilling over.
The metal bowl you choose should never be so tall that it touches the heating element. This can break it or cause it to overheat.
Quick Tip: Always wear oven mitts when you remove metal from the air fryer. Both the inside walls of the cooking chamber and the bowl will be hot.
Can You Put Aluminum Foil in an Air Fryer?
We covered this in a previous post, and the short answer is yes. You can use aluminum foil in your air fryer, but only if it's weighted down.
If it isn't weighed down, the fans will blow it into the heating elements and potentially cause a fire.
Aluminum foil is an excellent liner for air fryers because it conducts heat well and protects the basket or rack from sticky messes. It can be applied directly to the food or line the basket or rack.
If you wrap the food in aluminum foil, leave an opening at the top, or it will steam the food instead of frying it.
What Utensils Can You Use in an Air Fryer?
Stainless steel and metal utensils can safely be used in air fryers. They can withstand high temperatures without warping or melting and are easy to clean. You may also use utensils that are made with ceramic and glass.
A metal skewer is a handy utensil to have on hand when air frying. These are especially handy when dehydrating food in your air fryer because you can hang the food, which gives you more air circulation and space.
Metal thermometers can safely go in your air fryer. If the thermometer is safe to use in the oven or grill, it's safe to use in an air fryer. This is a great tool to have so you can get the perfect temperature every time.
Some air fryers come with stainless steel metal racks. If yours doesn't have one, you can pick one up cheaply. A metal rack will become your most used air fryer tool because it is so versatile. A rack is ideal for an air fryer because it allows for better air circulation.
What Can You Cook in a Metal Bowl?
There are plenty of dishes that benefit significantly from metal bowls. Desserts like cookies, cakes, and brownies bake best in a metal pan. That is because metal conducts heat evenly, allowing baked goods to rise and cook equally.
Savory dishes like green bean casserole, baked chicken, and fish also cook better in metal pans.
Quick Tip: Basically, any dish that needs to be heated and is temperature sensitive is best cooked in metal.
Do Air Fryers Have Stainless Steel Baskets?
Some air fryers come with stainless steel baskets, while others have Teflon-coated baskets. Of the two, stainless steel is the better option.
Both can produce the crispy texture we want, but ceramic and stainless steel can withstand heat better and distribute heat evenly.
There are pros and cons to each material. Stainless steel is heat resistant and will last longer than Teflon because it's not coated. The downside is that it is not nonstick like Teflon, making it hard to clean.
Conversely, Teflon may have a reputable coating, but it will start to flake over time, especially when exposed to high temperatures.
Alternatives to Metal Bowls
If you need more clarification about using metal in your air fryer, or you don't have an oven-safe bowl or pan, then you’ll be pleased to know that you can use plenty of alternatives. Here are some of them.
Aluminum foil is an excellent alternative to metal cookware because it's durable, inexpensive, and recyclable.
Parchment paper is one of the most popular air fryer liners because it is affordable and nonstick; you can buy pre-formed sheets that will fit your air fryer. When your food is done, simply lift out the parchment paper and throw it away after use.
Silicone liners are gaining in popularity because they have weight, allowing them to be set in the air fryer basket during preheating. They are also non-stick, reusable, and dishwasher-safe.
Quick Tip: Whatever alternative you opt to use, just remember not to block the heating element of your air fryer and make sure that there is plenty of air circulation, or else you won’t achieve the results you’re looking for. Also, don’t preheat the air fryer when using liners. If they’re not weighted down, they might blow around and potentially catch fire.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Put Copper Cookware in an Air Fryer?
Copper cookware should not be used in an air fryer because copper is an excellent conductor of electricity. Copper heats up quickly and unevenly and will overheat in an air fryer and potentially cause a fire. Plus, copper reacts with certain foods, particularly acidic food, and can release harmful compounds.
Can You Season a Cast Iron Pan in an Air Fryer?
Cast iron pans are safe to use in an air fryer and produce beautiful, crispy dishes, but a cast iron pan should not be seasoned in an air fryer. Seasoning a cast iron pan usually takes an hour in an oven. A cast iron pan will take up a lot of room in an air fryer which prevents proper air circulation. Blocking the airflow for that long could harm the heating element in your air fryer and cause uneven heating for the cast iron.
Can You Put Glass in an Air Fryer?
Glass dishes like Pyrex can safely go in an air fryer and is a great substitute for metal. Make sure it doesn't have cracks or deficiencies before cooking with it because the heat could break the glass.
Using Metal Bowls in an Air Fryer
Metal bowls can be used in air fryers if precautions are taken. There are a lot of benefits to using metal bowls in cooking. Even heating, good heat retention, affordability, and durability are just a few. However, if you use the wrong metal bowl in your air fryer, it can be dangerous.
If you are using metal in an air fryer, make sure that it is oven-safe. Cast iron is the exception to the rule because most cast iron dishes don't have a label even though they are oven safe.
So long as you heed the abovementioned precautions, you will soon make incredible meals with your air fryer. This is one of the most versatile appliances in your kitchen, and once you discover what you can do with it, you may not use any other appliance again.
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