Everything You Need to Know About Baking in the Air Fryer
Summer baking just got a lot easier!
Air fryers have become all the rage in the last few years, thanks to their ability to make many recipes more quickly and easily — after all, who doesn’t love simple cooking? Along with being user-friendly, air fryers also harness the ability to roast, fry, dehydrate and, yes, even bake. Considering air fryers are essentially small convection ovens, it shouldn’t be too surprising that you can easily whip up cakes, muffins and bread in the compact appliances. With so many different recipes and ingredients going into the air fryer, the rules can get confusing, though. To make things easier, we talked to Food Network Recipe Developer and air fryer connoisseur, Amanda Neal, to get the best tips and tricks for baking in your air fryer. Whether you don’t have an oven or just feel like keeping it simple, these tips will help your baked goods turn out their best.
What Can I Bake in My Air Fryer?
There are so many different options for baking in an air fryer, but some baked goods work better than others or require special instructions. Cakes, for example, bake nicely in the air fryer, but you’ll want to make sure your pan isn’t much deeper than three inches. Cookies also bake well in an air fryer, but it is important to leave about an inch between each cookie and allow them time to set for 1-2 mins after cooking.
Other foods like beignets, bread, muffins and cupcakes are great options for baking in the air fryer, just make sure any silicone cups or liners are heat resistant. Some other Food Network favorites include banana bread, fried Oreos, baked brie and cinnamon rolls.
What Shouldn’t I Bake in My Air Fryer?
According to Neal, leave meringues and other delicate baked goods for the standard oven. The intense air circulation makes cooking small, delicate goods very difficult. She also recommends leaving cake donuts and battered foods to the deep fryer, as they can dry out when made in the air fryer.
Important Tips Before Getting Started
Clean Your Air Fryer First
No matter what function you’re using, it’s important to clean your air fryer both before and after cooking. If not, outside flavors can seep into the items you are baking, and you don’t want old food remnants getting on your baked goods!
Smaller Batches Might Be Necessary
Before baking, it is important to note the size of your air fryer and understand that if you want to make a large quantity of baked goods, you will need to do multiple batches. It is best to keep your batches small as overcrowding can lead to uneven cooking or undercooked foods.
Remember to Adjust Bake Time and Temperature
Traditional recipes assume you are baking in an oven; therefore, you will have to make tweaks to both the ingredients and time in order to get the best possible dish. Because air fryers circulate hot air, they tend to cook faster than your traditional oven. In order to adjust temperature and time, there are some general rules to keep in mind. A good rule of thumb to start with is reducing the recommended temperature by around 25 degrees F and reducing cook time by around 20%. Neal cautions how easy it can be to overbake in the air fryer, due to the increased heat and circulation, and recommends checking for doneness frequently to make sure there’s no burning.
Don’t Omit Oil Completely
Just because we are “air” frying doesn’t mean we can get rid of oil completely. Just like with regular baking, you’ll need to grease your pan, even if your air fryer baskets are non-stick. We recommend refraining from using a non-stick spray, as it can damage the non-stick surface. Instead, we recommend either greasing your air fryer baskets or lining them with perforated parchment paper, similar to what you would use for a steamer basket. According to Neal, this method works great for cookies or other baked goods that might stick to the basket, as the perforation allows hot air to flow properly and cook the food evenly.
You Might Need Some Extra Supplies
Typically, materials you can use in a traditional oven are built to withstand heat and can be used in an air fryer as well. This means that high quality, heat-resistant silicone, stoneware and aluminum pans are all possible options when cooking in the air fryer. It is important to keep in mind the size of your supplies, though. You’ll want to check the measurements of your own air fryer to make sure your pans and tools fit (the most common fitting measurements include a 6-by-3-inch round cake pan) and be sure to choose pans that are not too deep, this way they will fit and the baked goods will cook faster. Additional supplies that will help out with baking in your air fryer include perforated parchment paper, non-stick silicone spatulas, silicone tongs and a silicone egg bite mold.