The Common Air Fryer Mistake That's Costing You Money

Air fryers have cemented themselves as a kitchen staple as opposed to a passing fad, akin to the popularity and importance of slow cookers and stand mixers. One of the major appeals of an air fryer is that you can get crispy food without needing a gallon of oil. However, air fryers don't fry food at all.

Instead, it works similarly to a convection oven in a smaller, more concentrated environment. According to Food52, the inside of the "fryer" fills with incredibly hot air, where a fan from above then blows it around quickly. This results in super crispy food, whether it's classic fries or frozen snacks, vegetables, or meat. Knowing how an air fryer works can help you use it more efficiently. More specifically, it helps you know what not to put in your fryer. While the kitchen appliance is certainly helpful for preparing quick and delicious meals, it isn't meant to cook everything.

Be careful with seasonings

Everyone likes their food to be well seasoned, but that doesn't mean your air fryer does. Chef Yankel Polak told Insider that dry or excess seasoning is likely to be blown off your food in the air fryer. Unlike pan or deep frying, which keeps most of the seasoning intact through a wet batter or oil, the fans in an air fryer are likely just going to blow the seasoning right off and into the holes of the basket.

Seasonings are too expensive to be blown away and burnt at the bottom of your air fryer. A simple way to avoid this is to ensure your spices stick to your vegetables or proteins. Food Network advises that you add just a touch of oil to all fresh meat or produce you put into the air fryer so seasoning and breading sticks. This can be in the form of a light coating of olive oil, or a finishing spray of oil to lock everything in. It may seem counterintuitive to add oil to air-fried foods, but it won't just help the seasoning stick — it'll also make your food extra crispy. Just be sure not to add too much and to clean the basket out once you're done.