Why You Should Skip The Oil When Air Frying Mushrooms

Golden brown mushrooms are the answer to instantly elevating a meal. Whether sauteed or roasted, the savory fungi bring a world of flavor to soups, salads, and more. Even in a pinch, heating them up in the air fryer always yields delicious mushrooms. For mushrooms that are always crispy, air fry them without oil.

Cooking mushrooms sans oil almost feels like a brazen act against the beloved ingredient — what are meaty mushrooms without a drizzle of earthy, peppery olive oil? It also sounds counterintuitive since oil typically helps food crisp up. Yet, if you've ever sauteed mushrooms that wound up soggier than imaginable, you'll know that oil produces liquid-laden mushrooms. The fungi are around 80-90% water, so they must dry up before anything else is added. Tossing them in oil will only fill them with more moisture, resulting in a soft, mushy mess.

To air fry them, clean them with a damp paper towel before chopping them up. Place them on parchment paper, ensuring that they're not crowded together in the pan. Set the air fryer to 390 degrees Fahrenheit and heat the mushrooms until they're golden brown with crusted edges. Drizzle a finishing oil before plating and enjoy the buttery, crisp mushrooms.

Avoid seasoning mushrooms before they're done cooking

For vegetables like eggplants and zucchini, salting them before they cook helps them crisp up under the heat of the oven or air fryer. Since they're filled with water, the mineral draws out the excess moisture, preventing them from being soggy. It would make sense to do the same with mushrooms, but salting them before they're done cooking actually brings out even more water that never seems to dry out. Just like with oil, it's best to hold off on salting the mushrooms until they've cooked. Not only is the method a way to add more flavor to mushrooms, but it helps to keep the moisture at bay.

If you've accidentally added oil to your mushrooms but prefer them to be crispy, they can still be salvaged. Coating them in flour or cornstarch will dry up the water and oil while giving the mushrooms a crisp exterior. Go a step further by tossing the mushrooms in seasoned bread crumbs or grated parmesan. This extra step enhances the mushroom's savory, umami flavor while ensuring that it stays crisp in the air fryer.