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Can You Put Oil in an Air Fryer?

Can You Put Oil in an Air Fryer?

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Can You Put Oil in an Air Fryer?

Air fryers are known for their ability to give us that irresistible crispy texture we love in fried foods, minus the excessive use of oil. But here’s the question: does this mean we should completely rule out the use of oil in air fryer recipes? Let’s dive into this hot topic and get the facts straight.

Can You Put Oil in an Air Fryer?

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Yes! You can absolutely use oil in your air fryer, but it’s not always necessary. Air fryers work by circulating hot air around your food, which can create a crispy texture without the need for excessive oil. When you do choose to use oil, it should be done with a light hand and with the right kind of oil to ensure both safety and delicious results.

The main reason to add oil when using an air fryer is to enhance the texture and flavor of your food. A small amount of oil can work wonders in achieving that perfect golden-brown exterior and delightful crispiness you crave. It also prevents food from sticking and promotes even cooking.

How to Use Oil in an Air Fryer

Using oil in an air fryer is simple. Follow these steps to make the most of your air frying experience:

1) Use an Oil Sprayer

The best way to apply oil to your food is by using an oil sprayer or a pump spray bottle. This allows you to evenly distribute a thin layer of oil over your ingredients. Avoid pouring oil directly into the air fryer basket, as this can lead to uneven cooking and potential issues with the appliance.

2) Coat Your Ingredients

Before placing your food in the air fryer basket, lightly coat it with a thin layer of oil using the oil sprayer. Ensure that all sides of your ingredients are evenly coated for even cooking and a crispy texture.

3) Use the Right Amount

Remember that less is more when it comes to oil in an air fryer. Using too much oil can result in greasy and less healthy dishes. Start with a small amount and adjust as needed.

4) Monitor the Cooking Process

While your food is cooking in the air fryer, keep an eye on it to prevent any excess oil from dripping into the bottom of the appliance. If you notice excessive oil accumulating, you can remove the basket momentarily and blot any excess oil with a paper towel.

When to Use Oil and When to Skip It: A List of Foods

Using oil in an air fryer can enhance the flavor and texture of certain foods, but not all foods require oil. Here’s a breakdown of foods that benefit from oil and those that can be air-fried without it:

Foods That Benefit from Oil in an Air Fryer:

  • Fried and Frozen Foods: Foods traditionally deep-fried, such as French fries, chicken wings, and onion rings, benefit from a light coating of oil. This helps them achieve a crispy and golden-brown texture similar to deep frying but with significantly less oil.
  • Breaded Foods: Items like breaded fish fillets, chicken tenders, or vegetable tempura can benefit from a light oil spray. The oil helps the breading crisp up and turn golden without excessive greasiness.
  • Roasted Vegetables: When air-roasting vegetables like potatoes, sweet potatoes, or Brussels sprouts, a light coating of oil can help them become crispy on the outside while remaining tender on the inside.

Foods That Do Not Necessarily Need Oil in an Air Fryer:

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  • Fresh Vegetables: Vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, or asparagus can be air-fried without oil. They will still roast nicely and develop a pleasant charred exterior due to the dry heat of the air fryer.
  • Meats: Lean cuts of meat, such as chicken breast or steak, can be air-fried without oil. The meat’s natural juices are enough to keep it moist, but you can still add a minimal amount of oil to enhance the flavor.
  • Baked Goods: When making items like air-fried pastries or certain desserts, you do not need to use oil. The pastry or dough can brown and cook well without additional oil.
  • Fish: Fish filets, especially those with a higher fat content like salmon, can be air-fried without oil. The natural oils in the fish will provide sufficient moisture and flavor.

How Much Oil Do You Need to Use in an Air Fryer?

The amount of oil you need to use in your air fryer can vary depending on the specific food you’re preparing. Here are some general guidelines:

  • For foods like French fries, potato wedges, or breaded items, a light spray of oil is usually sufficient. Aim to cover the food evenly without drenching it.
  • When air frying vegetables, a teaspoon of oil can go a long way to help them achieve a crispy exterior. Toss the vegetables in a bowl with the oil before air frying.
  • Meats like chicken wings or drumsticks may require slightly more oil to achieve the desired level of crispiness. A tablespoon or two of oil can work well for these dishes.

What Type of Oil Can You Use in an Air Fryer

When choosing an oil for your air fryer, it’s important to select one with a high smoke point to prevent smoking and ensure your food turns out crispy and delicious. Here are some suitable high smoke point oils:

  • Canola oil
  • Peanut oil
  • Extra virgin olive oil, extra light olive oil or refined olive oil
  • Avocado oil
  • Refined coconut oil
  • Vegetable oil
  • Sunflower oil

It’s worth noting that oils like coconut oil, peanut oil, and sunflower oil each bring their own distinct flavors to the table. So, use them sparingly and consider how they complement the ingredients in your dish to avoid overpowering the flavors.

Additionally, it’s best to stay away from aerosol cooking sprays such as PAM cooking spray. These sprays typically contain an ingredient called soy lecithin, which can damage the non-stick coating of your air fryer and leave behind a stubborn, sticky residue that can be quite challenging to clean.


To conclude, using oil in your air fryer is not only possible, but it can also be a way to add a little extra flavor and crispness to your dishes. Just remember to choose the right oil, use it sparingly, and always follow your air fryer’s instructions to ensure the best results.

Now, speaking of air fryers, if you’re on the lookout for a top-tier appliance to elevate your cooking skills, consider the Misterchef Air Fryer. Our premium appliance is designed to make air frying a breeze, providing you with precision, convenience, and the perfect balance between health and indulgence. Shop with us today.

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