Skip to Content

Can You Use Aluminum Foil in an Air Fryer?

Yes, you absolutely can use aluminum foil in an air fryer. Remember that your air fryer is simply a mini convection oven. So anything you use in your conventional oven is fine in your air fryer. 

aluminum foil on a roll and a sheet of aluminum foil

The air fryer is one of my all-time favorite of my kitchen appliances because it saves time in both the cooking process and cleanup. If used properly, you’ll find that the air fryer cooking times are shorter than cooking with a conventional oven.

I’ve covered the bottom with foil, below the removable basket to make cleanup easier. I’ve also reheated pizza on a small piece of aluminum foil to prevent the cheese from falling to the bottom.

Keep in mind that for the air fryer to work properly, hot air needs to circulate. In fact, this air circulation is what makes it work so well. 

air fryer on a counter

In other words, you don’t want to cover the bottom of the basket with a wall-to-wall layer of foil. Doing this would prevent the air flow. The best part about air fryer cooking is the rapid air technology that crisps up the outside of food to seal the moisture inside. 

small sheet of foil in air fryer

If you’re unsure about how the foil is affecting your food, the best way to know is to check on it midway through the cooking process. Open the air fryer basket and see if the food is cooking evenly. If you notice any uneven cooking, you should remove the foil for the best results.

Tips on Using Aluminum Foil in an Air Fryer

I’ve covered the bottom with foil, below the removable basket to make cleanup easier. I’ve also reheated pizza on a small amount of foil to prevent the cheese from falling to the bottom. Avoid covering the entire bottom of the air fryer basket, or you’ll decrease the benefits of your air fryer.

small sheet of foil

When you use tin foil, make sure that the weight of the food will keep it in place because the fan that circulates the air can blow it around. You don’t want it hitting the heating coils.

Whether you’re cooking frozen meatballs or using your air fryer to reheat leftover chicken wings, you’ll quickly catch yourself choosing your air fryer over other appliances. That’s one of the reasons I leave it out on my kitchen counter.

How Does an Air Fryer Work?

An air fryer is a mini convection oven. The elements provide the heat, while a fan blows the hot air around to distribute the heat. This provides an efficient process that allows the meat to cook more quickly.

The air fryer is a convenient appliance for home cooks who have to put dinner on the table for the family every single night. It’s also a great way for kids and teenagers to cook French fries without the mess of deep frying.

Golden brown french fries on a plate with ketchup
Air Fryer French Fries

More Questions about Cooking with Aluminum Foil

Cooking with aluminum foil is one of the easiest ways to make your food come out great. Here are some tips on how to use aluminum foil to make your cooking easier, more efficient, and easier to clean up afterward.

Aluminum foil is one of those versatile kitchen “helpers” that you can use for so many things. I even use it outside the kitchen. If you’re interested in even more ways to use foil, check out these aluminum foil hacks.

Sheet of aluminum foil

What is the Best Kind of Foil to Cook With?

I usually use heavy-duty foil when cooking because it resists tearing and leaking. It also handles higher temperatures quite well.

Should You Cover Food with Aluminum Foil?

When I put it directly on the food, I make sure it’s well covered. This helps keep the moisture in the food and helps prevent the food from drying out.

It’s always a good idea to crimp the edges tightly to keep the moisture in and prevent the steam and heat from escaping.

Where Can You Put Aluminum Foil in Your Air Fryer?

You can put it anywhere in the basket, as long as it doesn’t come into contact with the heating element. The two places I’ve used foil successfully are in the bottom of the air fryer and directly beneath the food.

Can You Use Foil with Acidic Foods

Be aware of the kind of food you’re cooking. Is it acidic, or does it have high levels of salt?

It’s normally not a good idea to cook acidic foods or anything with lots of salt on aluminum foil because the acids break down the foil. It can a metallic taste in the food, which is very unpleasant.

Salty or acidic foods can also cause black spots to appear on the food. 

In other words, avoid cooking tomatoes, tomato products, oranges, lemons, or any other citrus on foil. Be judicious with the use of aluminum foil, regardless of what appliance you’re using.

bowl of tomatoes

Is It Okay to Cover Pans with Foil Before Cooking?

I sometimes (but not often) use aluminum foil in place of parchment paper. It’s easy to cover a pan, and it stays in place without much effort on your part.

When you use a small pan to cook something that may drip in your air fryer, it’s fine to cover it with foil. Just remember that the air won’t be able to circulate around and beneath it. However, you can crumple the foil to allow passageways for airflow.

Foil in Air Fryers vs. Microwave Ovens

As I already mentioned, you can use foil in any air fryer … at least most of the time. However, that’s not the case with a microwave.

Most of the time, foil isn’t recommended in a microwave because it can cause sparks. However, there are certain times when you can use it, but you have to be super careful. 

You can cover the very ends of a tenderloin to prevent them from cooking too quickly. It’s been a while since I’ve done this, but when I’ve cooked a pork tenderloin in a microwave, I cover about 2 inches on each end of the meat. Microwave on high for about 2 minutes, and then remove the foil. Finish cooking on 50 percent power.

If in doubt, don’t use foil in your microwave. It’s better to find another way to cook the food than cause a problem with your microwave.

Are Toaster Oven Air Fryers Good?

Quite a few toaster ovens offer an air fryer setting. Mine does. I’ve used it a few times, and it’s nice.

However, it doesn’t provide the same results as my air fryer with the pull-out basket. In my opinion the dedicated air fryer is a better option for cooking quickly and less mess afterward.

How to Use Caution with Aluminum Foil

Aluminum foil (also called aluminium foil in some countries) may interact with certain foods, such as tomato sauce. The chemical reaction to the foil may make the tomatoes taste off.

There is also some speculation that cooking with aluminum foil can trigger Alzheimer’s disease. While there isn’t any conclusive evidence, a lot of people try to limit their use of foil in the kitchen.

Unfortunately, we’re still not aware of the health risks involved with cooking with foil. If you’re concerned, find another alternative. I’ve listed some toward the bottom.

Shiny Side or Dull Side Out?

There’s been an ongoing debate among people with different opinions of which side is better for food contact. This is strictly a personal preference. I prefer to have my food in contact with the dull side and the shiny side out. But I don’t have a valid reason.

If you’re not sure which you like better, try cooking the same food twice with aluminum foil in an air fryer. Use each method with the same food to determine which you prefer.

Options Other than Foil

The good news is that there are much better options than foil when using your air fryer. For example, you can use parchment paper.

I was delighted to discover parchment paper that’s precut for different sizes of air fryers. And it actually has holes in it for the air to circulate.

After using this special air fryer parchment for a few months, I made another great discovery—silicone liners! Those things are amazing!

silicone air fryer liners

Choose the size and shape you need for your particular model of air fryer oven. Not only do these liners come in sizes designed to fit, they also have holes for the air to circulate.

To top it off, you can put them on the top rack of your dishwasher! In the long run, you’ll save cooking time and money because you can use them over and over. You can’t get any easier than that!

silicone liner in air fryer basket

If you’re cooking something that doesn’t leave a huge mess, just cook the food in the bare basket. Since most air fryers have nonstick surfaces, cleanup is super easy.

Aluminum Foil in an Air Fryer Conclusion

As I mentioned, I use foil in my air fryer, but only sparingly. I typically cook on the bare basket, unless the food is messy. For example, if it has cheese, I know that cleanup will be a little more difficult. So I usually reach for a silicone mat to help minimize the mess.

The last thing is that you need to experiment with different things in your air fryer. Whether you use a little foil, some silicone mats, parchment paper, or nothing, it’s all about personal preference.

If you recently picked up a new air fryer , enjoy it! If you’ve had one for a while, don’t be afraid to cook a variety of foods.

Favorite Air Fryer Foods

I’ve experimented quite a bit with my air fryer, with only a couple of fails. In fact, most of the time, the food comes out better than it would with my conventional oven.

Here are some of our favorites so far:

Bacon Wrapped Asparagus – If you ever need a way to take your veggie game to the next level, try wrapping it in bacon. Start with asparagus, and you may discover that your non-veggie-loving family will beg for it!

Pork Tenderloin – Air frying your pork tenderloin not only saves time, but it delivers the juiciest, most flavorful meat you can imagine!

Sweet Potato Fries – Crispy on the outside and flaky in the middle, these sweet potato fries come out so good when cooked in your air fryer.

Air Fryer Foods That Will Surprise You

Country Style Ribs – If the weather doesn’t permit cooking on the grill, try your air fryer. You might discover that country style ribs are even better and easier this way!

Blueberry Muffins – Here’s an experiment that turned out so good that I can’t imagine cooking blueberry muffins any other way.

Grilled Cheese Sandwich – Once you make grilled cheese sandwiches in your air fryer, there will be no looking back! Try adding more fillings to take the flavor to the next level of deliciousness!

Bacon Wrapped Jalapeño Poppers – There are so many different appetizers that are actually better in your air fryer, and these bacon wrapped jalapeño poppers are one of them!

Baked Potato – You can even bake a potato in your air fryer. Try this recipe from Julia’s Simply Southern for a delicious baked potato that’s crispy on the outside and soft on the inside!

Crunchy Ranch Chickpeas – Munch and crunch to your heart’s content with these deliciously crispy ranch chickpeas. High in protein, they’re actually good for you!

Boiled Eggs – Yes, you read that right. I now “boil” eggs in my air fryer. Is it technically boiling? No, but they come out just as good as boiling them in water. The bonus is that they’re easier to peel!

I’ll add more as I learn new ways to cook with my air fryer. If you’re on the fence about getting an air fryer, go ahead and take the plunge! You won’t regret it!

Please feel free to share!