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Can You Put a Plate in an Air Fryer?

If you have ever wondered if you can put a plate in an air fryer, the short answer is yes. However, there are several important conditions.

Since I’m a big fan of my air fryer, I like to know all of the ins and outs of using it in the safest and most effective way. The key factors to consider are the material of the plate, the air fryer’s cooking process, and ensuring there is sufficient air circulation for effective cooking.

small white plate in an air fryer basket

Below you’ll find many of the things to consider before you put a plate in your air fryer. These are all based on my experiences.

Put a Plate in an Air Fryer? It All Depends

When it comes to using your air fryer, a common question among home cooks is whether you can put a plate inside it. Whether you’re whipping up a batch of crispy French fries or experimenting with a sort of breakfast burrito bowl, understanding the best way to use accessories and plates can make all the difference in achieving great air fryer recipes. 

french fries in an air fryer basket

Here are the dos and don’ts, focusing on various materials like paper towels, paper plates, aluminum foil, parchment paper, and more, to ensure you get the best results with every cooking session.

Understanding Your Air Fryer

An air fryer works essentially as a mini convection oven or a small countertop oven, circulating hot air around the food items at high temperatures. This intense heat and air flow of this small convection oven ensure that food cooks evenly and ends up crispy. Given this, the materials you put inside need to withstand extreme heat and not block the air circulation. This is crucial for the air fryer’s efficiency.

air fryer on a counter

Types of Plates and Materials to Consider

If a plate can’t handle the heat of a traditional oven, don’t even think about putting it in your air fryer. However, if it can, there are still some things to consider. The good news is that there are some plates that are safe to use in an air fryer,

Safe Options

Under most circumstances, the following options are safe to use in your air fryer:

Metal Plates and Bowls: Stainless steel, oven-safe metal containers, and cast iron pans are great options. They can withstand high temperatures and don’t release harmful chemicals when heated. However, ensure they don’t touch the heating element to prevent damage.

Ceramic Plates and Bowls: Heat-resistant ceramic or porcelain plates and ovenproof dishes, including some types of glass, are safe as long as they are labeled oven-safe. These materials can handle the air fryer’s high heat without cracking.

Silicone Molds and Plates: Due to their heat-resistant nature, silicone plates and molds are a better option for air frying. They can endure high temperatures without melting or releasing harmful substances. I use silicone molds to make these delicious blueberry muffins. And they always come out with the perfect flavor and texture!

plate of 2 air fryer blueberry muffins in silicone mold with a pat of butter on the side

Risky or Unsafe Options

I don’t recommend using the following in your air fryer. The results could be disastrous.

Paper Products: Paper plates, paper towels, and any original packaging are a fire hazard at high temperatures. They can catch fire or melt, creating a mess and potentially damaging your appliance.

Plastic Plates: These are not suitable for air fryers as they can melt and release chemicals due to the intense heat.

Wax Paper: Like paper plates, wax paper is not recommended due to the risk of catching fire or melting.

Best Practices for Using Plates in an Air Fryer

Before you put a plate in your air fryer, there are some things you need to do for safety reasons. Here are some to consider.

  • Check for Oven-Safe Labels: Always use dishes and plates that are labeled as oven-safe, indicating they can handle extreme heat from a regular oven.
  • Avoid Blocking Air Flow: Ensure the plate or dish does not block the air circulation within the air fryer basket. Adequate air flow is essential for even cooking and achieving crispy results for foods such as these crispy chicken thighs.
  • Consider Size and Shape: The maximum size of the plate should fit comfortably in the air fryer basket without touching the sides or the top. Bowl shapes or dishes that can contain food without spilling are preferable.
  • Use Oven-Safe Materials: Opt for materials that are known to be heat resistant and can handle varying levels of heat conductivity, like stainless steel, ceramic, or silicone.
  • Err on the Side of Caution: When in doubt, it’s best to err on the side of caution and use materials you are certain can withstand the air fryer’s heat. This approach prevents accidents and ensures the longevity of both your dishes and the air fryer itself.

Air Fryer or Convection Oven Cooking In a Nutshell

The versatility of air fryers makes them a great addition to any kitchen. The limitations and best practices for using plates and other accessories is crucial for safe and effective cooking. By choosing the right types of plates—focusing on materials that are heat resistant and oven safe—you can expand your air fryer cooking repertoire without risking damage to your appliance or cookware. 

small white plate in an air fryer basket

Whether it’s stainless steel, ceramic, or silicone, selecting the appropriate type of plate will ensure delicious and perfectly cooked dishes every time. And regardless of what you use to cook your food in your air fryer, a good rule of thumb is to always wear oven mitts when handling it. Any baking dish can be quite hot.

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