Can You Put a Paper Plate in an Air Fryer?

The best way to party is to use paper plates for food. The other day, after the party, I still had a stack of them left.

I wonder if I can use them in the air fryer to reheat leftovers.

As an air fryer is an electric appliance, I don’t want to take any risk. Let us find out.

Can You Put a Paper Plate in an Air Fryer?

No, you should not use a paper plate in the air fryer. 

A Paper plate does not have the required structural integrity or weight to be used for cooking.

The thin structural bonding breaks when exposed to heat at high temperatures. You will end up with a distorted soggy plate with burnt edges.

As the juices of the food would have been absorbed by the paper, the food would get dried out ( not to mention a bland, chewy texture and taste).

If exposed for a long at high temperatures, a paper plate can also catch fire.

No matter how lazy you are feeling, and how tempted you are to throw the paper plate along with leftovers in the air fryer, do not risk a potential fire hazard.

Also read: Can Air Fryer Catch Fire or Explode? What to Do if Air Fryer Catches Fire?

Why You Should Never Use a Paper Plate in the Air Fryer?

A paper plate is not designed to handle the hot temperatures in the air fryer.

Likewise, an air fryer is not designed to handle delicate heat-sensitive materials like a paper plate.

Read the points below for more clarity:

A Paper Plate is Thin and Structurally Incompatible

Paper plates are pretty thin, having a thickness of 1 to 1.5 mm. This makes them flimsy, frail, and heat sensitive.

They easily bend, distort, and discolor when exposed to intense heat. This is because of weak structural integrity. They end up losing color and shape.

A Paper Plate Can Catch Fire Easily

Remember how papers are bundled up to start a fire?

A paper can easily catch fire when exposed to the hot temperatures of the air fryer. The burning temperature of a paper depends on its thickness. On average, the paper catches fire at 420° F.

Modern-day air fryers have temperatures up to 450° F.  This temperature is well above the igniting temperature of paper.

You will find the edges of the paper turning brown, even when kept at lower temperatures for a long duration in the air fryer.

A paper Plate Absorbs the Food’s Moisture

A paper plate is made up of cellulose topped with a thin wax coating.

Cellulose is a natural water absorber. This is why tissue papers are used to dry hands.

In a paper plate, the waxy coating on top prevents the cellulose from absorbing moisture.

When exposed to hot temperatures inside the air fryer, the wax layer breaks down. This enables the cellulose to absorb moisture and lose shape.

As the fluids start getting soaked up inside the plate, the food starts to become dry. You will find moisture pool spots in many areas of the plate.

Alternative to Using Paper Plate in Air Fryer

Frankly speaking, the Airfryer works by placing the food directly inside the basket. This enables good airflow in the holes beneath the food and allows cooking to occur.

When we place any plate or accessory inside the basket, we would be blocking the hole vents. This can lead to uneven/delayed cooking.

However, for certain food recipes like a pastry batter or reheating food, you can use the following heatproof plates inside the air fryer:

  • Silicone plate
  • Ceramic plate
  • Glass plate
  • Metal plate

Allow me to take each one separately.

Silicone Plate

Silicone can withstand temperatures up to 450° F and can be safely used in the air fryer.

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They are great options for molds or reheating leftovers. However, as silicone is a poor heat conductor, it can lead to delayed/uneven cooking.

A silicone plate will cause no damage whatsoever to the food or the Airfryer. Just make sure to leave some empty holes in the basket for all-around airflow.

Ceramic Plate

Ceramic is heat resistant as it is made by exposing clay to intense heat. 

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You can comfortably use a ceramic plate inside the air fryer. Just make sure it does not have glazing on top. Glazing contains lead, and lead can be toxic.

The hand-made ceramic plates often contain glazing on top and as they do not undergo quality control, the amount of lead can be dangerous.

Glass Plate

Oven proof glass plate is safe to put inside the air fryer. Look for oven proof sign on the plate or in the manufacturing instructions.

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Another important thing is never to place a cold oven-proof glass plate inside the air fryer. Wash it with hot water to warm it up before placing it inside.

This is because glass is susceptible to thermal stress and can shatter with sudden temperature changes.

Additionally, make sure the plate dimensions fit inside the Airfryer and do not block a lot of holes in the basket. Blocked air flow can lead to uneven cooking.

Metal Plate

You can place a metal plate in the air fryer as long as it is oven safe.

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For a material to be oven safe, it is tested at high temperatures of up to 500° F.  This is good enough for an air fryer.

Apart from the oven safety mark, make sure to use oven mitts while removing the metal plate, as it can get very hot.

It is also a good idea to grease the plate as the food can stick to metal.

What Other Material Plates Should You Not Use in the Air Fryer?

Along with a paper plate, you should also not use a Plastic or Styrofoam Plate inside the Airfryer.

These can melt and burn as they are not heat resistant. An air fryer interior with high heat temperatures will distort them and cause leeching into the food.

The melting temperature of plastic and Styrofoam is as low as 212-300F. It is way below the average cooking temperatures inside the air fryer.

Here I have summarised the different types of plates, air fryer compatibility, and temperature safety limits:

PlatesAir Fryer Compatibility Safe Temperature Ranges (in Fahrenheit)
PaperNoNot safe
SiliconeYes200-425° F
Ceramic (porcelain)Yes250-375° F
GlassYes200-350° F
PlasticNoNot safe
StyrofoamNoNot safe
Metal (oven-safe stainless steel)Yes450-500° F

Why is Parchment Paper Recommended Over Plates in the Air Fryer?

Parchment paper can withstand high temperatures up to 450° F. They will not react with food or mess up the air fryer.

It does not require any cleanup afterward and can be reused. You even get parchment paper with holes mimicking the basket holes.

You can even place parchment paper on top of the plate under the food if you do not wish to clean the plate later on.

An important thing to remember while using parchment paper is to cut it according to the basket dimensions.

Also, weigh it down to prevent it from flying inside the air fryer.

Safety Tips to Follow When Putting Oven Safe Plates in the Air Fryer

Keep in mind the following rules while placing an oven-safe plate in the air fryer:

  • Double-check the oven-safe sign on the plate. Read the instructions booklet to find out the temperature limitations
  • Look for any signs of damage, like cracks or chipping on the plate. A damaged plate will undergo thermal stress inside the air fryer, causing it to shatter.
  • Make sure the plate dimensions fit inside the Airfryer without a lot of basket holes.  The holes will allow good airflow inside the air fryer.
  • As the basket holes will block the airflow beneath the plate, you will need to flip the food midway for even cooking.
  • You may need to prolong the cooking time when using the plate as opposed to keeping the recipe on the basket directly.

Final Words

A paper plate should not be placed in the air fryer. It is best to place the food directly in the basket.

However, if you need to hold the food, use oven-safe plates or parchment paper.

Some oven-safe plates are ceramic, glass, silicone, and metal. A good quality brand will give you great cooking results.

Follow the safety tips above while using a plate inside the air fryer. Bon Apetit!

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