Do Air Fryers Need Oil? (Best Oil for Airfryer)

An air fryer is one of the best cooking appliances I have ever owned. It has always given me amazing food results.

I decided to find out if I can put oil inside and cook. I found out that this appliance is capable of far more than meets the eye and is a winner all around. 

Allow me to tell you all about air frying with oil – what kind of oil and how much to get perfectly done food with an air fryer. 

Do Air Fryers Need Oil? 

No, an air fryer can cook food without oil. But adding a few drops is recommended by most manufacturers.

It enhances the taste and texture of food. 

An air fryer does not have a particular chamber or space to place oil. You need to put it inside your food or brush your food with the oil.

As a thumb rule, whatever method you choose, do not go beyond one to two spoons. 

I know your next thought would be what type of oil works best for an Air fryer.

Let us get down to it. 

What Kind of Oil Is Best for Air Fryer? 

If you are cooking below 400° F, you can use any kind of oil or even butter. You can also experiment with a blend of oils.

The canvas is all yours to paint in any way that you like. 

When it comes to high temperatures of 400° F and above, go for an oil that has a high smoking point.

This way you will not lose its nutritional value nor compromise the taste of food. 

The smoking point of any oil means the point at which the oil starts to smoke at a particular temperature. 

Here is a small table to make it easy for you to know the smoking point of commonly used oil in your kitchens : 

              Name of Oil          Smoking Point  (° F)
Avocado oil520
Rice Bran Oil490
Extra Light Olive oil 470
Peanut Oil450
Soyabean Oil450
Vegetable Oil  450
Palm Oil  450
Refined Coconut Oil 450
Sunflower Oil 450
Grapeseed Oil 420
Butter  350

Best Oils to Use in Airfryer (My Recommendation)

Here are the oils I recommend you use when cooking food in an air fryer: 

Extra Light Olive Oil

I love the health benefit that olive oils offer.

They are great for the heart. The extra light Olive oil milds up the strong pungency of pure olive oil.

It imparts a light flavor without overcoming the taste of the food that you are cooking. 

Also read: Can You Use Olive Oil for Baking? What You Should Know!

Avocado Oil 

Avocados are also high in their nutritional content and healthy for the bones.

As you can see, they have the highest smoking point from the table.

You can use this oil for high-temperature cooking in your air fryer. 

Peanut Oil 

I love this oil for the taste and flavor it gives to food- neither too light nor too strong.

A light oil, use it for cooking food at almost all temperatures without worrying about it burning.

Peanut oil is also great for the heart.

Coconut Oil (refined)

Refined Coconut oil is also a mild oil that softens the meaty taste of pure coconut oil.

It is light, sweet, and can be used to cook food up to 450° F.

Coconut oil is a bit high in saturated fat so you need to be careful and not overdo your consumption of this oil. 

Let us look at different ways you can use oil inside an Air fryer : 

The Right Way of Using Oil in Air Fryer 

There are three ways by which you can use oil safely inside your Air fryer : 

Brushing Oil on Food

This is a simple way of oiling. Take one or two spoonfuls of oil (depending on your preferred texture and taste – use more for more crispiness)  

Dip your brush inside the oil and then use it to apply a thin layer over your food.

Use large strokes to spread it evenly. 

Spraying Oil on Food 

Before proceeding with this method, I would like to stress to not use market-bought cooking sprays.

They contain aerosols and other harmful chemicals that can compromise the interiors of your appliance.

Take an empty misting or spray bottle and fill it up with your favorite oil. Spray it on the food covering all sides before keeping it inside the air fryer.

Drizzling Oil on Food 

This is very easy. Place all the raw ingredients in a bowl and a spoonful or two (again depending on your choice) of oil.

Drizzle the oil with the ingredients on your food and rub it around with your hand. Place food inside your Air fryer. 

Follow the tips below for a better outcome while using oil in an air fryer 

Tips When Using Oil for Air Frying 

  • Halfway into cooking, flip your food and use the brush/spray to coat the meat pieces on the other side as well. This way you will get a crunchy texture all around your food. 
  • Some veggies like potatoes tend to soften down with too much oil. Keep your hand light while using oil with vegetables.  
  • Avoid drizzling or spraying oil when you have already placed food inside the air fryer. If you have forgotten to do it before, use the brush technique inside the air fryer. This will prevent your basket and drawer from getting greasy and messy.  
  • The meat you cook will always drip oil and grease into your drawer. Don’t throw it away. You can use it as a coating for your next food or as a seasoning adding some herbs. 

Oiling Suggestions For Common Food Preparations in Air Fryer

The quantity of oil depends on your taste and texture preference. 

Here are a few suggestions I would like to give when you are making some common food preparations in your air fryer

Frozen Foods 

Frozen food will have some amount of moisture in them.

Place them inside the air fryer. After two minutes, open up your basket and brush oil on its surface.

Halfway into the cooking time, when you flip over, brush the other side with oil again.

Oiling Frozen food will prevent it from drying up completely. It will give you juicy results inside with a crispy texture outside. 

Vegetables 

I would advise mixing the oil with seasoning and then putting your chopped veggies inside a bowl.

Give a good mix so the oil is coated well all around. 

Do not overdo the oil as some veggies tend to soften up with excess oil. Once coated, place the veggies in your air fryer. 

Meat 

For a crusty and juicy finish, drizzle and rub oil to form a thin layer of oil all around your meat. 

Oil will give added moisture inside the meat. It will also ensure the formation of a crusted layer on the outside. 

Dehydrating Veggies 

For this, use a very little amount of oil. Choose a light oil with less flavor. Vegetable oil works well for dehydrating veggies. 

Just spray a little oil on the chopped veggies and place them in your air fryer.

Conclusion 

Knowing the right method and the right oil is important for air frying. Using too much or the wrong kind of greasing can decrease the lifespan of your air fryer.

It can also alter the food taste and give wrong results in a recipe. 

As a rule of thumb, do not go beyond a spoonful or two.

Use a brush while applying oil on food inside the air fryer and spray or drizzle oil with food before placing it inside the air fryer. 

When it comes to the choice of oil, it all comes down to personal preferences and recipes.

There is no harm in experimenting with oil as long as it does not start to smoke and burn. Keep in mind the smoking point table above and choose accordingly. 

Armed with the knowledge above, enjoy your recipes with oil in an air fryer! 

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