If the question you are asking is “can you put wax paper in an air fryer?” you’re not alone. It’s a common question among air fryer owners. But the answer may not be as cut and dried as one might think. The reason is that some people say ‘yes’ while others say ‘no’.
But there’s another question that springs to mind and that is… why would you want to put wax (also known as waxed) paper in an air fryer?
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The most popular kitchen rolls include wax paper, parchment paper and tinfoil. And while wax paper looks very similar to parchment paper – they are not the same product at all and shouldn’t be used interchangeably. Parchment is a better option for several reasons. So you may be asking this question because you happen to have wax paper on hand, but are fresh out of parchment paper.
How an Air Fryer Works
The first thing to understand is how an air fryer works. With an interior element that generates significant heat and a fan that circulates this hot air – inside temperatures of an air fryer are hot enough to cook virtually any food. Heated air is driven around, over and under the food basket to fully and evenly cook the food inside. Since air is light and the fan powerful – it easily forces hot air into all corners of an air fryer cooking chamber with ease.
It’s this flow of hot air is vital to the operation of an air fryer. Therefore, adding a slab of paper could actually obstruct this airflow – if you’re not careful. And it doesn’t matter whether it’s parchment paper, aluminum foil, or wax paper.
With any kind of obstruction, some areas of the basket could naturally get hotter and some parts of the food will cook faster and crisp up to a greater degree. The potential also exists for food to easily burn, although this can be alleviated by continuously monitoring whatever it is you’re cooking.
The obvious solution is to use a perforated liner. These are readily available for many brands and sizes of air fryers. But you can also make your own.
Is Wax Paper a Viable Option?
No now let’s look closer at wax paper to determine its viability in an air fryer. Both aluminum foil and parchment paper can sustain significant heat. But wax paper is actually coated in wax – which breaks down when heated. That’s a huge disadvantage right there. For this reason alone, we recommend using parchment paper – an alternative that is made specifically for cooking and baking – without requiring any extra oil.
Using a protective barrier in the bottom of your air fryer basket can be helpful, especially when cooking foods that have a high fat content, or those that are marinated or cooked in a sauce. With such foods, you’re going to get splatters and drips. But cooking them on parchment paper can be helpful in minimizing those spills which can often trigger smoke. An effective liner also makes cleaning up a whole lot easier – and quicker. You simply toss the parchment paper in the compost bin when you’re done. It doesn’t get any easier that that.
But to do the same thing with wax paper doesn’t make much sense. While it may help prevent splatters, the wax coating is going to overheat and break down which can create a burnt wax odor. What’s worse is that it can infuse that odor into whatever food you’re cooking. Well that doesn’t sound particularly appetizing to us – especially given that a workable solution is readily available.
In our experience the best option to prevent grease spills and wet foods from dripping into your air fryer is parchment paper. It’s naturally nonstick and it’s easy to use. Just cut a piece to fit the bottom of your air fryer basket – while allowing ½ to 3/4 of an inch around the perimeter – for air to circulate to and from the bottom. This is very important. Do not block the entire bottom surface area of the basket or it could cause problems.
Check Your Owner’s Manual
The first thing you should do before adding any other item besides food to your air fryer is to refer to the manual. If your appliance did not ship with a printed manual – there’s a very good chance that this manual exists online in PDF form. It’s just a matter of locating and downloading.
Be aware that using some materials could void your warranty. Therefore, always check first and then decide how you choose to proceed.
Air Fryers Are Great, But…
Air fryers are often a better alternative than using a traditional oven. That’s because an oven cannot crisp food to the same degree as quickly as an air fryer can. But cooking some foods in an air fryer can get quite messy. That’s probably why some people wonder if they could use a barrier like wax paper to help minimize that mess.
Well, according to Reynolds – one of the largest aluminum foil manufacturers in the world – you can potentially use their brand in an oven when it’s done so in a specific way.
Wax Paper is Different
Wax paper is made of a soft paper that’s been coated with wax. It’s perfect for wrapping sandwiches to in lunch bags for the kids, or to keep in the fridge. Wax paper is also an excellent way to separate foods like burger patties before freezing. It’s the wax coating that helps keep oil and moisture in the food from leaking – will also protecting it from spills on the outside. It’s a solid paper that can help keep sandwiches, wraps, pitas and burritos fresher longer.
Wax paper is designed for wrapping food and keeping it fresh or for separating foods in the freezer, so in a way, it could be considered nonstick. But wax paper is coated with either paraffin or a soybean-based wax. As such, it is not heat resistant.
Parchment paper on the other hand is both nonstick and heat resistant. Since it doesn’t break down when heated in an air fryer (using normal temperatures) it can be used to line baking trays, to wrap food in order to cook it and to line the bottom of an air fryer’s basket.
Why Wax paper is Not the Best Option
Wax paper is not heat proof and will melt onto your food, or stick to the rack of your air fryer when exposed to heat. If it manages to stay out of your food, it could still make cleanup more challenging than it needs to be.
Another thing to keep in mind is that the waxy coating on waxed paper can catch on fire at temperatures of 350°F or higher. Wax paper can only withstand a limited amount of heat before it begins to break down and that waxy substance could potentially wind up in your food.
Where It Works Best
Wax paper may be an excellent option to use in the microwave because it can help line a dish and prevent splatters. It is nonstick and moisture resistant. And although it’s not resistant to heat – it can be used in a microwave. But in an oven, wax paper is likely to break down, melt, smoke, or catch fire.
Wax paper is made from a thin layer of wax to make it water resistant, but at typical air frying temperatures, the wax can melt and get transferred to whatever it is you’re cooking. Although the food grade wax is likely non-toxic – it’s difficult to imagine it not having a negative impact on your cooking or baking.
Another potential problem with wax paper is that it is not environmentally friendly – like parchment paper is. Since it is coated with wax, it cannot be recycled and is therefore destined for a landfill somewhere.
What a Leading Manufacturer Says
According to Reynolds their Cut-Rite line of wax paper can be put in an oven, but only under certain conditions. So there is a possibility that it could work the same way in an air fryer. According to Reynolds, their waxed paper “may be used as a pan liner for cakes, breads or muffins – or any baked food in which the dough or batter completely covers the wax paper lining”. So as long as it’s not exposed directly to heat and is fully covered by the food you’re cooking – you might be good to go, according to the manufacturer.
In our assessment, we would not recommend using wax paper. If you want the benefit of an added liner to your air fryer, a quality parchment paper or aluminum foil can accomplish most purposes and would therefore be a better choice.
For the best results with your air fryer and the least amount of cleanup – add parchment paper to the basket at the same time that you had your food. This helps contain the parchment paper and keep it in place – so it doesn’t fly around where it could cause a problem, particularly if it came into contact with the heating element.
When you’re finished cooking with parchment paper clean up is a piece of cake. Simply remove the paper and toss it in the compost bin.
Clearly, wax paper is not the best option even if it is possible to cook some foods in your air fryer this way. Parchment paper is better in many ways – and tinfoil can work well to minimize spillage when air frying marinated foods.
Wax Paper Has Its Uses
Wax paper is useful to have on hand in your kitchen. But it needs to be deployed in a proper manner. For example, use it to prevent splatters by covering food in the microwave. Or wrap prepared foods to protect them in the fridge.
Best Results Without the Mess
A little bit of parchment paper can help you get the most out of your air fryer. It is especially helpful when cooking messy foods like your favorite chicken marinated in a sticky honey and soy sauce mixture. Place marinated or sauced foods on the parchment or tinfoil in the bottom of your air fryer. Spread it out. That’s one way to get good results without making a huge mess in your air fryer.
Many people claim that perforated parchment is the best option for air fryers. In some cases that may be true. But whenever you’re working with marinades or high-fat foods it’s better to have a solid slab in the bottom to help contain the mess. Parchment paper with holes can help to some degree. But wherever there’s a perforation – there’s the potential for liquid or food particles to seep through. And that’s something that will have to be cleaned up when you’re finished cooking.
An effective liner can be especially helpful in an air fryer with a mesh type basket – where the holes are much smaller and there are a lot of them. Trying to clean one of those air fryer baskets can be tedious and frustrating. In that case, you’re almost always better off to use a parchment liner in the bottom. It will make for easier cleanup and the food will taste just as good.
When it comes to the air fryer, our recommendation is to choose parchment paper over wax paper every time. Keep in mind that both papers look very similar. But one outperforms the other by a country mile.