That’s an excellent question – and one that is asked often. The short answer is… yes. Yes you can use parchment paper in any air fryer. But it’s important to follow a few basic guidelines in order to do so safely and effectively.
The fact that you’re interested in the possibility of using parchment paper while air frying suggests that you value your air fryer as a kitchen appliance and you want to make the most of it. And that’s a good thing… so let’s dig a little deeper.
What is Parchment Paper Anyway?
Parchment paper is heat resistant, grease-proof, nonstick paper that is designed for a variety of cooking and baking applications. It is also known as baking paper. And yes you can use it to bake in your air fryer too.
Parchment is an excellent option to use whenever you are cooking something that is wet, sticky or oily – like chicken wings, broccoli, or tofu cooked in a sticky teriyaki sauce.
The Big Reason Why Parchment Paper Is Used in an Air Fryer
Undoubtedly the number one reason for deploying parchment paper is that it’s naturally nonstick. This means that it can spare you from at least some of the clean up required afterwards. With less mess, you won’t waste time and effort that might otherwise be necessary to get your air fryer sparkling clean again after cooking.
Parchment paper helps protect your air fryer. When food particles, sauces and other drippings like oil or grease land on the parchment paper, it’s easy to dispose of without having to scrub messy foods off your air fryer’s basket.
Parchment paper prevents sticking. So when your food is cooked you don’t have to pry it off the basket with a heavy spatula in order to serve it up. You simply lift the food from the basket to the serving plate.
Cleanup is quick and efficient. Even if the parchment paper doesn’t catch everything – it’s going to get most of it. If you do need to soak the air fryer basket – it’s much easier to clean after using parchment paper than had you not used it in the first place.
Parchment paper lining the bottom of your air fryer basket serves as a catchall for anything that is small enough to fall through the grate of your air fryer basket – like homemade granola for example.
Another Reason Why
When you cook with parchment paper, you don’t have to worry about applying oil to the surface and yet – nothing sticks. Using less oil is a healthier option for anybody and everybody. Once your food is cooked to perfection and plated, you simply gather up the used parchment paper (along with all the remnants it collected) and toss it in the compost bin. It just doesn’t get any easier than this.
How To Use Parchment Paper in an Air Fryer
Some people suggest that the only parchment paper you can use in your air fryer is the premade, perforated type. You can buy these sheets of parchment paper in air fryer ready form to suit a variety of popular models. Another option is to make your own perforated parchment.
But we can tell you from experience that those perforations are not absolutely essential.
Perforated parchment paper liners may be a better way to cook in your air fryer – since these allow for better airflow. But if the primary reason for using parchment is to reduce cleanup, having dozens of holes in the paper doesn’t necessarily lend itself to that result. What’s more effective is to use a quality parchment paper cut to fit the bottom of the basket of your air fryer.
Now here’s the key: do not span the entire bottom of the basket. You want to leave space around the outside to expose several of the holes on the bottom. In other words, cut your parchment paper to fit inside the basket without going all the way to the sides.
This takes into account the way an air fryer functions. An air fryer surrounds the food with a constant flow of heated air in order to cook it. If you cover the entire bottom of your basket with paper – you’re not getting the benefit of direct contact with heated air from below. One way to counteract this is to flip your food halfway through the cooking process.
Read Your Manual
By the way, your first order of business should always be to refer to your owner’s manual. Read what the manufacturer has to say about using parchment paper inside. For best results always follow these guidelines. But in general – and with most air fryers – you can likely get similar results to ours by following these simple guidelines.
What Makes Parchment Paper a Good Choice?
Whatever brand of parchment paper you opt to use in an air fryer, needs to be oven safe to the temperature you plan on using. Typically, parchment paper can handle temperatures up to about 400°F – and sometimes slightly above. Thankfully, that’s often the top temperature attainable in an air fryer – although some models now go up to 500°F. In this case, you are advised to maintain the temperature at 400° or less when cooking with a parchment liner of any kind.
Parchment vs. Wax Paper
These papers have a similar look but serve different functions. Parchment paper is coated with a food-grade silicone making it nonstick and safe. Wax paper on the other hand is coated with wax that breaks down when heated. Since parchment paper is heat resistant – you can certainly add it to any oven or air fryer as long as the temperature is within range. Wax paper on the other hand will quickly cause smoke as the wax begins to melt – which could result in a hazardous situation.
Made For Your Air Fryer
You can order precut parchment paper – complete with perforations – to fit your air fryer. Or, you can make parchment inserts yourself. To do so, simply cut a single layer of parchment paper slightly smaller than the bottom of the basket of your air fryer. Ideally, you should allow ½ to ¾ of an inch on all sides.
After cutting to the proper size, fold the parchment in half and then fold it in half a second time. You can use a basic single hole punch to create a series of holes. By double folding the paper – you only have to cut those holes once and they are made simultaneously on the whole insert. Once done cutting your holes, fold the paper back out and place it in your air fryer.
Preheat Without Parchment
Never add parchment paper (or any paper or foil for that matter) to the air fryer prior to preheating. If your air fryer requires preheating – do so with an empty basket. Once the desired temperature has been reached, you can drop the paper inside. But do so carefully since the basket will already be hot to the touch. If you don’t need to preheat your air fryer – go ahead and place the parchment paper inside – then load your food in the basket.
One Location Only
Always remember to only place parchment paper inside the air fryer basket. It should never go in any other location – including on the bottom of your air fryer. Any improper application will prevent your food from cooking in the air fryer as it’s designed to and may damage to your appliance at the same time. Stick to adding parchment to the bottom of the basket only and allow for as much air to flow around it as possible.
Perforated or Non-Perforated?
Perforated parchment works better where applicable because it provides better airflow throughout the entire cooking chamber. Perforated parchment paper inserts are a slightly better option whenever you’re air frying foods that are fairly large and dry. This would include fries, chicken nuggets, chicken fingers, cauliflower bites, onion rings, Brussels sprouts and so on.
But certain dishes require a solid surface – like what you would get from a non-perforated insert. Pancakes are a perfect example. You wouldn’t want wet pancake batter dripping through the basket of your air fryer, or you would have an awful mess to clean up. But when that batter is well contained within the surface area of parchment paper insert – you can make delicious pancakes. Non-perforated parchment inserts also work well when air frying foods in marinates or sauces – like barbequed tofu fingers, for example.
Parchment Adds Versatility
Now that you’ve got your air fryer up and running, it’s only natural to want to expand your cooking capabilities with this amazing kitchen tool. Your next step should be to pick up some quality parchment paper – or inserts made for your specific model. You can find these for many different brands and sizes of air fryers.
Most importantly find a good that can withstand the heat of your air fryer. Quality parchment paper can easily handle heat up to 400°F – but not all parchment paper sold has this high of a tolerance to temperature. Always check before using. If it says on the package that the maximum heat is lower than this number – cast it aside and choose an alternate brand instead. Good quality parchment paper is generally available in any grocery store. You can also find it online.
It Definitely Helps
Our recommendation is to use perforated parchment wherever it will do the job. You can air fry just about any dish this way and the parchment will help prevent stuck on messes.
Parchment paper can help extend the life of the nonstick coating on your air fryer’s basket. Whenever food particles, oils or grease land on an insert instead of directly on the basket – they are easy to get rid of by simply throwing out the paper once you’re done. But if you allow those same spills to hit the metal basket – you’re going to have to clean it. And even though most baskets are nonstick – soaking and scrubbing may be necessary. The problem is that the more you scrub the surface of the basket – the more you risk damaging the delicate nonstick coating.
Be Certain You’re Getting Parchment Paper
Don’t be confused over which paper to use. Wax paper looks very similar to parchment paper but in actual use – they are miles apart. With a food-grade parchment paper, you have nothing
to worry about as long as it can withstand the temperatures at which you are planning to cook in your air fryer. Wax paper is completely different. It is not intended to withstand heat and will soon begin to break down when exposed to increased temperatures.
Use the Right Size Insert
Never stuff a larger piece of parchment (or anything else) in your air fryer than you should. Most rolls you can purchase are going to be wider than the width of your basket. That means you’ll need to cut it out by hand to get it to the right size. Simply measure and then cut your paper to fit while allowing an adequate margin around the outside to maximize airflow. You always want the paper to be smaller than the basket size itself.
You’ll want to be sure to use parchment paper in your air fryer whenever you’re cooking dishes similar to these:
French toast fingers
Donuts and Cinnamon rolls
In short, air frying any food that uses a raw dough, batter, sauce, or marinade is best done with the help of a non-perforated parchment paper insert of the proper size. That’s the only way to ensure get the results you’re after without the tedious cleanup.
Makes This Favorite Appliance Even Better
What’s great about air fryers as they crisp up the outside of foods perfectly while keeping the inside tender and juicy and evenly cooked. But they’re not always the easiest things to clean. That’s why deploying parchment paper inserts can really be helpful.
If your paper is safe to use in an oven – chances are it’s going to be safe to use in your air fryer too – as long as you do so the proper way. Lining your basket with parchment paper is the best way to keep your appliance clean without subjecting it to significant hand-washing.
Fitted Parchment Paper Makes It Even Easier
Using parchment paper is a great way to keep your air fryer in good shape and ready to go at a moment’s notice. So having a ready supply of parchment paper inserts – both perforated and non-perforated – can be helpful.
Some air fryers feature mesh baskets with smaller holes. In this case perforated parchment paper is probably not the best option because the holes in the paper will be much bigger than the holes in the basket. When that’s the case – use regular parchment paper instead.
Another option is to make your parchment inserts the exact size of your food. This works particularly well when cooking foods like fish fillets, tofu fingers, or cauliflower steaks.
An air fryer is a healthy alternative so you can enjoy crispy, delicious food without cooking it in a pool of hot oil. When used with parchment paper in the basket, it’s easier to clean and maintain. Plus, it adds even more versatility to your appliance.