The most common air fryer fails and how to fix them – from dry chicken to undercooked chips
- Many cooks have discovered there’s a learning curve to mastering the air fryer
- Which? has revealed the most common air fryer fails – as well as how to fix them
Since Oprah Winfrey named it one of her favorite kitchen appliances back in 2013, the humble air fryer has surged in popularity, and is now a staple feature in many people’s kitchens.
The appliance uses hot air rather than hot oil to cook foods, offering a quick and healthy alternative to deep-fat fryers.
However, after purchasing an air fryer, many budding chefs have learned the hard way that there’s a bit of learning curve to mastering the appliance.
Thankfully, help is at hand, as Which? has revealed the most common air fryer fails – as well as how to fix them.
Speaking to MailOnline, Emily Seymour, Which? Energy Editor, said: ‘Air fryers are generally easy to use, but it is possible for things to go badly wrong. If you overfill your machine or don’t clean it properly you could end up with undercooked chicken and chips or a kitchen full of smoke.’
after purchasing an air fryer, many budding chefs haVe learned the hard way that there’s a bit of learning curve to mastering the appliance
READ MORE: Are air fryers actually more energy efficient than ovens?
1. Undercooked chips
Frozen chips are a staple for many Britons, but achieving the perfect golden-brown fries in the air fryer is no mean feat.
‘Undercooking or overcooking chips the first couple of times if normal, but if it keeps happening, you may be making some basic mistakes,’ Which? explained.
One of the most common mistakes is overfilling the basket or tray, which can result in burnt chips on the outside, and soggy chips in the middle.
‘To find your air fryer’s optimum capacity, consult the manufacturer’s instruction manual or take some time to experiment with your air fryer,’ Which? advises.
Meanwhile, forgetting to shake the basket often during cooking can also result in underwhelming chips.
‘Even though instructions often state you should only give chips a quick shake or a stir, we’ve found that doing this regularly during cooking gives the best results,’ Which? added.
We all love a frozen chip, but achieving the perfect golden-brown fries in the air fryer is no mean feat
2. Air fryer smokes or emits an unpleasant smell
Your air fryer might smoke or emit an unpleasant smell if it hasn’t been cleaned in a while.
‘Each time you use your air fryer, grease, crumbs and small bits of food will collect at the bottom of the basket,’ Which? said.
‘If you don’t clean them out before using it again, they will burn and cause unpleasant smells or smoke. If you continue cooking, this can even change the taste of your food.’
Luckily, most air fryer baskets are covered in a non-stick coating that makes them easy and quick to clean.
‘The simplest way of cleaning out tougher-to-remove bits is to immerse the tray or basket in hot soapy water and let it soak to soften and lift off the food. Then simply wash it off and let the basket or tray air dry, ready for its next use,’ Which? added.
READ MORE: Slow cookers are up to THREE TIMES more expensive to run than induction hobs, tests reveal
3. Dry chicken
There’s nothing worse than biting into a piece of chicken, only to discover that it’s tough or dry.
This often happens when cooking chicken in the air fryer, as oven cooking instructions do not automatically translate.
Unfortunately, there’s no fail-safe solution here, and instead it’s a case of experimenting.
‘Pre-set programs can come in handy, although you’ll still want to check on your food from time to time to make sure it’s cooking nicely. Alternatively, you can also experiment with time and temperature yourself,’ Which? advises.
4. Messy batter
If you’ve attempted to cook anything with a wet batter in your air fryer, it’s likely you’ve made a huge mess.
While pouring wet batter directly into your air fryer can impact the heating elements, there are several options if you want to cook foods such as cakes, pancakes or onion rings.
‘If you’re preparing foods such as battered onions, fish or nuggets, try making the batter thicker and then dry coating it with bread crumbs or corn flour before cooking. This will prevent the batter from dripping all over the basket,’ Which? said.
Meanwhile, a tin or mould can prove effective when making desserts in the air fryer.
‘If you’re baking a cake or other dessert that involves wet batter, use a silicone tin, oven-safe glass bowl, cupcake tin or mould. This will ensure your food cooks properly, without creating too much mess,’ Which? added.
For expert buying advice and Which? Best Buys, go to which.co.uk/air-fryer
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