A Complete Beginners Guide To The Air Fryer

In this comprehensive beginner’s guide to the air fryer, we will explore the wonderful world of air frying and provide you with all the information you need to know to get started. Whether you’re a cooking enthusiast or just looking for a healthier alternative to deep frying, the air fryer is a versatile kitchen appliance that can help you achieve crispy, delicious results with less oil. So let’s dive in and discover the amazing benefits and possibilities of air frying!

With experience, the Air Fryer can produce quick and tasty recipes. It cooks faster than any conventional method, so judging the timing and heat settings can be difficult at first.

Manufacturers and their Ads are often over enthusiastic about the time it takes to make perfect fried chicken for example, sometimes your model may take up to 20% longer than they state.

You really don’t need a bout of food poisoning from your first Chicken, so how can a beginner get things right?

Find All the Air Fryer Articles on Hints and Tips

Table of Contents

    What is an Air Fryer?

    An air fryer is a countertop kitchen appliance that uses hot air circulation to cook food, producing a crispy outer layer similar to deep frying but with significantly less oil. It works by rapidly circulating hot air around the food, cooking it evenly and quickly. The air fryer’s cooking chamber and high-powered fan ensure that the hot air reaches all parts of the food, creating that desirable crispy texture.

    Benefits of Air Frying

    1. Healthier Cooking

    One of the main advantages of air frying is its ability to provide healthier meals. Traditional deep frying involves submerging food in oil, resulting in high-calorie dishes. With an air fryer, you can achieve similar crispy and delicious results with up to 75% less oil. This reduction in oil intake can be beneficial for individuals looking to lower their fat and calorie consumption.

    2. Versatility in Cooking

    Air fryers are not limited to just frying. They can also be used for grilling, baking, roasting, and even reheating leftovers. This versatility allows you to prepare a wide range of dishes using a single appliance, making it a valuable addition to any kitchen.

    3. Time and Energy Efficiency

    Air fryers are designed to cook food quickly and efficiently. The rapid circulation of hot air ensures that cooking times are significantly reduced compared to traditional methods. Additionally, since air fryers are smaller than conventional ovens, they require less energy to operate, helping you save on electricity bills.

    4. Easy to Use and Clean

    Operating an air fryer is relatively simple. Most models come with user-friendly controls and preset cooking programs for various food types. Additionally, the non-stick surfaces of air fryer baskets and trays make them easy to clean. With minimal effort, you can keep your air fryer in top condition for continued use.

    Beginners guide – Getting Started

    1. Read the Manual

    Before using your air fryer, it’s essential to read the instruction manual provided by the manufacturer. This will give you valuable insights into the specific features and functionalities of your appliance.

    2. Familiarize Yourself with the Controls

    Take some time to understand the various controls and settings on your air fryer. Most models include temperature and time adjustment buttons, as well as preset cooking programs. Familiarizing yourself with these controls will help you achieve the desired results when preparing different recipes. If yours is one with simple dial controls (non digital) , will the timer turn backwards? If not then take extra care when setting it, otherwise you may have to time it manually until the clockwork turns to zero.

    3. Preheat the Air Fryer

    Preheating the air fryer is an important step to ensure even cooking. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to preheat the appliance to the recommended temperature for your specific recipe.

    4. Use the Right Cooking Accessories

    Many air fryers come with additional accessories such as grill racks, baking pans, and skewers. These accessories can enhance your cooking experience and allow you to prepare a wider variety of dishes. Make sure to use the appropriate accessories for the recipe you’re preparing.

    5. Adjust Cooking Times and Temperatures

    While air fryers often provide preset cooking programs, it’s essential to remember that different recipes may require adjustments in cooking times and temperatures. Experimentation and practice will help you determine the perfect settings for your favorite dishes. Get to know the maximum settings possible both time and temperature, then you can be prepared for any recipe.

    Get the Temperature right

    No one wants limp, greasy fried chicken or burnt offerings, so lets take a look at the temperature in most recipes.  If the unit is new, your best bet is to do a simple experiment. Follow the instructions for your recipe and just before it reaches the end of cooking time, open it up and use an internal food thermometer to check the temperature of the various parts of the food. For instance the legs and breast of a chicken.

    Old-school thermometer and new Digital type. The read-out with the newer type is instant, so you don’t have the oven door open for more time than absolutely necessary.

    When testing Chicken, check the dark-meat areas for a slightly higher temperature

    Some of the new range of  multi-cooker with Air-Fryer capable features, come with a temperature sensor built it, ensuring you are reaching the right temperature, as set on the controls 100% of the time. 

    Simple Quick and Accurate meat thermometer, every chef and cook should have .

    Is Preheating your AirFryer Necessary?

    Despite what all the hype you’ve seen for Air Fryers, yes, it will take a few minutes for the unit to reach its cooking temperature, and if you ignore it, your results will be undercooked and lack crispness. 

    True the warm-up time is no where near the 10 minutes needed for a conventional oven, but it IS still important to allow about 2 to 3 minutes. Also take into account the cooling off that occurs when you open the AirFryer drawer to shake or turn the contents, make it as fast as possible.

    Should You Add Oil or not?

    Again despite what all the hype you’ve seen for Air Fryers, to cook fries in particular, and any coated fried food, you’re going to need some oil. Frozen Fries often come with enough on them, straight from the freezer. Fresh chips/fries will definitely need a little oil sprayed on. 

    Without oil, you will end up with poorly cooked fries, possibly burnt at the edges. With oil it will crisp up the outside and cook through making a nice fluffy inside…. perfect.  Ensure you turn or shake the contents at least once during the cooking cycle to give a better coverage.

    Avoid the aerosol type oil dispenser, the propellant is NOT good for your health, long term, buy a pump bottle and use it with your favourite cooking oil. 

    Beginners Guide – Delicious and Simple Air Fryer Recipes

    Now that you have a good understanding of the basics, let’s explore a few typical mouthwatering recipes that you can try with your air fryer:

    Recipe 1. Crispy Air-Fried Chicken Wings


    • 1 pound chicken wings
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 1 teaspoon paprika
    • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper


    1. Preheat the air fryer to 400°F (200°C).
    2. In a bowl, combine olive oil, paprika, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper.
    3. Toss the chicken wings in the mixture until evenly coated.
    4. Place the wings in the air fryer basket, making sure they are not overcrowded.
    5. Cook for 15 minutes, then flip the wings and cook for an additional 10 minutes or until golden brown and crispy.
    6. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce and enjoy!

    Recipe 2. Air-Fried Vegetable Spring Rolls


    • 8 spring roll wrappers
    • 1 cup shredded cabbage
    • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
    • 1/2 cup bean sprouts
    • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
    • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
    • 1 tablespoon sesame oil


    1. Preheat the air fryer to 375°F (190°C).
    2. In a bowl, combine cabbage, carrots, bean sprouts, green onions, soy sauce, and sesame oil.
    3. Place a spring roll wrapper on a clean surface.
    4. Spoon a portion of the vegetable mixture onto the center of the wrapper.
    5. Fold the sides of the wrapper towards the center, then roll it up tightly.
    6. Repeat the process with the remaining wrappers and filling.
    7. Place the spring rolls in the air fryer basket, ensuring they are not touching each other.
    8. Cook for 8-10 minutes or until the spring rolls are golden and crispy.
    9. Serve with sweet chili sauce or soy sauce for dipping.

    Recipe 3. Stir Fry Crispy Chilli Steak Strips


    • 300g thin cut steak ,
    • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil plus drizzling oil
    • 2 garlic cloves
    • 2 tbsp cornflour
    • small piece of ginger – peel and cut into strips
    • 1 red chilli
    • 1 red pepper
    • 4 spring onions
    • 4 tbsp rice wine vinegar /wht wine vinegar to taste
    • 1 tbsp soy sauce
    • 2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
    • 2 tbsp tomato ketchup
    • Marinade: 1/2 tsp Chinese 5Spice powder
      • 2tsp soy sauce
      • 1tsp sesame oil
      • 1tsp caster sugar


    1. Separate the green and white bits of the onions then slice up.
    2. Thinly slice the pepper and Crush the garlic
    3. combine all the marinage ingredients together in a bowl. Put the steak strips in and leave refridgerated for at least 12 – 24 hours
    4. Sprinkle the cornflour over the mix until it is all covered with the floury paste
    5. pull apart and arrange on a plate, Drizzle some oil over each piece
    6. Pre-heat the air fryer to 220° C
    7. Place on the rack in the air fryer basket and cook for 6 – 7 mins then turn and cook another 5 mins
    8. Meanwhile, heat 2 tbsp vegetable oil in a wok over a high heat and stir-fry the ginger, garlic,, chilli, pepper and white ends of the spring onions for 2-3 mins until the pepper softens, careful not to burn the ginger and garlic.
    9. Add the vinegar, soy sauce, sweet chilli sauce and cook for about 1 min, turn down to simmer
    10. Finally: put the steak strips into the wok and toss through the sauce, Cook for another minute or so until it is hot then serve and cover with the greens from the spring onion and some of the sauce.



    Congratulations! You are now equipped with the knowledge and skills to make the most out of your air fryer. By understanding the benefits, following the essential steps, and experimenting with various recipes, you can create delicious, healthier meals that will leave you satisfied and impressed. Remember, the air fryer is a versatile tool that opens up a world of possibilities in the kitchen. So start exploring, be creative, and enjoy the journey of cooking with your air fryer!

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