Master the Air Fryer with Parchment Paper Tricks!

I was late to the air fryer game. I’m late on a lot of things that involve purchasing a new or unfamiliar appliance. But I was finally convinced when a recipe developer I trust on Instagram broke down and bought one, posting her genuine marvel at the convenience.

Something that I noticed right off the bat is that during her cleanup process, she peeled a piece of parchment paper from the bottom of the basket, and I thought, “Paper? Frying? Seems dangerous.” Indeed, common sense would dictate that any type of paper used in any sort of frying would be a bad idea. So, was my Instagram source just lucky? Or a master of resourcefulness?

What Is Parchment Paper – and Is It Safe for the Air Fryer?

Parchment paper might sound more like a tool for drawing than for the kitchen, but it is paper safe for the oven. Its most common use is in baking, providing a handy protective layer between baking sheet and cookie or other confection for easy cleanup. It withstands pretty much all oven temperatures, so using it in an air fryer isn’t a big leap.

Parchment paper is safe to use with this appliance as long as a few precautions are observed.

How to Use Parchment Paper in an Air Fryer

First, ensure what you’re using is, in fact, food grade parchment paper. Accidentally swapping it with any other paper product or its similar-looking brother wax paper would be a big, messy mistake.

Next, check the maximum temperature restriction of the parchment paper — it’ll be printed on the box. The oven might be a place to push the boundaries on this, but let’s not try it in the air fryer. If it ignites, you’ll have quite the problem on your hands.

Cut the paper to the size of the bottom of your air fryer basket. It’s best to cut it a bit smaller in fact, so air can circulate more freely (air circulation is paramount to how an air fryer cooks). Stuffing the air fryer with large or excess paper willy nilly is a sure-fire way to disaster (pun intended). Perforating and trimming the paper is even better, further assisting in air circulation, allowing any grease to drain away from food as it needs to, and making it less likely the paper will float around inside the unit.

If you’re preheating your air fryer, don’t add the parchment until afterward, when it can be weighed down by food, or it’ll fly about inside the basket, which can put it in contact with the heating element and burn it.

Get the recipe: Air Fryer Mini Peppers Stuffed with Cheese and Sausage

Parchment paper is good for food that might stick to the basket, like chicken wings, making clean up a bit easier. If you’re tempted to use parchment every day or are simply waste-conscious, consider instead a silicone liner for air fryers. They’re reusable and dishwasher safe, cutting down on both waste and worry.

Above all, understanding that your air fryer contains a circulating fan and very hot heating elements is essential. Placing paper in that environment will always pose some sort of risk, so take every precaution and don’t leave it unattended.

What You Shouldn’t Use in an Air Fryer

Though an air fryer is versatile and feels like it can be used for anything, there are a few things that should be avoided:


Fresh cheese has a low melting point and is too light to cook properly without being bounced about. Avoiding a stringy, sticky mess is impossible unless it’s frozen and breaded. Steer clear and keep that grilled cheese in the frying pan.

Whole Chicken

Air fryer baskets are pretty small to begin with, but some recipes for whole chickens have been circulating around the internet recently. Even if you have a large enough basket and a small enough chicken, it’s just not a good idea to stuff the basket that full. Air needs to properly circulate around the food to cook it properly, and a chicken poses especially dangerous risks if all parts aren’t cooked correctly.

Wet Batter or Liquid Sauces

This appliance is all about getting things cooked and crisp. Wet batter won’t crisp and too much liquid will burn or blow about the heating bits. Keep the wet batter for cooking in oil and the sauces on the stove top. If you’re making wings, first cook them in the air fryer, then toss them in sauce.


Speaking of loose particles, popcorn will surely blow about in your air fryer, causing a lot of damage. Not to mention, it won’t get hot enough to pop the kernels. Save the popping for your microwave.


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