Five foods you should not cook in an air fryer

Lynsey Crombie shares how to make dippy eggs in air fryer

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Air fryers use convection heat, unlike deep fat fryers where food is submerged in hot oil. Air fryers circulate hot air to cook the food, similar to a fan oven and crisps the exterior of the food thanks to a chemical process known as the Maillard reaction. Air fryers can pretty much cook anything, but there are a few exceptions. Here’s what not to cook in an air fryer. 

Anything with sauce 

According to BBC Good Food, “hearty dishes” like stews, chilli con carne or bolognese shouldn’t be placed in an air fryer because as the hot circulates inside, the hot liquids can splatter, which “can be dangerous and messy”.

For sauce-based recipes, slow cookers are best, and like an air fryer, they are low maintenance and energy efficient. 

Anything with a wet batter 

Homemade fried chicken can end up very messy if cooked in an air fryer, this is because there isn’t enough hot oil to set the batter. 

Instead, it will drip everywhere rather than forming a crunchy coating. 

The puddle of batter may also burn the base of your air fryer basket.

You can cook air-fried chicken with a dry coating; use a flour mixture and seasoning of choice. 

Fried foods that have been frozen can be air fried, too, as the wet batter sets during the freezing process.


You’d think an air fryer would be great for popcorn, but most models won’t reach the required temperature to pop the kernels. 

Popcorn kernels can also become lodged within the air fryer’s heating element, which may cause the appliance to short – creating a fire hazard.

Popcorn can be made on the hob or in the microwave. 

For an alternative air-fried movie snack, try making your own tortilla chips. Ailsa Burt recommends “cutting a few tortillas into eight wedges, then toss with a little oil, salt and pepper, and air fry until crispy”. Enjoy them with a dip of your choice. 

Tefal ActiFry Air Fryer

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Save over £50 with this blockbuster deal on a popular Tefal air fryer. With a capacity up to 1.2kg, this kitchen gadget can be used to prepare food for larger households of up to 6 people. Dishwasher safe, so cleanup is simple, and efficient to save on your electricity bills!

Instant Pot Pressure Cooker and Air Fryer

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Popular brand Instant Pot has another all-in-one countertop gadget that can air fry to crispy perfection as well as double-up as a pressure cooker, sauté pan, steamer, slow cooker, sous vide. As an air fryer, it has multiple cooking modes: Roast, Bake, Broil and Dehydrate 

Tefal Easy Fry Compact Air Fryer

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If you’re looking to save space on your countertop, this compact air fryer from Tefal might just be the ticket. With its tower-like design, it won’t take up much room at all, but still manages to cook a generous 0.6kg of food at one time!

Ninja 3.8L Air Fryer and Dehydrator

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Ninja, the critically-lauded brand behind the Nutribullet, has managed to squeeze a generous 3.8-litre capacity into this relatively compact air fryer. The clever kitchen gadget doubles-up as a dehydrator too, so you can make homemade dried fruit, vegetable crisps and beef jerky.

Philips Essential Air Fryer

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Philips’ Essential Air Fryer uses hot air to cook and crisp your favourite foods while using roughly 90% less fat than a traditional fryer. Included with this model, you’ll get access to the NurtriU app, which offers access to hundreds of recipes to try with your new gadget! 

Tower Family Size Air Fryer

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Admittedly, not a huge saving …but this is already an affordable air fryer with great reviews. Tower is a well-known brand and this model has capacity to cook 4.3-litre of food – so plenty of food for larger households or those catering for guests!


The air fryer can cook some vegetables like Brussels sprouts as they retain moisture and crisp up nicely in the machine. 

Broccoli, however, dries out and becomes chewy and bitter. 

For crunchy, crispy broccoli, roast the florets instead. 

Pasta and rice 

It is possible to cook pasta in an air fryer – pasta bakes that just need baking are fine. 

Those with lots of sauce should be placed in the oven to crisp up. 

Similarly to pasta, raw grains need to be boiled in water to cook and while it’s fine to add a few drops of water to your air fryer basket, this appliance isn’t built for boiling or steaming foods.

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