How to Use Oil in an Air Fryer | Everyday Family Cooking (2023)

Air fryers. They’re such a versatile appliance, yet I hear the same question all the time. Can you put oil in an air fryer?

Well, here are all the answers you are looking for including where to put oil in an air fryer, which oils to use, and which oils are the healthiest for cooking in one.

Can You Put Oil in an Air Fryer?

Yes, and you should be using oil in some capacity for almost 75% of what you cook.

It can sound deceiving knowing an air fryer is so you don’t have to deep fry foods then finding out you need oil to cook in it.

How to Use Oil in an Air Fryer | Everyday Family Cooking (1)

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The truth is, it is still much healthier than a deep fryer and cheaper. A deep fryer can easily hold a full container of vegetable oil. That’s at least $3.00 PLUS the cost of food.

It can add up! With an air fryer, even if you use it every day, it can take weeks, but most likely months, to go through that same amount.

How Much Oil Do You Use in an Air Fryer?

While air frying, you use anywhere from a few sprays to 1 tablespoon of oil depending on the type of food you are cooking.

(Video) Where Do You Put Oil In An Air Fryer (air fryer oil explained)

Where Do You Put Oil in an Air Fryer?

When air frying, you put the oil on the food, not in the basket. How you put the oil on the food will depend on what exactly you are cooking.

I explain this more below.

What Can I Use To Put Oil in an Air Fryer?

There are a variety of oil misters on the market to put oil into your air fryer. You can also use a basting brush when you’re using something with a bigger surface (think frozen chicken breasts).

Here are the best oil misters out there:

What Foods Need Oil to Cook in an Air Fryer?

some frozen foods, egg rolls, fried ravioli, etc.

Frozen foods such as frozen dumplings and air fried ravioli made fresh or heated from frozen need a little oil when cooking in an air fryer or they will start to get a little dry.

How to add the oil:

Spray food with about 1 teaspoon of oil using an oil sprayer on all sides. When shaking the basket while cooking, if the food looks too dry at any point, spray a little more oil on it.

I love to err on the side of a little more oil for taste preference. You are still using MUCH less than a deep fryer, making it healthier than the latter.

Here are 17 of the best frozen foods to make in the air fryer!

(Video) Air Fryer 101 - How to Use an Air Fryer - Beginner? Start HERE!

Roasting Fresh vegetables

All roasted vegetables require a little oil or butter when air fried.

How to add the oil:

Place the cut-up vegetables in a bowl with 1 tablespoon of oil and toss together until well coated.

Leaving oil out in the above dishes can cause food to become dry and possibly even tough (no one wants that).

Examples of fresh vegetables cooked with a little oil/butter:

  • Homemade Sweet Potato Fries
  • Air Fried Baby Carrots
  • Whole Air Fried Baby Potatoes
  • Roasted Broccoli
  • Brussels Sprouts

Looking for some healthy side dishes to make? Check out how to cook these 30 vegetables in the air fryer.

How to Use Oil in an Air Fryer | Everyday Family Cooking (2)

What Foods Should I Not Use Oil For?

  • Most meats (besides some frozen) do not need oil. My rule is if you need oil when cooking a food in the oven, you should use a little oil. This includes if you just need to spray a baking sheet to make it not stick.
    You can, however, choose to marinate meat with ingredients such as oil, like these Air Fryer Chicken Thighs recipe.

Examples of Meats That Do Not Need Any Oil:

  • Hamburgers/Cheeseburgers
  • Hot Dogs (from fresh and frozen)
  • Chicken Bites for Sweet and Sour Chicken
  • Chicken Wings
  • Most frozen foods do not need added oil when being air fried. Foods like frozen sweet potato fries when cooked in an air fryer already have oil in their ingredients and don’t need an extra spritzing while cooking.
    Simply cook your frozen food halfway, open the drawer to flip or shake the basket, and add any oil if the food appears dry. Otherwise, skip the oil.

Other frozen foods that don’t need oil in the air fryer:

(Video) Ninja Foodi 2 Basket Air Fryer DEMO and REVIEW

  • Hot Pockets
  • Pizza Rolls
  • Frozen Onion Rings
  • Hash Browns

Appetizers are delicious when cooked in an air fryer! Check out these mouth-watering air fryer appetizers you need to make at your next party.

Can I Use PAM Cooking Spray in an Air Fryer?

Simple answer? No. You should NEVER use PAM cooking spray inside an air fryer. Let me rephrase that.

You should never use PAM on or in ANY non-stick appliance or pot.

PAM and other aerosol cooking sprays have an ingredient called soy lecithin. It ends up destroying the non-stick coating on the pan and adds a thick layer of sticky gunk. It’s basically impossible to remove.

The coating to make a pot or appliance, like your air fryer, non-stick is there so you don’t have to use anything else.

Be on the lookout for other cooking sprays, like this PAM Oil Mister that looks safe, but still contains soy lecithin.

If any of your food is sticking to the air fryer, feel free to spritz a little oil into the basket before placing your food in. You can also use a small amount of coconut oil and rub it in the basket before turning it on.

I learned the hard way through the years and completely destroyed my non-stick cooking pan from using PAM for quesadillas. Never again.

You can check out this post that goes over substitutions for cooking spray to avoid PAM all together in the kitchen.

(Video) 10 HEALTHY Air Fryer Recipes that are EASY AND Yummy!

What Kinds of Oil Can I Use in an Air Fryer?

You can use any oil in an air fryer that you can use in an oven. This includes vegetable oil, olive oil, coconut oil, canola oil, and more.

Here are the best oils for your air fryer.

Read more on the healthiest oils to use below.

How to Use Oil in an Air Fryer | Everyday Family Cooking (3)

What is the Healthiest Oil to Use?

There is not one oil that’s considered the “healthiest.” You’ll get different answers depending on who you ask, even if they are health experts.

Here are some of the “healthiest” oils to use:
  • Canola oil
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil*
  • Pure Olive Oil
  • Avocado Oil
  • Grapeseed Oil
  • Soybean Oil
  • Sesame Oil
  • Peanut Oil
Here are some of the oils you can still use but aren’t as healthy as the ones above:
  • Coconut Oil
  • Any partially hydrogenated oils
  • Vegetable Oil made with a blend of oils
  • Palm Oil
  • Corn Oil
  • Butter

*should only be used in temperatures up to 320 degrees Fahrenheit

I recommend having more than one mister for different types of oil, especially if you use extra virgin olive oil.

I love these 2-pack misters available on Amazon:

How to Use Oil in an Air Fryer | Everyday Family Cooking (4)
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How to Use Oil in an Air Fryer | Everyday Family Cooking (5)
How to Use Oil in an Air Fryer | Everyday Family Cooking (6)

What is your favorite thing to cook in your air fryer? What food do you want to know more about using oil with?


How do you use oil in an air fryer? ›

How To Put Oil in Air Fryer
  1. Add 1 teaspoon – 1 tablespoon of the oil of your choice to a mister or spray bottle.
  2. Open the air fryer basket.
  3. Holding the mister or spray bottle a couple of inches away, spritz the inside with a light coating of oil. ...
  4. Place the food inside and cook as directed.
Oct 16, 2021

How much oil do I use in an air fryer? ›

Should you use a lot of oil in an air fryer? No. While some recipes don't use any oil, most do—and it's still significantly less than oils used in standard fried recipes. You only really need 1-2 teaspoons for most recipes or 1-2 tablespoons for breaded items.

Where do you spray the oil in an air fryer? ›

Even if your food does not require oil, always take a moment to at least grease your air fryer basket. I grease mine by rubbing, or spraying, a little bit of oil on the bottom grates. This will ensure that your food won't stick.

Do you put oil in the bottom of an air fryer? ›

No oil needed with an air fryer

However, you have to mix oil with your ingredients before putting them in the fryer. Oil cannot be put inside the fryer pan. Adding cooking oil before air-frying will add an extra crunchy layer to your food.

Can you use Pam spray in an air fryer? ›

You should not use nonstick cooking spray such as PAM in an air fryer because it can damage the lining of the air fryer basket. Avoid any pressurized, propellant oil sprays which have chemicals added to them.

What happens if you put too much oil in air fryer? ›

Just be careful with how much you use, as Kitchen Beast notes that too much oil on the food or the basket can drip down into the heating elements and start to smoke, which could damage your fryer or make a mess and set off the smoke alarm.

Can you use olive oil spray in air fryer? ›

The majority of foods I make in the air fryer are not much higher than 375*F, which I believe is why the Olive Oil Spray tends to work just fine; however, if you want to have a go-to that does have a high smoke point, choose one such as Grapeseed Oil Spray.

What oil is healthiest for air fryer? ›

Stick to avocado, coconut and olive oil when using an air fryer basket since they are stable and have a high smoke point. Avoid refined vegetable oil like canola, soybean, grapeseed and peanut oil because it's high in inflammation-causing omega 6 fatty acids.

Can you coat things in oil before air frying? ›

Do coat food in a little oil before cooking. While most people like air fryers for their ability to cook up crispy fried foods with no oil, the color and taste of your dinner will be dramatically improved with just a little.

Can you fry an egg in air fryer? ›

Spray each ramekin or dish you will be using with olive oil spray. Crack an egg into each dish (one egg per dish). Place ramekins in the air fryer basket. Air fry the eggs for 5 minutes at 370°F.

What do you put in the bottom of an air fryer? ›

Lining your air fryer basket with a round of parchment paper is the perfect way to keep your air fryer squeaky clean and slash the time it takes to clean up.

Do you have to spray chicken with oil in air fryer? ›

While using oil is second nature while cooking in the oven or on the stovetop, air fryers don't always require it. Some foods you cook in your air fryer already have oil, and any excess oil can make your food too greasy.

Do I need oil spray for air fryer? ›

For best air frying results, it's helpful too use a good high smoke point oil. Having a great oil pump spray is fantastic to help lightly oil foods and keeping them healthier and less greasy. Let's talk about all these important details to make your air fried foods delicious and successful.

Can I put frozen French fries in the air fryer? ›

Place: Place your frozen fries in the air fryer basket. Season: Spray with olive oil lightly and sprinkle with desired salt. Bake: Air fry at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. Give the basket a good shake and cook for 5-8 minutes more or till done as you like them.

How many times can I use the same oil in a fryer? ›

Our recommendation: With breaded and battered foods, reuse oil three or four times. With cleaner-frying items such as potato chips, it's fine to reuse oil at least eight times—and likely far longer, especially if you're replenishing it with some fresh oil.

What spray to use in air fryer? ›

There are many oil sprayers you can buy that are not reusable with just about any type of oil, though the most prevalent are canola oil, olive oil and avocado oil. I prefer 365 by Whole Foods Market Olive Oil Spray, Bertolli Light Olive Oil Spray, and Pompeian Extra Virgin Olive Oil Spray.

What Cannot be cooked in Airfryer? ›

8 Things You Probably Shouldn't Cook in an Air Fryer
  • Battered foods. Avoid placing wet batter in the air fryer. ...
  • Fresh greens. Leafy greens like spinach will cook unevenly because the machine uses high-speed air. ...
  • Whole roasts. ...
  • Cheese. ...
  • Raw grains. ...
  • Hamburgers. ...
  • Toast. ...
  • Popcorn.
Apr 26, 2022

What oil is best for french fries in air fryer? ›

The best oils to use for air fryers are avocado oil, olive oil, peanut oil, grape seed oil, safflower oil, and canola oil. Corn oil, coconut oil, and sesame oil impart a lot of flavor into the food when used with an air fryer, so you may choose to avoid those when frying your favorite foods. What is this?

Why is my air fried chicken not crispy? ›

Dry the outside of the food properly before you add oil. Do not use too much oil, as this will make the food less crispy and more fattening. Meat or poultry can be lightly brushed with oil or marinated to get the crispiest results.

How do you keep food from sticking to the air fryer? ›

Spray the Basket Lightly with Vegetable Oil Spray

The next protective measure you can take is an obvious one: spraying the basket lightly with vegetable oil spray. We recommend doing this with foods that are prone to sticking, including fried chicken, chicken Parmesan, and our better-than-boxed fish sticks.

Is air fryer better than frying with oil? ›

Are Air-Fried Foods Better for You? By most measures, air frying is healthier than frying in oil. It cuts calories by 70% to 80% and has a lot less fat. This cooking method might also cut down on some of the other harmful effects of oil frying.

Is oil frying and air frying cook times the same? ›

The cook times of both deep and air fryers vary depending on what you're cooking. Once a deep fryer has reached the proper temperature, the hot oil can cook food as quickly as 3–5 minutes. Air fryers typically take between 10–20 minutes to heat and cook your meal.

Why soak potatoes before air frying? ›

Soaking the potatoes after they're cut draws out some of the starch which is naturally present in potatoes. This will result in a crispier fry. A thirty minute soak in cold water does the trick but you may soak them longer if you want. After soaking, be sure to dry the potatoes before you fry them.

Can I put aluminum foil in an air fryer? ›

Yes, you can put aluminum foil in an air fryer. explains that due to the air fryer's cooking process consisting of rushing hot air, your aluminum foil and the meal it's with will not be ruined by the air fryer.

Can you fry bacon in an air fryer? ›

Bacon is safe to cook in the air fryer, but you need to make sure that you use the proper temperature and that your air fryer is clean before you begin. The best bacon air fryer temperature is 350 degrees F. This will crisp the bacon without causing it to smoke or burn.

Can glass go in air fryer? ›

Depending upon the sturdiness of the glass dish, you can decide whether Glass Pyrex can be used in an air fryer. If the dish is oven-safe, made of borosilicate or tempered glass, it can work in an air fryer. However, if the dish is made of soda-lime glass, it can't withstand high temperatures in an air fryer.

How long does bacon take in air fryer? ›

The size of the air fryer basket will determine how many rashers you can cook at one time. Set the air fryer to 200C and cook streaky bacon rashers for 6-10 mins – just-cooked bacon will take 6 mins, but crispier bacon will take 9-10 mins.

Can you pop a bag of popcorn in an air fryer? ›

You totally can! Popping popcorn in an air fryer is a great way to cook your popcorn snack because popping popcorn in an air fryer means your get to enjoy your favorite snack quicker, air fryer popcorn retains its taste, and there is typically less risk of overcooking and burning your popcorn!

What is the trick to getting things extra crispy with an air fryer? ›

A quick spritz will give your air fried food that nice golden color and crispy texture.” Really, that is it! A simple mist of cooking spray over the top of your food will give your favorite air fryer recipes that just-right color without adding any significant calories or fat.

Do I need to clean my air fryer after every use? ›

And every time you use the fryer, those bits of food will keep cooking and eventually burn. That's why you should clean your air fryer after every use. Our testers found that the nooks and crannies on some air fryer components are quite difficult to clean, and the crevices on the exterior take effort, too.

Is vegetable oil OK for air fryer? ›

Vegetable oil is one of the most commonly used oils in America, and it is a great one to use in your air fryer. It does not burn at high temperatures and has almost no taste. This means that your food will be crispy, but will not have any unexpected flavors.

How much olive oil do you put in an air fryer? ›

This depends on what you are cooking. There are a lot of air fryer recipes we have that require just one tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. Such as our air fryer potato wedges. Many of these recipes that do require a tablespoon of oil really make the difference and taste so good.


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