Air fryers have become a popular kitchen appliance due to their ability to cook food quickly and with less oil than traditional frying methods. As you explore the various features and uses of your air fryer, you may wonder if it’s possible to use a paper towel inside the appliance to catch drips or splatters. While it may seem like a convenient idea, there are some important safety considerations to keep in mind.

Ninja Air fryer for a yummy recipe

Can You Put Paper Towel in an Air Fryer?

The air fryer is a handy piece of equipment everyone should have. Thinking about what goes into this amazing piece of equipment is important. If you have ever wondered about this and asked if you can put a paper towel in your air fryer then you are in the right place.

Using a paper towel in your air fryer is generally not recommended, as it can cause potential hazards and affect the performance of the appliance.

The circulation of hot air, which is essential for even cooking, can be disrupted by a lightweight paper towel. This can lead to unevenly cooked food and a less efficient cooking process. Additionally, paper towels are flammable and can pose a fire risk when exposed to the high temperatures of an air fryer. It’s best to avoid placing a paper towel inside your air fryer while cooking to ensure both safe and optimal operation.

Air Fryer Functionality and Heat

When using your air fryer, it is essential to understand its functionality. An air fryer works by circulating hot air around the food, cooking it evenly and efficiently. However, placing a paper towel inside the air fryer may disrupt this airflow, which can lead to unevenly cooked food. Standard paper towels lack perforations, blocking the hot air circulation necessary for proper cooking.

Your air fryer quickly generates and retains high temperatures to cook food. Adding flammable materials like paper towels could pose safety hazards or impact the cooking process adversely. It’s important to remember that the main purpose of an air fryer is to achieve crispy and evenly cooked food without the need for excess oil.

Safety Hazards and Fire Risks

Introducing paper towels to the high temperatures and powerful air circulation of your air fryer can create a potential fire risk. Paper towels are flammable, and combining them with the intense heat generated by air fryers can lead to unintended consequences. Even if a fire doesn’t occur, the presence of paper towels in the air fryer may cause damage to your appliance.

Instead of using paper towels in your air fryer, opt for alternative methods such as using the provided trays or baskets that come with the appliance. This allows for proper air circulation and ensures a safe cooking experience while still achieving the desired crispy texture of your food. By avoiding the use of paper towels, you are not only ensuring the safety of your air fryer and home but also achieving the best cooking results.

Alternatives to Using Paper Towels in Air Fryers

While it is not recommended to use paper towels in air fryers due to the risk of fire, there are alternative methods that can help with keeping your air fryer clean and prevent food from sticking to the basket. In this section, we’ll explore some effective alternatives.

Parchment Paper and Air Fryer Liners

One popular alternative to paper towels is using parchment paper or specially designed air fryer liners. Both options are safe to use in air fryers and help minimize cleanup. Parchment paper and liners will allow you to cook your food without it sticking to the basket, and they also make it easy to remove your food when it’s ready.

Note: It’s important to use perforated parchment paper or liners with holes to ensure proper air circulation while cooking.

Aluminum Foil

Another option for lining your air fryer basket is aluminum foil. This material works well for preventing food from sticking and can also be used to create a barrier between the basket and your food to reduce mess. When using aluminum foil, make sure to poke holes in it for proper air circulation and avoid covering the entire basket to maintain proper airflow during cooking.

Caution: It’s essential to be cautious when using aluminum foil, as overusing or not using it correctly could potentially cause damage to your air fryer.


Aside from liners and aluminum foil, various air fryer accessories can make cooking and cleanup easier. There are several options available, such as air fryer divider panels, silicone or stainless steel racks, and air fryer baskets with non-stick coatings. These accessories can help keep your air fryer clean and protect the basket from wear and tear.

By choosing one of these alternatives to using paper towels in your air fryer, you can ensure a safer, more efficient cooking experience while also making cleanup a breeze.

Ensuring Even Cooking and Proper Airflow

Positioning of Food Items

When using your air fryer, it’s important to position food items correctly. Placing them in a single layer without overloading the basket or tray optimizes air circulation and promotes even cooking. This way, you can prevent having unevenly cooked food. Additionally, make sure there’s enough space between the food items, so the hot air does not get obstructed and can reach every part of the food. Consider flipping or shaking the food halfway through the cooking time to ensure uniform cooking.

Air fryer and a safe bow to prevent oily mess

Avoiding Excess Oil and Grease

Air fryers are designed to use less oil than traditional deep frying methods, so using the right amount of oil is essential for optimal results. Too much grease can lead to uneven cooking and longer cooking times. To avoid excess oil and grease, lightly coat your food items with oil or use a cooking spray. It’s best not to put paper towels inside the air fryer, as they could disturb the airflow and potentially cause a fire hazard.

Instead of using paper towels to absorb excess oil from your food, opt for an alternative like parchment paper. Parchment paper is perforated, allowing air to flow through it, and can help soak up any excess oil while still maintaining good airflow.

By following these tips, you can enjoy evenly cooked and delicious air-fried food while maintaining the proper airflow and minimizing excess oil and grease.

Tips for Safe and Effective Air Fryer Use

Checking the Air Fryer Manual

Before using your air fryer, always consult the manufacturer’s manual to double-check the safety measures and guidelines. It’s essential to know if you can use paper towels in your air fryer, as doing so may pose a fire hazard. Understand the recommendations for cooking basket maintenance, temperature settings, and proper usage of various dishes and utensils. Following the manual will ensure that you operate your air fryer safely and efficiently.

Proper Cleaning and Maintenance

Regular cleaning and maintenance of your air fryer are crucial to prevent the build-up of grease, burnt food particles, and other residues that could cause fire risks or negatively impact your cooking results. Always unplug your air fryer and let it cool down before cleaning.

Use a non-abrasive sponge or cloth to clean the cooking basket, as abrasive materials could damage the non-stick coating. Additionally, avoid using a wet paper towel to clean the interior heating element, as this could cause malfunction. Instead, use a soft brush or cloth to gently remove debris from the heating element.

Keep in mind that some air fryers have dishwasher-safe parts, making cleaning easier and more convenient. Check your manual for specific instructions on cleaning your particular model.

Monitoring Cooking Time and Temperature

Air fryers use a convection oven mechanism to circulate hot air around the food, resulting in faster and more even cooking. To optimize your cooking process, it’s essential to monitor the time and temperature closely.

Adjust the temperature according to the type of food you’re cooking, and use the timer function to ensure that you don’t overcook or undercook your meals. Keep track of the cooking progress by occasionally checking on your food, shaking the cooking basket, or flipping the ingredients to promote even browning and crispiness.

When cooking acidic foods, be cautious with the temperature settings, as high temperatures can cause these foods to stick to your air fryer’s cooking basket.

By following these tips and your air fryer’s guidelines, you’ll be able to ensure the best possible results while maintaining the safety and optimal functionality of your kitchen appliance.

FAQ about the use of paper towels and alternatives in an air fryer.

Do paper plates work in an air fryer?

No, paper plates are not recommended for use in an air fryer. The high temperatures and circulating hot air can cause paper plates to catch fire or deform, potentially damaging your air fryer and posing a safety risk.

Is paper safe to use in an air fryer?

It depends on the type of paper. Using paper towels in an air fryer is not advised, as it can obstruct airflow and even pose a fire risk. However, you can safely use parchment paper in an air fryer, as long as you ensure that it doesn’t cover the entire bottom surface of the fryer and obstruct the airflow.

What can catch grease in an air fryer?

Parchment paper or aluminum foil can be used in your air fryer to catch grease, as long as they don’t completely cover the bottom surface and obstruct airflow. Always read your air fryer manual for specific guidelines, as different models may have unique recommendations.

Can parchment paper be used in an air fryer?

Yes, parchment paper can safely be used in an air fryer, provided that air circulation is not blocked entirely by the parchment paper source. It helps prevent food from sticking to the basket and makes clean-up easier. Make sure to follow your air fryer’s manual for any specific guidelines.

Is it safe to put a paper towel in the microwave?

Yes, it is generally safe to put a paper towel in the microwave. Paper towels can be used to cover food, absorb moisture, or serve as a surface for microwaving certain items. However, avoid using paper towels with metallic accents, and always follow your microwave’s guidelines for safe use.

Can a plate be used in an air fryer?

Using a plate in an air fryer is not recommended, as air fryers work by circulating hot air around the food. Placing a plate inside the air fryer may block the airflow, which could lead to unevenly cooked food and increased cooking times. It’s best to follow your air fryer’s manual for any specific guidelines on what types of cookware or accessories can be safely used.

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