Air fryers have become an extremely popular kitchen appliance in recent years. Their ability to make crispy “fried” foods using little to no oil is very appealing to health-conscious cooks.
But can you simplify your cooking process even further by putting a plate directly into the air fryer?
How An Air Fryer Works
An air fryer cooks food by rapidly circulating hot air around it. This allows the food to get crispy and browned without being submerged in oil like in traditional frying.
Air fryers have a cooking basket inside with a non-stick coating. This is the part that holds the food while the air fryer is on. Most air fryer baskets are made of metal or ceramic with a Teflon-like coating.
The heating elements and fans are located on the top and sides of the cooking chamber. They rapidly blow the hot air downward, over and around the food in the basket. This allows the heat to circulate evenly and cook the food quickly.
Can Any Plate Go In An Air Fryer?
Putting a regular plate made of a material like ceramic or glass into an air fryer is not recommended.
These types of plates are not designed to withstand the high heat inside an air fryer, which can range from 200°F to 400°F. They could crack or shatter.
Metal plates may seem like a good conductor of heat, but most household metal plates are too thin to withstand air fryer temperatures. Thin metal sheets can warp or melt under the blasting heat of an air fryer.
Air fryer manufacturers do not recommend putting anything other than the included cooking basket into the appliance. Other containers or plates are unlikely to give the same results.
Problems With Putting Plates In An Air Fryer
There are a few reasons why putting a plate into an air fryer is problematic:
- Heat Circulation: Air fryers work by blasting hot air vertically onto the food. A plate will block some of the airflow and prevent even cooking.
- Mess: Any oil, fat, or juices from the food will drip down onto the bottom heating element and make a mess. The air fryer basket has a non-stick coating that prevents this.
- Food Moving Around: Light foods like vegetables may blow around if not in a fixed basket designed for air frying.
- No Basket Handles: The basket has handles to shake the food easily. Plates have no handles, so shaking to redistribute food is difficult.
- Smaller Capacity: The air fryer basket is designed to hold as much food as possible. A plate takes up more room.
- unsafe: A regular plate is unlikely to get hot enough to scold hands when removing it, presenting a safety issue. The air fryer basket handles stay cooler.
Is There Any Plate That Can Go In An Air Fryer?
There is one scenario where using a plate instead of the air fryer basket will work:
If you have an oven-safe plate made of metal, ceramic, or glass that can withstand temperatures up to 400°F, it can go into an air fryer.
This allows you to cook something on the plate, then transfer the plate directly to the table for serving.
Look for plates marketed as “oven-safe” and check if they have a maximum temperature they can handle. Avoid any plastic plates or plates with decorative patterns that could melt or burn off.
Use a potholder to remove the hot plate after air-frying. Be very careful, as the plate will be extremely hot right out of the air fryer. Transfer food to a different dish if the plate itself gets too hot to handle.
Tips For Air Frying Food On A Plate
If you want to try using an oven-safe plate in your air fryer, follow these tips:
- Use a plate no larger than 8 inches in diameter so it fits in the air fryer properly.
- Put a heat-safe cooking rack or basket inside the air fryer, then place the plate on top. This allows air to flow under the plate.
- Use a shallow plate so air flows over the top of the food as well.
- Avoid putting paper on a plate in an air fryer, as paper could burn at air fryer temperatures.
- Brush or spray oil on the plate for optimal browning and crisping.
- Don’t overfill the plate with food; leave space around items.
- Set the air fryer timer for 5 fewer minutes than you normally would, and check the food frequently to avoid burning.
FAQ About Air Frying With Plates
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about using plates in air fryers:
Can I put a paper plate in an air fryer?
No, paper plates cannot withstand air fryer temperatures. They can burn or ignite. Use oven-safe plates only.
What about foil on a plate—is that okay?
It’s not recommended. Foil is more likely to warp and tear in the air fryer’s heat. It can also disrupt airflow.
Can I put a mug or bowl in an air fryer?
No. Like plates, mugs or bowls would need to be oven-safe ceramics or glassware specifically rated for the high heat. Most household dishes don’t meet these requirements.
Is there anything else I can cook food on besides the basket?
Yes, you can find air fryer inserts or trays made of metal or silicone that provide a flat surface alternative to the basket. Check your air fryer manual to see if it is approved for use.
Why does food stick more on a plate than in the basket?
The air fryer basket has a non-stick coating that prevents sticking. Plates don’t have this, so you need to really oil the plate well before cooking.
Can I put a metal baking sheet in an air fryer?
If it’s thin sheet metal, it’s not recommended. Heavy-duty stainless steel baking sheets may work if your air fryer is large enough. But the results may not be as good.
The Bottom Line
While you can use oven-safe plates in air fryers, it’s not ideal. Sticking with the air fryer’s original cooking basket will give you the best results.
If you do use a plate, choose one rated for high temperatures, avoid paper products, and take steps to prevent sticking.
Check frequently to avoid burning. Following the manufacturer’s instructions is always recommended when using kitchen appliances like air fryers.
Hi, I’m Julie, the passionate foodie and founder of Juliesfamilykitchen.com. I created this blog out of a drive to prove someone wrong, and then I realized how much I truly enjoy cooking and trying new recipes. In my free time, when I’m not running around after my kids or spending quality time with my partner, you can usually find me in the kitchen experimenting with new dishes.