Do You Need Oil For an Air Fryer? ANSWERED

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If you’ve recently copped yourself a new air fryer, you may find yourself asking, “Do you need oil for an air fryer?” Though a seemingly mundane question, it is no less important. So, should you place oil in an air fryer? And if so, how much? Join us as we answer all your burning questions related to using oil in an air fryer.

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Do You Need Oil For An Air Fryer?

Table of Contents

Do You Need to Use Oil When Using an Air Fryer?

The answer to whether or not you need to use oil when using an air fryer is a resounding no. But there are caveats to that answer as well.

Assuming you want super crispy food, you may want to add a little oil to your air fryer just to make things crunchier. Of course, this isn’t a must, but doing so can really help out when cooking things like french fries or “fried” chicken.

Know that the way you apply oil also matters. It is important that you don’t use too much or you may find that your food ends up messy and soggy. Instead, aim for using either a spray oil or using a brush to lightly coat your food before placing it in the air frying basket. 

How Much Oil Do You Need For an Air Fryer?

How much oil you need for air frying will really depend on what you’re cooking.

At maximum, we recommend only a light coating of spray oil or a few brushes of oil directly on the food itself. Just be sure not to overdo it.

Too much oil will just create an unappetizing mess, and trust us, you don’t want that! 

Note: Using too much oil in an air fryer will not only yield undesirable results but also may cause oil to reach the heating elements. This can cause burning and smoking. Thus, this is yet another reason to keep the use of oil in an air fryer at a minimum. 

What Kind of Oil Do You Need For an Air Fryer?

Generally speaking, it is safe to use virtually any type of oil in an air fryer. Any oil you would normally use in an oven can be used in an air fryer as well. This includes olive oil, canola oil and more.

Still, you should also be aware of the fact that not all oils have the same smoke point. Some oils will burn faster than others. This is true even when using the oven. 

For this reason, it is imperative that you take note of the smoke point on the oil you want to use. If you air fry at a temperature that is higher than the oil’s smoke point, you’ll get a lot of burning and smoking while trying to cook your air-fried meals. 

Can You Use Vegetable Oil in Air Fryer?

Yes, you can absolutely use vegetable oil in an air fryer.

Just be sure that you follow the aforementioned tips for using only a minimal amount of oil on your food items to prevent a mess from occurring. 

Also, know that vegetable oil has a smoke point of around 400F, which is considered a high smoke point. Other high smoke point options include canola oil, avocado, peanut, sesame, and sunflower oil.

What Is the Best Oil to Use in an Air Fryer?

Remember that you can use virtually any type of oil in an air fryer as long as it is deemed oven safe. Some great options include canola oil, olive oil, and vegetable oil.

Still, our best recommendation is to opt for oil that comes in a spray can as this will evenly distribute a fine mist of oil over your food without it being too much. 

Best Oil Spray For Air Fryer

With all of that said, you may be wondering what the best oil spray for an air fryer might be.

As mentioned, any oil can work. We like to use avocado oil for its high smoke point and health benefits and extra virgin olive oil for its heart-healthy qualities. But truly, almost any oil spray can work to lightly coat your food before air frying. 

AmazonFresh Avocado Oil, 33.8 fl oz (1L)
Buy on Amazon

Can You Use Butter Instead of Oil in Air Fryer?

If you’re wondering if you can use butter instead of oil in an air fryer you’ll be happy to hear that the answer is yes!

Like with anything you’d place in the oven butter can add delicious flavor to anything it tops. Just be careful how much you use and how you apply it.

Like standard oil, butter can burn. In fact, it has a relatively low smoke point making it more prone to burning than other oil types. 

To best apply butter, try melting it and brushing a couple of tablespoons of it atop your food. You can also purchase butter-flavored oil if you want the taste of the butter but the convenience of the spray. 

Pam Butter Flavor Cooking Spray, 5 oz 3pack by PAM
Buy on Amazon

Do You Need Oil For an Air Fryer? No, But…

You don’t actually need oil for an air fryer, but honestly, it often can make the texture of some foods much better.

Still, if you would rather not use oil, you can totally still cook delicious (and healthy) bites in your air fryer. Just know that foods cooked this way may not have that delicious crunch you crave. 

Either way, you’ve got options! We hope this helps!

FAQs

Do you need any oil at all in an air fryer? 

Remember that you absolutely do not need to add oil to an air fryer for it to cook your food. You may find, however, that many air fryer manufacturers recommend putting at least a little oil to help the food cook up better. You can choose either option depending on your dietary needs and desired food outcome.

Where do I put oil in an air fryer?

You can place the oil directly on the food. Do this by brushing, drizzling, or spraying oil directly on your food before placing it in the air fryer to cook. 

By Anna

Hey, I’m Anna; writer, editor and amateur cook extraordinaire! Food has been my life and my passion for the most of my life – it’s crazy to think I didn’t pursue a career in cooking. I’m obsessed! However, keeping cooking as an obsessive hobby has worked for me – my passion grows as the years pass by – maybe I wouldn’t say the same if it was also my day job! I hope you find cooking inspiration, entertainment and “stop and think interesting tid-bits” throughout my writing – and I’d love to hear from you if you’ve got anything you want to share. Food feeds the soul – so get eating!

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