The Dangerous Mistake To Avoid When Using Aluminum Foil In An Air Fryer

Air fryers have replaced almost everyone's convection and standard oven in their kitchen since they can cook nearly everything — and more quickly. You don't have to wait what feels like hours for the air fryer to pre-heat like you do for the massive oven. Plus, if your oven is full, it gives you additional space to cook more things. You end up with the most beautiful crisp and golden food in a few minutes.

The food inside the basket has heat directly applied, which cooks it fast. There's a fan blowing the heat from the top or bottom of the air fryer and circulates the heat in the small space of the basket as opposed to a standard oven where the fans blow hot air all over the inside but not directly to the food. Before the food can be cooked to perfection, folks often add aluminum foil to their baskets to prevent their food from sticking and dripping on the wires and fans. While aluminum foil minimizes the clean-up time when your food is ready, it can have some consequences affecting your food and air fryer. Properly using aluminum foil in your air fryer will allow you to avoid making the dangerous mistake of contaminating acidic food with the foil or letting the foil touch the heating element.

Aluminum foil can leach onto your food

When you make the mistake of putting acidic food on aluminum foil in your air fryer, the foil can leach onto your food, causing you to ingest aluminum. While you intake aluminum through various foods daily, it doesn't pose a significant threat to your health to consume it in such small quantities. However, cooking with additional aluminum items such as foil and utensils can increase the amount of aluminum you consume in addition to the food you eat.

Healthy people will often excrete the aluminum their body consumes, and some researchers believe those who intake too much and don't pass it can potentially develop Alzheimer's disease. However, it's unknown exactly what causes Alzheimer's disease and there is no direct link to medications or food consumption containing aluminum, per the National Library of Medicine. There have been instances where traces of high levels of aluminum in the brain have been found in people with the disease.

While the probability is low that people will develop Alzheimer's disease solely due to too much aluminum consumption, it's vital to form a habit of reducing or balancing aluminum intake. For instance, use parchment paper instead of foil, buy non-aluminum utensils, or avoid putting highly acidic foods on foil. Try to cook more meals at home to reduce eating processed foods that often contain higher levels of aluminum.

Avoid letting the foil come in contact with the heat and fan

Aluminum foil is lightweight, so it easily flies around when air is blown over it. When you make the other mistake of not weighing down the foil and letting it come in contact with the heating element, you'll have a high risk of starting a fire. Lighter foods like spinach or eggs aren't heavy enough to hold aluminum foil or parchment paper down. When the foil has nothing heavy sitting on it, it will move around, causing a large mess by throwing the egg around and potentially touching the heating element. Instead, use a heavy silicone mat inside the air fryer when cooking lightweight foods.

Even though the aluminum foil won't start an immediate fire the second it touches the heating element, it could get sucked in and cause a fire. The best way to properly use aluminum foil is to check your user manual to ensure you can put foil in the model you have. If the manual gives you the green light, ensure you wrap the aluminum over the sides of the basket to secure it. Some air fryers have tall racks, so you can wrap the foil over the edges and tuck it underneath so that it stays in place. Or, if you have a larger air fryer with a basket, line the bottom and sides with foil and pinch them over the sides to keep them secure.