Can You Put Foil In An Air Fryer?

While aluminum foil is not safe while cooking in microwaves, foil in an air fryer is safe to use, so long as it is fastly secured.

By Rick Gonzales | Published

Over the past two years, air fryers have become the must-have kitchen cooking appliance. Their popularity has increased exponentially (and we’ve explained just how they work), and it doesn’t appear to be waning as we head toward the holiday months. But like all air fryer owners, we have but one pressing question – can you put foil in an air fryer?


Foil in an air fryer

Air fryers are not microwave ovens and for this reason, you can put foil in an air fryer. Microwaves, though, are another beast. They are 99% safe with that one percent falling into the aluminum foil category.

With microwave ovens, they do not use air to cook, but instead, as their name suggests, they use microwaves. When microwaves cook, they use radio waves at a normal frequency of 2,450 megahertz (or 2.45 gigahertz). This frequency can be very interesting.

Radio waves in this frequency range are interesting in that water, sugars, and even fats can absorb them. Once absorbed, these waves turn into atomic motion, better known as heat. This frequency range is also interesting in that most glass, plastics, or ceramics don’t absorb them, which is why when you cook with these in a microwave, they don’t get hot.

If you look inside your microwave, you will see that the walls are made of metal. As luck would have it, thick pieces of metal work much like a mirror works, but instead of reflecting an image, the metal in a microwave actually reflects said microwaves. We wouldn’t recommend it at all, but if you were to put your food in a heavy metal pan and try to cook it in your microwave, the food would not heat up as the pan would shield your food.

But those are bigger, thicker, pieces of metal. The thin stuff, i.e., aluminum foil, is different altogether. The electric fields in a microwave are too much for thin pieces of metal such as foil. The microwave currents overwhelm the foil quickly, causing it to overheat very fast and many times so fast that it could start a fire.

Since we are currently on the subject of microwaves, aluminum foil in an air fryer, fires, and such, you will also need to be careful with the type of plate you put inside a microwave. If you happen to have one that is edged with silver or gold, you may run into the same sparky issue. There is nothing more frightening than turning on your microwave and watching the sparks fly.


Foil in an air fryer

So now that we’ve determined that you can put foil in an air fryer, are there any other helpful cooking accoutrements that can be used to make cooking with an air fryer an easier task (as if it isn’t easy enough)? One reason to use aluminum foil in your air fryer is to help with the mess. Nothing easier than slapping down a piece of foil, giving your food a what-for, and then taking out the used piece of foil for a simple cleanup.

Foil, though, isn’t always the best solution for a quick clean. Yes, you can use foil in an air fryer, but sometimes, depending on the foods you are cooking, it isn’t the best answer. There are some acidic foods that should not be air-fried with foil, such as citrus fruits, peppers, and tomatoes.

It is a known fact (thank you Insider) that acidic foods react poorly with aluminum foil. According to Blue Jean Chef, Meredith Laurence, “They react with the foil and start to break it down, so you’ll actually have aluminum in your food. Aside from the fact that that’s not palatable, it’s also not very good for you.”

The solution to this problem is parchment paper. Granted, parchment paper is not as easy to cut and mold into an air fryer basket (definitely not as easy as aluminum foil), but it is a better, and safer, choice if you plan on cooking some acidic foods in your air fryer. Parchment paper is a non-reactive material plus your food is less likely to stick as it could with foil.

Yes, you can put foil in an air fryer. For the most part, it is a safe way to go, making clean-up that much easier. Just beware of the foods that you are cooking. Also, make sure your foil edges are firmly in place and you will be very pleased with the results.


Maybe you have been one of the unfortunate ones who learned the hard way by putting aluminum foil in a microwave oven. If you are lucky, you will get sparks and flames, if you are one of the unlucky ones, those sparks and flames could easily turn into fires and explosions. But here is a sobering piece of knowledge – air fryers are not microwaves.

So, while you will want to do anything and everything to keep aluminum foil as far away from the inside of a microwave as possible, you can put aluminum foil in an air fryer. What’s the difference between the two, you ask? Well, the differences are plenty when it comes to these two kitchen appliances.

The reason you can put foil in air fryers is simple, which is one of the reasons the air fryer has become so popular over the past couple of years. The air fryer cooks, as its name suggests, with air. Obviously, it is super-heated air so it can give you that fried finish we all crave, but it is air, nonetheless.

The reason you will most definitely need to be careful when putting foil in an air fryer is that to get the air heated and cooking your food, it uses a fan to circulate the air. So, you can put foil in an air fryer. You just need to make sure you have the foil secured in your air fryer basket.

“Make sure foil is weighed down with food or secured firmly to the cooking vessel so it doesn’t fly up to the fan, which sits right behind the heating coil,” Taste of Home‘s executive culinary director, Sarah Farmer warned. “Foil on coil—now that could cause a problem.”

To be safe in using foil in an air fryer, simply measure out how much foil it will take to cover your air fryer basket. Mold it and shape it to the basket and make sure to tuck in any loose edges. As long as there is no foil flapping, you will be good to go to have foil in your air fryer.