The basket inside an air fryer is ideal for cooking small or loose foods, such as fries or chicken nuggets, because it allows air to flow around the food for quick and even cooking. However, the air fryer basket isn’t necessarily your best utensil to use when cooking other dishes. The basket can take up a lot of space, which might be an issue when you’re trying to fit a whole chicken in your air fryer.
To free up some more room, you can use an air fryer without a basket, but you’ll want to follow some hints and tips to ensure even cooking, which includes focusing on maximizing air circulation. Read on for all the info you need to use your air fryer without a basket.
What is an Air Fryer Basket?
An air fryer basket is the inner compartment or racks that you will find on the inside of your air fryer. The basket will contain the food that you put into the air fryer to cook, and it has the job of keeping the food slightly elevated so that the air can circulate all around it. It is the circulation of the hot air that gets food cooked so evenly and quickly in an air fryer so that air fryer basket has an important job.
You might have a rack instead of a basket depending on the model of your air fryer, and a rack will perform exactly the same role. Since an air fryer basket is pivotal in the proper cooking of food in an air fryer, you might wonder if it’s possible to use the air fryer without the basket. Air fryers can indeed be used without the basket, but this can result in uneven cooking, so you need to consider if removing the basket is really necessary.
Why Remove the Air Fryer Basket?
There are some scenarios where an air fryer basket might not be available, or it might not be best suited for the type of cooking you want to do. Examples of times when you might want to consider an air fryer alternative include:
Most air fryers only come with one basket, which might be inconvenient if you use your air fryer very frequently. If your basket is soaking in the sink or is in the middle of a dishwasher cycle, then you might need to consider ways to use your air fryer without the basket.
If your basket gets broken and you don’t want to buy a replacement, there are items you probably already have in the kitchen which will allow you to continue to use your air fryer without the basket.
Not enough space
The main reason people investigate using an air fryer without the basket is that they want to free up some space. Taking the basket out of the air fryer could mean you fit more food into the appliance.
Is an Air Fryer Basket Essential?
The air fryer basket in an air fryer keeps the food slightly suspended so that air can flow all around it. Good circulation is essential in an air fryer because it is this which is responsible for cooking the food quickly and evenly. Does this mean that the basket itself is essential when using an air fryer?
The answer to this is dependent on the model of your air fryer, and whether or not you plan to use something instead of the basket. Some air fryer models are simply not going to work without the basket, because it has been designed as an integral feature of the appliance. It might be that the door won’t close properly without the basket, and therefore it won’t turn on, or the basket might be fixed to the air fryer and cannot be removed.
For air fryers that do have a removable basket, you do have the option of using the air fryer without the basket. What you need to remember here is that the basket helps to improve cooking by ensuring good airflow all around your food. If you take the basket away, you need to replace it with something else that will keep your food suspended, or at the very least, keep it off the floor of the fryer where it isn’t going to cook properly.
What Can I Use Instead of an Air Fryer Basket?
If you want to use your air fryer without the basket, consider using these alternative items.
If you have a wire shelf that will fit inside your air fryer then this is an excellent replacement for an air fryer basket. A cooling rack or something similar made from metal wire will allow heat to penetrate through the gaps and keep the food elevated while not taking up much space in the air fryer.
This is a great solution if, for example, you want to cook a whole chicken but it won’t fit in your air fryer basket. It will ensure that the air circulates properly around every angle, cooking your food perfectly and evenly.
Baking tray on wire rack
If you are baking food that needs to be contained in a baking tray or casserole dishes, such as a cake or a lasagne, then you can lay one of these oven-friendly trays on top of a wire rack instead of trying to fit it into the air fryer basket.
This will keep the baking tray lifted off the floor of the air fryer so that air can circulate beneath it while using a minimum amount of space.
Baking tray with feet
A baking tray that has feet will keep the main portion of the tray off the lower surface of the air fryer, therefore allowing air to circulate beneath the food on the tray. This is a good solution that can be used alone without the use of a wire rack or shelf, and it can entirely replace the air fryer basket in some situations.
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