What Kind of Pans to Use in An Air Fryer? (5 Great Choices)

Air fryers are awesome kitchen appliances that cook and crisp up food through the power of air and heat. However, before you hit the power button, you should first figure out what type of pan you want to use in your air fryer.

Any baking pan sporting an oven-safe label will be safe to use in air fryers, including metal, stone, ceramic, glass, and silicone molds and pans. The types of pan and plate materials you should avoid putting in your air fryer are cardboard, plastic, wood, and Teflon.

In this guide, I’ll speak about the various pan materials you can and cannot put in an air fryer. I’ll also talk about whether or not a pan is even necessary for air frying.

How Does an Air Fryer Work?

Some people consider air fryers to be miniature versions of convection ovens, and, to be completely honest with you guys, that’s exactly what they are.

Air fryers are compact kitchen appliances that use a built-in fan to distribute heat from a heating coil throughout a tiny internal compartment to cook food from all sides. The result is perfectly crisp, golden-brown food.

The greatest selling point of an air fryer is its non-fat cooking requirement. You don’t have to put in oil, butter, or grease of any kind inside an air fryer to crisp up your food. Instead, the fan sends the heat toward your food from all directions, cooking everything quickly and evenly. That said, you are more than welcome to enhance the flavor of your dishes by adding a tablespoon of the fat of your choice.

So, since air fryers are miniature convection ovens, you will need to find the appropriate baking pan to put in the food basket. Otherwise, you might end up with a melted mess on your hands (and all over the inside of your air fryer)!

Types of Pans to Use in an Air Fryer

In this section, I’ll cover the various bakeware materials that are deemed oven-safe. However, you should still do your due diligence and look for an oven-safe label when shopping for the following bakeware.


Your choice of metal baking vessels is virtually limitless. The most common metals for bakeware are aluminum and stainless steel, but metals such as copper and cast iron will also work in an air fryer.

The difference between metal bakeware options is how well the dish conducts heat. Aluminum heats up rapidly but is prone to warping, while stainless steel is similar but a lot more durable. Cast iron is a popular choice for searing and grilling, but you should preheat the dish in your air fryer before using it to cook food.


Do you have a small pizza stone that you would like to use in your air fryer? The good news is that you can! Stone is completely safe to use in air fryers, even when in such close proximity to the ceiling-mounted heating coil. The only challenge is finding a pizza stone that’s small enough to fit inside the air fryer’s food basket!

If you’re having trouble finding an appropriate pizza stone, this 12-inch model should fit inside a 6-quart-plus air fryer.


Ceramic bakeware, such as casserole dishes and Dutch ovens, retain heat exceptionally well, meaning that they can cook your food a lot more quickly than cast iron and stone. Just make sure not to bash the baking dish against the side of the food basket’s walls to keep the enamel coating intact.

Tempered glass

If you want to use a glass baking dish in your air fryer or oven, always look for the “tempered” label. Tempered glass is glass that has been treated in such a way that when it shatters, it doesn’t produce millions of super-sharp fragments. This type of glass can usually hold up in an oven at temperatures exceeding 450°F, making it ideal for crisping foods in an air fryer.


Is it rubber? Is it plastic? It doesn’t matter; silicone is completely safe to use in an air fryer. In fact, you can pick up silicone baking molds and liners for your air fryer. Best of all, you don’t have to line the silicone mold with grease since it’s naturally non-stick.

While heat resistant, silicone has a tremendously low thermal conductivity level. This means it transfers heat much more slowly, so it can take several more minutes to cook food in a silicone baking dish. This won’t be a problem if you use silicone molds for making cupcakes and muffins, as well as reheating single-portion casseroles.

What Types of Pans Are Not Safe for Air Fryers?

Now, let’s cover the various dish materials that you should not put in an air fryer.

Paper cupcake molds

Paper cupcake molds

While paper cupcake molds are safe to bake in an oven, doing so in an air fryer can be a recipe for disaster. It’s technically safe to bake paper cupcake liners in an air fryer, but due to the short vertical distance from the heating coil, it’s possible that the paper liners can catch fire. So, instead of using paper muffin cups, stick to silicone.


This is a no-brainer, but it’s still worth mentioning, seeing as how so many people end up with melted plastic all over their ovens. Plastic is not an oven-safe material due to its low heat tolerance. At just 175°F, plastic containers will begin to melt, and nobody likes eating around melted plastic fragments!

If you do end up with melted plastic in your air fryer (because you found this guide too late), remove the food basket, place an ice cube on the plastic, and let the plastic harden before picking it off with a fingernail or an anti-scratch sponge.


Teflon pan

This might sound contradictory since you can find a Teflon coating on the inside of an air fryer’s food basket or grill/pan accessory. However, Teflon is generally not considered to be oven-safe since it can actually become toxic when exposed to extreme heat (around 530°F).

Although air fryers typically have a maximum cooking temperature of 400°F, you still shouldn’t risk damaging your Teflon pan by putting it so close to an air fryer’s heating coil. If you really want a nonstick surface to bake your food, stick to silicone baking dishes or lightly oil glass bakeware.

Do I Need a Pan to Cook Food in an Air Fryer?

Air fryers mainly consist of 3 parts—the motor base, the food basket, and the food pan. In all honesty, these are all you need to begin making super-crispy food in your air fryer.

So, you don’t necessarily have to use additional bakeware for cooking food. The only exception is when you want to bake foods that would spill or get all over the place. However, to make French fries, steaks, chicken thighs, shrimp, and virtually any other type of vegetable or meat under the sun, you can mostly get by with using placing the food directly in the food pan.

Can You Use Bamboo Skewers in an Air Fryer?

Can You Use Bamboo Skewers in an Air Fryer

Yes, you can. However, you should soak the skewers in water for at least half an hour (overnight is ideal) to keep the skewers nice and wet.

A wet skewer can withstand the heat of a grill or air fryer a lot better than a dry skewer. Soaking your skewers will also stop them from becoming kindling and possibly catching fire in your air fryer. The same principle applies to wooden skewers, too.

Are Aluminum Foil Baskets Safe to Put in an Air Fryer?

Are Aluminum Foil Baskets Safe to Put in an Air Fryer

If you don’t feel like dirtying silicone baking mats, you might feel tempted to create a tiny food basket using a bit of aluminum foil. But the question is, is it safe?

Yes, it is. You can use aluminum foil as a liner for baking dishes, or you can create a makeshift baking dish using nothing but aluminum foil. The great thing about aluminum foil is that it won’t burn in a super-hot air fryer. Plus, you can toss the foil away when you’re done!

Can Plates Go in an Air Fryer?

Again, you can use anything as a baking dish in your air fryer as long as it has an oven-safe label. If it doesn’t, it’s best to assume that you should not use it as a baking dish. So, what about regular dinner plates?

Standard dining plates are made of ceramic materials, which you can put in an air fryer. However, glass plates aren’t usually tempered, so they might undergo thermal stress and crack the moment you pull it out of the air fryer.

Can You Line a Baking Dish with Paper Towels in an Air Fryer?

No, you shouldn’t. Paper towels are incredibly flammable, and there’s a high chance that the paper will catch fire due to its closeness to the air fryer’s heating coils. You might feel tempted to treat your air fryer like a microwave, but it has more in common with a convection oven than anything else.

Paper towels are completely unnecessary in air ovens since you can get perforated pans that allow grease and moisture to drop into the food basket, keeping your food nice and crisp.

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