How to Air Fry Without Directions

How many times have you wanted to air fry something prepackaged, only to discover there are no directions for air frying on the package? Unfortunately, the companies that make your favorite frozen appetizers and finger foods haven’t quite caught up. That doesn’t mean you can’t use your air fryer, you just have to know what to do. Air fryers come in two main varieties: the basket or the hinge-door (the one that looks like a toaster oven). As with most appliances, they run slightly differently from model to model, machine to machine. Consider your air fryer’s past performance. Have you noticed that some recipes cook faster? Do you always need to shave off a few minutes or your fries burn? Maybe the outside cooks before the inside, so you always knock the temperature down 50 degrees. If you’re using a recipe for the first time and your only directions are for a conventional oven, use that as your starting point and adjust knowing that convection will be hotter and faster. Start by bringing the temperature down, usually by 50°. Think about what you’re air frying — a frozen shoestring fry is going to take less time than a sirloin steak. Finally, check on it. Sometimes, even packages with air-fryer-specific recipes can be wrong. The key is to check, check, and check again. It’s never too early to take a peek. Hinge-door air fryers with a window are great because you can simply peer inside without interrupting the cooking. That being said, always set a timer for halfway, regardless. Until every box comes with air fry instructions, these tips will help you keep from burning your precious snacks.