Can you put parchment paper in an air fryer? Yes, and here's what you need to know

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Can you put parchment paper in an air fryer? Yes, and here's what you need to know
Parchment paper is the best liner to use for your air fryer.CASEZY/Getty Images
  • Parchment paper is a safe and effective liner to use in the air fryer.
  • To avoid safety hazards, weigh down the paper with food and keep away from the heating element.
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If you have one of the best air fryers, you're in luck — parchment paper is safe to use in the countertop appliance. Plus, there are several benefits when it comes to cooking with parchment paper.

It saves you a messy cleanup by keeping food from sticking to the air fryer basket. If you're cooking something breaded or dough-based, the parchment ensures it doesn't get stuck into your mesh or perforated holes. And, unlike aluminum foil, it's non-reactive. (If you're looking for a reusable liner, check out the best silicone air fryer liners.)

According to Meredith Laurence of Blue Jean Chef, it is safe to use parchment paper in the air fryer — but don't let it blow around. "If it blows around, then there's a chance it could get tangled up with the elements, and then it would actually catch on fire," she says. That's why it's important to weigh it down with food and ensure it's not touching the heating element.

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Can you put parchment paper in an air fryer? Yes, and here's what you need to know

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Before you get started

When it comes to using parchment paper in the air fryer, first read the appliance manual to confirm what your specific model can handle. Then, consider both the temperature and type of paper you're using.

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Parchment paper in the oven versus air fryer. Temperature-wise, parchment paper in the air fryer acts similarly to how it does in an oven. The difference between an oven and an air fryer is that air fryers incorporate a fan that is right next to the element that blows hot air onto the food, Laurence says. Despite their difference, parchment paper can be used similarly in the air fryer as it is used in the oven.

Parchment is temperature-sensitive. Parchment paper's heating limit is 450 degrees, according to Laurence. If you have an air fryer that heats up to 500 degrees, Laurence says to forgo using the liner; that temperature is too high for parchment paper to withstand and it becomes a fire hazard.

Laurence's go-to is natural parchment paper with no coatings on it. "I've had no problem and no limitation with respect to temperature — as long as it's under 450," she says. "But most air fryers only go to 400 or 390 degrees."

Parchment paper is different from wax paper. Make sure you're choosing the right paper to place in your air fryer. "Wax paper is coated, and that's not to go in your oven or your air fryer because the wax would melt," she says.

Try using parchment paper with holes in it. While it's not completely necessary, parchment paper with holes in it is helpful if you're using an air fryer basket. "The holes are a good idea because it does allow grease to drain away from the food, and that's going to give you a crispy exterior on the bottom," Laurence says.

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You can punch holes in parchment paper yourself if you don't have air-fryer-specific perforated parchment paper. If you're using an air fryer-toaster hybrid, the mesh basket doesn't lend itself to using perforated parchment paper since the holes aren't as big as that of the traditional air fryer's basket. Instead, use regular parchment paper.

How to use parchment paper in the air fryer

Can you put parchment paper in an air fryer? Yes, and here's what you need to know
Always make sure your parchment paper is cut no larger than the bottom of your air fryer.Natalya Danko / EyeEm/Getty Images
  1. Start by measuring your parchment paper. The purpose of air frying is to surround food with hot, dry air, Laurence says. That's why it's important not to cover the whole bottom of the air fryer with parchment paper. If you do, "you're not getting that direct contact of the air from below," blocking grease from draining away from the food, she says. "Only use as much parchment paper as the food requires," Laurence says.
  2. Preheat the oven without the parchment inside. According to Laurence, only add parchment paper when you're ready to put the food in. It needs to be weighed down by food or there will be a risk of fire.
  3. Avoid reusing parchment paper. Your parchment paper may come out of the air fryer too dirty and "wrecked" to use again, Laurence says. However, if you're air frying something with less moisture or grease, the paper may come out dry enough to reuse again.

When to use parchment paper

Can you put parchment paper in an air fryer? Yes, and here's what you need to know
Always opt for parchment when it comes to acidic foods like tomatoes.Victority/Getty Images

Laurence says she always chooses parchment paper over aluminum foil in the air fryer. Parchment paper is more versatile because it is non-reactive. "Whatever food you're putting on that aluminum foil is going to react with aluminum," Laurence says. Foods that are more acidic, like tomatoes, may absorb heat and dissolve aluminum, causing it to leach into your food.

The one instance in which Laurence believes foil is better is if you need to create sturdy handles to lift something out of the air fryer.

Insider's takeaway

Parchment paper is the most efficient and versatile liner for an air fryer. It prevents sticking, keeps food from getting stuck, and makes cleanup faster. To ensure food is surrounded by hot, dry air, measure your parchment paper to only use as much as the food requires underneath. The most important rule to follow is to always make sure it's weighed down with food to avoid safety hazards.

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