5 Things You Should Never Cook in an Air Fryer

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Before you hop on the trend, make sure you aren’t making these common air fryer mistakes.

You can air fry almost anything these days. And why wouldn’t you want to? There’s a reason these appliances have seemingly taken over everyone’s kitchens. Air fryers can imitate the results of deep-frying with some intense hot air and only a fraction of the oil. With this healthier alternative, crispy foods don’t have to be reserved for nights out and state fairs. If it sounds too good to be true, that’s probably because it is. Thankfully, others have made these mistakes before us so we don’t have to. Before you dive in to cooking with your air fryer, see which select items won’t work—even though they may be tempting to throw in there. Make sure you also brush up on what you should never cook in a cast-iron pan.

Battered foods

Unless the food is pre-fried and frozen, you’ll want to avoid placing wet batter in the air fryer. Aside from the obvious mess it will create, wet batter won’t set the way it does when it’s submerged in oil, meaning the food won’t have that crunchy shell. If you’d like to add a little crispiness to your food, coat in flour, egg, and breadcrumbs. Don’t miss this simple trick for getting food perfectly golden in the air fryer every time.

Fresh greens

Leafy greens like spinach will cook unevenly due to the high-speed air. It’s very easy to burn foods that don’t say put. When choosing vegetables to cook in the air fryer, make sure they hold some weight to them like broccoli or zucchini. Kale chips may also be successful if coated in enough oil to weigh them down. Ultimately, experts say that frozen veggies are the way to go when it comes to air fryers because they retain more moisture from the ice. Check out more mistakes you may be making with your air fryer.

Whole roasts

The apparent issue is whether or not a whole roast will even fit properly into an air fryer basket, but even if the meat does fit, it’s best to just stick to the regular oven. The roast will not cook evenly with the part closest to the heat source likely burning by the time the part furthest is even safe to eat. The problem comes down to overcrowding. Since the hot air needs room to appropriately circulate, the most successful method would be to cook the roast in smaller pieces. If cooking a chicken, make sure the breast is face down with the skin facing up since air fryers heat from the top. Learn how an air fryer really works and see what it does to your food.


Who wouldn’t love to instantly make some fried cheese to snack on? Since the air fryer isn’t truly “frying” the food, placing cheese without some sort of coating inside will just melt the cheese into a puddle and create a mess you don’t want to clean up. Unless you scavenge the freezer aisle for some frozen mozzarella sticks, there unfortunately won’t be any fried cheese coming out of the air fryer. This also applies to grilled cheese, which will likely burn in an air fryer under the intense pressure from the hot air. Stick to the stovetop for this classic comfort food. Ready to invest in the trend? Check out the best air fryers you can get on the market right now.

Raw grains

Grains such as rice and pasta can crisp nicely in an air fryer, but they have to be cooked on the stovetop first. Air fryers are intended to dry cook food, so trying to cook something that needs to be immersed in water to cook properly won’t work. Even with an insert that allows you to place water inside the air fryer, the fan will never get hot enough to boil the water and successfully cook your grains. Now that you know what not to cook, check out these recipes that are perfect for the air fryer.


  • Food Network: “These Are the Foods You Just Can’t Make In an Air Fryer”
  • Mashed: “Things you should never cook in an air fryer”
  • Food Network: “Air Fryer Do’s and Don’ts”
  • Insider: “7 things you should cook in an air fryer and 7 things you shouldn’t”

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