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Pinterest is full of mouth-watering recipes that make you want to switch your air fryer on every day. However, some foods are best left to traditional cooking methods. After all, an air fryer is supposed to improve your meals, so you want to get the best results possible, right?

Can you air fry everything?

While an air fryer will essentially ‘cook’ anything you put into it, there are some foods that won’t taste good or be cooked properly and will leave you with a considerable mess to clean up. So think of it more as, just because you can air fry it, that doesn’t mean you should.

What cannot be cooked in an air fryer? 

Here are ten foods we highly recommend you keep out of your air fryer:

  1. Wet batter

Air fryers are heralded as a fantastic alternative to deep fryers. You get the same tasty outcome but with far fewer calories. Plus, much less oil is used and then thrown away, which is kinder to your bank balance. 

With that said, wet batter is a huge no-no if you’re looking for that deep-fried texture. That’s because an air fryer simply won’t cook the outside of the batter instantaneously, as deep-frying does. So instead, you’ll end up with all the batter dripping off your food and puddling on the bottom of your air fryer…not very appetising.

  1. Entire chickens (with one exception)

Yes, air frying can achieve that golden crispiness you want in a Sunday roast, but the problem with trying to cook a whole chicken is, quite simply, that some air fryers aren’t quite big enough. 

Even if you can squash your chicken in, you’ll be stopping the air from circulating correctly. As a result, you’ll likely end up with a chicken that’s dry, has burnt bits and is unevenly cooked. 

There is a solution, though. There are air fryer models that come with a rotisserie function. This will give you more than enough room to roast a delicious, juicy chicken. 

If your air fryer doesn’t have this function, you’ll have to stick to cooking your whole chicken in your oven for the best results. 

  1. Rice and pasta

There are some delicious looking recipes out there for air-fried pasta and rice, but the fact is that an air fryer isn’t designed to cook these foods from scratch. That means that you’ll have to pre-cook them before using your air fryer, which, let’s face it, means a lot more cleaning up to do. Take our advice and save your air fryer for food that will cook incredibly well and save you time. 

  1. Light foods

And by that, we mean things like leafy greens. The simple reason is that the beautiful even cooking you can expect from your air fryer comes from the air and heat circulation and your food staying on the bottom of your air fryer so it can be heated from various angles. 

Try to cook light foods this way, and you’ll find that it just flies around the device, resulting in an uneven cook. The same is true of dry herbs; while some will stick to your food, the rest will be blown about; what a waste of delicious ingredients.

  1. Lots and lots of food

OK, this isn’t a food item per se; however, it is a common mistake made by air fryer owners. To get the most out of your device, give your ingredients lots of space. This means better air and heat circulation and better results all round. Check how much food your device can stand and stick to that, or even cook slightly less for even better air circulation. 

If you need to cook a considerable amount of food, simply air fry in batches. We appreciate that it will take longer, but the results will be more than worth it.  

  1. Popcorn

Is there anything better than throwing popcorn kernels into a pan, adding butter before putting the lid on and giving it a good shake over the stove until you hear that sensational popping sound? Not to mention the delicious smell and ability to add your own seasoning.

Home-cooked popcorn is so much better than store-bought, but don’t take the chance of throwing your kernels into your air fryer. Remember what we said about light foods? Well, the same thing applies to foods that pop about when heated. So keep it on the stovetop for the best results.

  1. Steak

What makes the perfect steak? Well, that’s up for debate. But what can be agreed is that a steak should be evenly cooked, have fantastic char marks, be just juicy enough for your preference and look so good it makes your mouth water. 

When you try to cook steak in an air fryer, you miss out on that beautiful char and are more than likely going to end up with a nicely fried top and a soggy bottom, which nobody likes. Even if you turn it over and watch it like a hawk, it isn’t easy to get it right through this cooking method. 

  1. Cake

Many bakers have come to rely on their air fryers for consistently tasty cookies, but try to bake a cake, and you’ll likely come into problems. Cake is essentially a wet batter and, as we’ve learnt from point one of this post, isn’t a good idea for air frying. That’s not to say it’s impossible, but it’s not worth the hiccups as you find your way.

The only real benefit you’ll get from air frying a cake is swapping out the buttered cake tin for oil. But is that worth all the extra hassle of sopping up drips or chiselling off stuck cake batter? We don’t think so.

  1. Cheese

You might be able to get away with it if the cheese is heavily breaded, but if you’re thinking about making a toastie in your air fryer, think again. Even if your air fryer has a drip tray, ask yourself the question – am I going to have the best experience cooking it this way? – chances are, you won’t, especially when a sandwich maker is going to give you oozy cheesy toasties with those crunchy bits on the side – yum!

  1. Sardines

Air fryers make delicious, healthier food. However, a study suggested that air frying reduces the amount of ​​poly-unsaturated fats and raises cholesterol oxidation in sardines. 

We love the health benefits that come from air frying but recommend choosing a different method of cooking your sardines. 

Air frying is a fantastic way of cooking delicious, healthier food. And while many hacks can help you make the most out of this wonder device, that doesn’t mean that it’s the best method for cooking absolutely everything. Instead, your cooking devices should be used to get the most out of your food.