When it comes to air fryers, almost everyone wants them in their home. Some of these reasons are because cooking takes much less time and gives off less heat. Overall, you want to be comfortable in your home with the convenience of cooking something fantastic in return.
However, one of the many questions you might ask is what cooking spray you should use inside an air fryer. Knowing this information is essential to get the desired taste and texture.
There are many cooking sprays you can use in your air fryer, but the best ones are as follows:
- Sunflower Oil
- Light Olive Oil
- Avocado Oil
- Grapeseed Oil
- Peanut Oil
- Refined Coconut Oil
In this article, we will discuss if you need to put oil in an air fryer, what the smoke point of each oil is, and what kind of benefits the oils provide.
Afterward, we will answer some frequently asked questions, such as how much oil you should put in an air fryer or what you should never spray in your air fryer. For more detailed information, continue reading.
Does an Air Fryer Need Oil?
No, an air fryer does not necessarily need oil for the food you put in. For example, if you cook frozen precooked foods, your air fryer does not require oil as the food was already oiled before packaging. However, you should put oil in the air fryer when preparing fresh food.
On the other hand, some air fryers do not require oil to fry the food. Some air fryer brands discourage adding oil directly into the pan, but you can pour it on prepared ingredients, like chicken or freshly peeled vegetables. This would be done before putting the ingredients in.
Adding oil to your ingredients also creates a crispier and delicious taste to your food. In any case, remember to look at the manual before doing anything you may not know about.
What Is a Smoke Point?
An oil’s smoke point is essentially where the oil stops shining and starts to burn. Once the oil starts burning, it takes the flavor and nutrients away from your food and the oil itself. It is essential to pay attention to the oil’s smoke point, as burning oil can cause health issues in the long run.
If you are cooking something considered high heat, like meat or sauteed vegetables, consider using unrefined oils as the smoke point is higher. However, refined oils would be best for lighter cooking as their smoke point is not as high.
What Are the Best Cooking Sprays for Your Air Fryer?
One thing to remember is that not all oils are suited for use in spray bottles. However, there are many excellent oil candidates for your air fryer. Make sure to choose the best one that suits whatever your food needs.
For example, if you cook meat, use an oil with a high smoke point. However, suppose you are using the air fryer to roast veggies. Using oil with a lower smoke point is wise in that case. Below is a chart on each oil’s smoke point and what you can use it best for.
1. Sunflower Oil
Sunflower oil is made when the seeds are pressed together, which, in return, extracts the oil. The smoke point is relatively high at 450° Fahrenheit. Because of this, you can use sunflower oil for heavier cooking, such as roasting, deep frying, and creating an excellent stir fry.
On top of that, sunflower oil has several benefits, as it contains a high amount of linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid. Not only this, but many people will use sunflower oil to help prevent heart disease, dry mouth, dry skin, high blood pressure, eczema, and much more. However, no scientific evidence proves these points, so use your best judgment.
2. Light Olive Oil
Light olive oil does not necessarily mean it has fewer calories than regular olive oil. However, it refers to the color as a golden yellow instead of deep green, like extra virgin olive oil. Not only this, but light olive oil contains a more neutral flavor.
Like sunflower oil, this specific oil has a high smoke of 465 to 475° Fahrenheit. This means you can easily bake and fry with this oil. Adding light olive oil will make your meals tastier with added health benefits. For example, it can decrease the chances of heart disease and lower bad cholesterol in your heart.
3. Avocado Oil
Avocado oil is made from fresh avocado pulp and wins first prize with the highest smoke point, ranging from 510 to 520° Fahrenheit. It is best used for frying, baking, roasting, and sauteeing foods.
Avocado oil is one of the best oils to use in an air fryer and will leave your food tasting crispy and delicious! This specific oil is less prone to oxidation because it contains over 50% monounsaturated fats.
Some benefits of avocado oil include improving vitamin E intake, and it may protect heart health. You can also use avocado oil as a substitute for saturated fats to help lower inflammation.
4. Grapeseed Oil
Grapeseed oil is commonly known for making your food taste delicious without any extra effort. It is best used in pasta sauces, soups, salads, etc. One of the many benefits of grapeseed oil is its relatively high smoke point, making it an excellent choice to use inside your air fryer.
This specific oil is made after the grapefruit is pressed into wine. Once that is completed, manufacturers extract the oil from the grapeseeds, creating an entirely different product.
Some nutrients in grapeseed oil are vitamin E, omega-6 fatty acids, linoleic acid, and phenolic antioxidants. The oil itself may improve inflammation, reduce blood clots, and reduce the risk of heart disease. Not only that, but it is an excellent skin moisturizer!
5. Peanut Oil
Peanut oil is your best friend if you love to deep-fry food! This specific oil can have a smoke point that varies depending on its condition.
For example, refined peanut oil will have an indistinctive flavor but a higher smoke point of 450° Fahrenheit. On the contrary, unrefined peanut oil has a more robust flavor and scent but a lower smoke point of 350° Fahrenheit.
Peanut oil contains a lot of antioxidants and good fats. In return, it helps keep your sugar levels down and your heart healthy. This is because the oil has a lot of vitamin E and unsaturated good fats (polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats.) This oil can also help lower cholesterol and help control diabetes.
6. Refined Coconut Oil
The last oil we will discuss today is refined coconut oil. The smoke point is between 400 to 450° Fahrenheit, making it a lovely choice for an air fryer. This oil is best used for cooking and baking.
This oil is made by pressing dried or fresh coconut meat (or the copra). Refined coconut oil typically uses copra, whereas virgin coconut oil uses fresh meat.
Coconut oil, in general, contains a massive amount of health benefits. However, the main benefits can be as follows:
- It may work as a quick energy source
- It may help with fat-burning
- It may reduce hunger
- It may boost skin health
- It may reduce seizures
Tips on Using Oil in an Air Fryer
When using oil in an air fryer, there are some things you would like to know. This is important to ensure the longevity of your device. Here are some excellent tips:
- If you do not want oil inside the air fryer, use aluminum foil or parchment paper liners. This ensures an easy cleanup.
- Refer to your air fryer manual, which may have different cooking temperatures and oil guidelines.
- Because an air fryer is not a deep fryer, it is wise to never use a massive amount of oil in the basket or compartment.
- If there is an excessive amount of leftover oil after cooking, make sure to wipe it clean with a paper towel or cloth before using it next.
- Never spray PAM directly on the air fryer basket. If using PAM, spray it directly on the food before putting it in the basket itself.
How Much Oil Should You Use in the Air Fryer?
For most recipes in an air fryer, you only need 1 to 2 teaspoons (15 ml) of oil. Many people put too little or too much oil in their air fryer, which can cause future problems, like burning or making too much of a mess.
What Should You Never Spray in the Air Fryer?
Most, if not all, air fryer companies highly recommend never spraying oil directly inside the basket. The nonstick coating can be damaged, making it unsafe for you and others. Spraying any food before putting it in the air fryer is highly recommended.
Do You Need a Special Spray for Your Air Fryer?
No, you do not need a special spray. However, you do not need to use as much spray with an air fryer as you will need while making stir-fry or deep frying. Make sure you choose a non-aerosol or non-processed spray to ensure the oil is evenly distributed with all the food. This will also help prevent any Teflon from chipping or any other damage from occurring.
Although there are many excellent cooking spray options for air fryers, the ones we recommend are the best due to how high their smoke points are and the other contents they come with, like taste. We hope this article was helpful for you, and we wish you the best with cooking!