Can You Put Oil In An Air Fryer? [How To Do It & FAQ]

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Air fryers have skyrocketed in popularity due to their versatile nature. Nowadays, it seems like everyone is getting one, and with good reason! 

The other day, I used an air fryer to cook up some salmon. It was absolutely delicious, I couldn’t believe how my meal turned out. I did, however, wonder about what kind of oil to use on my food and how much to actually add. 

For first-timers, using an air fryer might be a little tricky. Once you finally have one, you may wonder what you can and cannot use to fry your food. 

The last thing you want is to damage or ruin your air fryer along with the food you’re cooking inside it. 

One of the most common questions people ask themselves is if they can put oil inside an air fryer.

The short answer is, absolutely! 

Using oil in an air fryer is one simple and healthy way to cook your food. You'll use oil in an air fryer around 75% of the time. You can only cook certain foods, such as frozen foods, properly without oil. Adding a touch of oil to your air fryer will leave your food with a crispy and delicious texture.

We’ve created this how-to guide to give you more details on how to cook with oil using an air fryer, and the types of oils that are best to use.

Wait, Isn’t it Called an “Air” Fryer? 

You may be wondering why you should use oil in a kitchen appliance called an “air fryer.” It is worth clarifying that you can still use oil  in an air-fryer, just not used in the same way one would when deep frying their food.

In deep frying, you completely immerse food into scorching hot oil, letting the oil flow deep into the food to crisp up. In an air fryer, using a teaspoon of oil is enough to add a crunchy texture to whatever delicious meal you’re cooking. Not to mention, air frying is much cheaper because you use significantly less oil!

Most food people eat needs some amount of oil before cooking. Not only does oil add rich flavor to any recipe, it also functions as a lubricant and prevents food from sticking or burning on the bottom of the air fryer. 

Personally, I always use a small amount of oil when I use an air fryer. I enjoy changing up the oil I use to really bring out the flavors in the foods I am preparing. 

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How To Start Using Oil in Your Air Fryer

There are several ways you can use oil to cook food in an air fryer. However, it is important to note that when cooking with oil that some types of oil tend to be better than others. 

We’ve made this quick guide to help food lovers navigate how to work an air fryer and to determine which types of oils to use for certain recipes. 

Before putting oil in an air fryer, there are three important steps you should take.


Step 1: Look at the Recipe Requirements 

It is important to consider which recipe you’re cooking. Certain types of recipes and foods are more conducive and even flavorful when using a good amount of oil. Other recipes are not.  

Step 2: Find Out the Cooking Temperatures 

If you know the cooking temperatures beforehand, you can then determine which oil would be best for cooking. Sometimes recipes aren’t created for air fryers, so you will need to double check the cooking temperatures before starting. 

Step 3: Know the Oil Smoking Point 

Some oils are better for air frying than others. 

For example, avocado oil is great for air frying while olive oil is not. 

You’ll want to go with oils that can withstand heat, otherwise your food will be soggy and not crisp up — which you don’t want! 

Now, we will go into detail about oil varieties and their smoking points. 

What Kind of Oil Can I Put Inside an Air Fryer? 

The type of oil that should go into an air fryer depends on the recipe and the taste that one wants to create. 

One thing to take into consideration is the smoking point of a specific oil. The smoking point is simply the point at which the fat in the oil begins to smoke. 

If you choose an oil with a low smoking point then it will make your air fryer smoke, which you don’t want happening. 

Below is a short list of the kinds of oils that are commonly used in air fryers. 

Oils you can use in an air fryer include: 

1. Avocado Oil 

Smoke point: 570 degrees Fahrenheit.

With a very high smoking point, avocado oil is great for high cooking temperatures. 

Avocado oil is also less refined than traditional oil making it much healthier. The only downside to using this oil is that avocado oil is difficult to find in stores. 

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2. Ghee 

Smoke point: 485 degrees Fahrenheit.

Ghee is a type of decadent clarified butter originating in India and is traditional in a lot of Southeast Asian cuisine. 

The smoking point for ghee is substantially higher than butter. Ghee is more suitable than butter for air frying. 

3. Extra Light Olive Oil 

Smoke point: 468 degrees Fahrenheit.

This oil has a high smoking point and therefore is airfryer-friendly. The smoking point for extra light olive oil is higher than that of extra virgin olive oil. 

4. Sesame Oil 

Smoke point: 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

Sesame oil is one of my favorite oils. 

It gives food a deep warm and smoky flavor, and is a perfect addition to any Asian-inspired dish. Sesame oil actually does have a high smoking point, and will leave your food with that much coveted crunchy outer layer. 

5. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Smoke point: 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

As much as I love olive oil and drizzle it on practically anything, extra virgin olive oil is not the most air fryer-friendly. The smoking point of extra virgin olive oil is actually lower than most oils. 

Air frying is a great way to cook without using loads of oil. However, if you don’t want to cook with butter or oil at all then read How To Fry An Egg Without Oil Or Butter.


Final Thoughts 

Oil is a requirement for most cooking, and especially in air frying. If you have an air fryer and are wondering if oil is even necessary, the answer is of course! The oil doesn’t completely crisp up your food like deep frying does, but it does add a crunch outer texture. 

Unless you are wanting to cook frozen food, which already contains a lot of oil, then most food cooked in an air fryer will need some amount of oil. You can apply the oil using a mister, oil brush, or an old fashioned napkin. 

Because there is a balance to achieve, the question then becomes one of which oil to use for which recipes. The best oil to use in an air fryer is one with a high smoking point. 

The recipe you choose to make and the oil you choose to add will make all the difference in how your food will turn out in the air fryer.


Related Questions 

How Much Oil do I Need to Put on My Food?

Although there is no right or wrong amount, the quantity of oil you end up putting on your food does affect how your meal will taste.

In general, putting one to two teaspoons of oil on your food is plenty. For breaded foods, one to two tablespoons will yield best results.

For my delicious salmon I made, I used about two and a half teaspoons of oil and it turned out absolutely divine! 

Close-up of measuring oil into a tablespoon.

How Do I Put Oil on My Food? 

Remember that oil is a medium for heat to go through in order to cook your food. For food to cook well in an air fryer, it is a good idea to distribute it evenly on top of the food. 

You may want to look into purchasing an oil mister, or even an oil brush to glaze the food in a light coat of oil. 

If you don’t have either of those items, then using a slightly saturated napkin to coat the food before putting it in the air fryer is a good idea. 

Important tip: Remember that when you are using oil in an air fryer, you’ll get the best results if you put the oil directly on the food and not in the air frying basket.

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Jennifer Ulloa

Last update on 2024-04-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

2 thoughts on “Can You Put Oil In An Air Fryer? [How To Do It & FAQ]”

  1. I just bought an air fryer and it will be my first time to use it my question is can i cook straight to the air fryer a fresh meat

    • Hi Bonita, thanks for your question! Yes, you can cook fresh meat in your air fryer; just pay close attention to the temperature to ensure it’s thoroughly cooked before eating. If you don’t have one already a meat thermometer is very helpful:


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