Can you put plastic in an air fryer? To answer this question, you simply have to ask yourself another thing: would you put plastic in a regular home oven or any kind of oven?
Would you put plastic on the stovetop?
Of course not. Plastic doesn’t go anywhere near our cooking surfaces, whether they’re an air fryer, an oven, the stovetop, etc. Just like we can’t use wax paper in an air fryer.
Don’t Put Plastic in an Air Fryer
Let’s understand why we absolutely don’t put plastic in an air fryer. To do that, let’s just see what an air fryer does.
Any air fryer uses convection heat to cook food. Obviously, heat is used for cooking the food. Just like heat is used whenever we cook our food with the help of other appliances.
And that’s why the answer to the question can you put plastic in an air fryer is absolutely not.
If you accidently put plastic in the air fryer, would it damage it
The heating mechanism should not be affected by the melting plastic inside your air fryer basket, but you do risk damaging the basket as melted plastic is not that easy to remove.
But burnt plastic is never a good smell to have in your house. Moreover, inhalation of plastic fumes is not something that I want to ever do.
An air fryer basically allows us to fry foods without using too much oil. That’s the major attraction for these wonderful appliances. But they still use a heating mechanism to fry our food. Just like toasters use heating elements to toast bread, bagels, and pop tarts.
Why would someone think that they could put plastic trays or whatever plastic dishes in an air fryer is not something that I understand completely.
Can you heat food in plastic containers in an air fryer?
Once again, the answer is no.
Even if you say that you’re only going to heat up your dish for a minute in the air fryer, you still can’t put a plastic container in the air fryer to heat up that dish.
Take the food out from your Tupperware or plastic takeaway container, place it in a pan or in the air fryer’s basket or in any cookware that is oven safe and then you can heat it up without having to suffer the smell of burnt plastic.
An air fryer is not a microwave oven
Let’s make a distinction: an air fryer is not a microwave oven. A microwave oven doesn’t have a heating mechanism but an air fryer has.
You always have to think of an air fryer as being close to what an oven is. It certainly doesn’t have anything in common with a microwave.
A microwave oven causes water molecules in food to vibrate, which produces heat that heats up or cooks the food.
The heating method in an air fryer is similar to that of a convection oven, including the presence of a fan to circulate the heat so the food cooks fast.
Moreover, I would say that you should avoid microwaving food/beverages in plastic. If you want to see what plastic does to our health, you should check out this study.
I don’t even store hot food in a plastic container until the food has gone completely cold.
I’m not going to go into why heating up in plastic containers is bad for us, even if we use a microwave. Just read that study because it explains it all.
Can You Put Plastic in an Air Fryer? The Exception
This exception that I’m talking about is silicone pans.
However, I wouldn’t necessarily call it an exception because plastic and silicone are not the same thing.
Even if silicone is a plastic polymer, they’re not the same thing because, unlike common carbon-based plastic, silicones have a backbone made of silicon. It could be considered part of the rubber family.
However, what truly is interesting for our discussion is that silicone pots can be used in air fryers.
Thus, the answer to the question can you put plastic in an air fryer should be that we can use air fryer silicone pots but no other plastic because it will melt.
Air fryer silicone pots are liners that are food safe and non-stick. They’re also reusable.
We can use silicone pots as a replacement for parchment paper and to keep the air fryer’s basket completely clean. They’re very easy to clean and pretty affordable.
It will keep our appliances free from food residue, grease and grime, which can potentially prolong the life span of our models.
What cookware can you put in an air fryer?
We’ve already talked about using air fryer silicone pots. They’re easy to clean, reusable, replace parchment paper, can work both for cooking and heating up food, and they can keep our appliances clean.
However, some might not like silicone pots so let’s see what other cookware we can use in air fryers.
For many dishes many people will prefer using the basket that comes with our appliance. If we want to keep it easy to clean and to prevent sticking, we might line the basket with parchment paper. That’s one simple solution to cook most of our food in air fryers.
We can also buy air fryer disposable paper liners as long as they fit the shape and size of our model.
The major impediment to using cookware in air fryers is that they need to fit the shape and size of your model.
That’s why most of us prefer lining the basket with parchment paper for most foods.
On the other hand, if we’re buying an air fryer toaster oven, we have more cookware options we can use because these types are shaped like countertop ovens. So we can use a lot of different regular pans as long as they have the required size.
While most air fryer ovens are significantly more expensive and significantly bigger than original air fryers, they’re also more versatile, more spacious, and maybe even easier to use.
Thus, which type of cookware you can use also depends on what shape your air fryer has. If it looks like a big countertop oven, your choices of cookware are truly varied.
All in all, the answer to the question can you put plastic in an air fryer is no but there are many other alternatives we can use, whether we cook or heat up food.