Air fryers are convenient countertop cookers that produce great food in very little time. They're also incredibly versatile — you can use them to make fried chicken, French toast, or even meatloaf. The downside is that air fryers come with a set of inherent risks, like being a potential fire hazard. Fortunately, these risks can be minimized by keeping them away from the wall during use, keeping an eye on them while they're cooking, and using a liner.
Air fryer liners are a smart way to prevent messes. There are several types to choose from, the two most popular being silicone and disposable paper. Which one is better? That depends on your personal preferences and cooking style.
The air fryer's temperature and how often the liner needs to be used are the biggest considerations. Other factors to keep in mind are the type of food you're cooking and whether you want to clean the liners or throw them away. Each liner has pros and cons, but for everyday use, silicone liners come out ahead in terms of usability, temperature resistance, and cleanup.
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Silicone liners are an inexpensive option to protect your air fryer from messes, and some even have sides that can retain grease, which prevents the vents clogging up and potentially starting a fire. They're heat-resistant up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit and can handle most air fryer duties. They are also nonstick, reusable, and dishwasher safe, making cleanup easy.
That said, burnt food is sometimes hard to clean off, and over time, the liner's nooks and crannies will become congested with food or grease. These tiny crevices can be hard to clean and can also harbor bacteria. If the liners are cleaned after each use, however, this shouldn't be an issue.
Silicone liners come in different shapes and sizes to fit various types of air fryers. They distribute and retain heat well, which is especially important for baking. They're also heavier than disposable paper, so they can be placed in the air fryer during preheating without flying around due to the air circulation.
Disposable Paper Liners
Disposable paper liners are nonstick and also provide a barrier between food and the air fryer. They come either in pre-fitted sizes or on a roll that can be cut to fit. If you plan on covering your air fryer's entire rack, punch a couple of small holes in the paper to allow air circulation during cooking.
Though paper liners are safe to use, they do have limitations. The paper cannot be used during preheating unless it's weighed down. If it isn't, it will fly around inside the fryer and can become lodged in the heating element, potentially causing a fire. You also can't use paper liners for temperatures above 420 degrees Fahrenheit, as they could catch fire.
Disposable paper liners shine if you're air frying in multiple batches, as long as the temperature is within range. After cooking each batch, you can throw the liner away and replace it with a new one, so there's virtually no cleanup to worry about. The paper should not be used multiple times, as it becomes brittle after heating, and the brittle pieces can flake off and lodge in the vents or heating element. While silicone is the overall better option, it's a good idea to have both types of liners on hand, as they're each suited for different types of cooking.
Read the original article on Mashed.