Air fryers are one of the best kitchen inventions of the 21st century. Not only do they give you the crispy fried texture you love from deep-fried foods, but it healthily accomplishes this using very little, if any, oil.
Protecting the bottom surface of your air fryer can reduce scratches on the machine, keep your food from sticking, and make the cleaning process even easier.
Many people reach for their roll of parchment paper to line their air fryer, which is one possible solution, but not your only option.
What can you use instead of parchment paper in an air fryer? Multiple commonly used household items can be used in your air fryer, including aluminum foil and bakeware. Silicone pots and liners are also great. There are also a few items that should never be used, such as paper towel or wax paper.
More importantly, there are pre-made air fryer liners that can make your cooking easier and quicker, and won’t break the bank in the process. In this article, we’ll share our best tips for DIY air fryer liners as well as our top 5 choices of pre-made air fryer liners.
Do You Need Air Fryer Liners?
You do not need to use liners in order to use an air fryer, but there are many reasons you may choose to anyway.
Here are some key reasons to use air fryer liners anyway:
- They reduce the likelihood that your food will stick. If you use nothing but the machine or even wire racks in it there is a chance that your food will stick in places, creating more mess to clean up and potentially damaging or tearing delicate food like fish. Air fryer liners solve this problem completely.
- Liners makes cleaning your machine and accessories quick and easy. Using liners will not only save you time and energy, but also reduces the wear and tear on your machine. Your air fryer will have fewer scratches from stuck food or scrubbing, extending its lifespan and efficiency over time.
- They help crisp your food with a lower risk of burning it in the process. Air fryer liners are safe to use in very high temperatures, helping your food get extremely hot and therefore crisping up nicely but protecting it from direct exposure to the heat source, limiting the risk for burning. You still need to watch your food and use the liners properly, but it’s much easier.
What You Can Put in Your Air Fryer?
An air fryer is almost like a combination of a microwave and an oven, which may leave you wondering what is safe to use inside one. In truth, they come with their own set of rules that may surprise you.
Before you put anything in your air fryer, check your manufacturer’s manual for safety instructions. Also, if you use your air fryer regularly, you may want to read our related article on heat resistant mats for underneath your air fryer.
Can You Put Parchment Paper in an Air Fryer?
Yes, you can put parchment paper in an air fryer. Parchment paper is the most common type of air fryer liner and, if used properly, it is safe for use in an air fryer.
There are some important rules to understand when you use parchment paper as a liner for your air fryer, however:
- Never put parchment paper in the air fryer by itself. It must always be weighed down by your food so that it doesn’t blow around inside and get stuck in the heating element. This is extremely important as it can cause a fire if you’re not careful. Always pre-heat your air fryer empty and only line your machine immediately before adding your food, ensuring the parchment paper is sufficiently weighted.
- Always make sure your parchment paper is perforated to allow airflow during cooking. If there are no holes in your parchment, your food will not warm or cook properly. Airflow is key to using an air fryer.
- Make sure your parchment paper is sized for your machine. It should line the bottom of your fryer well, but not stick up too much at the edges of the basket.
With all these rules in mind, it’s easy to see why purchasing pre-perforated, properly sized and cut air fryer liners is the easiest course of action. However, it’s not impossible to make liners at home using standard parchment paper.
How To Make Perforated Parchment Paper
To make your own perforated parchment paper, you will need a hole punch. Ideally, you’ll have a handheld, single punch that is easy to move around. A three-hole punch can work in a pinch, but you will probably crinkle your paper quite a lot in the process.
Perforating parchment paper is simple. Here’s how to do it:
- Start by cutting a piece of parchment paper that is roughly the size of the bottom of your air fryer. Trim it so that it fits nicely in the bottom without climbing the sides of the machine.
- Use your hold punch to make holes relatively evenly throughout your parchment paper. If your basket is round you may find it helpful to punch a circle of holes around the perimeter of the paper and then move up an inch and repeat the process.
- Continue until you’ve covered your paper in holes.
The same process will work for a square piece of paper. However, you can move around the paper in straight lines, with every second line offset.
The more holes you have, the more circulation there will be to allow for proper cooking. You don’t want to overdo this, however, as the paper needs to maintain its structure. Balance perforation with adequate coverage.
If you’re making your own parchment paper liners you may find it helpful to check out some of the pre-perforated options from the list we provide in this article to get a visual understanding of a good pattern of holes.
Can You Use Aluminum Foil in an Air Fryer?
Aluminum foil is safe to use in an air fryer, but it has limitations.
Your air fryer has a series of holes in the bottom of the basket. This allows air to flow in and around your food, cooking it evenly and getting the ideal crispiness you desire. If you cover all these holes with aluminum foil, you’ll block the air flow and your food will not crisp or cook as intended in an air fryer.
Aluminum foil can make clean up very easy, but it’s best to use when you only have a small amount of food and you don’t need to cover the entire bottom of your air fryer so that some air holes are still properly open.
Also, like parchment paper, you’ll always want to be sure your tin foil is weighed down so that it doesn’t blow around inside your air fryer.
Can You Put Bakeware in an Air Fryer?
If you have bakeware that is oven safe, whether it is made of ceramic, glass, metal or silicone, if it fits in your air fryer it is safe to use.
Bakeware is heavy enough that you don’t have to worry about it blowing around but it will affect how the air fryer works.
If the air holes are covered, or the sides of the bakeware are too high, the airflow around your food will be reduced, compromising the speed and quality of your cooking.
What NOT to Put in Your Air Fryer
There are also a few items that you don’t want to ever use in your air fryer.
- Paper towels: Do NOT use paper towel in an air fryer. If it comes close to the heating element it can catch on fire easily. Also, the heat from the bottom of the air fryer itself is enough to burn the paper, creating a fire hazard with any use.
- Wax paper: Do NOT confuse wax paper with parchment paper and use it in your air fryer. The wax coating will smoke and melt when exposed to any heat, creating a very smelly mess almost immediately as the air fryer warms up. It will ruin your food, possibly ruin your machine, and likely set off every smoke detector on your block.
Types of Air Fry Liners
If you use your air fryer frequently and don’t want to be bothered trying to DIY your own liners, you can purchase pre-made liners for your air fryer. There are a few different types to choose from, appealing to all different types and natures of home cooks.
A silicone basket can be used to contain your food and be placed directly into your air fryer. The bottom will usually have raised lines at the bottom to allow air to circulate beneath your food and give some space to collect any drippings.
When you’re done cooking, you can just pull out the entire basket and, because it’s made of silicone, it’s incredibly easy to clean and essentially indestructible. Your air fryer will be as clean as if it was never used.
This type of air fryer liner is bought one time and can be reused as many times as you need. It’s also versatile and can be used in the oven or microwave as well.
Perforated Parchment Paper Liners
The most commonly used type of air fryer liner are pre-perforated, pre-sized parchment paper liners. They are single-use papers designed specifically for use in air fryers.
They come with a pattern of holes punched out to allow for airflow and optimal cooking while still protecting the bottom surface of your air fryer.
There are multiple sizes and shapes, so be sure to get a package that is suited to your air fryer.
Air Fryer Silicone Mat
Finally, you can also purchase a silicone mat for your air fryer. These are essentially a combination of the two options previously listed.
These liners are designed to fit the bottom of your fryer and are also perforated with holes. Being made of silicone allows them to be reusable and, again, essentially indestructible.
These mats also work well as heat protectors for your counter or tabletop.
Best Air Fryer Liners
Now that you know some of your liner options, let’s look at some of the very best liner products. We’ve found our top five, representing a range of these options:
|1.||WaveLu Air Fryer Silicone Pot||Basket-shaped, silicone|
|2.||By Kitchen Air Fryer Parchment Paper||Square, perforated, parchment|
|3.||Geesta Parchment Air Fryer Liners||Round, perforated, parchment|
|4.||Airware Reusable Air Fryer Liners||Round, perforated, silicone|
|5.||Airware Reusable Air Fryer Liners||Square, perforated, silicone|
We also have a full review of each, so check them out below.
1. WaveLu Air Fryer Silicone Pot
The versatility of this basket is amazing. It allows you to use your air fryer without leaving even the slightest mess or damage to the machine itself. The basket fully contains your food from start to finish, protecting your investment and your food.
- 2 available sizes: L (3-5 quarts) and XL (5.3+ quarts)
- BPA-free and non-toxic
- High-heat resistant up to 450F and non-flammable
Biggest Drawback: Depending on what you cook, the ridges that allow for airflow can also collect pieces of food or drippings. Just like a grill, these ridges need to be cleaned carefully to remove all debris, but it can be tricky to get inside each line.
2. By Kitchen Air Fryer Parchment Paper
These perforated sheets allow for plenty of airflow while still protecting your machine and food from sticking and making a mess. The paper is heat safe up to 446 Fahrenheit when used properly and made from safe, food-grade wood pulp.
- Package of 100
- Perforated square eco-friendly paper liners
- Available in multiple sizes ranging from 6” up to 10”
Biggest Drawback: If you do not read the instructions and use these papers properly, with food on them at all times, they can burn despite being heat safe.
The most common complaint about these papers is caused by misusing the item. While the manufacturer does show safe use instructions on the sales page, they don’t provide any with the product itself.
3. Geesta Perforated Parchment Air Fryer Liners
These liners are essentially the same as the above, however, they’re designed for round air fryers rather than square ones.
- Package of 200
- Perforated round eco-friendly paper liners
- Available in multiple sizes ranging from 7” up to 9”
Biggest Drawback: The same complaint of burning is the only drawback to this product and caused by using it improperly. Again, unfortunately, there are little to no instructions included with the packaging so it’s a good thing you’re reading this article and know how to use them correctly to avoid burning!
4. Airware Reusable Air Fryer Liners (Round)
If you aren’t a fan of single-use items, a silicon mat might be more appropriate for your kitchen. This package of two round silicone liners is perfect for lining your air fryer, but can also be used in your microwave, oven, or steamer and is completely dishwasher safe.
- Package of 2, with 1 red and 1 black
- Perforated round silicone liners
- Available in either 8” or 9”
Biggest Drawback: The sizes are limited, so you will want to be sure they will fit inside the bottom of of your air fryer before purchasing.
5. Airware Reusable Air Fryer Liners (Square)
This is the same brand and nearly the same product as the previous listing, however, this package is designed for use in square air fryers. This BPA silicone is heat safe up to 430 Fahrenheit and there is no risk of burning, as can happen with paper liners.
- Package of 2, with 1 red and 1 black
- Perforated square silicone liners
- Available in either 7.5” or 8.5”
Biggest Drawback: Again, the sizes are limited so make sure the liner will fit your machine before purchasing. It’s also good to note that, while silicone is easy to clean, it does stain. Discoloration is normal and safe, but sometimes unsightly.
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