Many home kitchens have started using air fryers, bidding farewell to deep frying and other unhealthier, riskier cooking methods. We won’t lie; operating air fryers can also be tricky if you are misinformed. There are many myths about air fryers and what you can cook in them and what you can’t.
The most common misconception is regarding cooking meat in an air fryer, with most people wondering: can an air fryer cook raw meat? We are here to clarify all misconceptions and break down what you can cook in an air fryer and what you can’t. Keep reading to know all about it!
Can you cook raw meat in an air fryer?
Yes, you can cook raw meat in an air fryer. You can cook chicken pork and even cook a nice steak in your air fryer. Air fryers can heat up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, which is sufficient to cook any meat. With patience, practice, and the right technique, you can cook anything in an air fryer.
Cooking raw meat takes longer, but cooking frozen raw meat in an air fryer may take even longer. It might be a good idea to thaw the meat before putting it in the air fryer. Just be prepared to be a little more patient with the cooking process if you don’t.
Tips for cooking raw meat in an air fryer
Here are some tips that can help you cook raw meat nicely and to perfection in an air fryer:
- Do not wrap the meat. This would allow the heat to circulate more effectively around and inside the meat.
- On thicker parts of the meat, make slight slits or cuts to aid heat circulation.
- Season and marinate your meat well while preparing it.
- Use the right kind of oil to achieve results best suited to your taste- a small amount of oil will prevent sticking.
- Thaw your frozen raw meat before cooking to quicken the cooking process and avoid food poisoning.
Is it safe to cook raw chicken in an air fryer?
Yes, it is safe to cook raw chicken in an air fryer. Preheat the air fryer for about 4-5 minutes at 350 degrees and get cooking according to your recipe. Even though you can cook/grill bigger pieces of chicken in it, we recommend that you keep the capacity of your air fryer in mind.
The biggest safety concern regarding cooking raw chicken (also expressed by food authorities, including USDA Food, Safety and Inspection Service) is killing various kinds of bacteria and other harmful microorganisms that may be living in it.
Hence, a higher minimum temperature is required to cook raw chicken safely (a minimum of 165 degrees Fahrenheit). Getting a food thermometer to check the temperature before/while cooking your raw chicken in the air fryer would be a good idea, to be sure.
Another concern is related to not overfilling your air fryer; inserting an entire chicken in the air fryer’s basket may not be the best idea. But if your air fryer’s basket size is bigger than the usual, it might work. Keep checking the chicken from time to time and flip when half of the cooking time has elapsed.
Can you cook frozen meat in an air fryer?
Yes, you can cook frozen meat in an air fryer. But it will take longer for frozen meat to cook if you put it in the air fryer directly, and may cause some health concerns. Thawing or defrosting frozen meat or steak would accelerate the cooking process; however, not doing it would still cook your meat (the texture may differ, though).
Many air fryer manuals state that the air fryer can cook frozen meat, but we do not suggest it. Even though one could assume that the high hot air circulation within the air fryer would be enough to cook the meat through and through, it comes down to the texture you desire.
Overall, it is possible to cook frozen meat and other frozen items in an air fryer. We suggest trying different techniques to determine what texture you like best.
Do you need to defrost before air frying?
No, you do not necessarily need to defrost/thaw meat or other frozen food items before air frying. However, it might be a good idea to help your food cook more evenly, especially if you are cooking raw meat. Defrosting also allows bad bacteria to loosen up and be eliminated while the chicken is cooked.
If you do not defrost your chicken/meat properly before air frying (or using any other cooking method, for that matter), it is possible that the bad bacteria that was on it before it froze would be reactivated later while being cooked frozen. This can cause you to fall sick- people commonly suffer from food poisoning.
The theory behind this is that freezing raw meat does not kill harmful microorganisms. It simply freezes them, and once the temperature is favorable for their survival, they can be reactivated and cause illnesses once consumed. Hence, we highly suggest defrosting/thawing meat before cooking it.
We have established that you can cook raw meat in an air fryer, in addition to a number of other food items, such as fish, fries, eggs, etcetera. However, there are some food items that we suggest you do not cook in an air fryer.
What can you not cook in an air fryer?
Below are 5 things we advise you to avoid cooking in an air fryer.
- Broccoli: Broccoli tends to dry out and turns the opposite of crispy when cooked in an air fryer.
- Whole chickens and large roasts: The key behind cooking meat nicely in an air fryer is exposing a maximum surface area of the meat to allow the heat to circulate well throughout the meat.
- Fresh greens: Vegetables like kale or spinach will fly around in the air fryer and create a mess.
- Wet batter foods: The hot air moving around in the air fryer would push the batter, splattering it everywhere in the basket.
- Cheese: Unlike actual deep-frying, air frying does not give your food an instant outer crust. Even though cheese-filled foods might cook properly, avoid putting cheese in directly, such as while cooking mozzarella sticks.
Related FAQs on raw meat and air fryers
Can you put frozen pork chops in an air fryer?
Yes, you can put frozen pork chops in an air fryer. They will need a longer cooking time but will cook just fine. However, it is suggested that you thaw them before cooking to ensure safe and thorough cooking.
Can you put aluminum foil in an air fryer?
Yes, you can cover your food in aluminum foil and put it in an air fryer. However, that might restrict the airflow to your food- air fryers use hot air circulation for cooking food. This might compromise the cooking process and leave your food uncooked in some places.
What’s the best thing to cook in an air fryer?
You can cook anything in an air fryer, but these appliances cook foods, such as fries, chicken wings, potatoes, etcetera, very well. With experience and a good air frying recipe, you can cook delicious food in a healthy way in an air fryer.
Wrapping up our thoughts on whether an air fryer can cook raw meat!
You can certainly cook raw meat in an air fryer- do not worry about losing any flavor or compromising texture! You need to keep in mind just a few things to cook delicious, healthy, and oil-free meat. Be sure to thaw your frozen raw meat before air frying, make slight slits to help cook the meat more evenly, prepare your meat well and be sure to not wrap your raw meat before popping it in. We trust air fryers with the rest and suggest you do the same!