Air fryers are a terrific way to prepare meals in a safe, oil-free fashion, and deliver crispness and flavor that surpass traditional fryers and ovens. Moreover, they are equipped to handle foods that haven’t been thawed from your freezer. Finding out how to cook frozen food in an airfryer is simple and effortless.
It is almost a universal rule of thumb that when setting the temperature for your meal with an airfryer that you use the traditional oven temp on the packaging and divide the cook time by half. For example, if you had a bag of frozen chicken tenders that needed to cook at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, you would set the airfryer to 400 degrees with a 10 minute ‘baking’ time. Most airfryers top out their temperature gauge at 400 degrees, but not to worry if the oven directions recommend a higher dial. If the instructions on your food are anything over 400 degrees, simply set the airfryer to 400 and follow the same half time rules. Airfryers are very potent sources of heat and can handle most temperatures with ease. They are so impressive in their preparation that oil less turkey fryers utilize the same technology. Some argue that cutting down the time by about 25% is ideal, but this can overcook your meal if you aren’t careful. Ultimately it comes down to how well done you want your dishes. It is always better to start with low cook times and work up to your ‘comfort’ zone.
But what if the cook times are vague? As we all know, some frozen items have directions like “14-18” minutes. If that is the case, you are typically good to go with the middle of the numbers, divided in half. With 16 minutes between 14-18, dividing it by two will give you a swift 8 minute cook time. This sounds far more complicated than it is, and after preparing a few meals you won’t even give the cook times a second thought.
If you are still concerned about overheating or have a meal you cannot afford to ruin, several air fryer frozen food cooking charts are available on the internet.
Placing Frozen Food In Airfryer
Upon pulling out the basket, place the frozen food inside, spreading the items out as much as possible. Airfryers provide generous space, and the more evenly they are positioned the better the cook turns out. If the meal is something that cannot be separated, halfway through cooking, it is a good idea to ‘shake’ the basket to loosen the items and prevent them from sticking. If you are preparing food that is a stubborn thaw (takes more time than usual), placing it in the airfryer for about 5 minutes will drain the water. After five minutes, pull out your basket and dump the liquid from the container underneath. Then proceed with the recommended temperature cook time referenced above.
If you are making something like buffalo wings, halfway through cooking it is a good idea to flip them with tongs and continue cooking. This is not required, in fact airfryers are such a profound energy source that even without touching the meal it cooks efficiently, but if your palette is one desiring perfection, it will help. Additionally, it is a myth that you cannot combine different foods that have the same temperature times, as this is done frequently and delivers amazing results.
Moisture Is Your Friend
Cooking frozen food in airfryers is delicious, but that does not mean foolproof. If the items you are planning to put into the fryer are not breaded or ‘wrapped’ in some way, this will cause the food to change in texture, which can alter taste. An example of this would be grilled chicken or other bare frozen meats. The solution to this is combining a sauce or dressing with your frozen food to make sure moisture is present when prepared. Sauce allows the dish to maintain its flavors and prevent it from having a ‘dried out’ taste.
Keep in mind that air fryers will ‘shrink’ your meals from intense heat, so covering them in sauces, dressings and spices will reduce this effect to your benefit. If your dish is something that you do not want dry but cannot combine with a sauce, lower the air fryer temperature about 20 degrees from the listing on the package.
Minding the hot temperature when completed, which has cooked your frozen food to perfection, enjoy the robust flavors it has produced over and over. Frozen food air fryer preparation is tasty, resourceful, and above all, fast.