5 Tips for Crispy, Golden Air Fryer Results Every Time
At Station 1923, we are in love with the air fryer almost just as much as we love the smoker and the grill.
If you're looking to lighten up some of your favorite fried dishes, this countertop kitchen appliance is definitely worth the investment. And with these five tips, you can enjoy chicken wings, tenders, popcorn bites, fries, shrimp, and fish with crispy exteriors that give you the deep-fried feeling — minus the grease and extra calories.
The Mane Objective covers a great recipe for air fried chicken wings with Brown Sugar Smoke — and out of that recipe this blog post was born. We want to make sure that whenever you fire up the air fryer and reach for Station 1923 rubs and seasonings, your results will be amazing every single time.
Without further delay, here are our five tips that will help you get crispy, golden brown air fryer results with all the satisfying crunch — and none of the guilt.
Plug that air fryer in, and let's go!
Tip 1: Use a Batter or Egg Wash
One of the biggest challenges in air frying is achieving a crunchy exterior that looks and feels deep fried, without being gritty, grainy, or powdery. The easiest way to get the look and texture you crave is with a wet batter or egg wash as a part of your dredging process.
In a separate bowl from your dry flour, create a "wet" batter or egg wash. It can be as simple as beaten eggs and seasoning, or as complex as buttermilk or greek yogurt and eggs, along with seasoned flour.
After seasoning your meat or seafood of choice, dip it into your wet batter or egg wash, then dredge through your dry flour.
Note: "Dredge" means to coat in flour or breadcrumbs before cooking. It requires a "wet" layer (like our batter or egg wash), which allows the flour to stick.
Tip 2: Opt for Gluten-Free Coatings
If you're looking for a light, super crispy and crunchy exterior, air frying with gluten-free coatings is the way to go. In both deep and air frying, gluten-free coatings absorb less oil — resulting in a satisfying crunch reminiscent of Korean wings and fresh fast food fries. Swap your wheat all-purpose flour with rice flour, cornstarch, or a mixture of both and get ready to be blown away.
Tip 3: Let Your Coating Soak
As mentioned previously, one of the big challenges in air frying is ridding your exterior of that awful raw-looking powdery coating. If we're gonna do it, it's gotta be golden brown — right?
The solution is two-pronged — and the first thing you want to do is let your coating sit and soak. After you've dipped it in the wet batter or egg wash and dredged through dry flour, let whatever you're air frying sit on a plate or cutting board for a few minutes. This will give your dry flour a chance to absorb the moisture from the wet batter or egg wash.
After 3-4 minutes have passed, flip them over and wait another 3-4 minutes.
To save time, dip and dredge at least 1/3 of everything you plan to cook before turning on the air fryer, and continue the process concurrently while each batch cooks.
Tip 4: Don't Skimp on the Cooking Spray
In order to achieve that crunchy, golden exterior that's absent of powder and ashiness, some oil has to be used. That's when the second part of our solution comes in — cooking spray.
You don't have to do a sixty-second spray countdown, but you want to make sure that the cooking spray touches the coating. No need to go overboard — just be a lil' more generous with it. And once you flip (we'll get to that in a second), spray the other side, too.
Tip 5: Shake and Turn
Typically, the heating element for air fryers sits directly over the basket. And although the fan circulates air throughout (which results in an even cook), that doesn't fully translate to an evenly crisped exterior.
To avoid a burned top and pale underside, you want to flip and/or shake as you cook. For meat and seafood, I recommend flipping once halfway through to ensure browning on both sides. For smaller foods like fries and veggies, around 3-4 vigorous shakes during the cook time should suffice.
Bonus Tip: Keep Trying!
As with all things in life, the more you try the more adept you become. We got our first air fryer in 2016, and have been working to "crack the code" ever since. Thanks to quarantine, we've had a bit more time to play around with and tweak recipes.
We'll be sharing two more air fryer recipes soon — one for extra crispy wings, and another for catfish and shrimp. All air fried to a perfect, golden crisp.
Stay tuned — and don't forget to season liberally with Station 1923!