Cooking To Temperature in an Air Fryer & 7 Surprising Things You Can Cook
With sales of this popular kitchen appliance at record levels, you may be wondering what all the fuss is about. Isn’t an air fryer just a glorified but healthier chip maker? It’s so much more than that. In fact, the range of possibilities is mind-blowing. Yet, as many people discover just how many tasks their air fryer can perform – from heating up leftovers, to searing steaks, and from cooking perfectly soft-boiled eggs to producing the kind of crispy arancini you thought were only a holiday fantasy – they also want the reassurance that their food is cooked to perfection.
As the author of a successful air fryer cookbook and an air fryer fanatic myself, I can help here. Firstly, I recommend you use a Thermapen which not only allows you to check that that food is cooked to perfection but also gives you confidence in air fryer cooking and therefore allows you to expand your repertoire of meals. In fact, once you start using your air fryer often you may be surprised by the number and variety of recipes you can create. In this article, I will outline how to check the temperature of your air-fried foods and share some of the more surprising things that lend themselves to air fryer cooking.
CHECKING THE TEMPERATURE
Air fryers are quite a new phenomenon for many, and as more and more people try and convert their usual oven or hob-based recipes to air fryer recipes trying to work out if your food is cooked on the inside despite outside appearances can be tough. A food thermometer is the ideal tool to help you transition to this much more energy and cost-efficient way of cooking, with confidence. It helps prevent undercooked or indeed overcooked food. It reassures you that both your fresh food and your reheated dishes are cooked through.
Probably the most challenging meals to get right in an air fryer are those involving meat or fish. We hear so many troublesome stories in the press about food poisoning, it’s no wonder we want reassurance when cooking our favourite foods using a new method. Simply insert your Thermapen into the thickest part of the meat or fish and if the reading is the same as this chart or slightly over then you are good to go. Click here to see a chart showing what temperature your meat and fish should be on the inside.
It's not just meat and fish that a Thermapen can be useful for though. Let’s say you want to cook jacket potatoes, egg dishes such as a frittata or simply reheat already cooked food. That’s where you want to know that the inside is heated not only to a safe level but also for the texture you’ll want. Fluffy jacket potatoes are so much nicer than undercooked ones!
SURPRISING THINGS YOU CAN COOK IN YOUR AIR FRYER
With a bit of practice under your belt and having mastered some of your favourite recipes in the air fryer you might want to try some new ideas too. As you branch out and increase your repertoire, testing the internal temperature will become increasingly important. Whether you are cooking steak to perfection or reheating your leftovers these are some of the dishes, perhaps surprising dishes at that, where your Thermapen will come in handy:
Simply remove the steaks from the fridge an hour before cooking. Drizzle with the oil, then rub with salt and pepper on both sides. Preheat the air fryer to 180 ºC. Add the steaks to the preheated air fryer. Turn once whilst cooking. Check the internal temperature of the steak has reached 57 ºC (for medium rare) using your Thermapen — if not, cook for another few minutes. Leave to rest for a few minutes before serving.
2. PESTO SALMON
Spread fresh or jarred pesto over the top of your salmon fillets. Preheat the air fryer to 180 ºC. Add the salmon fillets to the preheated air fryer.
Check the internal temperature of the salmon has reached 52 ºC (for medium-rare) using your Thermapen – if not, cook for another few minutes.
3. HONEY AND MUSTARD SAUSAGES
Mix honey, mustard and olive oil in equal ratios
Toss the sausages in the honey/mustard mix.
Preheat the air fryer to 180 ºC. Add the sausages to the preheated air fryer. Check the internal temperature of the sausages has reached 70 ºC using your Thermapen – if not, cook for another few minutes.
4. WHOLE ROAST CHICKEN
Pop a lemon inside the cavity of your chicken then slide some salted butter between the skin and the flesh. Season with salt and pepper.
Preheat the air fryer to 170 ºC. Add the chicken to the preheated air fryer. Turn the chicken over once whilst cooking. Check that the internal temperatures of the thickest parts of your chicken have reached at least 74 ºC using your Thermapen – if not, cook for another few minutes. Rest for 10 minutes under foil then carve and serve
5. JACKET POTATOES
With a fork or skewer poke holes in the outside of your jacket potatoes. Roll each potato in olive oil then sprinkle with salt.
Preheat the air fryer to 200 ºC. Add the potatoes to the preheated air fryer. Turn once whilst cooking. Check the internal temperature of the largest potato has reached at least 96 ºC using your Thermapen – if not, cook for another few minutes.
6. CHOCOLATE BROWNIES
Using your usual brownie mix or recipe pour the mix into a greased and lined baking dish.
Preheat the air fryer to 160 ºC. Add the brownie pan to the preheated air fryer.
Check the internal temperature of the brownies has reached at least 82 ºC using your Thermapen – if not, cook for another few minutes.
Cool then slice and serve.
Make sure your leftovers are in a heatproof dish that fits your air fryer.
Preheat the air fryer to 170 ºC. Add the dish containing the leftovers to the preheated air fryer.
Check the internal temperature of the leftovers has reached at least 74 ºC using your Thermapen – if not, cook for another few minutes. Serve immediately.
It is generally recommended that large cuts of meat should not be stored for longer than twelve months and smaller pieces for around four months.
Sliced meats such as bacon are best used within one month.
Our air fryer of choice
The Instant Brands Vortex Plus VersaZone is the ultimate air fryer for versatile cooking. With eight different functions, it can be used for baking, roasting, grilling, reheating and much more.
The new VersaZone drawer makes cooking big family meals easy. Cook single meals in the 8.5L basket or split it into two 4.2L zones with separate controls for each, perfect for your Friday fish and chips.
Priced at £219.99, this easy-to-use air fryer uses up to 80% less energy and cost compared to cooking in a traditional electric oven*.
*Study conducted to assess energy usage in a 2400W electric oven and Vortex Plus 6-in-1 Air Fryer with ClearCook & OdourErase when cooking the same Roast Chicken recipe. View full report.