Where do You Put Oil in an Air Fryer? (And How Much?)

Where do You Put Oil in an Air Fryer?

Air fryers are best for crunchy and tasty snacks that don’t mess with your health.

However, most new users don’t understand where to put oil in an air fryer and the recommended amount of oil for different recipes, eventually failing to put together a great air-fried meal.

That’s why we decided to answer these basic but important queries about air fryers to ease your ventures. Here’s how you put oil in an air fryer:

Put the uncooked food in a separate bowl, drizzle the required amount of oil over it, and shake the bowl to ensure all food particles are well-coated in oil before transferring them to the air fryer. You can also brush/spray the air fryer basket with oil before putting the raw ingredients in it, but this method doesn’t guarantee equal oil seasoning.

If you have recently started using an air fryer, you’re in the right place because we have compiled easy and practical tips about air fryer oiling in this guide. Read on to resolve your queries!

Where Do You Put The Oil In An Air Fryer?

Air fryers don’t have pots like deep fryers where you pool the oil to cook the raw ingredients; they have frying baskets where pooling oil is not possible.

And that’s what makes new air fryer users wonder where they can put the oil? Do they simply skip the oil-adding step, or is there another way to do it?

The good news is, you can add oil to an air fryer without losing that crunchy, fatty taste and still stay in the healthy eating zone.

You can put oil in an air fryer by following any of these three methods:

Method 1:

  • Firstly, plug your air fryer in and let it pre-heat for 2-3 minutes.
  • On the side, add the food you’re going to cook in a separate bowl.
  • Sprinkle your preferred seasoning over this uncooked food.
  • Drizzle a tiny amount of oil over the raw food, and marinate it.
  • You can use a brush to apply oil over the food (say chicken thighs) or shake the bowl 3-4 times to spread the oil around.
  • Once you’re sure all uncooked food has an equal amount of oil, transfer it to the air fryer basket, and it’ll take it from there.

Method 2:

If you forget to drizzle oil over uncooked food before moving it to the air fryer, you’re still good.

  • Pour your preferred amount of oil on the food inside your air fryer basket and shake it a bit to ensure the fat doesn’t accumulate at one spot.
  • Once you thoroughly cover uncooked food in oil, it doesn’t stick to the basket and comes out pretty good.

Method 3:

If you’re on a health run and don’t want a whole lot of oil in your food, your air fryer will still help you “fry” your favorite foods.

  • You can spread a baking sheet in your air fryer basket and coat it in oil to prevent the food from sticking.
  • Use a basting brush or your fingers to coat the baking sheet with oil and put uncooked food over it for mess-free cooking.

This method is suitable for making fritters, dumplings, and donuts where food-sticking is a common problem, but you still don’t want to cross a certain fat percentage!

How Much Oil Do You Put In My Air Fryer?

Most air-fried snacks, i.e., fries, wings, meat chops, etc., need 1-2 teaspoons of oil, which is negligible compared to deep fryers and stovetop cooking. But if you’re cooking any dough/bread, you’ll need 1-2 tablespoons of oil to overcome that taste of raw flour. It’s better to mix uncooked food and oil before moving them to the air fryer if you love crunchy food.

Air fryers don’t necessarily need oil to perform; their hot air is very much capable of cooking your food inside out. However, using a slight amount of oil can prevent your food from sticking and charring.

If you’re cooking things like chicken wings, french fries, or salmon fillets, you only need 1-2 teaspoons of oil to give them a fine, golden finish.

Contrarily, recipes that include any kind of dough or flour require 1-2 tablespoons of oil. Sure, you don’t want to make them greasy by adding too much oil, but not adding enough fats will leave you with a sticky mess.

The quantity of oil you put in an air fryer also depends on the amount of food you’re cooking. For a single serving of fries or wings, 1-3 teaspoons of oil will suffice, while this quantity will increase for bigger food batches.

Can You Use Any Type Of Oil In An Air Fryer?

No, you should only use oil with a high smoke point in the air fryer because it can burn otherwise. Adding shortening, lard, or butter in the air fryer isn’t a great choice because they charr pretty fast. Extra light olive oil, avocado oil, sesame oil, and any good-quality vegetable oil are good to go in the air fryers.

When the oil has a low smoke point, it quickly burns inside the air fryer and impacts your food’s taste. Examples of fats with low smoke points are butter, olive oil, canola oil, shortening, etc. These fats are good for sauteing and quick cooking, but they cannot survive an air fryer’s heat.

Contrarily, fats with high smoke points include avocado oil, extra light olive oil, sesame oil, and peanut oil. Since these oils don’t have any solid particles, they easily absorb in your food and take sufficient time before they start burning.

Depending on the temperature you choose, you can use most plant-based and vegetable oils in the air fryer.    

Can You Use Extra Virgin Olive Oil In Air Fryer?

Since extra virgin olive oil has a smoke point of 380F, it isn’t the best choice for an air fryer. It starts burning and changes color quickly, so you might experience compromised taste and color while using extra virgin olive oil. However, you can use extra virgin olive oil in the air fryer if you cook at relatively lower temperatures.

Extra virgin olive is a great option for stovetop cooking, but it isn’t that suitable for air fryers. This oil’s smoke point is 380F lower than an air fryer’s average cooking temperature, so putting it in the air fryer is mostly risky.

But that doesn’t mean you can never use extra virgin olive oil for air-fried foods; keep the air fryer’s temperature lower than 380F, and you can confidently use this oil too.

Do You Add Oil To Air Fryer For Frozen French Fries?

Frozen french fries come pre-cooked, and you only need to reheat them before eating, so using oil with them is not mandatory. You can directly put frozen french fries in the air fryer basket and heat them before serving.

Since these pre-cooked french fries have a significant amount of oil, adding more oil will only make them soggy and greasy. However, if you want some extra crunch/crispiness, you can lightly brush frozen fries with oil before heating them.

This extra amount of oil will give frozen fries a nice, golden finish and make them a great addition to your snacks platter!

Do You Add Oil To Air Fryer For French Fries?

Yes, you need to put some oil in the air fryer to make french fries. The optimal amount of oil for one batch of french fries is two teaspoons, but you can increase/decrease it as per your liking.

Adding too much oil will make your french fries greasy, and skimping with oil will leave them hard – balance is important.

If you notice some french fries sticking to the baking sheet or air fryer basket during cooking, brush a few more oil drops on them to enjoy effortless food release.

The amount of oil required for air-fried fries also depends on the size and type of potato you’re using. If it’s a large, starchy potato, you’ll need 3-4 teaspoons of oil to ensure it doesn’t get mushy during cooking.

On the flip side, french fries made from a smaller potato do just fine with 1-2 teaspoons of oil and the dressings of your choice.

Can You Use An Air Fryer Without Oil?

The best thing about air fryers is that you can use them without adding any kind of oil. You can mix all uncooked ingredients separately before moving them to the air fryer, and its hot air will thoroughly cook them without needing any oil.

Add all uncooked ingredients, dressings, and spices to a bowl and shake them well before adding them to the air fryer. If you’re worried that your food can stick to the basket since there’s no oil, you can shake the air fryer 2-3 times while cooking to avoid this problem.


Don’t directly touch the air fryer, and always wear kitchen mitts to handle it while it’s on. Give it a good shake to ensure all uncooked ingredients are good to come out.

But remember that putting oil in the air fryer is good. This oil leaves your food with a crunchy exterior and a well-cooked, soft interior. Air fryers don’t just make low-fat foods; they’re equally great at giving your food a delicious texture and presentable look.

Final Thoughts

Air fryers don’t need much oil to prepare your food because their hot air is enough to do the job.

But if the recipe instructs you to add some oil, you should prefer mixing it with the food before moving it to the air fryer. When you mix all raw ingredients beforehand, they get an equal coating of oil all over and come out perfectly well.

Choose any oil with a high smoke point, and using 2-3 teaspoons of it will suffice your air-frying ventures!

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