Can You Put a Paper Towel in an Air Fryer? Exploring Safety and Alternatives


A common query frequently asks, “Can you put a paper towel in an air fryer?” In this article, we’ll delve into this question and explore the safety aspects and alternatives to using paper towels in your air fryer. The air fryer has become a game-changer for those who love crispy, delicious food with a fraction of the oil in modern kitchen appliances. Yet, as with any new kitchen gadget, questions and concerns often arise.

Can You Put a Paper Towel in an Air Fryer?

Understanding the Air Fryer

Before we delve into the paper towel debate, let’s take a moment to understand what an air fryer is. An air fryer is a versatile kitchen appliance that cooks food by circulating hot air around it. This circulation of hot air, generated by a mechanical fan, creates a crispy exterior on the food. The charm of air frying lies in achieving this crispiness with significantly less oil than traditional deep frying methods.

Can You Put a Paper Towel in an Air Fryer?

In this article, we'll discuss  and explore the safety aspects  to using paper towels in your air fryer.

The answer to this question is not a simple yes or no; it depends on how you intend to use the paper towel in your air fryer.

The Safe Use of Paper Towels in an Air Fryer

You can use a paper towel in an air fryer for specific purposes. If your goal is to line the basket or tray of your air fryer to absorb excess grease and prevent food from sticking, using a paper towel is generally safe. This practice is beneficial when cooking items like bacon, which tend to release a significant amount of grease during the cooking process.

The Dangers of Putting Paper Towels in an Air Fryer

However, it’s essential to exercise caution when using paper towels in an air fryer in specific ways. Placing paper towels directly in contact with the heating element or on top of the food can be a recipe for disaster. Paper towels are flammable, and the intense heat within the air fryer can cause them to catch fire. This safety hazard can lead to ruined food and appliance damage.

Alternatives to Using Paper Towels

If you’re concerned about using paper towels in your air fryer, several safe alternatives can achieve similar results:

  1. Parchment Paper: Parchment paper is an excellent substitute for paper towels. It’s heat-resistant, non-stick, and can absorb excess oil without any fire hazard. Cut it to size and place it at the bottom of the air fryer basket.
  2. Silicone Baking Mats: These mats are designed to withstand high temperatures and are reusable. They offer an excellent non-stick surface and are easy to clean.
  3. Air Fryer Liners: Many manufacturers offer air fryer-specific liners made from food-safe materials. These are designed to fit perfectly in your air fryer’s basket and can be disposed of afterward.

Safety Tips for Air Frying

To ensure your air frying experience is safe and enjoyable, consider these safety tips:

  1. Preheat Your Air Fryer: Preheating your air fryer ensures even heat distribution during cooking.
  2. Use Cooking Spray or a Light Brushing of Oil: To enhance the crispiness of your food, use a small amount of oil or non-stick cooking spray.
  3. Avoid Overcrowding: Crowding the air fryer basket can obstruct hot air circulation, leading to uneven cooking. Leave space for air to flow freely.
  4. Keep an Eye on Your Air Fryer: Monitoring your air fryer is essential, especially when using materials like parchment paper or silicone baking mats. These will help prevent any accidents and ensure your food cooks to perfection.

Advantages of Using an Air Fryer

Air fryers offer several advantages that make them a popular choice for health-conscious and food-loving individuals:

  1. Promoting Healthier Cooking: By using minimal oil, convection ovens offer a nutritious approach to enjoying the crispy texture of fried dishes, making them a smart choice for health-conscious individuals.
  2. Quick and Consistent Cooking: These devices efficiently and consistently cook meals, providing a convenient solution for busy households.
  3. Achieving Crunchy Results: This appliance produces deliciously crispy and golden-brown outcomes without deep-frying.
  4. Versatility in Cooking: With a convection oven, you can prepare various dishes, from traditional fried chicken to roasted vegetables and delectable desserts.

Disadvantages of Using an Air Fryer

Despite the numerous advantages, countertop convection ovens have a few drawbacks: • Limited Capacity: Countertop convection ovens are typically more compact than traditional ovens, making them less suitable for preparing larger meals.

1. Noise: Certain countertop convection ovens can generate noise while operating, often attributed to the fan and heating element.

2. Learning Curve: Achieving the optimal cooking durations and temperatures for various dishes might require trial and error.

Maintenance and Cleaning of Air Fryers

Proper air fryer maintenance and cleaning are crucial to ensure its longevity and optimal performance. While maintenance specifics may vary by brand and model, the following tips generally apply:

  1. Unplug Your Countertop Microwave: Disconnect your stand cooker from the power source before beginning the cleaning process.
  2. Consult the User Manual: To find exact cleaning instructions that suit your particular model, refer to the user guide provided by the manufacturer.
  3. Handwashing is Key: Most countertop convection oven baskets and trays are not dishwasher-friendly. Instead, clean them manually using mild dish soap and warm water.
  4. Wipe the Exterior: Use a damp cloth to wipe down the exterior of your air fryer.

Popular Recipes for Air Fryers

One of the great things about air fryers is their versatility. Here are some popular recipes to get you started:

  1. Crispy Chicken Wings: Achieve that perfect, crispy texture without deep frying.
  2. Roasted Vegetables: Roast a medley of vegetables for a healthy and flavorful side dish.
  3. French Fries: Enjoy crispy, golden-brown fries with just a fraction of the oil.
  4. Salmon Fillets: Cook salmon to flaky perfection with a tasty crust.
  5. Onion Rings: Satisfy your craving for a classic fried treat.


In conclusion, the question of whether you can put a paper towel in an air fryer is a complex one. Although it can be used for specific purposes like lining the basket, it’s crucial to be cautious to avoid safety hazards. Safer alternatives like parchment paper and silicone baking mats can serve the same purpose without risking fire accidents.
Air fryers are excellent appliances for healthier cooking and quick, crispy results. They have limitations, such as capacity and noise, but their benefits often outweigh them. Proper maintenance and cleaning will ensure your air fryer continues to serve you well, and you can explore a wide range of recipes to make the most of this kitchen innovation.


  1. Is it safe to use paper towels in an air fryer?
    • Many people wonder whether using paper towels in an air fryer is safe, and this FAQ addresses the safety concerns and guidelines.
  2. What are the risks of putting a paper towel in an air fryer?
    • This question delves into the potential dangers of using paper towels in an air fryer, highlighting the risks that users should be aware of.
  3. What are the alternatives to using paper towels in an air fryer?
    • This FAQ explores alternative materials and methods that can replace paper towels to achieve similar results in an air fryer.
  4. Can I use paper towels to absorb excess grease in an air fryer?
    • This question focuses on using paper towels to absorb excess grease in an air fryer and whether it’s a recommended practice.
  5. How can I ensure safety when using paper towels in an air fryer?
    • This FAQ provides tips and guidelines for using paper towels safely in an air fryer, emphasizing measures to prevent accidents and fires.

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