Everybody loves eating chicken, right? There are so many popular chicken recipes worldwide that you won’t ever run out of new ideas.
With the invention of air fryers, it’s a delight to cook chicken recipes nowadays. The air fryer provides a carefree cooking experience.
Many chicken recipes require you to use aluminum foil. When using an air fryer for the job, you might have wondered: can I wrap the chicken in foil before putting it in the air fryer?
Well, you’re at the right place. I’m going to answer this for you here in this post.
Here’s the truth:
You can wrap the chicken in aluminum foil for cooking in an air fryer without any issues. You only want to avoid a foil when you use acidic foods or hard spices (they, too, are acidic in nature).
Acids react with aluminum, causing it to dissolve at a rapid rate. As a result, aluminum will leach into your food in heavy amounts.
Apart from this, there shouldn’t be any problem using foil for cooking chicken in an air fryer. But why use a foil?
Let’s dive right in and understand the benefits of using aluminum foil for wrapping chicken in an air fryer.
Benefits Of Wrapping Chicken In Aluminum Foil In Air Fryer
Wrapping chicken in aluminum foil when cooking in an air fryer can benefit you and your machine. But what are these benefits?
Let’s dig a little deeper.
Keeps Your Air Fryer Clean & Tidy
When chicken starts cooking, it releases fat from its body. Oil and the liquid from the marination also drip into the air fryer.
This liquid will splatter all over the insides of your air fryer, resulting in a tough cleaning session. If you ignore the cleaning part, the liquid will harden over time, causing more trouble for you.
Using aluminum foil takes away this problem. Since you already wrapped the chicken, all the liquid will stay inside the foil, saving you the trouble and time for cleaning.
Your air fryer will be as new as it was before cooking the chicken.
Prevents The Chicken From Sticking In The Air Fryer
Placing marinated/seasoned chicken directly in the air fryer’s food cabinet can sometimes be nasty. All the marinade & spices stick to the cabinet.
When the air fryer runs, other internal parts will also face the wrath of your chicken seasonings.
Wrapping chicken in a foil prevents this from happening. All the spices & juice remain inside the foil. Hence, the food basket remains safe & clean.
Helps Prepare A Tasty Chicken Recipe
Cooking chicken wrapped in aluminum foil provides various advantages to your recipe.
When you cook chicken in an air fryer, it dries out fast due to the hot air. But when the chicken is inside the foil, it stays moist.
The foil traps all the moisture inside itself, giving your recipe a unique flavor.
Apart from this, if you’re cooking chicken breasts, thighs or tenders, they cook evenly from all sides.
Lastly, the chicken also becomes crisp from the outside if cooked in foil. This happens because of the steam that gets trapped inside the foil. The steam cooks the chicken, making it crisp.
You can also increase this crispiness. Just open the mouth of the foil and place the chicken pieces in the air fryer for 10-12 minutes.
Wrapping Chicken In Aluminum Foil In Air Fryer: How Safe It Is?
How healthy is it to wrap the chicken in foil in an air fryer? This question may still bother you sometimes. Let’s talk about this in detail.
If you look at scientific studies, aluminum is known to be a neurotoxin. Consumption of aluminum is linked with several diseases, like:
- Bone problems
- Breast cancer
Seeing these names is enough to scare you to stop consuming food cooked in aluminum foil.
But there’s a catch.
If you don’t cook the chicken at very high temperatures, there will be no aluminum leaching from the foil. It happens only if you exceed temperatures of 400oF (205oC).
Even then, the amount of aluminum leaching into your food from a foil is not significant enough to harm you in any way. The amount is far too less than the daily safe consumption limit.
It can be a concern if you consume too much aluminum from other food sources. Some other common aluminum food sources are:
- Processed cheese
- Baking powder
- Cake mix
- Pickled vegetables
- Pancake mixes
- Processed & ready-to-eat meals
However, occasionally consuming too many of these products won’t cause any problems. It becomes dangerous only if you start doing it daily.
Also, no one cooks chicken wrapped in foil every other day. It’s mostly done once in a while.
So, cook your chicken recipes in foil in an air fryer without worrying.
As mentioned in the previous section, it’s a good practice as it saves you a lot of trouble. You also get some unique tastes to try.
The other concern might be when your air fryer doesn’t allow placing aluminum foil inside the basket.
Though you can place foil in most air fryers, some companies warn against doing so.
Check the user manual of your air fryer, and you can find this information there.
If you don’t have the user manual with you, search Google for your “model name+user manual”. You can read it online, then.
In case the manual mentions that you shouldn’t use foil in your air fryer, don’t do it. Otherwise, you’re good to go.
Wrapping Chicken In Foil In Air Fryer: Precautions
Now that you’re ready to cook chicken in foil in an air fryer, there are some things you should remember.
As I said, there’s not any problem with cooking chicken in aluminum foil. But it’s best if you’re cautious. Otherwise, you can damage your air fryer.
If not cooked right, your chicken recipe can also go bad. And I don’t want it to happen to you.
So, follow these simple practices while cooking chicken wrapped in foil in your air fryer.
Prepare The Chicken Carefully Before Cooking
When you are preparing the chicken before cooking it in foil in the air fryer, remember these points:
- Season the chicken with all the spices you need to.
- Don’t put too much liquid for seasoning. It’ll make the chicken soggy.
- Use less oil than you normally use. Air fryers are known to cook food with little oil.
- Pack the chicken inside the foil carefully. Don’t leave any space for leakage.
Cook At The Right Temperatures
Chicken meat is tender in nature. So, it cooks faster than other types of meat.
Don’t use extreme heat when cooking chicken by wrapping it in foil. The foil heats up pretty fast, and your chicken may get overcooked.
This holds true when cooking boneless pieces from the breast or the thigh area.
The problem with this is that the chicken becomes soggy and tastes bad.
Try using low temperatures in the range of 250oF-350oF. Your chicken recipe will cook well both from inside & outside.
However, you’ll need to cook at high temperature if it’s a whole chicken or bone pieces. In this case, you can set the temperature up to 425oF in your air fryer.
Place The Aluminum Foil Properly
Your chicken dish won’t cook properly if you cover the wrong parts of your air fryer.
Only use the foil inside the basket of your air fryer. You can wrap the chicken in foil and put it in the food basket.
But don’t cover the base of your air fryer with aluminum foil. This prevents the airflow from circulating all over the basket.
I’ve seen people cover their entire food basket with aluminum foil. This is a bad practice as it interferes with the airflow inside the air fryer.
As a result, the chicken won’t cook completely. It can still be raw from the sides or on the inside after cooking.
If you really need to do this, use a toothpick to poke several holes in foil at the base of the food basket.
Similarly, don’t overstuff foil inside the basket. It’ll catch fire if the foil touches the heating element when the air fryer is running.
Don’t pack the foil too tightly. This can hamper the cooking process resulting in bad taste.
Unpack The Chicken With Care
Once your chicken is ready, don’t rush to eat it right away. Since it’s cooked inside a foil, all the heat is trapped in it.
If you open it up suddenly, the steam can damage your hand. The chicken will also be too hot to handle with your hand.
Use a glove, if available, to hold the foil pack. Let it rest for a few minutes before you open it.
The best part?
It gives you 2 advantages. First, it’s a safe thing to do, and your hands won’t burn.
Second, the steam inside the foil will make the chicken crispier. All the oil & liquids will also drip down and settle at the base of the foil.
Aluminum Foil Alternatives
You can also use other alternatives if you are still skeptical about cooking your chicken inside a foil.
Silicone mat and parchment paper are two available options. They can be used to cover the food basket before you put in your seasoned chicken.
Parchment paper is also biodegradable, and you can throw it after use. This makes it an environmental-friendly option too.
Keep in mind that non of these options are as effective as using an aluminum foil. But these are the most suitable options if you don’t want to use one.
Wrapping chicken in foil in an air fryer sounds like an exciting way to cook. But most people are still doubtful about whether they should do it or not.
As I said, you can easily cook chicken in foil in an air fryer without any problems. It’s a completely safe way to do so.
You only need to remember not to use any acidic seasonings like vinegar, lemon, curd etc. Also, using too much of strong spices is not recommended.
Other than that, you don’t need to worry about anything to cook your chicken recipe in foil. It’s safe for your health.
There are some precautions you should take to ensure a good cooking experience. You can even use other alternatives if aluminum foil is not your thing.