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Can You Put Butter In An Air Fryer?

Norah Clark
Air fryer on kitchen counter

You can put butter in an air fryer, but avoid putting directly on the basket. The best method is using a basting brush to spread melted butter on the desired food for enhanced flavor and texture or a light coating on the basket.

Air fryers have revolutionized many kitchens, transforming how individuals fry food.

Their fame stems from being a healthier option for deep frying, offering convenience, and their versatility in frying a wide range of ingredients.

Despite their popularity, air fryers are a relatively novel kitchen appliance, leaving users with queries about their proper usage.

Is Butter Safe in an Air Fryer?

Using butter is safe in an air fryer, but the correct method is crucial. Pouring it directly on food or the basket is not recommended.

Instead, brush melted butter on food pre-cooking to boost flavor and texture, or lightly coat the basket’s surface as oil.

This ensures minimal dripping and even coverage.

The key is to avoid soaking food or the basket in butter and use less than with stovetop or oven cooking.

Excess butter creates a mess in the air fryer and contradicts its health benefits.

Instant vortex plus air fryer on a counter top. Credit: Unsplash
Instant vortex plus air fryer on a countertop. Credit: Unsplash

If a microwave is unavailable and you need to melt butter, an air fryer can help. Place butter in an air fryer-safe container and let the air fryer work its magic.

Avoid putting butter directly into the air fryer.

This is akin to melting butter directly in a microwave, creating a mess and inefficiency.

To melt butter in an air fryer, place the required amount in a small bowl or ramekin and insert it into the air fryer. Cutting butter into smaller pieces ensures faster, even melting.

Caution is necessary, as leaving the butter in the air fryer too long will cause burning.

Butter’s smoke point is 350°F, so adjust the air fryer temperature settings accordingly.

Set the air fryer to 325°F or lower for best results and to prevent butter browning.

Read also: Best Pressure Cooker Air-Fryer Combos

Utilizing Butter In An Air Fryer

As previously discussed, the ideal method for using butter in an air fryer is to brush or spread melted butter on the basket’s surface or the food you’re cooking.

This ensures proper coating and adds the right amount of fat for frying.

Avoid using excessive butter; a light coating of 1 to 2 tablespoons suffices.

This imparts flavor and helps seasonings adhere to the food.

Combine spices, herbs, and seasonings with butter and apply them to the food.

For meats, rub flavored butter into joints and crevices for optimal taste.

Steer clear of using butter in an air fryer for fatty foods like burger patties and bacon, as they produce excessive grease and smoke.

If you prefer butter over oil, add it at the end to crisp food.

For initial application, add some water beneath the air fryer basket to minimize smoke and mess.

The water prevents grease from dripping onto bare metal, making cleaning easier.

Tips for Air Fryer Butter Use

Keep these tips in mind when using butter in an air fryer:

  • Apply minimal butter when brushing the basket or food to prevent splattering and mess.
  • Melt butter beforehand for easy food coating.
  • Monitor the air fryer’s temperature, ensuring it doesn’t surpass the butter’s 350°F smoke point.

Eliminating Butter Grease From An Air Fryer

When using butter, oil, or any fat in an air fryer, residual grease may remain in the basket and pan.

Uncleaned grease can cause smoking, charring, and unpleasant flavors in subsequent dishes.

Moreover, it can affect your air fryer’s quality, especially if it becomes a habit.

Grease removal can be challenging, but with the right approach, it takes mere minutes to restore your air fryer:

  • Turn off the air fryer and allow it to cool after use.
  • Once cooled, use a kitchen towel to wipe off the grease.
  • Combine warm water and soap, then fill the air fryer basket.
  • Let the soapy water sit in the basket for a few minutes to dissolve the grease.
  • After waiting, rinse the basket with warm water.

Note: Air fryers are dishwasher safe, but for optimal care and preserving the non-stick coating, hand washing with warm soapy water and air drying is recommended.

Using Butter Instead of Oil In An Air Fryer

Yes, butter can replace oil in an air fryer. Use melted butter, brushing it lightly on the food you’re cooking.

Butter enhances flavor, making dishes richer and juicier, and helps with heat transfer as the air fryer’s fan circulates air.

However, butter’s lower smoke point means it burns quickly and may produce smoke.

When substituting butter for oil, mind the temperature settings.

Incorrect temperatures can burn the butter and spoil your food’s taste.

Since butter is 80% water, use less to prevent splattering. Cooking with butter demands attention, but the results are rewarding.

Nutritionally, butter is healthier than vegetable oil, containing more water and linoleic acid. When used moderately, it contributes to a healthy diet.


Does an air fryer need to be preheated?

For optimal results, preheat your air fryer before use. Some models feature preheat settings or buttons, while others require manual preheating. Run the air fryer with an empty basket for about 5 minutes to reach the desired temperature.

Can you cook without butter or oil in an air fryer?

Although air fryer baskets are non-stick, manufacturers recommend lightly greasing the basket or food with oil or butter before cooking. If you prefer not to use butter or oil, omit them entirely. Ensure even cooking by flipping or shaking food halfway through the cooking process.

Profile Image Norah Clark

Norah Clark

Norah Clark, Editor of Boyd Hampers! Norah is a food writer with over a decade of experience in hospitality as a pastry chef, sous chef, and barista; former chef at the Savoy Hotel, Ritz Carlton, Four Seasons and Plaza Hotel.

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