Best Oil & Oil Spray for the Air Fryer

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The biggest issue most air fryer lovers face is finding the best oil for the air fryer, and oil spray for the air fryer. We’re going to help you find that perfect oil and oil sprayer in this article.

You don’t need to add a lot of oil to food in the air fryer, especially frozen food that already contains oil like French fries and tater tots. Just a fine mist of oil will help the entire piece of food crisp evenly. So it’s important to find an oil sprayer that can produce that perfect fine mist.

Whether you use a store-bought oil spray or you buy your oil separately and refill your spray bottle, we’ll help you find one that doesn’t get clogged, spray unevenly, or make a big mess.

air fryer and french fries - best oil for the air fryer

» You might be interested in whether you can use parchment paper in an air fryer and Can You Put Metal in an Air Fryer?

Does an Air Fryer Need Oil

Not always, an air fryer does not necessarily require oil, but using a small amount of oil can enhance the texture and flavor of your food. Here’s how it works:

  • Without Oil: You can cook certain foods in an air fryer without using any oil. The machine circulates hot air around the food, which crisps it up. Foods like vegetables, chicken, and even some frozen items can be successfully cooked without adding any oil. However, they may turn out less crispy compared to using a small amount of oil.
  • With Oil: Adding a light coating of oil to your food, like a spritz of cooking spray or a brushing of oil, can help achieve a crisper and more golden-brown exterior. It can also enhance the flavor of your dishes. This method is often used for items like french fries, chicken wings, and breaded foods.

So, whether or not you use oil in your air fryer depends on your personal preference and the specific recipe you’re preparing.

If you’re looking to reduce oil consumption, you can certainly experiment with cooking without it, but for some dishes, a small amount of oil can make a noticeable difference in texture and taste.

Deep Fryer vs Air Fryer

deep fryer frying french fries
air fryer frozen french fries

Air fryers might produce a similar result as a deep fryer, but it’s a very different process. The air fryer uses circulating air to crisp up food with minimal oil on the surface, while the deep fryer requires you to submerge the food in hot oil to cook it.

The biggest difference is in the amount of oil the food needs to cook. If you’re looking to be a bit healthier with your way of eating, or you really don’t want to bother with all that oil, then the air fryer is absolutely the way to go.

Best Oil Spray for the Air Fryer

oils for air fryer

My personal preference is to use canola oil, extra virgin olive oil, or avocado oil. I use both a refillable spray bottle like the Evo one pictured below and non-propellant extra virgin olive oil, which has no harmful aerosols or chemicals.

What oil you use on your food really comes down to personal preference, as well as price. Some oils have more flavor than others, while some are more expensive.

When cooking with oil on the stovetop, you need to think about things like smoke point because the oil, when heated past that point, can produce a lot of smoke. In the air fryer, you’re using so little oil that it’s not really a consideration you need to make.

Most oil, like canola, vegetable, avocado, or olive oil will do just fine for making your food crisp and/or not dry in the air fryer. If you don’t want to add flavor, avoid extra virgin olive oil, which will impart some flavor to the food.

An Oils Smoke Point

air fryer potatoes and onions

The smoke point of oil refers to the temperature at which an edible oil begins to break down and produce visible smoke. This breakdown involves the decomposition of the oil’s fatty acids, leading to the release of compounds and flavors that can be undesirable in cooking.

Understanding the smoke point is important in choosing an oil so that you can avoid unpleasant flavors and food that’s burnt or charred.

Different types of cooking oils have varying smoke points. For example, oils with high smoke points include canola oil, grapeseed oil, and peanut oil, which are suitable for high-heat cooking methods like deep-frying. On the other hand, oils like extra virgin olive oil and butter have lower smoke points, making them better suited for sautéing or low to medium-heat cooking.

When selecting an oil for cooking, consider both the cooking temperature and the flavor profile you desire. For high-heat cooking, opt for oils with high smoke points, while for salad dressings or drizzling over finished dishes, you might choose oils with lower smoke points for their unique flavors.

olive oil sprayer

Keep in mind that the exact smoke point can vary depending on factors like oil purity and processing methods, so these values are approximate:

  1. Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Around 325-375°F (163-190°C) – Suitable for low to medium-heat cooking, such as sautéing and drizzling over finished dishes.
  2. Canola Oil: Approximately 400-450°F (204-232°C) – Versatile oil suitable for frying, baking, and high-heat cooking.
  3. Grapeseed Oil: About 420-445°F (216-229°C) – Excellent for high-heat cooking methods like frying and sautéing.
  4. Peanut Oil: Approximately 440-450°F (227-232°C) – Ideal for deep-frying and stir-frying due to its high smoke point.
  5. Avocado Oil: About 450-520°F (232-271°C) – Excellent for high-heat cooking and suitable for grilling.
  6. Coconut Oil (Refined): Around 450-450°F (232-232°C) – Refined coconut oil has a higher smoke point compared to unrefined (virgin) coconut oil.
  7. Sesame Oil (Toasted): Approximately 350-410°F (177-210°C) – Toasted sesame oil is best used as a finishing oil or for low-heat cooking due to its strong flavor.
  8. Butter: Typically around 350-375°F (177-190°C) – Butter has a lower smoke point due to its milk solids, so it’s best for sautéing and gentle cooking.

Best Cooking Spray for the Air Fryer

oil sprayer for air fryer

There are two choices for cooking sprays to use with the air fryer. You can buy a cooking spray or you can buy a reusable bottle and fill it with oil.

With both of these options, you can choose the type of oil you use in them. There are many oil sprayers you can buy that are not reusable with just about any type of oil, though the most prevalent are canola oil, olive oil and avocado oil.

Here are the things to look for when purchasing air fryer oil spray:

  • Never use aerosol sprays, like Pam
  • Use sprays that contain only 100% oil
  • Look for ones that have a fine mist
  • Try to find one with a continuous spray that can be used when tilted or upside down
  • Non-Allergenic, non-GMO, no propellants

I prefer 365 by Whole Foods Market Olive Oil Spray, Bertolli Light Olive Oil Spray, and Pompeian Extra Virgin Olive Oil Spray. There are lots of great brands though. Just make sure to adhere to the list of considerations above.

What Oil & Oil Sprayer is Best for the Air Fryer?

The biggest issue most air fryer lovers face is finding the right oil and oil sprayer to use on food cooked in the air fryer. A fine mist of oil will help the entire piece of food crisp evenly, so it’s very important.

My personal preference is to use canola oil, extra virgin olive oil, or avocado oil. I use both a refillable spray bottle like the Evo one pictured below and non-propellant extra virgin olive oil, which has no harmful aerosols or chemicals.

Evo Oil Sprayer Evo Glass Trigger Sprayer Bottle, Non-Aerosol for Olive Cooking Oils, 6-Ounce Capacity, 6 oz, Yellow/Black/Red
Pompeian USDA Certified Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil Non-Stick Cooking Spray, Full-Bodied Flavor, Perfect for Salads and Pasta Drizzling, Naturally Gluten Free, Non-Allergenic, Non-GMO, No Propellants, 5 FL. OZ., Single Bottle
Tenlary Oil Sprayer for Cooking - 210ml Glass Olive Oil Dispenser Bottle Spray Mister-Reusable Food Grade Oil Vinegar Spritzer Sprayer Bottles,kitchen Gadgets Accessories for Air Fryer,BBQ (Orange)

Can You Use Pam Non-Stick Cooking Spray in an Air Fryer?

It seems like this would be a great solution, right? Because Pam is already sold in a spray can and you can use it for so many other things, wouldn’t you be able to use it in the air fryer? Well, the answer is no.

These aerosol spray cans, like Pam and many others on the market, actually contain more than just oil. They also contain propellants, such as butane and propane, as well emulsifiers like lecithin, and acids.

The propellants will eventually erode the non-stick coating on your air fryer basket and damage it beyond repair. When using it regularly the coating on the basket will start to flake off and the food will start to contain little particles of the basket. No one wants to eat that.

Another reason not to use Pam cooking spray in the air fryer is that it will start to form a gooey layer of residue that is very difficult, often impossible, to remove.

Cosori air fryer

OUR FAVORITE AIR FRYER

COSORI PRO LE 5-QT AIR FRYER

There are a lot of features to love about this air fryer, but top of our list are the tempered glass display, super easy to clean basket, and ability to add shake reminders.

Why Use an Air Fryer

An air fryer is an incredibly easy way to cook just about anything. You place the food in a fryer-style basket and hot air rapidly circulates all around the food, making the food crisp – much like deep-frying, but without the oil. You can cook anything you’d make in the oven.

Ninja Max XL

Questions About Using Oil While Air Frying

Should you spray oil in an air fryer?

Yes, you can use canola oil, extra virgin olive oil, or avocado oil. I use both a refillable spray bottle of oil and non-propellant extra virgin olive oil, which has no harmful aerosols or chemicals.

What kind of non stick spray is best for the air fryer?

There are many oil sprayers you can buy that are not reusable with just about any type of oil, though the most prevalent are canola oil, olive oil and avocado oil.
Never use aerosol sprays, like Pam. Try to use one that contain only 100% oil, non-allergenic, non-GMO, no propellants.

What is the best oil to use in a sprayer?

Most oil, like canola, vegetable, avocado, or olive oil will do just fine for making your food crisp and/or not dry in the air fryer. If you don’t want to add flavor, avoid extra virgin olive oil, which will impart some flavor to the food.

What oil has a high smoke point?

Avocado oil, peanut oil, and canola oil have are the oils with the highest smoke points.

Before You Go

Since you made it to the end of this article, you’re probably pretty interested in your air fryer. Here are a few more articles we think you might enjoy.

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