I love testing new air fryer recipes with whatever pan, tray, or baking dish I have at home. However, even if they fit, not all containers are safe for your air fryer.
After all, air frying temperatures can reach up to 220C. Putting just about anything inside your appliance can destroy a good meal or put you in danger.
Most air fryers do include a few compatible accessories, though.
Still, to widen your cooking options and save money, let’s identify the other types of containers you can use with your trusty air fryer.
Types of Air Fryer-Safe Containers
Generally, the best containers for your air fryer can tolerate high cooking temperatures. They should also be non-stick for easy clean-up and light enough for safe handling.
Check out your cupboard and see if you have the following recommended containers.
1. Glass Bakeware and Bowls
I like air frying with oven-safe glassware mainly because they are easy to clean, stain-resistant, and non-absorbent. You can serve your dish from air fryer to table, too.
They are perfect for casseroles, baked dishes, and cakes.
The downside is they are breakable and quite heavy. Also, glass can block the hot airflow, making your crispy foods unevenly cooked and soggy.
Keep in mind that not every type of glass container is air fryer-safe. So, limit your choices to the following:
- Tempered glass. This reinforced glass container has a high heat resistance of up to 243C.
- Borosilicate glass. Some might recognise this glass type as the Pyrex container brand. It’s a thicker container that can withstand temperatures of up to 268C. Its material content (silica and boron trioxide) also makes it resistant to thermal shock despite sudden temperature shifts.
You should find the pertinent features of the glass containers in their box or packaging, so check before buying.
2. Food-Grade Silicone Liners and Moulds
The best thing about silicone material is its non-stick feature. Aside from making clean-up time quick and easy, silicone wares also help limit our use of parchment paper, muffin liners, or aluminium foil.
Compared with other air-fryer-safe containers, silicone cookware is more affordable with high value for money.
That’s because they are very versatile: oven, microwave, and freezer-safe.
I especially like using them for baking sweet treats. They are super lightweight and easy to store, too. You can fold or roll some to save space.
The problem with silicone is it is not biodegradable, and experts say it degrades when recycled. The process is also expensive.
Nonetheless, silicone-based containers are long-lasting. Take good care of them, and do not put them in direct contact with any heating element.
Also, it’s best to choose multipurpose silicone wares to maximise their use. Save money by buying silicone pans, cups, or moulds that you’ll likely use often with your air fryer.
3. Metal Racks, Trays, and Pans
Metallic containers can withstand high oven temperatures. Compared with glassware, metal is significantly lighter and virtually unbreakable.
They are more stable than silicone-based containers, too. I particularly liked them for cooking or reheating crunchy food items.
Metal is, after all, an excellent conductor of heat and can transfer heat to your metal tray or pan for quick browning and crisping up.
Just be careful when handling them after cooking.
Here are some metal containers that you can safely put in an air fryer:
- Aluminium. Aluminium-based containers can withstand temperatures up to 260C. They are perfect for baking and roasting. However, you might need to grease your pan or sheet tray to avoid sticking.
- Stainless steel. Pots, pans, or dishes made out of this metal are air-fryer-safe as long as they do not have any plastic, wooden, or rubber parts. Compared with aluminium containers, stainless steel ones are more stable and retain shape under high heat.
- Cast iron. Among the metal containers, cast iron is the most durable. This versatile material is safe for stovetop and oven cooking, too. Mini iron skillets can retain heat and keep your food warm for longer. However, they are also slightly expensive and heavy and need extra care to avoid rusting.
4. Ceramic Dishes
Ceramic-based containers are brittle. However, they are ideal for air fryer cooking because of their high heat tolerance.
Their best feature is the ability to distribute heat evenly and keep cooked foods warm longer. They also come in various shapes and sizes to suit more compact cookers.
I especially like using small ramekins for cooking and serving individual portions of baked pasta or casserole.
Cleaning is also not a problem with ceramic containers, thanks to their non-stick coating.
Not all ceramics suit air fryer cooking, though. Earthenware and bone china are examples.
Earthenware is fired clay at low temperatures, making it brittle under high heat. On the other hand, bone china is a light and delicate ceramic more suitable for elegant dining.
So, limit your options to the following:
- Porcelain. Porcelain containers are thicker than bone china and forged at higher temperatures, making them more stable. It’s best to use plain-coloured porcelain wares to avoid destroying any decorative elements during air frying.
- Stoneware. Stone-based ceramics are ideal for baking and roasting. They suit cooking or reheating saucy dishes as they are not porous like earthenware. Stoneware is also non-reactive and works well with alkaline or acidic ingredients.
Containers You Should Not Put in an Air Fryer
For extra precaution, you should also know which containers are unsafe for your air fryer. These include:
- Containers that can warp, crack, melt or shatter: regular glass, plastic, and Styrofoam cannot tolerate air-fryer-level temperatures.
- Containers with sprayed or damaged coatings: these finishing coats can melt and mix with your food or release toxic substances.
- Containers that are too thin or flimsy: aluminium foil and disposable foil containers may fly around and damage the heating element of your air fryer.
- Containers with wooden parts: wood can burn under high heat or cause a fire hazard.
More Tips on Choosing Air Fryer Containers
Aside from picking containers made of heat-resistant materials, consider the following:
- Select containers that fit your air fryer and are big enough to allow proper air circulation.
- Avoid using containers that are too tall and can prevent even heat distribution.
- Do not use containers with protruding handles that are difficult to remove from the air fryer.
- Go for flat-bottomed containers for stability.
- Choose plain, smooth containers over those with crevices or intricate designs for easy clean-up.
Knowing which containers are safe for the air fryer should boost your kitchen confidence and significantly expand your cooking options.
Generally, any oven-safe container is suitable for your air fryer, but consider the container size, shape, and cleaning requirements for the best results.
Avoid anything that cannot withstand high temperatures. Also, if you’re unsure, review your user manual for the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Check our top air fryer picks to see which model fits your available containers at home.