When someone asked me this question, I checked out my facts, because I thought it was a bad idea to put wax paper and heat together. Even with little or no oil or grease, the heat in air fryers is high. This made me think.
I remember my grandfather using some of the sandwich wrap he brought home in his lunch box to start up the charcoal in the BBQ. After that my grandma and mom kept a bag for used wax paper, and other kindling, for the fireplace and the BBQ.
It wasn’t so much that we were environmentalists in those days, but we were not rich, and the women in the family were always trying to eliminate waste.
So, wax paper is a good thing, not toxic and safe to use in contact with food, but not with high heat. (If it will burn your skin then it will melt the wax and may catch fire.)
So, What can you use it for and when and how can you use it with heat? Let’s look at that.
What's Waxed Paper?:
Waxed paper is just what it sounds like, paper coated with wax on one or both sides. It keeps foods from sticking to it and keeps it moisture resistant. You can use it to microwave foods, or line your cake pan. However, it's not heat resistant. Therefore, you should not use it with high temperature.
Things You Should Know About Using wax paper In High Temperature:
Wax paper has been used in regular ovens for years to line cake and cupcake pans. Because the batter is liquid, and there is no actual direct contact with the heat this works.
If used at high baking temperatures it my leach wax into the food, but this will not harm you. There is generally not enough to taste it either.
If you happen to have wax paper that is waxed only on one side, you can place that side down to avoid was contamination, but the paper might stick a little to the cake. Many cupcake papers are waxed on one side.
Wax paper wax melts at between 200°- 350° Fahrenheit (93° - 176° Celsius) and can then leach into food, drip onto other surfaces and maybe catch fire. It is reasonably safe in cake pans and cookie sheets, but put it in the middle of the oven: not close to the heating element on the bottom and not in the hotter top part of the oven.
Can You Put Wax Paper in An Air Fryer?
You can use wax paper in an air fryer oven but NOT in an air fryer. The difference between an air fryer and an air fryer oven is the size and shape.
- The air fryer is smaller and has a special container (basket) to hold the food. There is not room for anything else, and there is sometimes a stirring paddle that would crumple any paper. You really do not need anything to stop splatter in these as the place where the food is placed is closed.
- An air fryer oven is larger and looks just like any other oven. It sometimes offers other functions also, most often toasting.
- There are usually some accessories for an air fryer oven, such as a turning basket for fries and loose veggies, shelves and dehydrator containers.
- The major difference between a conventional oven and a convection oven is that, the conventional oven heats from a radiant element on the bottom, and a convection oven blows hot air all around the oven.
- Of course, this makes the use of wax paper much better in a convection oven as it never really touches the source of the heat. Air fryers work much like the convection oven but blow the air into a smaller container.
How To Use Wax Paper Safely In an Air Fryer Oven?
Follow these steps to be sure that you are using the wax paper properly in the air fryer:
Step 1: Cut the wax paper exactly to the size and shape you need. Edges sticking out can catch fire. If using to prevent splatter, use just enough to cover the food. DO NOT wrap the paper around your dish. Remember that the circulating air in the fryer must be able to get around the food to fry it, so do not wrap the food.
Step 2: If you want a nice crisp coating, you should preheat your fryer for a minute or two, so that the wax paper exposure to heat is minimal. Do not overcook the food, as that can also cook the paper.
Step 3: Place the wax paper carefully to avoid fire. Be sure that no part of the wax paper touches anything made of metal, glass or ceramic, because these get very hot and hold their heat. The wax will then melt, and the paper may smoke or even flame.
Step 4: Place the wax paper nearer to the bottom of the fryer if possible, Heat travels up, so the top of the oven is hotter than the bottom. The circulating air will be the same temperature all over, but the air that is already around the food and paper is hotter at the top.
You may be using wax paper, because of its relatively low price next to alternatives, but don’t take it to extremes. Do not reuse wax paper in the air fryer. Used once it dries out a bit and some of the wax may melt.
Therefore, it is less resistant to heat after that. So, if you are going to make several baskets of fried vegetables, use new paper for each. Those few pennies you save with frugal reuse could cost you your air fryer appliance or even your house.
In fact, you should always have a good wet chemical fire extinguisher in the kitchen. This is the only type that will put out oil or grease fires.
A small dry one would put out a fire in an air fryer, but will not work on oil or grease. However, these are not good for electrical or liquid fires. So, you need both kinds.
Few Alternatives Of Wax Paper To Use in your air fryer:
There are actually better things to use in your air fryer than wax paper.
- Parchment paper is more heat resistant, and likely will not burn if your food does not burn. It's bathed in sulfuric acid to change its molecular structure to a gel-like substance more durable than normal papers. It is then coated with silicone to make it heat resistant up to 450° Fahrenheit (232° Celsius)
- Air fryers do not spark or short out when you put in metal, so aluminum foil works also, and it may enhance browning and crispness.
- Silicone mats will not burn and can be reused for a very long time. They cost more, but you only pay once. You might want to buy several, so you can get a number of servings ready to put in one right after another. These mats will work in any kind of cooker, even on your BBQ.
What should you not put in an air fryer?
There are some things that do not work in air fryers very well, delicate thin things, like sliced mushrooms or paper thin fries of any kind. Chocolate and other things that easily melt or easily burn might be better with some other method.
Don’t try to bake anything in an air fryer: you will have a mess. There is not any particular food that could not be cooked in an air fryer oven, but the way you need to cook for the recipe may not work in one. Stovetop is best for boiling and sautéing as you can stir easily. I cannot imagine trying to make risotto in an air fryer.
Bacon is actually better in my book cooked in an air fryer oven or a convection oven. You can put a sheet of wax paper on the shelf under it to catch the grease, but I prefer to use a shallow pan so I can keep that yummy grease for other things, like eggs or gravy.
You can just put the bacon on the wax paper, but it would be a little messy and some splatter might decorate the inside of your fryer. Do not put the bacon between layers of wax paper as it might not brown properly.