Since air fryers are relatively new in most kitchens, home cooks still have a few lingering questions about them. One of the most common is can you put glass in an air fryer?
Simply put, yes, you can. However, it’s important to remember that air fryers don’t work the same as traditional ovens, so there are a few extra considerations. To make sure you’re using glass cookware in your air fryer safely and effectively, look at our complete guide.
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How do air fryers work?
The main difference between your air fryer and a conventional oven is that air fryers rely on circulated air to heat food. Contrary to the more stagnant air and ambient heat of regular kitchen ovens, circulated heat allows your food to crisp more fully and evenly.
However, it also means that your air fryer heats more quickly than a regular oven, which can put your cookware at risk. Glass is especially vulnerable to fast changes in temperature and, in some cases, can shatter.
The other disadvantage of using glass cookware in an air fryer is that it doesn’t allow air to flow freely around your food. This can cause food to take longer to cook and not crisp as nicely.
How is glass cookware made?
While glass can be prone to cracking when exposed to temperature changes, the good news is that most glass cookware is made to be oven-safe. One of the most common oven-safe glasses, Pyrex is a borosilicate glass designed to stand up to high temperatures. This type of glass is made using a 1000-degree oven, which gives it its durability.
To tell whether your glass cookware is designed to be used in an oven, it should be marked as such, either with the words oven-safe or pyrex. Otherwise, the glass should have a temperature range printed on it to tell you exactly how it should be used. If you don’t see either, assume your glass isn’t made for high-heat cooking.
How do I know if my glass cookware is safe?
Aside from checking the label on the bottom, there is another way you can also tell if it is safe to use in your air fryer. Simply place the empty dish in your air fryer and heat to the maximum temperature. While it may result in your glass cracking, it’s better to find out now than when it’s full of food.
How to Keep Glass From Breaking in Your Air Fryer
Since air fryers rely on high heat and rapid temperature changes, there’s still a risk of even oven-safe glass cracking. To cook as safely and effectively as possible, keep these tips in mind when making dinner.
Change Temperature Slowly and Evenly
The reason glass cracks in the oven isn’t just because of high heat but also rapid temperature fluctuations. When glass gets hot, it expands, and if one area of your pan heats more quickly than the other, your glassware can expand unevenly. This causes it to tear itself apart and shatter.
The best way to avoid this is to allow your glass bowl to preheat along with your air fryer. Also, above all else, never put cold glass from the fridge or freezer into your fryer or vice versa.
Stick with Tempered Glass
This point was mentioned above, but it bears repeating. Regular glass bowls and other dishes are not designed to be used in an air fryer, microwave, or oven. Doing so will almost surely result in cracked cookware.
When in doubt, assume your glass isn’t designed to be used in the oven, and find an oven-safe alternative.
Don’t Let Your Fryer Get Too Hot
Even smaller fryers can reach surprisingly hot temperatures, sometimes more than 500 degrees Fahrenheit. While this can be a great way to get your meat and veggies extra crispy, it may not be safe for your glass cookware. Even oven-safe dishes are best used under 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
Cooking at a slightly lower temperature can also help reduce the thermal shock effect when putting your dish into or taking it out of the oven.
Check Your Glass Carefully
This goes beyond checking your label for an oven-safe marking. Especially with dishes you’ve had for years, you’ll want to make sure it’s free of cracks, chips, or imperfections. While these may not seem like a big deal, even small damage can weaken when exposed to high heat.
If your glass cookware looks damaged, it’s time to replace it!
Pros and Cons of Cooking with Glass in an Air Fryer
The type of cookware you use in your oven can have a big impact on the results that come out of it. Before using glass cookware in your air fryer, note all the pros and cons.
The great thing about glass is that it’s versatile. It can be used with pretty much any type of food because it holds heat, doesn’t react to acids, and does an excellent job of containing food as it cooks.
There are some cases in which using a solid cooking vessel like a glass dish is essential. Cakes are a good example. While air fryers typically rely on airflow to cook food, cake batter needs a solid vessel to keep it contained.
However, it's still important to remember airflow when using a solid glass dish in your air fryer. This means you shouldn’t use a dish that’s too large, as this will not leave enough room for the air to pass freely around the food. Instead, opt for a smaller container that doesn’t fill your fryer's entire compartment.
As mentioned above, the number one factor to consider when cooking with an air fryer is airflow. Without proper circulation, an air fryer isn’t anything more than a small, under-powered oven, which will probably give you only soggy, undercooked vegetables.
This is why most air fryers come equipped with cooking racks and fryer baskets. These have large holes or gaps that allow air to circulate easily. A glass pan doesn’t allow this, which means your fryer will not live up to its full potential.
Alternatives to Glass Cookware
While glass has some uses in air frying, there is a range of alternatives that can get you just as good or better results.
Ceramic cooking vessels are a great low-hassle option that is easy to clean and care for. They aren’t as prone to cracking as glass as long as you choose oven-safe ceramic.
The main disadvantage of ceramic cookware is that they tend to be less durable. Since ceramic cookware uses nonstick coatings, avoid scratching or denting them.
Metal pans are usually inexpensive and highly durable, making them a practical and cost-effective alternative to glass. You can use them for years with only minimal maintenance. However, food tends to stick to metal pans and can be harder to wash off than glass and ceramic, making them more of a hassle to clean.
Silicone cookware can be a great way to make baked goods and other treats in your air fryer. It’s durable, inexpensive, and very easy to clean.
However, while individual pieces of silicone cookware are affordable, they are usually relatively small and made to cook only certain food items. That means you’ll need to buy a whole collection if you plan on using it often.
Frequently Asked Questions
Generally, you can use all the same things in an air fryer that you would use in a regular oven, including aluminum foil, parchment paper, and any oven-safe cookware. However, you should never put plastic containers and cardboard in your oven or air fryer.
There are also a few foods that aren’t meant to be put in an air fryer. Specifically, anything wet, like fry batter or meltable cheese, will get caught in your fryer’s fans.
The food you cook in your air fryer uses less oil to achieve crisp, browned food. Thus, air-fried food is much healthier than deep-fried foods.