Can You Put Microwave Meals/Ready Meals/TV Dinners In An Air Fryer?
The air fryer is fast becoming the only countertop kitchen appliance that’s needed to cook many popular meals. It offers a healthier, faster and cleaner way of cooking too. But can you cook microwave meals, ready meals and TV dinners in an air fryer?
The short answer is yes, in many cases but, not always, keep reading to find out more.
Can You Cook Microwave Meals In An Air Fryer?
There are plenty of microwave meals that can safely be cooked in an air fryer. However, there are many more that shouldn’t be cooked in an air fryer.
The problem is almost always caused by the container the microwave meal is packaged in. There are many containers that are microwave safe, but not oven safe, and if they’re not oven safe, then they’re not air fryer safe either.
As long as the microwave meal has instructions for also cooking in a conventional oven, it will be OK to cook it in the air fryer.
How To Cook Microwave Only Meals In An Air Fryer
However, the reason that some microwave meals cannot be cooked in an air fryer is because of the container the meal is supplied in. The meal itself would cook perfectly fine in an air fryer but the container wouldn’t do so well.
Either it would melt or leach harmful chemicals into the food as it cooks. This isn’t normally a problem in the microwave because of the way microwaves operate.
But the air fryer is essentially a small fan assisted oven which is why it’s OK to cook oven ready meals in an air fryer as long as they have instructions on how to cook in a conventional or fan assisted oven.
If the microwave meal states microwave only, you can still cook it in an air fryer. You just have to remove it from its original container and place it in an ovenproof dish.
Cooking Frozen Microwave Meals In An Air Fryer
If the microwave only meal is frozen, it can still be cooked in an air fryer as long as you remove it from its original container, place it in an ovenproof dish and cover the top with foil.
You will also need to stir the sauce at around the halfway point to ensure it is fully heated all the way through.
Can You Cook Ready Meals/TV Dinners In An Air Fryer?
You can cook ready meals/TV dinners in an air fryer as long as the container is oven safe. Just like microwave meals, as long as the packaging gives the option to cook in a conventional oven, it can be cooked in an air fryer.
You will almost certainly need to remove any cling film and cover the container with foil. As for cooking times, you will probably be OK to reduce cooking times by 10 minutes per hour (5 minutes per 30 minutes) and cooking temperatures can be reduced by 10 C (50 F) as well.
Otherwise you might find you’ll need to check on the cooking progress at regular intervals. However, even this is convenient as many air fryers have viewing windows.
Can You Cook Microwave Rice In An Air Fryer?
Looking from a logical perspective, cooking microwave rice anywhere but the microwave seems unlikely. However, it can be done as long as you can rehydrate the rice using boiling water.
The way to do that is to place the microwave rice in an ovenproof dish that can fit in the air fryer basket. Top up with boiling water, cover with foil and air fry at 200 C (400 F) for 10 to 15 minutes or until the temperature of the rice reaches 75 C (167 F) when checked using a meat thermometer.
That’s because microwave rice is already cooked and then dehydrated so it just needs to be rehydrated before it can be eaten.
The Main Obstacle To Cooking Microwave Meals/Ready Meals/ TV Dinners/Microwave Rice etc. In An Air Fryer
We’ve covered quite a bit in this article but there are few points that you need to take away. Which are;
- It’s usually the container the ready meal etc, has been packaged in which limits its ability to be air fried
- Swapping the container for an ovenproof dish allows you to cook that meal in an air fryer
- Many ready meals will need to be covered with foil before cooking in the air fryer
- Recommended cooking times on ready meal packaging can be reduced by 10 minutes per hour
- Recommended cooking temperatures can be reduced by 10 C (50 F)
- Ensure the ovenproof dish fits comfortably into the air fryer basket
- Microwave rice can be cooked in an air fryer using an ovenproof dish, boiling water and aluminium foil
- Take care as ovenproof dishes will be extremely hot after being cooked in an air fryer
Ways To Save On Washing Up When Using An Air Fryer
When cooking ready meals and the like in an air fryer, there’s always the potential for sauces and gravies to spill from the container and make a burnt on mess in your air fryer basket. To counteract this there are a few things you could use. These include;
Air Fryer Silicone Liners
These silicone liners are designed to fit into the basket of your air fryer and prevent any mess from escaping into the basket and beyond. They are made from food grade silicone and are waterproof, grease proof, dishwasher safe, non-toxic and able to withstand temperatures of up to 232 C (450 F).
Air Fryer Disposable Paper Liners
Made from reinforced baking (parchment) paper, these disposable liners are non-stick, non-toxic, waterproof and greaseproof. They’re available in many sizes to fit pretty much every air fryer basket and once you’ve finished cooking, the liner can be thrown in the bin with the waste.
Why did the Hawaiian pizza burn in the microwave?
It needed to be on aloha setting! 😂
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Frequently Asked Questions
You can reduce the recommended cooking time by 10 minutes per hour (5 minutes per 30 minutes) when cooking oven safe ready meals in an air fryer.
You can cook oven ready meals in an air fryer as long as the container is oven safe. You’ll be able to tell if the container is oven safe because the instructions will include oven cooking times.
You can cook a ready meal lasagne in an air fryer. Just remove all of the packaging and air fry at 180 C (350 F) for around 20 to 25 minutes or until the lasagne is fully heated throughout and the cheese has melted.
Microwave rice is fully cooked and only needs to be reheated before serving.