Last Updated on January 2, 2023 by Claire
In the market for an air fryer and trying to figure out what Teflon air fryers are? You’re in luck. In this article, I explain what Teflon-coated air fryers are, their applications, advantages, and alternatives to help you make the best decision.
What is Teflon?
Teflon also known as polytetrafluoroethylene is a synthetic polymer that possesses hydrophobic properties; meaning it doesn’t stick to water or liquids. It is capable of withstanding high temperatures before breaking down but will release harmful toxins when it reaches a temperature over 570° F (as confirmed on Alternative to Meds and Healthline).
While most air fryers only get close to 400° F, 500° F is the maximum temperature recommended when cooking with Teflon.
Don’t preheat the air fryer. Lightweight air fryer baskets heat up way faster than heavier ones, so you need to be very cautious when using them.
Teflon fumes are very harmful to birds, or in some cases can even kill them. So you need to think twice before purchasing Teflon-coated air fryers if you have birds at home.
Do Air fryers have Teflon?
Yes, most air fryers in the market have Teflon-coated baskets which makes it much easier for you to be able to wash away or remove grease residue or burnt food from the air fryer’s components with minimal stress.
Realistically, air fryer baskets would be very difficult to clean without the Teflon coat.
Air fryers with ceramically coated baskets or stainless steel baskets are the only alternatives available for those who want to avoid Teflon and the toxins it releases upon reaching high temperatures.
Are there air fryers without Teflon?
Yes, there are air fryers without Teflon coating.
As previously mentioned, air fryers with ceramically coated baskets or stainless steel baskets are available alternatives for those who want to avoid using Teflon.
These alternatives offer you the same kind of non-stick surface and easy cleaning Teflon provides, but without any of the disadvantages or toxins that are produced when Teflon is heated at high temperatures.
The only disadvantage with air fryers that possess ceramically coated baskets or stainless steel baskets is that the options are somewhat limited if you compare them to the range of air fryers with Teflon-coated baskets available on the market, but there are definitely enough options for you to find what you’re looking for.
Air fryers that don’t have Teflon or other potentially harmful non-stick coatings
Modern nonstick cookware is usually put into 2 different categories;
- Teflon or “PTFE” (polytetrafluoroethylene)
Although it has to be said that Teflon or “PTFE” (polytetrafluoroethylene) is arguably the most popular, the fact is that it is more harmful to us and our environment than ceramic is.
To prevent exposure to Teflon and the harmful fumes it releases when exposed to high temperatures, you might want to get an air fryer that has either of these;
- Ceramically coated components
- Stainless steel-coated components
It has to be said that ceramic is the safest and most environmentally friendly option for use in our kitchen. However, a major disadvantage is a fact that ceramic has a shorter lifespan when compared to stainless steel or Teflon.
It’s worth mentioning that in the last few years there have been significant improvements in the area of ceramic coats on cookware as manufacturers have added more layers, thereby giving the surface a longer lifespan.
Here’s something you need to keep in mind, cooking with oil reduces the lifespan of both Teflon and ceramic.
b. Stainless steel
Not only are Stainless Steel pans and baskets more durable because they have no coating, but you also won’t find any flakes of coating in your food. However, the downside to stainless steel is that it is a little difficult to get rid of burnt food or grease residue from it.
Best non-stick, affordable air fryer to buy
Here’s a list of a few high-quality products I’d recommend as they are free from toxins, non-stick, affordable, and easy to use:
The Ninja foodi 12-in-1 is a state-of-the-art extra-large capacity air fryer and cooker that is composed of ceramic non-stick material in and out, it features a digital display panel and a tender crisp technology to make sure your food will be perfectly cooked and ready to eat immediately it’s done cooking.
It produces perfectly crisp food! At first, I was worried that the texture and taste would be different but it really wasn’t. The best thing about the Ninja FD401 Foodi 12-in-1 Deluxe XL is that it makes cooking easier and faster than ever before and makes sure that everything inside remains fresh and crisp!
This air fryer is versatile, simple, and entirely free from BPA, PTFE, and PFOA. The components are ceramically coated. The surfaces of these components are very easy to clean, durable, and will not flake when used in high temperatures.
It’s suitable for ‘first-timers’ and allows quite a bit of experimentation to check which of its 12 programmable functions works best for you when cooking. The big, bright and clear Digital display panel allows you to easily regulate the temperature and select a frying preset of your choice.
- Auto Shut Off
- Ceramic Pot
- Digital Control, Dishwasher-safe Pot On/Off Indicator
Emeril designs the most simple, easy-to-use, versatile, and functional kitchen wares.
This sleek 8 quarts capacity Everyday pressure cooker and air fryer feature safety valves, pressure releasing mechanisms, and a nonstick pot to aid heat circulation and pressure build-up around the food.
I have found everything about this air fryer praiseworthy, its performance is great too.
I actually love the fact that it possesses good build quality, short cooking times, and is simple to clean and maintain all at the same time.
- 8 Quart Family Size
- Cook IQ technology
- Greaseless fryer
- 44 Programmable Cooking Functions
- LCD Digital Display
- Rapid Air Technology
Although some people have said that the air fryer may emit a strange smell the first time it’s used, that wasn’t the case for me.
Ninja is an established brand name that is associated with manufacturing quality, durable, and feature-rich pressure cookers and air fryers.
The Ninja AF101 Air Fryer is excellent, adept, durable, and feature-rich kitchenware that gives you excellent value for money.
What sold me was this Ninja air fryer is dishwasher safe, Teflon-free, non-stick, and easy to clean all at the same time.
It’s so easy to use and looks nice. I especially like its shape, size, and its in-built features all of which combine to make frying so much easier and produce excellent results.
- Wide temperature range
- 4-quart ceramic-coated nonstick basket
- dishwasher-safe parts
- combination of low fan speed and low temperature enables thorough dehydration
Although the one I got did have the rubber smell when it first heated up, it faded away after the pre-heat and hasn’t smelled since.
When I first got this I wondered how many things I cook at different temps, but I must say this unit absolutely justifies its price.
Cooking in this air fryer is simple because the controls and display are very intuitive and easy to understand. All I had to do was choose from one of the 6 preset cooking modes, set the timer and the temperature and I was set.
Now I must confess the overall build quality is good, but what I love most about this appliance is its ease of use and how simple it is to clean and maintain. Removing grease or food residue from your air fryer couldn’t be any easier.
- Wide temperature range
- 4-quart ceramic coated nonstick basket
- Dishwasher safe parts
- Easy to Clean
- 6 customizable cooking programs
How to season air fryer components to prevent them from sticking
Although most air fryers are marketed as ‘oilless’, the fact is that adding a tablespoon of oil makes the results so much better. But the problem with oil is that it is difficult to clean.
You might also have noted that most air fryers also have a non-stick coating, but that coating is not non-sticky enough to keep the components free from food at all times.
Seasoning actually helps prevent the air fryer from sticking and can be done to any air fryer no matter what material its baskets or pans are made of.
Tip: When seasoning air fryer components, use coconut oil instead of aerosol sprays. This is because aerosol sprays will only cause more peeling and build-up grease.
- Dip a soft sponge in a mixture of soap and warm water.
- Wash your air fryer basket, drawer, and/or pan in the sink.
- After washing, put the basket, pan, or drawer in the air fryer.
- Set the temperature up to 400° F and the timer to 5 minutes.
- While this is going on, smear a paper towel with coconut oil.
- Remove the parts after 3 minutes and apply a thin coat to the components using the paper towel you smeared with coconut oil earlier.
- Place the components in the air fryer and let them sit there for the remaining two minutes.
That’s all you need to do to season your air fryer parts naturally without using any toxins or propellants.
How oil reduces the lifespan of non-stick coating
You must clean the dishes thoroughly when cooking with oil, as a repeated application of oil without removing the used oil will cause layers to build up.
These built-up layers will reduce the efficiency of the non-stick surface of the cookware.
You should also be very careful not to use a hard brush or scrub too vigorously when cleaning the surface to remove oil to prevent the non-stick surface from flaking.
To clean oiled surfaces, you can simply use a soft sponge, warm water, and soap, or just use white vinegar.
Is Teflon harmful to your health?
Teflon itself will not cause any serious health issues to humans in its mild state, however, it’s potentially dangerous when exposed to high temperatures.
The toxic fumes released by Teflon when heated at temperatures of over 570° F can cause humans to fall into a ‘flu’ like state called ‘Polymer fume fever’. While the flu caused by these fumes isn’t deadly, it may have serious consequences in the long run.
Only a few cases have been reported where people have gone to the hospital as a result of overheated Teflon.
Although Teflon isn’t deadly to humans, birds, on the other hand, don’t have the same kind of resistance against overheated Teflon.
Teflon fumes are very harmful to birds, or in some cases can even kill them as their lungs hemorrhage which leads to suffocation if they are exposed to overheated Teflon.
So you need to think twice before purchasing Teflon coated air fryers if you have birds at home.
That said, what happens if I eat Teflon coating? Old or heavily used Teflon coated pans may flake and get into your food, eating the flakes will not cause any serious health issues. But you must note that when overheated, the Teflon coating may pose a threat to your health. So you need to be careful when using old pans or baskets.
Are air fryers BPA-free?
Some air fryers are free from BPA while others aren’t. It’s advisable for you to do your research on that specific air fryer model to find out what material has been used to make it before purchasing it.
What kitchen appliances contain Teflon?
Teflon can commonly be found in other kitchen appliances such as toaster ovens, pans, rice cookers, slow cookers, coffee pots, toaster ovens, waffle makers, bakeware, and microwave popcorn bags.
What to do if your air fryer has a Teflon coating
It must be said that medium to low temperatures has no negative effect on Teflon, however, Teflon-coated kitchenware shouldn’t really be used at high temperatures of over 570° F to prevent them from releasing potentially harmful toxins.
In a nutshell…
The whole idea behind the Teflon coating used in air fryers is simply just to make cleaning your appliance much easier for you with reduced stress.
If you don’t like the idea that Teflon is harmful to humans, birds, and the environment, there are other alternatives.
Air fryers with ceramic and stainless steel coatings offer you all of the advantages of Teflon coating without any of the potential dangers associated with Teflon. However, they are somewhat limited if you compare them to the range of air fryers with Teflon-coated baskets available on the market.
You must also note that ceramic has a much shorter lifespan when compared to stainless steel and Teflon, but recent technological advancements are changing this.