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Are air fryer paper liners worth it?

Air fryers have become incredibly popular in recent years as a healthy and convenient way to cook foods like French fries, chicken wings, and vegetables. One accessory that is often marketed for air fryers is paper liners that you can put in the air fryer basket before cooking. But are air fryer paper liners really necessary? Here is an in-depth look at the pros and cons of using paper liners in an air fryer.

What are air fryer paper liners?

Air fryer paper liners are thin sheets of parchment paper, wax paper, or foil that are designed to fit inside the basket of an air fryer. They are marketed as a way to make cleanup easier by preventing foods from sticking to the air fryer basket. Some potential benefits of using paper liners in an air fryer include:

  • Prevent foods from sticking to the basket
  • Make cleanup faster and easier
  • Allow you to cook delicate foods like fish without sticking
  • Protect the air fryer basket from scratches and food stains over time
  • Eliminate the need to scrub the basket after every use

Paper liners come pre-cut to fit various popular air fryer brands and models. You simply place the liner inside the empty air fryer basket before adding your food. Some liners have a non-stick coating for added food release.

Benefits of using air fryer paper liners

There are some advantages to using paper liners in your air fryer:

Easier Cleanup

One of the biggest purported benefits of air fryer liners is that they can greatly simplify cleanup. Foods have little potential to stick to the liner, so you can just discard it after cooking. This saves you from having to scrub caked-on foods from the air fryer basket. The non-stick properties of the liners allow food residues to slide right off. Simply toss the liner and you’re done.

Protection of the Basket

Since oils and foods don’t come in contact with the actual air fryer basket when using a liner, the basket stays cleaner over time. Liners can prevent greasy buildup and staining that can be difficult to remove from the basket. This helps keep the appliance looking like new.

Delicate Foods Don’t Stick

Air fryer paper liners provide an ultra non-stick surface. This makes them ideal for delicate foods that would otherwise stick to the bottom of the air fryer basket, like fish, eggs, pancakes, and cookies. The liner allows these foods to be cooked in the air fryer without falling apart.


Paper liners add versatility to what you can cook in your air fryer. As mentioned above, they allow you to successfully air fry sticky foods. But they also mean you don’t have to limit your cooking to just fat-laden foods like frozen fried foods. You can feel free to air fry healthier dishes like vegetables without oil. The liner prevents them from drying out or burning in the basket.

Saves Money Over Time

Though paper liners represent an additional cost up front, they will save you money in the long run by extending the life of your appliance. The basket of an air fryer will degrade over time without liners. Replacing an air fryer due to a damaged basket can cost over $100. Liners prevent deterioration of the basket’s non-stick coating.

Downsides of air fryer paper liners

While liners do have some benefits, there are also some drawbacks to consider:

Added Cost

A pack of 100 air fryer liners costs around $10. For frequent air frying, this cost can add up over time. While the liners do eliminate the need to replace your air fryer as often, you still have to factor in this ongoing cost.

May Reduce Air Fryer Capacity

When you add a liner to your air fryer basket, it takes up some space. This may slightly reduce the total amount of food you can cook at one time. The liner also absorbs some of the oil or grease from foods.

Potential Chemicals

Some consumers worry about exposing food to coatings and chemicals from paper liners, especially with acidic foods that may interact with the liners. Unbleached, FDA-approved parchment paper is considered safest if this is a concern.

Extra Waste

You’ll go through a lot of paper liners over time, which ultimately creates more waste than simply cleaning the reusable basket. This may not align with your sustainability goals. However, some liners are compostable or recyclable.

Need to Remember to Use Them

It’s easy to forget to insert a liner before cooking, which defeats the purpose. This can happen frequently if you use your air fryer for quick cooking jobs. Getting into the habit of pre-lining the basket can take some time.

Potential Safety Issues

Some air fryer manufacturers warn against using paper liners as they could interfere with airflow if not properly secured. There are also concerns that paper liners may pose a fire hazard if they come into contact with the heating element, though incidents seem very rare.

Should you use air fryer paper liners?

Whether you choose to use paper liners comes down to weighing the time saved on cleanup against the added cost and waste generated. Here are some tips to consider when deciding if liners are right for you:

  • Only use air fryer liners designed specifically for your make and model. They should fit snugly without interfering with airflow.
  • Stick to unbleached parchment paper for the most safety and nonstick performance.
  • Avoid foil liners, as they can reflect heat and cause uneven cooking.
  • You may want to use liners for messier foods like saucy wings and French fries, but they aren’t necessary for foods with less grease.
  • Weigh the paper waste against time savings and basket protection when cooking in batches.
  • Cut parchment paper to size if you can’t find precut liners for your model or want to save money.

Best materials for air fryer liners

The best paper liners will depend on your priorities. Here is how common air fryer liner materials compare:

Parchment Paper

Parchment paper is the best choice for most air fryer models. The coating allows excellent non-stick release while withstanding high heat. Unbleached parchment has higher safety than other papers. It’s compostable in many areas after use.

Wax Paper

Wax paper liners are very affordable and provide non-stick properties. However, wax paper cannot withstand the high heat of an air fryer. It’s prone to melting and smoking at air fryer temperatures. Parchment paper is a better choice.

Aluminum Foil

You’ll want to avoid aluminum foil liners in your air fryer. The foil can distort during cooking, potentially coming into contact with heating elements. This poses a fire hazard. Foil also reflects heat unevenly, resulting in improper cooking.


Liners coated in Teflon or other non-stick materials are convenient but come with health concerns. At high heat, these coatings can break down and release harmful fumes. Uncoated parchment paper is the safest bet.

Do you need to use air fryer liners?

At the end of the day, whether or not you use paper liners comes down to personal preference. They make cleanup exponentially easier, but increase cost and waste. Here are some factors to consider when deciding if you need them:

  • How often will you use your air fryer? Frequent use makes liners more worthwhile for simplifying cleanup.
  • What types of food will you cook? Greasy foods like frozen fries and wings benefit the most from liners.
  • Is easy cleanup a priority for you? If you dread scrubbing pans, liners are very useful.
  • Are you comfortable working around higher waste? Liners do generate significant paper waste over time.
  • Is the added cost acceptable for the time saved? Factor in liner pricing based on your expected air fryer usage.
  • Do you have accessibility needs? Those with disabilities may find liners much easier to work with.

Evaluate these considerations against your own needs and priorities. Many find the liners well worth it for faster cooking and cleaning of air fryer meals.

Air Fryer Liner Tips

If you do choose to utilize air fryer liners, keep these tips in mind:

Secure Properly

Make sure liners are fitted snugly in the basket and not interfering with the operation of the appliance. Securing each corner prevents billowing.

Avoid Overloading

Don’t overfill the liner with food. Overloading can cause it to tear, making cleanup more difficult. Leave space for airflow.

Change Between Batches

For best results, replace used liners with fresh ones between batches of foods. Reusing liners may result in burning.

Dry Basket First

Be sure the air fryer basket is completely dry before inserting a paper liner. Any moisture can make it ineffective.

No Foil Touching Heaters

If using foil, ensure no edges are contacting the heating element, as this can pose a fire hazard.

Mind Food Acidity

Avoid extended contact between acidic ingredients like lemon or tomato and paper liners. The acidity could leach chemicals into food over time.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are air fryer liners reusable?

Air fryer liners are designed for single use only. Reusing them will likely result in sticking, burning, or tearing. It’s best to use a fresh liner for each batch you cook.

What is the best air fryer liner material?

Unbleached parchment paper makes the best air fryer liners. It is heat resistant, non-stick, and free from harsh chemicals. Parchment paper is also compostable in many municipalities.

Can you use wax paper in an air fryer?

It’s not recommended to use wax paper as air fryer liners. Wax paper has a lower melt point than parchment and may smoke, melt, or burn at air fryer temperatures. Stick to parchment or foil.

Do air fryer liners prevent splatter?

One benefit of air fryer liners is that they can contain splatter inside the liner, preventing it from coating the inside of your appliance. This makes cleanup much easier.

Can liners be used for baking in an air fryer?

Yes, parchment paper liners can absolutely be used when baking foods like cookies, breads, and pizzas in your air fryer. The liners prevent sticking and make cleanup a breeze.

Does using liners affect cooking time?

Liner use will not significantly affect cooking time in your air fryer. You can follow recommended cooking times and temperatures even when using a paper liner.

Do you put oil on air fryer liners?

Oil is not necessary on air fryer liners, as they already have non-stick properties. A light coating can help adhere breading or spray oil flavors, however. Avoid excessive oil, as it could cause issues.

Can liners be composted after use?

In many municipalities, used parchment paper air fryer liners can be composted along with food scraps. However, policies vary, so check your local regulations. Wax paper cannot be composted.


Air fryer paper liners can be very useful accessories for simplifying cleanup and protecting your appliance. However, they also come with added costs both financially and environmentally. Ultimately, whether or not liners are “worth it” depends on your needs and preferences. Frequent air fryer users cooking greasy foods like fries tend to find the most value in liners. But they may be unnecessary if you use your air fryer sparingly. When in doubt, parchment paper liners provide the best bang for your buck over foil or wax paper.