Is it safe to put Paper Plate in an Air Fryer? (Paper Plate Alternatives)

An air fryer is increasingly becoming the most used kitchen gadget for cooking or warming food. But if you are wondering whether it is safe to put paper pate in an air fryer to warm your food, then you may need to read this article.

I reached at sister’s house for a late get-together and was left with delicious spinach, and ricotta lasagna served on a paper plate. I did not want to eat cold food, so I was told to warm my food in an air fryer. The question arrived, should you or not warm your food on a paper plate in an air fryer? In the end, I did not put a paper plate in an air fryer but wanted to try that out at home and see what happens.

food in a paper plate in an air fryer

So, if you are looking for an answer to whether you can make paper plates in an air fryer, then the short answer is no. The high heat in such a small device increases the risk of paper plates catching fire. When we kept the paper plate in an air fryer for the experimental purpose, the plate did not hold its shape, and the edges started to burn. Also, the paper plate started absorbing juice from the food.

Let’s look in detail at what happens if you put a paper plate in an air fryer and see what happens when I reheated my pizza on a paper plate in an air fryer.

Can you put Paper Plate in the Air fryer?

The air fryer cooks food at a high temperature. Most air fryers go up to 400-500°F temperature to recreate the same texture as deep fryers without much oil or fat.

The high heat in the air fryer help creates a crispy or crunchy texture without leaving food too dry. The fan and vents in the air fryer ensure that heat has circulated the food to properly cook food at high heat.

When you put a paper plate in an air fryer, you block heat from circulating bottom up, leaving your food undercooked. Direct exposure to high heat on a paper plate can result in the paper plate catching fire and damaging your gadget.

So, can you put a paper plate in an air fryer?

No, you can not put a paper plate in an air fryer. Paper plates are not meant for quickly warming food in an air fryer. The high heat in the air fryer poses a significant risk of paper plate catching fire and leaving your gadget damaged and food inedible. You are better off using a paper plate alternative to warm your food in an air fryer.

food in a paper plate

For experimental purposes, we tried warming vegetarian zucchini lasagna on a paper plate in an air fryer. We have used Royal Chinet Dinner paper plates from Costco because they are made from good quality premium-strength paper.

paper plate new vs used

Leftover zucchini lasagna was air fried on a paper plate at 400°F for 5 min. After air frying for 5 min at high temperature, the paper plate did not hold its shape. The paper plate was distorted, discolored, and started absorbing the food’s sauce, oil, and juice.

paper plates showing food stuck and oil absored

The bottom of the plate was where oil was absorbed and started to look transparent or thin. However, we did not see the edge of the paper plate getting burned at 400°F for 5 minutes.

We did not want to keep the warming food for longer in an air fryer as there were higher chances of it catching fire if kept longer.

Why is it not safe to put Paper plates in an Air Fryer?

Some paper plates are too thin and will bend and lose their structural integrity when heated at high temperatures, while others are too thick and unsuitable to heat food.

Recycled paper plates are thick but not heat resistant and will catch fire at a higher temperature. In contrast, porous paper plates are too thin and absorbent. It will absorb the food juices and may fall apart while heating food at high temperatures.

Here are several reasons why it is not safe to put a paper plate in an air fryer for quickly warming your food.

It’s a Fire Hazard

The top section of an Air fryer holds a heating coil and fan, so when you turn on the air fryer, it produces a high temperature, and hot air rushes down and around the food. The rapid air circulation and high heat make the food crips. So, when you put food on a paper plate to warn it up in an air fryer, it is more likely to catch fire.

However, we did not see a sign of a Costco paper plate burning when we warmed food at 400°F for 5. But looking at the discoloration of the plate, it was likely to catch fire if we kept it for a little longer.

It could damage your Air fryer

If your paper plate catches fire while warming your food in an air fryer, it could damage your gadget, which is more expensive than buying an air fryer-friendly plate for warming your food.

Food may become inedible

Some recycled paper plates contain lead or toxin, so when heated at high temperature, it may leach lead or toxin into a food, rendering food inedible.

It is not meant to be exposed to high temperature

Some paper plates are labeled oven safe because they have a coating. But coating works only if you are warming food at a low temperature for a short time. The coating does not work when you expose the paper plate at a high temperature, like in an air fryer.

Warming up food on a paper plate in an air fryer causes the paper plate to absorb the food juices or gravy, leaving the food dryer.

Also, paper plates hold their structure or shape well when exposed to high temperatures. You can see structural distortion in the image below.

Paper Plate alternatives: What can you do to warm up food in your air fryer instead of using a paper plate?

By now, you know the risk outweighs the benefits of warming up food on a paper plate in an air fryer. There are other air fryer-safe alternatives to warm up your food in an air fryer.

You can use

  • Glass
  • Metal
  • Silicone
  • Ceramic
  • Cast iron
  • Stainless steel
  • Pizza stone
  • Foil pan

These materials are heat-resistant and can keep structural integrity at high temperatures.

The rule of thumb is that materials that are safe to use in an oven are safe to use in an air fryer.

FAQs

What can cause an air fryer to catch fire?

An air fryer is a very versatile kitchen gadget when appropriately used. It is great for cooking and warming food in no time. The heating element and fan at the top of the air fryer blow heat at high temperatures, so any material that is not heat resistant or air fryer safe will catch fire or melt. For example, using a paper plate to warm or cook food in an air fryer poses a significant risk of the paper plate catching fire and damaging an air fryer.

Not using an air fryer following the manufacturer’s instructions may cause an air flyer to catch fire.

Other potential fire hazard includes

  • Improper placement of an air fryer
  • Using too much oil
  • Not cleaning the air fryer regularly
  • Overcrowding basket
  • Keeping air fryer on high temperature for a long time

Can you put Parchment Paper in an Air fryer?

Yes, parchment paper can be used in an air fryer. It is a much safer alternative to the paper plate. Parchment paper can withstand temperatures up to 450°F, so unlike paper plates, parchment paper won’t catch fire at high temperatures in an air fryer.

However, you still need to be careful using parchment paper in an air fryer. The parchment paper should be placed in an air fryer basket, and then food should be placed on it. Food should be placed so that parchment paper does not fly when an air fryer is circulating high heat. Sometimes, a fan blowing high heat cause parchment paper to fly and touch the heating element, which may result in parchment paper catching fire while cooking in an air fryer.  

Always use parchment paper with holes to ensure heat circulation from the bottom. It will ensure that food is cooked through and decreases the chance of parchment paper flying and landing on the heating element of an air fryer.

Is it Safe to put Paper plates in an Air fryer? : Conclusion

I hope this article has clarified that putting the paper plate in an air fryer is NOT SAFE. Paper plates are not made to withstand the high temperature of an air fryer. The recycled or porous paper plates are not heat resistant and will catch fire at high temperatures in an air fryer.

Also, paper plates do not hold their structural integrity at high temperatures and absorb moisture, juices, and oil from food, leaving food dry after cooking. Also, some recycled paper plates leach lead and other toxic chemicals into food rendering food inedible.

Paper plate alternatives like silicone, steel, metal, stone, ceramic, and others are air-fryer safe and budget friendly.

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