Air fryer liners are quickly becoming a cooking must-have – but are they worth it?

Experts unpack whether they're worth the hype

Image of Dreo air fryer on countertop
(Image credit: Future Studios/Phillip Sowels)

Air fryer liners have been a must-have for many air fryer users for a considerable amount of time now, but if you're new to it all you may be wondering whether they're worth investing in or not.

Many who have opted to snap up the best air fryer have done so for one overarching reason: to save time and money while cooking. An air fryer liner promises to halve the time it takes to clean your air fryer and keep it unblemished between meals for longer, while also offering up healthier meals as a result.

Better yet, as air fryers have evolved, so have the liners to accompany them. Nowadays, there are paper and silicone liners available, however, are air fryer liners a must-have air fryer accessory we all need in our roster?

Air fryer on kitchen worktop next to cooked food

(Image credit: Quiet Mark)

Air fryer liners

Air fryer liners do exactly what they say on the tin. They come in the form of both paper and silicone liners and sit on top of your air fryer's crisper plate to act as an extra layer between your air fryer and the food you're cooking. However, a recent hack has proven to us that paper liners can be used in alternative ways.

Why, you may ask? 'People choose to buy air fryer liners for a variety of reasons but mostly for the time saved on cleaning up,' explains Dennis Digwa, appliance expert at RGBDirect. 'By preventing food from sticking directly to the basket, liners can contribute to keeping the air fryer in better condition over time.'

Salter 7L dual air fryer with divider on kitchen worktop

(Image credit: Salter)

As far as whether or not the experts recommend using an air fryer liner depends on a couple of factors. 

'Yes, I highly recommend using liners in the air fryer, both silicone and paper liners,' says Sam Milner, air fryer expert and author of The Complete Air Fryer Cook Book. 'However, there are plenty of buts.'

Sam Milner
Sam Milner

Sam Milner has been air frying for almost 12 years and is the co-author of the Sunday Times bestseller, The Complete Air Fryer Cook Book: 140 super-easy, everyday recipes and techniques.

Paper air fryer liners

This kind of air fryer liner may be the one you've spotted out in the wild more often. Since they're single-use, they require no cleaning at all so are the perfect option for those who want to keep their air fryer (and all the extras) clean with zero fuss.

While they're a good buy, Sam warns that due to their shape, you wouldn't be able to use them like you can with silicone liners. 'For example, a paper liner is an ideal shape for an air fryer omelette but not sturdy enough for a chilli.'

However, with a paper liner's single-use nature, they're not the most eco-friendly option and you'll have to repurchase them once you finish a pack. Therefore, if you bought an air fryer because of its lower cost to run, opting for paper liners may be counterproductive to your money-saving mission.

Silicone air fryer liners

Silicone air fryer liners, on the other hand, are the better option for those looking for more durable and reusable options. 'Silicone is brilliant for the air fryer as you can easily wipe them clean after they've been used,' explains Sam. Otherwise, they're easy enough to wash with soap and water or pop in the dishwasher.

'The challenge is always finding the perfect silicone that fits your air fryer size because not all air fryer sizes are equal,' she continues. 'However, the second (and biggest) challenge, is as the air fryer has got more popular, more are cashing in on its success and bringing out low-quality cheap silicone that is very flimsy and putting many air fryer users off buying silicone.'

Therefore, it pays to ensure you're opting for quality liners as silicone is easily your best bet at excelling when cooking a handful of surprising foods in the air fryer, like lasagne and pasta bakes.

Are air fryers worth investing in?

Air fryer liners both have pros and cons, irrespective of whether you opt for paper or silicone, so the choice ultimately lies with you and whether they're making the world of a difference in easing your air fryer cleaning routine.

However, while they have their uses, it's important to note that the whole point of an air fryer is that they blow hot air around the basket to cook your food. So using an air fryer liner may obstruct airflow and leave you with food not cooked as you want it to, leading you victim to a big air fryer mistake.

Air fryer on kitchen worktop cooking chips

(Image credit: Getty Images)

'That being said, air fryers are super easy to clean, so you really don't need to use a liner,' remarks Thea Whyte, AO's air fryer expert. 'To easily clean a basket-style fryer, we recommend mixing baking soda and water to make a paste. Put the paste on a damp dishcloth and use it to gently scrub the affected areas. Once done, rinse off any residue and your air fryer will be as good as new.'

But, if you're still keen on investing in some air fryer liners for a rainy day or for assisting you in making a special dish, we've rounded up some of our favourite air fryer liners to consider.

Shop air fryer liners

If after everything you do opt for paper liners, Sam leaves us with a word of caution: 'If you're using paper liners in the air fryer, never preheat the air fryer with them in. They will fly about and get stuck in the air circulation and cause a fire risk. The paper liners can then melt if this happens.'

So, just be sure to exercise caution and rest assured, air fryer liners definitely do earn their place as an effective air fryer accessory to have in your back pocket.

Imani Cottrell
Content Editor

 Imani Cottrell is Ideal Home’s Content Editor, she graduated with a Masters degree in magazine journalism from Nottingham Trent University in 2018.

She then went on to join the Royal Television Society and worked on their digital team writing about all things TV. In 2022 she joined the Ideal Home team and is getting to express her passion for all things interior design. In her spare time she loves discovering new homeware brands and travelling to new places for design inspiration. 

With contributions from