The Messy Breakfast Food Your Air Fryer Just Can't Handle

Air fryers are the modern-day equivalent of the microwave, and how revolutionary it was during the mid-20th century. Nowadays, nearly everyone has heard of an air fryer, and many up-to-date cooks and chefs have one inside their homes. While air fryers certainly deserve their title for being an easy-bake tool that saves your family time and cooking skills, it's not the Spy Kids microwave that can prepare any meal from a sealed package — sometimes you're going to have to resort back to your stove or oven.

Because of this lack of real magic (despite how amazing and mystical it may seem), the way air fryers are designed prevent them from being a useful tool to bake pancakes or other battery substances. Other runny substances like omelets, fried eggs, and frittatas are also not as well prepared inside an air fryer as they are the old-fashioned way, much to our hearts' discontent.

The science behind air fryers

To understand why you can't cook pancakes or other wet substances in an air fryer, we must take a deep dive into the engineering behind the machine. Despite the name, air fryers do not fry the food. Instead, when you place your food inside an air fryer, the device blows hot air on it, which causes it to heat up and achieve that crispy taste. This is how air fryers make crispy foods without all the fat that a traditional deep fryer would produce.

This is different from a microwave oven because, instead of hot air, microwaves are produced from a magnetron, an electron tube inside the machine, which the water molecules inside your food absorb and cause a build-up of kinetic energy that heats your food. Air fryers, on the other hand, do not handle liquids well because they end up just dripping through the plate, leaving your food warm and soggy instead of freshly cooked.

Try making pancakes the old fashioned way

Despite this, there are plenty of other pancake-adjacent breakfast foods that you may want to try to cook with your air fryer. Pop-Tarts or other toaster pastries cook nicely in the air fryer because they elicit the same crispiness as a toaster. If you're feeling a more savory and meaty breakfast, bacon would also be a fantastic choice to throw in the air fryer for an easy-prep meal.

If you're adamant about sticking with pancakes, then the best way to cook them would be using the old-fashioned stove. Adding butter, pancake batter, and oil to make sure nothing sticks to your pan, you can make your pancakes just the way you like them, combined with any toppings of your choice or none at all. Additionally, now that you know how air fryers work, you'll never have to question whether something is truly air fryable.