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Using an air fryer is easy, but this accessory makes it even easier (and mess-free)

It keeps food crisp and makes cleanup a breeze.
TODAY Illustration / Courtesy Katie Jackson
/ Source: TODAY

For the longest time, my finger has been hovering over the checkout button for an air fryer — the trendy cooking appliance that everyone seems to have, except for me. But I was torn. On the one hand, I wanted a quicker and easier way to make meals (and the recent discounts have been tempting to say the least). On the other hand, I was hesitant to purchase yet another kitchen gadget that I would have to clean.

In a perfect world, my air fryer would be like my oven: self-cleaning. Instead of wishing on the impossible, I started to search for air fryer accessories that could help make cleanup a little easier and immediately stumbled upon the Wavelu Silicone Pot. It piqued my interest, so I convinced a friend of mine to let me borrow his beloved Ninja to see if the accessory would work as well as the over 4,600 five-star reviewers say it does — and maybe even convince me to finally invest in one of my own.

Wavelu Air Fryer Silicone Pot Accessory

Spoiler alert: I will definitely be getting an air fryer.

It's a safer and cheaper solution

The Wavelu Air Fryer Silicone Pot is designed to be used inside your fryer in lieu of parchment paper, which is highly flammable and far from eco-friendly. According to the brand, this silicone accessory is not only a safer alternative — it's made from medical-grade silicone and nontoxic, heat-resistant materials — but it's also more conducive to saving money. Sure, you can spend more on a 200-foot roll, but that's a lot of paper you'll have to toss or recycle. Plus, it's going to eventually run out. That's not an issue with Wavelu's reusable accessory.

This air fryer accessory makes cleanup a breeze

The Wavelu pot does exactly what it promises — provides a surface that's easier to clean, meaning no more vigorously scrubbing the inside of your air fryer to wipe up grease and grime. Because it's made of nonstick silicone, food residue doesn't cling to it the way it does in the appliance's built-in metal liner. When I make eggs, they just slide out of the pot without sticking — and I don't even use oil or cooking spray!

Courtesy Katie Jackson

If you're a chef-in-training and prone to burning food or like to cook messy meals, á la barbecue ribs, this is the accessory for you. When cooking with the Wavelu pot, I never need as much elbow grease as I do when I clean my stainless steel pots and pans. Plus, I can just pick up the silicone pot and dump leftover crumbs and burnt bits into the garbage. I also love that it's dishwasher-safe and made of a flexible material so that I can easily find space for it around more rigid dishes sitting in the racks. Honestly, it really has me wondering why I haven't tried more silicone-based cooking products in the kitchen!

It's designed to cook food evenly

Unlike the air fryer's smooth, built-in liner, the Wavelu is made with bottom ridges. While they make for some funny-looking fried eggs, they do actually serve a purpose. According to the brand, these lines are designed to even out heat distribution and air circulation. I may not understand how that works, but I know for a fact that my chicken strips come out crispy (on all sides) every single time, even if I don't flip them halfway through their cooking time. And since the pot features a sloping base, residual oil drips down the ridges and into the deep, outer groove away from the food. So, I also don't have to worry about my chicken sitting in and soaking up all that extra grease.

While I have yet to use my Wavelu in the microwave, I like knowing it's an option. Since it can withstand up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, I can even use it in the oven and pressure cookers. You just need to make sure you purchase the correct size: Large (3-5 quarts) or XL (5+ quarts).

Courtesy Katie Jackson

I haven't had the Wavelu for very long, but I like that it promises to preserve the "quality and integrity" of the air fryer. I can see this being true since I don't have to soak or harshly scrub the liner. All that wear and tear has to negatively affect it after years of use.

I sadly have to return my friend's air fryer, but now I'm more determined than ever to get my own. And to thank him for letting me borrow it, I know exactly what I'll get him ...

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