Buying your first air fryer is surely an exciting thing. Considering an air fryer is smaller than a conventional oven, users are often skeptical about how much food it can cook. This begs the question; how full can you fill an air fryer?
Air fryers can hold around 800 to 1400 grams of food, depending on the model and the type of food. Just make sure that your food never crosses the maximum capacity line in the basket; it’s always best to fill an air fryer 3/4th.
For instance, things like French fries or roasted vegetables can be loaded to the top. But, in the case of steaks or similar items, things are going to be the opposite. In either case, a fuller basket will take longer to cook and might not be as quite crisp.
That said, let’s take the discussion further and see how you can utilize the space inside your air fryer in the most effective way.
How much food can you prepare in an air fryer?
The first thing you need to remember when it comes to making food in an air fryer is that the cooking capacity is measured in quarts. The smaller air fryers, usually made for a single person, come in 1-2qt sizes, while the most common size of a regular air fryer is between 3 and 5 quarts.
And if numbers do not paint the perfect picture for you, here’s what you should know.
- Small 1-2 qt air fryers can prepare a meal for a single or a batch of snacks for two persons.
- Medium 3-4 qt air fryers can hold somewhere around 6-8 chicken wings, enough fries, or vegetables for two to three persons.
- Large air fryers sized at 5 qt or more can cook chicken, fries, or vegetables for a family of four or more.
How much food can a 5 qt air fryer hold? Find out here.
Exceeding the max capacity line: Should you or should you not?
Most air fryers come with a “max capacity” line or indication mentioned on the basket. This informs the user of the maximum amount of food that can be placed inside the air fryer i.e. exactly how full you can fill your air fryer.
However, if you have sufficient experience and skills using air fryers, you can exceed that line and continue cooking food without compromising the results.
Here’s what you should keep in mind to use your air fryer to the fullest!
Cut food into smaller pieces
When users stack bigger pieces of food in an attempt to reduce the cooking time, they end up blocking the circulation of hot air, and the food turns out uncooked in certain areas.
That said, it is important that you cut larger pieces of food into smaller pieces before placing them in the basket. The best way to cut the perfect size is by considering the size of the holes in your air fryer’s basket. The smaller the holes, the smaller the pieces should be.
Using an air fryer rack
If you look closely, the basket of an air fryer has holes to allow even hot air circulation. If the holes are blocked, hot air won’t be able to circulate properly and will result in uneven cooking.
A great way to stack food in an air fryer is by using an air fryer rack. You can purchase a universal rack if your air fryer does not have one.
All you need to do is place the rack in the air fryer with some food. With the rack mounted above the second layer, you can cook multiple batches of food at the same time.
Foods that can or cannot be stacked in an air fryer
As a general rule of thumb, you can stack almost anything in an air fryer as long as it allows you to easily turn, separate, stir, or shake.
Food items like chicken wings can be stacked if they are small enough but will need flipping several times during cooking. Similarly, potatoes in all shapes can be stacked as well.
However, in the case of fruits, you will need to make sure the pieces are separate; otherwise, bananas and other sticky fruits can easily stick to nearby pieces, ruining the result.
On the other hand, large pieces of animal protein such as fish, meat, or chicken cannot be forcefully stacked. The pieces will block the hot air circulation, and flipping won’t help either.
So, it’s better to cut them down into smaller pieces or purchase a rack to hold the extra pieces. Pieces blocking the hot air circulation may cause the rest of the food to remain uncooked. In the case of chicken, this is very dangerous if consumed; click here to learn more!
In the end, you can fill an air fryer full to the top, but only if you know how to keep the circulation going and not block the basket’s holes. It’s always better to keep the food below the maximum capacity line, though!
Moreover, the size of your air fryer still holds the utmost importance. If the air fryer is specifically made for a single person, you should avoid stuffing it to prevent uneven cooking.