Baking in an air fryer - Family Guide Central
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Can You Bake with an Air Fryer? Easy Steps to Healthy & Delicious

Can you bake with an air fryer?

Yes, you can. Air frying is similar to baking because it heats up the food from all sides in a closed environment with an oven-like temperature and circulation of hot air. You can bake a cake or cookies in an air fryer. The main difference is that the baking time will be shorter because of the increased heat and circulation, though you’ll need to watch it carefully as well.

What can you bake with an air fryer?

You also need to choose your baked goods wisely. Dishes that use thin batters bake poorly in an air fryer. The devices work well for quick bread and dense cakes though. You can also make yeast donuts in these air fryers that bake them up much healthier than what you buy at a bakery.

What can you not bake in an air fryer?

Avoid baking small items such as choux pastry, better known as cream puffs, mini-cupcakes, or madeleines in the machine. These small-batch items turn into even smaller batches in a tiny air fryer. Your batter must sit out and wait, which causes it to go bad.

Forget about cookies or other baked goods that include items that melt like chocolate chips. These don’t melt as much as they burn in an air fryer. Also, avoid dishes with cheese on top. The cheese burns and the mess it creates inside the fryer takes a while to clean up. If you make something with cheese in its interior, you should have no issues.

Tips on how to bake in an air fryer

You might have already checked a few websites for tips on baking in your air fryer and found that it probably won’t work as well as touted. That’s because the air fryer used wasn’t designed for baking (not all are) and the cook probably didn’t make two important adjustments – batter thickness and time.

Cooking in an air fryer occurs by circulating hot air across and around the food. This reduces the cooking time needed, similar to the function of a convection oven. Since most recipes get developed for regular ovens, you need to adjust the cooking time because otherwise, you’ll end up with an overly dry baked good. You don’t want every recipe to resemble biscotti.

  • You should always preheat your air fryer. This ensures an even cooking temperature.
  • Space out the foods when you bake them. Air fryers must have this space so the air can circulate. You’ll have unevenly cooked or uncooked items if you crowd them.
  • Remember that you still need a tiny bit of oil. The device won’t function properly without a little bit of oil or butter.
  • Clean the air fryer after every use. This helps keep it in top condition and working optimally.
  • You can also help your dishes bake better by rotating the food inside. You’re just turning the pan around, essentially, similar to how you would in an oven. In fact, some air fryers resemble a toaster oven, which makes this easier.
  • You can avoid the overly dry baked goods some people have created in the air fryer. It works great for baking quick bread, cinnamon rolls, donuts, and muffins, among other tasty treats.

Baking in an air fryer vs. a regular oven

Perhaps you want an air fryer for all the items you’ve heard that you can make using it and a healthier way you can cook them. 

Look for a multi-function air fryer so you can use it for baking, too. If you own an air fryer with a baking setting, you can quickly cook many dishes in the air fryer. For example, it only takes about ten minutes to cook frozen cinnamon rolls using an air fryer in bake mode.

Which is better for baking? Oven-style or basket-style air fryers?

There are really no major differences when it comes to baking in an oven or basket-style air fryer. Both devices work almost exactly the same way.

However, we traditionally bake in an ordinary oven. So if you are an avid baker, you might be more comfortable with getting yourself an oven-style air fryer.

The benefit you’d get mostly from an oven-style air fryer is the ability to see through the oven door and monitor your bread.

Converting a baking recipe for the air fryer

You can typically alter any recipe to work in an air fryer. You tweak three items to do so.

Converting temperatures

  • Lower the temperature by 25 degrees Fahrenheit.

Converting baking times

  • Reduce the baking time by 20 percent.

Check for doneness more frequently than normal. Baking in an air fryer is way different than in a traditional oven. Transferring to this device after getting used to regular oven baking is going to take a bit of practice and experience to know more of what to adjust.

Air fryer baking tips

Tip 1: Always preheat your air fryer before using it.

The reason for this is that an oven can take a little while to ‘settle’ into a temperature and they run through cycles of slightly higher and slightly lower temperatures, with the indicated temperature as the average. The smaller the fluctuations become, the longer an oven is preheating.

Tip 2: Use parchment paper when cooking foods like cakes and bread so they don’t stick to the pan.

Parchment paper helps keep all the hardened batter and flour from sticking to the bottom of the air fryer. It also makes cleanup easier!

You can also use a nonstick spray on the inside of the air fryer instead of oil. This way there’s no mess if anything gets stuck to the walls.

You can make crispy chicken wings by placing them directly into the air fryer after coating them with seasoned salt. They won’t get soggy at all.

Tip 3: Don’t overfill the pan/basket.

If you fill too much food in the air fryer, then some of it may spill out onto the countertop during the heating process. If this happens, just wipe off any excess grease with a damp cloth.

When adding ingredients such as butter, cream cheese, sour cream, etc., add these items last. These types of products tend to separate once heated. Adding them first could cause separation.

Add dry ingredients first. Then mix wet ingredients together.

Tip 4: Clean your air fryer properly after usage.

Make sure to clean the interior parts of the air fryer thoroughly. Use soap and water to remove any residue left behind. Make sure to rinse everything very well.

Head over to our article here to about ideas and ways to properly clean an air fryer.

Tip 5: You still need some oil/butter.

Even though you’re baking without oil, you should always have some kind of fat available.

These fats are used to help create a crusty exterior while keeping the center moist. Without them, baked goods would end up having a greasy texture.

The best oils to use are those high in saturated fatty acids. Saturated fats give baked goods their signature flavor and structure.

Tools and bakeware you’ll need when baking with an air fryer

Measuring cups

When baking with an air fryer, you will need to use a measuring cup or spoon. The air fryer should have specific measurements for cups and spoons on the side of it. However, you can also use a regular measuring cup or spoon.

Wooden spoons

A wooden spoon is a cooking utensil made from wood, typically with a long handle. The spoon’s flat surface is used to stir ingredients or cook food. It can also be used to scrape the bottom of pots without damaging the coated layer of the pot.

Rubber spatula/Scraper

This tool has a rubberized coating which allows it to easily glide over any type of nonstick surface such as glass, metal, ceramic, plastic, etc. This makes scraping out bowls much easier than if they were just sitting there. Rubber spatulas are great tools to have around since they’re so versatile!

The silicone scraper is another useful kitchen tool. Silicone scrapers come in different sizes and shapes depending on what kind of job you want them to do.

Spatula/Metal turner

You may already own this item but I thought I’d mention it anyway. A good quality metal turner is essential for turning cakes into layers. If you don’t have one yet, get yourself one now! They aren’t expensive at all.

Pastry brush

If you’ve ever baked anything involving pastry dough, then you know how important it is to grease the inside of the bowl where the dough sits while mixing. Pastry brushes make this process easy by allowing you to apply butter directly onto the dough.


I’m sure most people have heard about whisks. Whisks are very helpful when making sauces, soups, dressings, dips, etc. They help mix things together quickly and evenly. There are many types of whisks available including balloon whisk, wire whisk, hand mixer, stand mixer, immersion blender, etc.

Kitchen scissors

These are handy little items that cut through almost everything. Kitchen scissors are perfect for cutting bread, fruits, vegetables, meats, cheese, etc.

Rolling pin

A rolling pin is a device used to roll out dough. Rolling pins come in various sizes and materials. Some are made of wood, others are stainless steel, and even more, are aluminum. Whatever material you choose, make sure it’s sturdy enough to withstand heavy loads.

Fine-mesh sieve

Sieves allow us to strain liquids like milk, juice, water, soup, etc. Sieves come in several forms; mesh size ranges from fine to coarse. When straining the liquid, we usually prefer the finer meshes because they let smaller particles pass through.

Chef’s knife

It doesn’t matter whether you call your chef’s knife “a paring knife” or “an 8-inch blade”, these knives are extremely useful. You can slice tomatoes, onions, potatoes, carrots, cucumbers, zucchini, eggplant, mushrooms, peppers, garlic cloves, herbs, cheeses, meat, fish, poultry, etc. With its sharp edge, it helps prevent cuts during chopping tasks.

Paring knife

Similar to a chef’s knife, parers are used to remove small pieces of fruit, veggies, or other foods. Parers are often referred to as vegetable peelers.

Serrated knife

Another common kitchen knife, serrated knives are designed to cut through tough foods like steak, chicken breasts, pork chops, bacon, ham, sausage links, etc. Serrations give the knife extra grip when slicing through thick foods.

Rectangular caking pan

Cake pans come in two basic styles: rectangular and round. Rectangular cake pans are ideal for baking sheet cakes whereas round ones work best for layer cakes. The difference between both types lies in their shape. Round cake pans tend to be wider than long, whereas rectangular pans are longer than wide. Both kinds of pans should fit snugly within each other without touching.

Round cake pan

This type of cake pan has been around since ancient times. It was originally invented by Chinese cooks who were known for creating delicious desserts. Today, there are still some bakeries selling traditional round cakes. However, due to modern convenience, most home bakers use square or rectangle-shaped pans instead.

Loaf pan

If you’re looking for something different, then loaf pans might just do the trick! Loaves are baked at one time so they don’t require flipping over halfway through cooking. This makes them great if you want to cook multiple dishes simultaneously.

Pie plate

You’ll need this item no matter what kind of pie dish you own. Pie plates are essential for holding pies while cooling down on the countertop before serving. If you don’t already own one, now would be a good time to buy yourself one.

Square baking pan

Bread pans have always been popular among people who love bread. Square baking pans are perfect for making loaves of bread that will rise evenly throughout. They also help keep the crust crispy after being removed from the oven.

Wire rack

A wire rack is very important for keeping food items safe from direct contact with hot surfaces. Baked goods such as cookies, brownies, cupcakes, muffins, pizza dough, pancakes, waffles, biscuits, cornbread, tortillas, bagels, pretzels, popcorn, crackers, chips, and more all benefit greatly from having a wire rack placed directly above them.

Muffin pan

These days, many people prefer using muffin tins rather than paper liners because they make cleanup much easier. Muffin tins usually feature 12 cups per tray which means you get 24 mini-muffins out of every batch. These trays are made of stainless steel and nonstick material so cleaning up won’t take too long.

Baking sheet/Cookie sheet/Sheet pan

Cooking sheets can be found in various sizes ranging from 9″ x 13″ to 18″. Most cookie sheets are coated with silicone to prevent sticking during baking. Silicone coating helps ensure even heat distribution across the entire surface area of your baking sheet. You may find it difficult to clean these items once they’ve become covered in sticky batter. To avoid this problem, try placing parchment paper underneath any baking sheet that contains wet ingredients.

Parchment paper

The purpose of parchment paper is to protect foods like cookies, pastries, and bread from getting soggy when exposed to moisture. Parchment paper comes in several thicknesses but the standard size is 8 inches by 14 inches. Make sure not to place anything greasy onto the paper; otherwise, it could stick to the grease and ruin its protective properties.

Aluminum foil

The foil protects against both water vapor and steam. When used properly, aluminum foil prevents condensation inside the oven. The best way to wrap food in aluminum foil is to fold it into thirds lengthwise first, followed by folding each third crosswise. Then roll the ends together tightly to create a tight seal.

Hand mixer/Stand mixer

This kitchen tool allows you to mix dry or liquid ingredients quickly without worrying about lumps forming. It’s especially useful for mixing cake batters since it ensures uniformity between batches. Stand mixers come equipped with variable speed settings allowing you to adjust how fast the beaters turn depending on whether you’re whipping cream or beating eggs. Hand mixers work similarly except they only contain two speeds: slow and medium.