The answer is yes, but with a few pointers.
An air fryer has some similarities to an oven. It generates heat from electricity and uses that to cook food. However, unlike an oven, it adds on an internal fan. The result? A hot air current that circulates around the cooking surface and cooks anything placed on it quickly and evenly so you get crispy, golden deliciousness every time!
But what happens when you have too much food or different kinds of foods? Can you stack them on top of each other and let your air fryer do its job? Well… Let’s find out!
The first rule of air fryers is there are no rules – as long as you follow the safety guidelines. So, before getting started, let’s talk about stacking food in an air fryer.
Can you stack food in an air fryer?
Yes, you can indeed stack food in an air fryer. But avoid putting food directly on top of one another. Instead, use racks that will help create a gap between different layers of your food. This will allow hot air to circulate and have access in between the food so that you get that evenly cooked, crispy result.
As always, consider a few extra tips we’ll provide when you consider stacking food in an air fryer.
Air fryers need some space in order to work and that means the food has to be placed on the racks so hot air will circulate around it. Not all types of food can be stacked together though because not all utensils or dishes are stackable with each other.
While it’s possible to stack food in an air fryer, the basket needs ample space at the bottom and around the edges for airflow. Overfilling this basket can restrict the movement of hot air and increase the cooking time required. Air Fryers require circulation of air for better cooking so items should not be stacked more than two deep.
What is the best way to stack food in an air fryer?
First, let’s get this out of the way. It is entirely possible to stack food in an air fryer. However, it really does depend on the model and type of air fryer you own. A few things you should ask yourself is if your air fryer is tall enough? Is it big enough?
You see, stacking food on top of each other requires a rack and it also requires your air fryer to be moderately tall and large. If your air fryer is only capable of holding 2 to 3 quarts, then I’m afraid you’re out of luck.
What are racks? They are these stainless steel metal wire grills that are made to fit inside a cooking appliance such as an air fryer. These racks are made in such a way where if you own two or more of them, you can actually stack them on top of each other. The purpose of these racks is to place food in between each level. Racks will provide a large air gap between each layer of food allowing heat and are to freely move in between layers for a more even cook.
Remember, stacking food in an air fryer is all about careful consideration of heat distribution. If you stack too many racks on top of each other, you end up experiencing complications due to size restrictions.
And let’s not forget that if the heating element is located at the top of the air fryer, and you have your food stacked, there’s a likely chance that the food on the top rack will cook much faster than any of the ones below it. It doesn’t matter how good the fans are.
The best way to stack food in an air fryer is by laying it flat and leaving room between each layer. It might even be necessary to switch the layers around halfway between the air frying cooking process So that the bottom rack moves up to the top and the top moves down to the bottom.
Ultimately, you want to keep a close eye on your meal when stacking them in an air fryer. Check on it frequently.
Foods that you can stack in an air fryer
Stacking foods is a great way to enjoy the many benefits of air fryers. While some foods cannot be stacked in an air fryer, there are some exceptions. Foods that can stack include baked goods, proteins, fruits, and vegetables. Realistically speaking, anything that is solid can definitely be used on a rack in an air fryer.
The key is to choose dishes that are not too wet, and if you have to, we recommend using a heat-resistant bowl. Below are some foods that you can stack in an air fryer.
- Ground beef
- Pork chops
- French fries and tater tots
Foods that you shouldn’t stack in an air fryer
When it comes to foods that are not stackable on racks, we’d like you to think about foods that require special treatment.
Sometimes it’s just not possible to stack foods that are too big. For example, a whole chicken should probably be cooked alone since the mirror size of it could potentially take up all the space inside the basket.
Another potential food that you might not want to stack in an air fryer might be baking goods. Even though it may work, baking goods have very specific temperatures that they need to be in, in order to be cooked and rise to the right amount.
Also, you wouldn’t want to air fry two contradicting types of food. Take for example, if you’re baking a cake. You wouldn’t want to make one rack with the batter, and another one carrying a fish fillet. The combination of the two would totally ruin each other.
How to stack food in an air fryer
- Use racks that AR at least an inch smaller on all sides of the basket or oven. This gap will allow air to circulate on the sides.
- Start by carefully planning which types of foods belong at the top of the rack and which belong further towards the bottom. If you’re just making one type of food then you don’t have to worry.
- Separate the racks and place the foods on top.
- Make sure the food is cut into small enough pieces to allow air circulation to flow around and in between everything.
- Spread the food out evenly so that the racks will remain stable when cooking.
- Secure each rack on top of the other according to the order at which you decided from step two.
- Place your set of racks into the basket or chamber of the air fryer.
- Make sure there’s space in between the rack and the baskets.
- Make sure the rack isn’t too high either, because if it’s too close to the heating element, then it’s a fire hazard.
- When you’re done cooking, remove each rack one at a time from the air fryer. Removing them all at once could result in spillage.
How many racks can I fit into an air fryer?
The number of racks that you can stand on top of each other in place inside your air fryer really depends on the size of that air fryer. Air fryers come in many different sizes and shapes. Some are really tall, and some are really wide, and some are even really tiny.
If you have a large family and a lot of mouths to feed, you’ll likely want a larger air fryer. Are fires are usually measured in quarts with the average air fryer being able to carry around 4 to 6 quarts per basket. Some air fryers have more than one basket.
What you want to look for in an air fryer with a really large basket. Usually, a 4 to 6-quart basket should be capable of holding about two racks. Any more than that, then you risk the top layer of food being way too close to the heating element.
Now, if you’re looking for an air fryer that will be able to hold more than two racks then we recommend looking into oven-style air fryers. These types of air fryers have one key benefit and that they have doors that open from the front oh, and they are equipped with racks that slide into the chamber like shelves in a bookcase.
These types of oven-style air fryers can usually hold up to 10 or more quarts at a time which leaves you with more room and more levels to place your food comfortably.
Why do you need to stack food in an air fryer?
You may be wondering what is the reason for stacking food in an air fryer? Well, there could be many reasons.
Stacking food allows us to cook more food at one time in one sitting, rather than cooking them separately. It saves time. You wouldn’t want to cook you are veggies and proteins separately. Even though you could, you would spend a lot more time cooking one until it’s done and then repeating the same process with the other one. Why not cook them both at the same time but on separate racks?
Another reason why you would want to Stack your food is sometimes you may be cooking a lot of the same thing and you just don’t have enough room in the air fryer to spread all of that out. Instead of just piling the food on top of each other, you can simply put them on different levels using racks.
The bad thing about piling food on top of each other in an air fryer is that you risk the food not being cooked evenly. Remember, you’re using an air fryer and an air fryer requires gaps of air between as much of your food as possible so that it could spread that heat all around and evenly cook your food. If you’re piling all this food on top of each other then chances are you closing the gaps and not allowing the air to flow through properly. You might end up with a cooked exterior but end up with the middle of this pile still being cold and uncooked.
If you rather not use racks, there are air fryers with more than one basket that will allow you to separate your Foods completely. Why would you need something like this? Well, let’s go back to the previous example of fish and cake. You wouldn’t want your baking to be contaminated with the smell of fish, would you? Instead, buying an air fryer with two separate independent baskets may be the answer for you.
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