The other day, I was using my air fryer and was preparing chicken wings, some broccoli, and carrots. I knew that I wanted to put them in the air fryer, but I didn’t want to cook 3 separate batches.
That’s when I wondered, “How do you cook all these things in your air fryer at once, and how should you arrange them?”
I’ve done my research, applied it, and this is what I discovered.
Is there a way to add more food to your air fryer?
These numbers don’t apply to grill racks or other accessories.
But yes, there is a way to add more food to your air fryer.
With racks, you are able to place even more food into your air fryer based on the number of racks it can hold. The higher your air fryer’s cooking chamber, the more racks you can potentially fit inside of it.
As a general rule of thumb, if you can place 2 racks on top of each other in an air fryer, you can likely double the amount of food you can cook in it. Just make sure you don’t overcrowd it and allow adequate spacing between the top and bottom level racks.
How to arrange different types of foods in an air fryer rack
Air fryers are fantastic tools that can help you cook an entire meal in one machine, all at the same time. Keeping that in mind, there are certain ways that you should be arranging food not only for the best cooking results, but to prevent things like cross contamination and potential food poisoning. When you are looking to cook more than one type of food in an air fryer, there are a few things that you want to keep in mind about placement.
With protein, you always want to put the protein on the bottom. If it’s something like chicken or pork as your protein, you want to place it on the bottom so that the juices do not drip on other food and cause potential food poisoning. If you have meats that you can eat raw, like fish or beef, you can place them on the top rack if you want and allow the juices to fall down over the food that you are cooking at the same time. A good rule of thumb, however, is to just go ahead and put all the protein on the bottom rack.
With protein in the air fryer, you want to rotate it or flip it at least once during the cooking process to help ensure that it is evenly cooked. You may even want to remove whatever you have on the top rack if it is done, and move your protein from the bottom rack to the top to ensure that it finishes cooking evenly.
With all food, no matter where you position it in your air fryer, you want to put it in a single layer, avoid overlapping, and make sure you adjust your time based on what you are cooking and what the condition is when you put it in the fryer. If it is all frozen, you may want to start on a lower heat setting so that it can thaw a little, then crank up the temp to help it crisp at the end. If you are just reheating, make sure your temperature is correct and so on.
How much food can you cook in an air fryer?
The cooking capacity of an air fryer is measured in quarts. The smaller air fryers are good for cooking for one person, and the most common size of a regular air fryer is around 3-5 quarts.
The “max capacity” line on the basket is an indication of how much food can be cooked in the air fryer without compromising the end result. You should expect to cook more than what is listed on the capacity line if you are able to handle your ingredients properly (i.e., not overcrowding).
With smaller air fryers, you will be able to cook a single meal or snacks for two people; with medium-sized (3–4 qt) air fryers, you can cook six to eight chicken wings or about the same amount of vegetables and fries for two or three people; and with larger (5-quart) air fryers, you can prepare enough food for a family of four or more people (depending on individual preferences).
For best results, frozen ingredients should be cooked according to the manufacturer’s instructions and in smaller quantities.
Basket vs. oven-style air fryer: Which is better for stacking food?
When it comes to a basket air fryer, unless you purchase a rack to go inside the basket that helps to lift up the top layer of food, you probably do not want to stack food in a basket. It is always best, if you can, to place all the food in a single layer so that it can all get evenly cooked and evenly crisped.
Though you can stack food in a basket without a rack, it is not ideal unless you are going to be moving the food around during the cooking process to help ensure that it is evenly cooked. If you are truly thinking of stacking food, you want to get an air fryer that is open and that does have built in racks so that you know that it works.
The pros of using an air fryer rack
Using an air fryer rack is a great way to make the most of all the space that you have in your air fryer. You can open up the space and actually get use out of the top part of your basket if you are using a basket fryer, or you can maximize your cooking space in an oven-style fryer as well. A rack is going to allow you to cook more food, so that you can really get your dinner done faster.
The cons of using an air fryer rack
There are some cons to using a rack, however. You do have to pay close attention to how you are stacking food. Make sure that the foods that might drip are in the right place, that the food is all given the right amount of time to cook, and that it is also moved around as needed. With a rack, you also have to be careful about what you put on the rack. With a rack that has slats, you have to make sure that the food you are putting on is not going to slip through the slats and that you are also making sure that everything is evenly distributed. The other drawback is that, with a rack, you are going to have one more thing to clean along with the bottom of the air fryer.
What types of foods should not be stacked together in an air fryer?
There are some foods that should not be stacked together. You are going to want to avoid stacking different types of meats together as they take different amounts of time to heat and they might not taste great together. You should also avoid stacking things together that are not going to take the same amount of time to cook or that require different temperatures, as it can make your food not taste great and it may also not cook evenly, so you may get one piece that is cooked well and another that is overcooked or even raw.
Can you stack food in an air fryer without a rack?
If racks are not your style, you may be interested in the dual basket-designed air fryers.
These air fryers have two separate baskets with their own separate heating functions. By using these dual basket air fryers, you can truly cook two different types of foods at the same time.
The major benefit of this type of air fryer is that if you are trying to cook two different things that are incompatible, like meat and dessert, you can do so with this machine since it completely separates the two foods.
Alternatively, if you were to place both the meat and the dessert into a rack, you’ll end up with each of the two foods leaving their own odor on one another.
What’s the maximum number of racks you can fit into an air fryer?
The number of racks that air fryers can stack on top of each other in place depends on their size. Air fryer baskets are measured in quarts, with the average being 4 to 6 quarts per basket. Large baskets usually carry more than one rack of food at a time.
Look for an air fryer with a large basket if you want to be able to cook for a large family or have many mouths to feed. Usually, a 4-6-quart basket can hold 2 racks, but some models have larger capacities and can fit up to 3 or 4 racks at once. If you’re looking for an air fryer that will hold more than two racks, we recommend oven-style air fryers, which have more levels and can hold up to 10 quarts.
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