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Why Does My Air Fryer Take So Long to Cook? (19 Reasons Why!)

Do you want to know why your air fryer takes so long to cook?

It’s a question that many people ask, but unfortunately, there is no single answer. It depends on the type of food and how much oil it needs in order for it not to stick together.

The factors that make air frying take so long to cook may include overcrowding food, overly wet food, your air fryer being dirty, not preheating your air fryer, not flipping your food, wrong timer and temperature cook settings, a cheap quality model, or even electrical issues.

As with any cooking appliance, it’s important to follow the instructions on the package. The more you know about your air fryer and how it works, the more you will ensure its performance and efficiency for various types of dishes that are just right for you!

In this article, I’ve listed all the possible reasons why your air fryer might not be cooking fast enough, along with some helpful tips on what you can do to remedy the issue.

Reason 1: You’re overcrowding the air fryer with food

Air fryers are great for cooking food quickly and with minimal effort. However, overcrowding the machine will make it cook unevenly, which can result in burnt or raw food.

When too much food is put into the basket, there might be a problem with soggy or undercooked foods instead of crispy ones.

The recommended capacity for an air fryer is often indicated by a line inside the basket, which can make cooking in smaller batches much more efficient.

Reason 2: You’re not drying your meat before putting it in the air fryer

Pat your meats down with paper towels before putting them into the air fryer.

Making sure that the surface of your proteins is dry will help them brown more quickly and reduce cooking time.

Reason 3: Your air fryer is dirty

Dirty air fryers accumulate old remnants of food, and the residue it creates may end up hindering the efficiency of your air fryer.

Grease buildup has been known to damage the fan and cause the heating element to malfunction in an air fryer.

If there’s grease on the surface, oil from frying foods will stick and accumulate over time.

The machine needs to be cleaned out after every use as burnt food particles could build up in the crevices that end up creating problems in the future. This build-up could lead to a machine malfunction as well.

If you don’t clean your air fryer on a regular basis, it will take longer for food to cook and may have an unpleasant taste.

Reason 4: You didn’t preheat your air fryer

If your air fryer doesn’t heat up and you don’t know why, one reason could be that you didn’t preheat it.

Air fryers should be preheated before food is placed in the basket.

Air fryers need about 5 minutes to heat up before they’re ready to work, which means that if you don’t give them this amount of time, then the food won’t cook properly.

What’s more, 350 degrees Fahrenheit is what our recommended temperature should be, and anything below or above this will result in subpar cooking results.

Reason 5: You need to flip your meat when air frying

Even though air fryers use circulated hot air to cook all sides of the food. It may still require you to rotate the food.

If you want an even final dish, then flip halfway through cooking and make sure you get an even browning.

Reason 6: Your veggies are not being moved around during air frying

Vegetables are not being moved around during air frying, which can cause some parts of them to cook slower than others.

To avoid this issue, remove your basket while cooking and use tongs or a wooden spoon to move your veggies around so they all get cooked evenly.

Alternatively, you can just pull out your basket and give it a little shake so that you can toss your vegetables around.

Reason 7: You’re not using your air fryer for baking

If you want to cook something that requires a lot of cooking time, such as cookies or pizza, you have got to make sure you activate the bake setting.

The reason why your air fryer takes so long to cook these things is because it’s not being used for baking.

Reason 8: You’re not adjusting for cooking times

Sometimes, the reason why your air fryer takes so long to cook something is because you aren’t adjusting for the cooking time.

Let’s say you found a recipe for that perfect meal you’ve always wanted to create for your family. But the recipe is based on only serving two people at a time.

The problem is that you have five mouths to feed. So, naturally, you would add a little extra. In this situation, you are going to have to increase the cooking time as well. The more food you make, the more time it needs to cook.

If you want to make sure that your recipe comes out the same every time, adjust for cooking times and temperature when using an air fryer.

Reason 9: You’re not frequently checking your air fryer’s current temperature

The reason that your air fryer takes so long to cook may be because the temperature settings might not be correct. If you’re using a digital thermostat, it’s important that you regularly check whether or not your current setting is accurate.

The actual temperature might not be anywhere near what you think it’s set at. If the air fryer doesn’t reach an ideal temperature, things can go wrong and cause food to burn or become overdone.

You should check your appliance every 20 minutes so that if something does happen, you can prevent any further damage from happening by turning off the cook time for your meal (if applicable).

We also recommend that you buy a food thermometer like this one from Amazon. Something that you can use to measure the internal temperature of your food.

This can come in handy if it is a wireless smart thermometer that you can monitor from your smartphone.

Reason 10: Your air fryer is not given enough room to vent

This has to do more with causing malfunctions in the air fryer, which is similar to what the issue was with overcrowding the basket with food.

In this case, you may have kept the air fryer in a closed environment while using it, and this has caused the air fryer to malfunction due to not being able to vent the heat from its circuit boards.

This can potentially heat up the electronic components in the air fryer and cause it to work less optimally. Keep in mind that air fryers are electronic devices, and they can potentially overheat. Overheating can cause things to throttle, which does include the performance of your air fryer.

We recommend that you give your air fryer at least 5 inches of space on all four corners. And also use your air fryer in a place where it can breathe.

Never leave it in a closed box when using it. You want to make sure it is open to its surroundings.

Reason 11: Your air fryer is not dry

If your air fryer is still wet and dripping with water, and you decide to use it on the spot to air fry food. You might want to dry your air fryer first.

If there is excessive water in your air fryer basket or anywhere else, then air frying your food at the normal cooking time may not be enough to fully cook your food.

It may also take the air fryer much longer to get to the right temperature for cooking.

Always make sure that if you clean your air fryer and decide that you want to use it again right away, you should pat it down with some dry paper towels. Try to remove any excess water.

Reason 12: Your air fryer is cheap and not strong enough

Lower end models are not as good, so they take longer to cook food.

Lower-end models may not be able to generate enough power quickly enough, so you may end up using it for hours at a time.

In this case, you might want to consider looking for a new air fryer. Some of the newest models today run with 1800 watts of power. This is one of the stronger, more powerful air fryers we’ve encountered.

Cheaper models usually have about 1300 to 1400 watts, and sometimes this is the reason why it takes so long for your air fryer to reach a certain temperature.

And if you want the most powerful air fryer, you can always reach out to the manufacturer and ask how high the temperature gets on a certain model.

Reason 13: Your food is wet

Another reason for your food taking so long to cook is the fact that it was too moist when you put it in the air fryer. The key to having crispy fried food is to pat your food dry before putting it into the air fryer.

Air-frying meat is a great way to use your air fryer, but sometimes it’s hard to avoid soggy food. The best way to avoid this problem is by making sure the surface of your food is dry before you put it in the air fryer.

We recommend that you use a dry paper towel to soak up all the moisture that exists on the exterior and even the interior of your food.

This also includes foods like wet batter. Wet batter is usually not recommended when it comes to air frying.

Fortunately, if you are really interested in learning how to air fry wet batter, then check out our article here. We found some of the best tips and recommendations on what you should know when it comes to air-frying wet batter.

Reason 14: Your air fryer’s heating element is malfunctioning or no longer working

The heating element is the part of the air fryer that creates high heat. If this component isn’t working properly, it can cause a variety of problems with your air fryer.

If you are having problems with your air fryer’s heating element, it could be that the wire has become disconnected or is no longer working.

Now, if you were an actual electrician who didn’t mind tinkering with the machine, you could very well take it apart with safety precautions.

However, most people may not be trained and are unaware of how to fix electronic devices. The best approach for those types of people is to call the manufacturer and see if they can set up an in-warranty repair.

Sometimes, there may actually be an issue with the heating element itself. Heating elements are rated to last between 8 and 18 years before they burn out.

If your air fryer happens to have reached this stage or is simply prematurely malfunctioning, then you can reach out to the manufacturer to see if you can self-repair your unit. Ask to see if you can purchase a stand-alone heating unit for your particular model.

You can also reach out to a third-party repair center that may be able to help you with getting it fixed.

As a last resort, we do recommend that you take your losses and just buy a new one. Most air fryers are relatively affordable, and trying to repair an old, out-of-warranty air fryer may cost you just as much as buying a new mid-tier model.

Reason 15: You’re air-frying food that doesn’t weigh much

Keep in mind that there is a strong current inside every air fryer that pushes wind and hot air around. If the food you are cooking is way too light, it may end up flying around the air fryer basket.

And as food moves, it begins to release the heat that is being applied to it. It’s basically cooling itself off while at the same time being cooked. This may be the reason why it can take much longer to cook as well.

The reason that tortillas, kale, and bread are too light to cook in an air fryer is because they don’t weigh much. If the food doesn’t weigh anything, then it won’t cook well or at all.

You need to find a way to weigh your food down. Mix it with other foods or place things on top of it so that it can cook properly.

Reason 16: You didn’t fully attach the basket or close the air fryer door

If you’re using an air fryer and your food is not cooking as quickly as expected, it could be because the basket isn’t fully attached to the machine or because the door hasn’t been closed tightly. These two problems can cause heat loss from within your unit, which will make it take longer for your food to cook.

It is important that you fully attach the basket or close the door when cooking.

Additionally, some air fryers will not heat up if the lid is left open or if the basket is not completely attached. If this happens, it can be difficult for the machine to produce even cooking results as they aren’t able to get enough circulation through the food being cooked.

As a result, the heat that your air fryer is generating will end up being lost to the air because of the opening that is created. Your air fryer will struggle to maintain the particular cooking temperature required and it will take much longer to cook your food.

Always check to see if your air fryer basket is secure and flush with the rest of your air fryer. When you push it into the air fryer, be aware that there’s usually a click or snap that you can feel when you’ve successfully closed the basket.

The same thing goes with an air fryer oven.

Make sure there isn’t any food left impeding the doorway or sticking out halfway. This may cause the door to stay open during the cooking process.

Reason 17: Make sure your air fryer timer is set correctly

Some air fryers have preset timers that start cooking at a specific time or can be set by the user. Make sure your timer is set correctly to allow enough time to cook the food as desired.

We’ve had countless people accidentally set the wrong timer when they were setting their air fryer to cook.

This caused the timer to shut off the air fryer prematurely, stopping the cooking phase. Something as careless as this can cause some people to believe that their air fryer is taking a lot longer to cook than normal.

We recommend that you frequently check on your air fryer to make sure it is cooking well. Take a look at the food and make sure it’s also changing colors. Without touching your air fryer, put your hand next to it to feel the heat.

When setting up the length of time at which your air fryer should be cooking, ask yourself what time it should actually be done. Take a mental note, and come back to it, expecting it to be done by that time.

Reason 18: Your air fryer cord might be damaged

The power cords can sometimes get damaged, which will result in a longer cooking process for your air fryer.

An air fryer’s power cord can be damaged by old age, bending, or just frequently pulling on the cord. Power cords can break when they are not handled properly.

They can also be chewed on by rodents and other animals. If your air fryer takes more than 15 minutes to preheat, you should check for a broken power cord and replace it as soon as possible.

Oftentimes, repairing situations like this may require a licensed professional.

When looking for damage on the cord or when it malfunctions at any point during use, look for signs of breakage or fraying as these are two key indicators indicating potential problems with your air fryer’s power cord.

If you ever smell the scent of fish coming from your outlet or your power cord, this could be an early indicator of an electrical problem.

Some common smells could be fish, urine, or burnt plastic that can indicate a potential electrical fire.

Get help immediately if you find yourself in this situation.

Reason 19: Your electrical outlet may be insufficiently powering your air fryer

The reason your air fryer takes so long to cook is that the more powerful models require a lot of power. If the outlet that you are using doesn’t have enough electricity, it could be because it cannot supply the proper wattage.

If this is the case, you may have to look elsewhere in the house for an outlet that can provide the power needed to fully power your air fryer properly.

It’s a good idea to always check that your air fryer is plugged in.

Another reason why your air fryer takes so long to cook may be because the breaker went out. This can happen when there are too many devices plugged into one outlet and the breaker flips, which will cause a surge in power use.

Overloads are often avoided with the use of circuit breakers. If the fuse has blown or if there’s a problem with the outlet wiring and it can’t handle your air fryer, then you’ll need to reset the circuit breakers or repair your electrical outlets before continuing.

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