Air fryers are convenient, compact, and efficient at cooking a broad range of foods. These types of cooking equipment also come in many shapes and sizes, capable of fitting various quantities of food. This begs the question, what size air fryer should you get?
The air fryer you need should be large enough to cook for everyone in your household at one time but not so large that it takes up too much space. Therefore, when choosing an air fryer size, you should consider the number of people in your household, your countertop space, and your budget.
Keep reading for a breakdown of how to choose the right sized air fryer. I’ll go through some common queries and concerns buyers have, factors you need to consider when making the decision, and some pitfalls you should avoid. By the end of this piece, you’ll be ready to buy your brand new air fryer with absolute peace of mind.
What Are the Different Air Fryer Sizes?
Air fryers come in an assortment of shapes and sizes. You can have a small air fryer to heat up your lunch or a large air fryer, ideal for cooking for a crowd. But just how big or small do air fryers get?
Air fryer sizes include extra small, small, medium, large, extra-large, and XXL. These sizes vary in volume between 1 Quart (0.95 L) to 20 Quarts (18.9 L). However, most large air fryers are about 8 Quarts (7.5 L), while most small air fryers are sized between 1.6 to 2.2 Quarts (1.5 to 2.1 L).
A standard air fryer can typically hold 3.6 quarts to 5.8 quarts (3.4 to 5.4 L) in the compartment. If your air fryer is outside of this size range, then it is generally considered a small or large device.
What Factors Should You Consider When Deciding What Size Air Fryer You Need?
Before you can make your mind up on what size air fryer you need, you should know what you require from the device. There are some factors that you must consider before making your investment so you know for sure you’ve got the right new piece of cooking equipment.
Here are some factors to consider when deciding what size air fryer you need:
- Number of people in your household
- The meals you cook
- The size of your oven safe dishes
- Counter space
Read below for more details on each of the factors mentioned above.
Number of People in Your Household
The primary factor to consider when figuring out what size air fryer is best for you is how many people you will need to cook for. If you live alone or just cook for yourself, you can buy a small air fryer. However, if you plan on making enough French fries to feed a large family, a small air fryer simply won’t suffice.
The Meals You Cook
While air fryers are viewed as a healthy alternative to deep fryers, they are far more versatile in the food you can cook. You can use air fryers to make everything from French fries to pasta bakes. As a result, you should give this some thought when deciding on the size.
If you plan to use the air fryer for cooking fries and frozen foods, you should not be too concerned about the size of the appliance. However, if you plan on cooking more oversized food items like chicken legs, or meals in a dish, you’ll need a larger air fryer to fit them in.
The Size of Your Oven Safe Dishes
You can use oven-safe dishes in your air fryer to make delicious meals like mac and cheese as long as there’s enough space around the container to allow the air to flow unrestricted. If you plan on using oven-safe dishes in your air fryer, you’ll need to consider this factor.
For instance, if your small oven dish is 6 inches (15 cm) across and 4 inches (10 cm) deep, then the air fryer should have a basket that’s at least ½ an inch (1.27 cm) to an inch bigger in every direction. This will allow for sufficient space, which allows air to flow freely.
Another factor to consider when choosing an air fryer is whether you have enough space to store it comfortably. This is especially true if you are not spoiled for space in your kitchen or you already have appliances filling your countertops. You’ll need to find an air fryer that can conveniently fit on your counter or be stored away until you are ready to use it.
If your air fryer is too oversized for your kitchen, you may find using it inconvenient, which defeats the purpose of buying an air fryer in the first place. On top of this, a lack of space will likely cause you to use the device less, making it not worth the investment.
Buying a new air fryer is much like buying any new appliance. The bigger the device is, the more parts and materials are used to make it, and the more it will cost. Therefore, your budget can be a deciding factor in what size air fryer you should buy.
After considering each of these factors, you can narrow down your options and start choosing your air fryer. However, before you run to the shops, there is some more information you should keep in mind before making a decision.
Why It’s Important To Get the Right Size Air Fryer?
Now that you’re aware of what factors to mull over when deciding which air fryer best suits your needs, you may be wondering, at this stage, does it really matter what size air fryer you get? And what happens if you buy a device that is too large or too small for your needs?
It’s important to get the right size air fryer, so you don’t have to cook meals in batches if it’s too small. Alternatively, if the air dryer is too large, it will consume more energy and cost you more. Therefore getting an air fryer big enough to cook in but not too big is essential.
If your air fryer is too small, it will be a pain to make dinner. If your air fryer can only produce enough fries for one person and you need to feed 4. You’ll need to cook them in four separate batches. This drastically increases cooking times and inconveniences you.
Larger air fryers have a large compartment to heat and usually feature a more extensive heating system. As a result, more power is needed to power the device. If your air fryer is significantly bigger than it needs to be, you will consume far more energy than you need to.
Energy consumption is vital when it comes to keeping down costs and saving on your bills, but it’s also important to reduce energy usage for environmental reasons. Energy production uses fossil fuels which harm ecosystems and contribute to climate change.
What Size Air Fryer Do You Need for 1 Person?
If you’re living the single life or perhaps you’re a college student living alone and looking for an easy way to cook healthy meals, an air fryer is ideal. However, what size air fryer do you need to cook for just one person at a time?
You need a 1 to 2-quart (0.95-1.89 L) air fryer for one person. This is enough room to cook a large portion of French fries or some fries and some frozen food like chicken fingers. You’ll need more space if you want to cook for more than 1 person.
I recommend choosing an air fryer that is slightly over 2 quarts, even if you live alone. This is because you will want some extra space in case you ever need to cook for anyone else, and a one-quart air fryer is definitely too small to cook for more than one.
What Size Air Fryer Do You Need for a Family of Four?
You need a standard-sized air fryer, roughly 6 quarts (5.6 L) for a family of four. An air fryer this size will have enough space for 4 portions of French fries, with some extra space for other foods. However, if your family has a large appetite, you may want to add an extra quart or two.
If there are more than 4 people in your family, you’ll need an extra quart of space for every additional family member or housemate living in your home. For instance, if you have a family of eight, you will likely require an air fryer of about 10 quarts (9.5 L) to fit enough food for everybody.
Alternatively, you can use a smaller air fryer for cooking for a big family, but you will need to cook in batches, increasing your workload. Moreover, making food in batches in an air fryer is not great for family dinners, as, by the time the last batch of food is ready, the first batch will likely be cold.
What Meals Can You Make in a Small Air Fryer?
You can make everything from fried frozen foods to baked goods and more in a small air fryer. However, you are restricted as to how much of the food you can fit inside. More voluminous foods like some meats, mainly meat containing bones, may be too big for a small air fryer.
Any foods that are safe to cook in an air fryer and can comfortably fit inside a small heating compartment are fine to cook in the appliance. Small air fryers are typically used for cooking individual portions of fries or frozen foods or to toast sandwiches during your lunch break.
How Much French Fries Fit in a Standard Size Air Fryer?
A standard air fryer of 6 quarts (5.7 L) is big enough to fit 1.5 lbs (0.45 kg) of French fries. A portion of French fries is about 3 ounces (90 grams) which means that you can fit about 5 portions of French fries in a regular air fryer without overfilling the machine.
If you put too many french fries into your air fryer, it will limit the airflow. Since air fryers circulate hot air to make food crispy and crunchy, over-filling the device will prevent this from happening. As a result, when you attempt to cook too many fries on your device, they will begin to steam and go soggy rather than crispy.
Overfilling an air fryer is not cause for concern when cooking meats, as proteins lose water and fade when cooked. As a result, if you can fit meat inside an air fryer, you can cook it properly as the meat will decrease in volume and allow air to flow freely. However, when cooking fries or vegetables, it’s essential to leave some extra space for airflow.
Do You Need a Big Air Fryer For Baking?
Believe it or not, your air fryer can be used to bake your favorite sweet treats. Air fryers are excellent for baking as they don’t require preheating, and they can reach high temperatures with ease. However, what size air fryer do you need to buy if you plan on baking with it?
You need a big air fryer for baking. Baking food requires more space than alternative types of cooking. On top of this, you may need to use a dish for baking, and it’s difficult to find dishes that fit in standard or small-sized air fryers.
If you want to bake cakes or cookies in an air fryer, you will need to be able to fit a cake tin or baking tray inside. While these dishes come in many sizes, it’s difficult to find a cake tin or tray that’s small enough to fit inside a small air fryer. As a result, it’s best to choose a bigger fryer so you can fit your dishes inside with relative ease.
Does the Shape of Your Air Fryer Matter?
Air fryers come in a variety of shapes as well as sizes. Some air fryers are square, others are rectangular, and some are even egg-shaped. But is the shape of an air fryer an important factor to consider?
The shape of your air fryer does matter. You’ll need to find an air fryer that has a shape suitable for your cooking needs, especially if you plan to roast a chicken or use dishes to cook food inside. The shape of the fryer also matters when it comes to taking up space in your counter.
If you have little space to fit your air fryer in your kitchen, you should consider a square-shaped device. Air fryers that are rounded or egg-shaped will take up more space on your countertop and offer less space inside than a square-shaped one.
However, egg-shaped and rounded air fryers are better for fitting certain food, like whole chickens inside. As a result, you’ll need to think about what you’ll use the equipment for when picking the shape.
What Size Air Fryer Do You Need for Everyday Dinners?
You need an air fryer that is at least 4 quarts (3.79 L) to cook everyday dinners for two or more people. You can cook entire meals inside your air fryer by directly placing frozen or fresh foods inside the basket.
The size air fryer you need for your dinner will vary depending on how much food you need to cook. If you have a large family that you cook dinner for daily, or if you like to make extras in case somebody is especially hungry, you’ll need to choose an air fryer that’s a little bit larger.
This offers you the extra room to feed everyone without having to cook in batches.
How Big of an Air Fryer Do You Need to Cook a Whole Chicken?
You need a 6 quart to 10 quarts (5.6 L to 9.5 L) air fryer to cook a whole chicken. Depending on the size of the chicken and the shape of the air fryer, you may need less or more space.
The shape of your air fryer may also play a part in whether you can roast a chicken inside. Some air fryers are wider than they are tall, while others feature the opposite ratio. Therefore, before proceeding any further, you’ll need to examine the shape of the air fryer to ensure that a chicken can fit inside.
The size of the air fryer you need to roast a chicken can also vary depending on how you prepare the chicken. For instance, if you spatchcock your chicken before cooking, you will need a wider air fryer, but you won’t have to look for as much height inside the basket as the chicken will be flattened out.
What Foods Won’t Fit in an Air Fryer?
Air fryers allow you to cook healthy alternatives to fried foods. On top of this, you can also use your air fryer to roast protein and even bake cookies. However, is there any food that you can’t fit inside an air fryer?
Large pizzas and whole turkeys generally won’t fit in a standard air fryer. While you can fit a whole chicken into a large air fryer, you will be hard-pressed to find a device capable of cooking a large pizza or a Turkey inside, as air fryers are generally smaller than conventional ovens.
You can fit regular and small pizzas into most air fryers to cook them. You can also put individual slices of a large pizza in an air fryer, but you would struggle to fit the whole thing inside without ruining your dinner.
What Food Can You Not Cook in an Air Fryer?
While air fryers are highly versatile pieces of cooking equipment, there are still some foods which you should avoid putting into the machine at all costs. Some foods should never go into the air fryer for safety reasons, while others may damage the machine.
See below for a list of foods that you can not cook in an air fryer:
- Battered food
- Rice and grains
- Leafy vegetables
- Large food items like a big pizza
Even though air fryers were designed to be a healthy alternative to deep fat fryers, they cannot effectively cook battered foods. Foods coated in wet batters need hot oil to cook properly. The hot air in the air fryer will not cause the batter to go crispy; instead, it will just make an awful mess inside the appliance.
Popcorn kernels and raw grains also won’t cook in the air fryer, and they will likely burn and damage the machine. Moreover, leafy greens like lettuce and spinach will wilt instead of cooking evenly in the basket.
Are Ovens or Air Fryers More Energy Efficient?
Air fryers are more energy-efficient than ovens. An air fryer will use less energy to cook the same meal as an oven of equal size. Air fryers are more energy efficient as they heat up and cook food much faster than conventional ovens.
Using an air fryer over an oven will also reduce how much heat you pump into your kitchen when cooking. As a result, your home won’t feel as warm after using an air fryer as it would an oven. Therefore, you won’t have to use the air conditioning as much, which leads to more energy savings.