The 9 Best Air Fryers of 2023, Tested and Reviewed

The Cosori Pro LE is our top choice

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Best Air Fryers

The Spruce Eats / Tamara Staples

Tested & Approved

After extensive testing, our top pick for best air fryer is the Cosori Pro LE for its excellent, even cooking and user-friendly controls at a solid price. If you're looking for something that produces great results every time minus the higher price tag, we highly recommend the Chefman 3.7-Quart TurboFry Air Fryer.

Air fryers have gained popularity for producing crispy, evenly browned "fried" foods without the use of a deep fryer. They work by circulating hot air around food, similarly to a convection oven, and eliminate the need for much (if any) cooking oil. Many air fryers are programmed with multiple cooking functions and can double as a toaster oven, convection oven, warmer, rotisserie, indoor grill, and more. Even the most basic air fryers can cook a wide range of foods, save space and energy in the kitchen, require little to no time to preheat, and can fry, roast, and heat up foods with minimal cook time and cleanup.

We tested the top-rated air fryers and compared them side-by-side, making loads of air-fried biscuits, brown sugar roasted apples, coconut shrimp, french fries (fresh and frozen), Brussels sprouts, and chicken wings. See the winners below.

Best Overall

Cosori Pro LE 5-Quart Air Fryer

4.7
Cosori 5-Quart Air Fryer

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Ease of Use
    4.9/5
  • Performance
    4/5
  • Ease of Cleaning
    5/5
  • Value
    4.3/5
What We Like
  • Even and consistent cooking

  • Easy-to-use design

  • Inexpensive

What We Don't Like
  • Slower cooking than other models

  • Unitasker

There are some awfully expensive air fryers out there, but the Cosori Pro LE proves that higher price doesn't always mean higher quality. A top performer in all our cooking tests, it boasts extremely easy controls, with precise temperature settings, a cool-touch basket handle, and even a customizable "shake reminder" to ensure you periodically give your food a little agitation to ensure even doneness. Testing this machine was one of our testers' first time ever using an air fryer, and she had no trouble getting browned Brussels sprouts and crispy fries and wings, though she did note that it took a bit longer than the recipes specified for full doneness.

Many product listings for the Pro LE call it a "9-in-1" appliance, which is a bit of a misnomer: It has settings for seven different foods as well as pre-heat and keep warm, but its only function is air-frying. It doesn't offer dehydration, baking, toasting, or any of the other alternate cooking methods some models have. Still, it does an excellent job at air-frying, and its 5-quart basket had no trouble holding full batches of each recipe we tested. When it comes to cleaning, the basket and crisper plate that fits inside it—the only parts of the machine likely to get very dirty—are non-stick and dishwasher-safe.

Price at time of publish: $100

Capacity: 5 quarts | Power: 1,500 watts | Dimensions: 10.7 x 10.8 x 11.9 inches

Testing Takeaway

"This has a really nice, compact, sleek, and SAFE design. I was pretty happy with the results, and with a little fiddling with the settings you could really dial things in."

Best Overall, Runner-Up

Ninja 4-Quart Air Fryer

4.6
Ninja Air Fryer

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Ease of Use
    5/5
  • Performance
    4/5
  • Ease of Cleaning
    5/5
  • Value
    5/5
  • Versatility
    3/5
What We Like
  • Consistent, even cooking

  • Simple controls

  • Reheat, roast, and dehydrate settings

What We Don't Like
  • Small capacity

This Ninja model performed beautifully in a range of cooking tests and really impressed us with its ease of use and cleaning. It had no trouble making deliciously crispy french fries, wings, and shrimp, with a basket and crisper plate that go right in the dishwasher after cooking. The controls couldn't be simpler, and we definitely didn't need to consult the manual before getting started.

On top of its amazing air frying, the Ninja has reheat, roast, and dehydrate settings that extend its capabilities to things such as warming up leftover pizza, cooking pork tenderloin, and making apple chips. Our only real quibble is that its 4-quart basket is fairly small and shaped in a way that can't fit larger individual items very efficiently: In testing, we needed three batches to air-fry four servings of coconut shrimp.

In all, this Ninja and the Cosori Pro SE we named our top pick would both be a welcome addition to your kitchen. The Cosori won for its slightly larger capacity and lower price, but the Ninja has extra cooking modes that the Cosori doesn't. If you plan to use the machine for more than just air frying, the Ninja might well be worth the extra few bucks.

Price at time of publish: $130

Capacity: 4 quarts | Power: 1,550 watts | Dimensions: 8.5 x 12.1 x 11 inches

Testing Takeaway

"This made some of the best wings that I have had so far in the test. The outside skin is very crisp while the interior has maintained its juiciness. The color is a vibrant golden brown with a nice snap to the skin. All of the chicken is evenly browned and well-cooked."

Best Large-Capacity

Instant Pot Instant Vortex Plus 10QT 7-in-1 Digital Air Fryer Oven

4.6
Instant Vortex Plus 7-in-1 Air Fryer Oven

 Courtesy of Walmart

Our Ratings
  • Ease of Use
    5/5
  • Performance
    4/5
  • Ease of Cleaning
    5/5
  • Value
    4.8/5
  • Versatility
    4.9/5
What We Like
  • Even cooking

  • Large capacity

  • Rotisserie function and accessories

What We Don't Like
  • Large countertop footprint

  • Uses a tray instead of a basket for air-frying

You may know the Instant Pot company from its popular line of electric pressure cookers, but this multipurpose appliance combines the features of a standard air fryer with the functionality of a countertop oven, plus a rotating rotisserie. All those features and the prestigious brand name gave us high hopes, and we're happy to report that its performance did not disappoint in testing.

As a standard air fryer, the Instant Vortex was able to cook very evenly despite its large capacity, doing a fantastic job with everything we threw at it. The controls are quite user-friendly, but we noted a minor flaw in that the machine uses a tray rather than a basket to hold food. This makes it tougher to shake items while cooking and requires a hot pad to remove afterward.

It takes a time or two to figure out setting up this machine's included rotisserie basket and spit, but they also work quite impressively. We were able to roast a 4-pound whole chicken in 45 minutes and thought it was as good as those that are slow-roasted for an entire day. You can also use the rotating basket in air-frying mode, which tumbles wings or fries to help them brown evenly. (The basket isn't a good choice for more delicate items that will crumble if tossed around, however.)

Another big plus for the Instant Vortex is cleanup: Almost everything that contacts food is removable, nonstick-coated, and dishwasher-safe, including the drip tray that lines the bottom of the oven. If the door and interior get dirty, you can wipe them down with a sponge and dish soap.

Price at time of publish: $150

Instant Vortex Plus 7-in-1 Air Fryer Oven

The Spruce Eats / Lindsay Boyers 

Capacity: 10 quarts | Power: 1,500 watts | Dimensions: 13.2 x 13.2 x 14.4 inches

Testing Takeaway

"As an avid Instant Pot user, my expectations for the Instant Vortex Plus were admittedly high…luckily, it didn’t just live up to my expectations—it exceeded them."Lindsay Boyers, Product Tester

Best Budget

Chefman 3.7-Quart TurboFry Air Fryer

4.4
Chefman 3.5-Liter TurboFry Air Fryer

Courtesy of Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Ease of Use
    5/5
  • Performance
    3/5
  • Ease of Cleaning
    5/5
  • Value
    4/5
  • Versatility
    4.5/5
What We Like
  • Inexpensive

  • Incredibly simple to use

  • Easy to clean

What We Don't Like
  • Small capacity

  • Underpowered

We did not expect to find good quality in an air fryer that costs well under $100, but the Chefman TurboFry impressed. Despite its few bells and whistles—it has buttons to set a timer and a temperature, and that's about all—it outperformed models that sell for several times the price in our cooking tests.

Some items were a little short of browned and crisp at the end of the recipes' recommended times, and the doneness was a little uneven, but neither of those is a fatal flaw: The TurboFry just requires a little extra cooking time and more frequent shaking for best results. Thanks to the lack of custom settings, you trade a steeper learning curve for a lower price with this machine.

The basket is on the smaller side, but it's dishwasher-safe for simple cleanup. If you're a beginner, this couldn't be simpler to use, and if you're more experienced, it's well-built for daily use. A Chefman TurboFry could be a great choice for a dorm room, first apartment, lake house, or cabin.

Price at time of publish: $65

Capacity: 3.7 quarts | Power: 1,000 watts | Dimensions: 9 x 13 x 11.5 inches

Testing Takeaway

"This is a simple machine made to air fry and only to air fry. You can air fry anything to your heart's content."

Best Quiet

TaoTronics Air Fryer TT-AF001

4.6
taotronics-air-fryer

Courtesy of TaoTronics

Our Ratings
  • Ease of Use
    4.5/5
  • Performance
    5/5
  • Ease of Cleaning
    5/5
  • Value
    5/5
  • Versatility
    4.5/5
What We Like
  • Large capacity

  • Nearly silent

  • Consistent performance

What We Don't Like
  • Complicated controls

  • Bulky

The thing that makes an air fryer an air fryer is a powerful fan that circulates hot air inside. That's unfortunately also the thing that makes many air fryers quite loud while they're in operation—not so much with this TaoTronics model. It's noticeably way quieter than other models; in fact, it's nearly silent. We needed to check the machine multiple times during test-cooking to make sure it was still on. (It was.)

This model also cooked all the different foods we threw at it impressively evenly, with a 6-quart basket that can hold enough to feed a family of four and a 1,750-watt motor that's a bit more powerful than comparable machines. It doesn't have any cooking functions besides air frying, but it does have lots of different presets for air frying different foods, from potatoes to bacon to frozen snacks. The large array of buttons on the front makes figuring out all those presets somewhat confusing, however, so you'll probably need to peruse the manual before firing this guy up.

The TaoTronics air fryer has made our list of winners through multiple rounds of testing, and the brand recently dropped the price, making it an even better deal, too.

Price at time of publish: $100

taotronics-air-fryer

The Spruce / Lindsay Boyers

Capacity: 6 quarts | Power: 1,750 watts | Dimensions: 11.7 x 13.4 x 11.7 inches

Testing Takeaway

"When I first started testing this air fryer, I actually turned it off and on a few times. Because it was so quiet, I didn’t think it was working!" - Lindsay Boyers, Product Tester

Best Small-Capacity

Dash 2-Quart Compact Air Fryer

4.6
Dash 2-Quart Compact Air Fryer

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Ease of Use
    4.5/5
  • Performance
    4.5/5
  • Ease of Cleaning
    4.5/5
  • Value
    4.5/5
  • Versatility
    3.5/5
What We Like
  • Affordable

  • Small footprint

  • Even cooking

What We Don't Like
  • Analog controls

  • Unitasker

  • No preheat function

At just 2 quarts, the capacity of the Dash Compact is the smallest we've found among air fryers. It's also the lowest-priced of all the models we tested, but everyone in the Lab was very impressed with the results. It might have taken four batches to cook 12 ounces of coconut shrimp, but they were browned and crisp outside, juicy and sweet within.

In terms of controls, there are analog dials for temperature and a timer, and that's it. With some practice, we were able to get excellent results. The key is to fill the basket to the roughly same level every time: When we cooked biscuit bites, the first batch, with a full basket, came out perfect, but the second one, with a smaller number of bites, was on the verge of burnt.

The Dash Compact is tiny and cheap, but it really does get the job done. It's not the air fryer for a large family, but it might be ideal for someone who lives alone, shares a tiny kitchen with roommates, or is whipping up snacks in a dorm room.

Price at time of publish: $50

Dash compact air fryer

The Spruce Eats / Tamara Staples

Capacity: 2 quarts | Power: 1,000 watts | Dimensions: 10.2 x 8.1 x 11.4 inches

Testing Takeaway

"The small interior delivers concentrated hot air that cooks frozen fries and frozen chicken tenders close to the texture and taste we looked for." Collier Sutter, Product Tester

Best With Toaster Oven

Breville Smart Oven Air Fryer

4.7
Breville Smart Oven Air Fryer

Courtesy of Williams Sonoma

Our Ratings
  • Features
    5/5
  • Performance
    4/5
  • Value
    4/5
  • Size
    5/5
  • Attractive Design
    4.5/5
What We Like
  • Excellent performance

  • Multifunctional

  • Large capacity

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

  • Glass door gets very hot

The Breville Smart Oven might be pricey, but it does a great job as toaster, broiler, dehydrator, and pizza oven in addition to air fryer. It offers a huge capacity: It can fit nine slices of bread, a 13-inch pizza, or nearly an entire bag of frozen french fries. (It helpfully comes with custom-sized pizza and baking pans along with its large air-fry basket and oven racks.) The controls are simple to use, with a light-up display and simple dial to control the time, as well as a large-type display that's easy to read, even from across the room.

With all these different functions (it has 11 presets), you might worry that this unit wouldn't do a great job with any of them, but our tests found quite the opposite. It can make a huge batch of crispy, golden fries and then turn around and bake cookies without missing a beat.

Not only were we impressed with this appliance's performance, but we also liked how easy it is to clean, too: A removable crumb tray collects any stray bits of food, and each of the oven pieces comes out for cleaning with a simple wipe-down. None of the pieces are dishwasher safe, but they are easy to hand-wash.

This thing may be one of the most expensive air fryer/toaster/countertop ovens out there, but it really can replace all three, which might make the price worth it. It's even available in seven different colors to match your kitchen decor.

Price at time of publish: $350

breville smart oven air fryer pro

The Spruce Eats / Tamara Staples

Capacity: 4.4 quarts | Power: 1,800 watts | Dimensions: 10.9 x 18.9 x 15.9 inches

Testing Takeaway

"It is a great air fryer—the fries were very crispy and cooked up perfectly. The baking setting worked really nicely, and I was pretty happy with the broiler, as well. In all, I would use this machine for all the functions that it offers."

Best With Pressure Cooker

Instant Pot Pro Crisp & Air Fryer 8-Quart Multi-Use Pressure Cooker and Air Fryer

4.7
Instant Pot Pro Crisp & Air Fryer 8-Quart Multi-Use Pressure Cooker and Air Fryer

Amazon

What We Like
  • Inner pot has handles

  • Inner pot is stovetop- and oven-safe

  • Convenient vent/pressure toggle

What We Don't Like
  • No preset cooking programs

Fans of multifunctional kitchen appliances will want to check out this air fryer option from Instant Pot. It comes with two lids—one for air frying and one for pressure cooking—that enable the pot to function as both an air fryer and the classic pressure cooker the brand is known for.

The pot holds up to 8 quarts, which is enough room to air fry a whole chicken, and is equipped with 11 cooking functions that are sorted by which lid they require. The pressure-cooking lid can also sauté, slow-cook, steam, and sous-vide, and the air-fryer lid can also warm, roast, bake, broil, and dehydrate. The pressure cooker performed well with pork ribs, steamed cauliflower, and sautéed potatoes in tests, while air-fried egg rolls and fries were also a success.

We also noted that the inner pot has some upgraded features compared to other Instant Pot models, including side handles and a flat bottom for even cooking. It can even be used on the stovetop or in a conventional oven. The unit comes with a number of accessories, including a multi-use cooking rack, nonstick air fryer basket, dehydrate/broil tray, a protective pad for the lids, and a storage cover. Most of them are dishwasher-safe, and they also fit inside the machine all at once for compact storage.

Price at time of publish: $270

Instant Pot Pro Crisp Pressure Cooker + Air Fryer

The Spruce Eats / Donna Currie

Capacity: 8 quarts | Power: 1,500 watts | Dimensions: 14.8 x 12.5 x 15.5 inches (with air-fryer lid)

Testing Takeaway

"Instant Pot has so many different models that it’s hard to remember the differences, but the Instant Pot Pro Crisp + Air Fryer stands out from the crowd thanks to its sleek black exterior, its handy vent/pressure toggle, and the innovative inner pot that adds to the versatility of this machine." - Donna Currie, Product Tester

Best Smart

Cosori VeSync Pro II Smart Air Fryer

4.5
Cosori VeSync Pro II Smart Air Fryer

Our Ratings
  • Ease of Use
    4.5/5
  • Performance
    3.5/5
  • Ease of Cleaning
    5/5
  • Value
    4/5
  • Versatility
    5/5
What We Like
  • Multifunctional

  • App-controlled settings

  • Easy cleaning

What We Don't Like
  • Runs hot

  • App cannot start cooking

The VeSync Pro II is an upgraded version of the Cosori Pro we previously tested, with one major difference: a highly functional app. This means you can control the settings, look up recipes, and monitor cooking all from your phone, including with voice control. Design-wise, it's a sleek device that won't take up too much counter space, but the 5.8-quart capacity is big enough for large meals and then some.

Despite its 12 customizable presets—steak, chicken, shrimp, seafood, frozen foods, french fries, bacon, vegetables, toast, bake, preheat, and keep warm—we found the machine intuitive to use. It performed nearly as well as the Cosori Pro LE that was our No. 1 pick; it actually overcooked some items and probably could have gone for a minute or so shorter than the recipe called for.

The VeSync app is a neat feature that lets you customize the onboard settings and run specialized cooking programs right from your phone. The problem is, the app can't actually start the cooking process—you can use it to set all the options, but you still have to hit the physical start button on the machine. Overall, that's a minor annoyance, and the app has an always-growing library of recipes for inspiration even without its smart features. The perforated basket liner and outer basket have a nonstick coating that makes cleanup easy (and they're dishwasher-safe).

Price at time of publish: $140

Cosori- Air Fryer Review

The Spruce Eats / Donna Currie

Capacity: 5.8 quarts | Power: 1,700 watts | Dimensions: 13.9 x 12.7 x 11.8 inches

Testing Takeaway

"From the ability to preheat the fryer with a voice assistant to the app with recipes to the open-basket warning, this fryer makes cooking much much easier." Donna Currie, Product Tester

Compare

Overall Rating Ease of Use Performance Ease of Cleaning Value
Cosori 5-Quart Air Fryer
Best Overall:
Cosori 5-Quart Air Fryer
4.7
4.9 4 5 4.3
Ninja Air Fryer
Best Overall, Runner-Up:
Ninja 4-Quart Air Fryer
4.6
5 4 5 5
Instant Vortex Plus 7-in-1 Air Fryer Oven
Best Large-Capacity:
Instant Pot Instant Vortex Plus
4.6
5 4 5 4.8
Chefman 3.5-Liter TurboFry Air Fryer
Best Budget:
Chefman 3.7-Quart TurboFry Air Fryer
4.4
5 3 5 4
taotronics-air-fryer
Best Quiet:
TaoTronics Air Fryer
4.6
4.5 5 5 5
Dash 2-Quart Compact Air Fryer
Best Small-Capacity:
Dash Compact Air Fryer
4.6
4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5
Breville Smart Oven Air Fryer
Best With Toaster Oven:
Breville Smart Oven Air Fryer
4.7
4 4
Instant Pot Pro Crisp & Air Fryer 8-Quart Multi-Use Pressure Cooker and Air Fryer
Best With Pressure Cooker:
Instant Pot Pro Crisp & Air Fryer 8-Quart Multi-Use Pressure Cooker and Air Fryer
4.7
5 4.5 4.5 4
Cosori VeSync Pro II Smart Air Fryer
Best Smart:
Cosori VeSync Pro II Smart Air Fryer
4.5
4.5 3.5 5 4
Final Verdict

When it comes to air frying, we can't find a better machine than the Cosori Pro LE; it made quick work of consistently crispy fries, wings, and more. For an option under $100, the Chefman 3.7-Quart TurboFry Air Fryer performed very well in all of our tests.

Instant Vortex Plus 7-in-1 Air Fryer Oven

The Spruce Eats / Lindsay Boyers 

How We Tested

We purchased and tested 19 different air fryer models in our Lab, putting them through a gauntlet of seven cooking tests across two multi-day testing sessions: french fries (both fresh and frozen), Brussels sprouts, chicken wings, coconut shrimp, biscuit bites, and brown sugar apples. In addition to rating each machine's results on each item, we took notes on ease of use and cleanup, size and shape, loudness, and any unique features, positive and negative. All other testing and ratings were completed before we learned the retail prices of the air fryers and rated their value.

0:29

Testing Air Fryers for Capacity, Ease of Use, and Versatility

Other Options We Tested

  • Philips Premium Air Fryer XXL: A previous battery of tests named this model our best overall choice, but it didn't hold up under more extensive Lab evaluation. Despite reasonably good results with some items, we found inconsistent performance on more delicate foods. This machine's sky-high price just isn't justified.
  • GoWISE USA 7-Quart Electric Air Fryer with Dehydrator: This air fryer comes with three stackable metal racks that fit snugly in the basket, an attractive blue LED display, and multiple functions. We found it to be lightweight for its size and very easy to clean, but that's where the positives ended. The display was hard to read and none of the food was remarkable, with the chicken tenders coming out crispy but very dry.
  • Ninja Foodi 6-in-1 Air Fryer: A convenient two-basket design lets you make two different foods at two different temperatures at the same time in this air fryer. It's a cool feature in theory, but in practice it splits one large air fryer into two undersized ones, neither of which did a particularly great job in our tests.
  • Emeril Lagasse Power AirFryer 360: This combination appliance, made popular by TV infomercials, boasts the ability to replace your toaster, toaster oven, convection oven, air fryer, deep fryer, slow cooker, food dehydrator, and microwave. While we found it serves its purpose as an all-in-one appliance, we were disappointed in how loud it was on air-frying mode as well as how tricky it was to clean. The air fryer worked well—although some recipes took longer than the instructions said—but we weren't super impressed with any of the other functions. In the end, we determined it's a steep price to pay unless you really plan to replace several major kitchen appliances with this one device.
  • Air Whirl Crisper: A stovetop air fryer? That's not something we'd ever heard of, but this battery-powered fan lid claims to turn any pot or pan into an air fryer, and we had to at least give it a chance. Unfortunately, our skepticism was justified. Even following the included directions, this thing cooked really unevenly and didn't create any kind of browning. French fries turned out burnt-tasting but still somehow soggy and undercooked.
Air fryers French fry test

The Spruce Eats / Tamara Staples

What to Look for in an Air Fryer

Capacity

Air fryers come in many shapes and sizes, with capacities ranging from 2 quarts to 10 or more. Are you frying a small batch of wings or french fries for the family on burger night? Make sure the fryer you choose can handle the amount of food you want to cook. There are also options that have two baskets that can cook two different foods simultaneously and at different settings. Don't forget to consider the fryer's overall size, too—more capacity might mean that it needs more storage space when it’s not in use.

Ease of Use

When it comes to air fryers, there are basic models and ones with all the bells and whistles, but a fancy one won't do you any good if its complicated interface detracts from its convenience. Many have preset programs that allow you to whip up a batch of fries, bake cornbread, or roast veggies with one touch of a button. There are also analog and digital models to choose from as well as models with smart functions and access to an app full of recipes.

Timers are always handy, and most air fryers include one—but not all. Timers with an audible alert or a fryer that can turn off automatically will add to the appliance's ease of use. These days, there are so many air fryers on the market that the list of additional features can be overwhelming. Sometimes more features mean the device will be more complicated to use, so be sure to look at the interface and controls before making a decision, especially if you are a beginner.

Versatility

First, look at the temperature range on an air fryer. A wider range of temperatures will give you more options for cooking different foods. Generally, fryers that can achieve higher temperatures can cook faster and brown foods more easily. Beyond temperature, take a look at the other functionalities of an air fryer. There are many all-in-one-type air fryers on the market today that can toast, bake, roast, dehydrate, and more. If those added functions can replace another small appliance in your kitchen, it may be worth additional cost.

Cleaning

For the easiest cleaning, look for nonstick baskets and air fryers with parts that are all dishwasher-safe. It's usually fairly easy to wash the parts by hand or stick them in the dishwasher (if they fit), but if ease of cleaning is at the top of your list, nonstick is the way to go. Rotisserie racks and models with lots of accessories can be tricky to take apart/put back together, which will also add to your cleanup time.

Ninja Foodi 6-in-1 8-Quart 2-Basket Air Fryer dumping cooked onion rings onto a plate

The Spruce Eats / Donna Currie

FAQs

Air air fryers healthy?

Dietitian and therapist Corrie Van Horne, founder of Omni Counseling and Nutrition, says "Air fryers can be a quick and convenient way to create a balanced and nutrient-dense meal or snack. Each individual has different nutritional needs and desired health outcomes, so whether cooking with low or no added fat is optimal will depend on the individual. The air fryer can be a helpful tool in meeting nutrient intake and health-oriented goals."

In other words, what's optimally healthy for you will depend on your individual needs, but air fryers can be helpful whether you're aiming to add more or less dietary fat into your diet.

How does an air fryer work?

Air fryers don't fry food in the traditional sense. Instead of oil, air fryers use hot air to crisp and brown foods. All air fryers contain a heating mechanism and fan that keeps the heated air circulating around the food. The process is similar to a convection oven.

Air fryers contain a perforated or mesh basket that allows air to move around the food for even cooking. The only downside to this design is you can only air fry breaded foods since battered foods would drip through the perforated air fryer basket.

How do you preheat an air fryer?

Not all air fryers need to be preheated, while others automatically preheat before starting the cooking timer.

To preheat, select the preset preheat function if your air fryer has one, or just set the cooking temperature and let the air fryer heat for three to five minutes before adding your food.

We've tested models that automatically preheat and ones that let you get cooking without any preheating. In our tests, we found foods cooked similarly whether we preheated or not. Some air frying guides recommend preheating for better results when air frying meat you want to get a nice sear on, like steak and chicken breasts.

Can you put foil in an air fryer?

Yes, it's safe to use aluminum foil in an air fryer. Lining the bottom of an air fryer basket with foil may make cleanup easier and help you remove food from the basket when it's done cooking. You'll want to make sure the foil doesn't block air circulation, though.

How do you clean an air fryer?

Most removable parts (the cooking basket, tray, and any other cooking accessories) on most air fryers are dishwasher-safe. Check the owner's manual of your air fryer for which parts, if any, are ok to run through the dishwasher.

These parts are also easily cleaned by hand with warm, soapy water and a non-abrasive sponge. If there's any particularly difficult to remove grease or stuck-on food, let the parts soak in hot, soapy water first.

The interior and exterior of the air fryer can be wiped clean with a damp cloth, but should never be submerged in water since it contains electrical components.

If the heating element gets dirty, you can wipe it with a damp cloth when the unit is turned off, cooled, and unplugged.

Why Trust The Spruce Eats?

This roundup was written by the Spruce Eats Editor Siobhan Wallace, who compiled testing data from our in-house Lab as well as insights from our home testers' full product reviews, and updated by Katya Weiss-Andersson, a writer and editor who has nearly a decade of experience as a professional chef. Katya started out as an air fryer skeptic, but it is now the most beloved appliance in her kitchen.

After a second set of more extensive Lab testing, The Spruce Eats Commerce Writer Jason Horn updated the roundup with those results. After more than 15 years as a food and drink writer, he still doesn't own an air fryer, but he's pretty sure that he'll end up buying one at some point soon.

Tested by
Donna Currie
Donna Currie
Donna Currie is a food writer and blogger specializing in recipes and kitchen gadgets. She covers kitchen tools and gadgets for The Spruce Eats and is the author of Make Ahead Bread.
Learn about The Spruce Eats' Editorial Process
and
Lindsay Boyers
Lindsay Boyers
Lindsay Boyers is a freelance commerce writer for The Spruce Eats specializing in food, cooking, and nutrition. 
Learn about The Spruce Eats' Editorial Process
Additional reporting by
Katya Weiss-Andersson
Katya Weiss-Andersson
Katya Weiss-Andersson is a commerce editor for The Spruce Eats. With eight years of experience as a professional chef cooking in cramped kitchens and developing recipes with limited space and equipment, Katya has become an expert on how to make life easier in the kitchen.
Learn about The Spruce Eats' Editorial Process
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