Are you having uneven cooking issues with your air fryer? Consider learning how full your air fryer basket should be for better results.

The rule of thumb is to fill your air fryer halfway or with enough food for two people. Larger air fryers with a six-person capacity can take up to two-thirds per batch.

Most air fryer baskets also have a small line indicating how much food they can accommodate. However, it also depends on the kind and size of your food.

Let’s dive into this issue further and find out why you should not overload your air fryer and what you can do to maximise its space.

How Full Your Air Fryer Basket Should Be

There are two things to consider when filling your air fryer basket. One is the size of your appliance, and the other is the size and type of food.

Most regular-sized air fryers can take half of their total food capacity. On the other hand, large or XXL air fryers can take up to two-thirds.

You should also check the food line indicator of your air fryer basket and ensure you don’t go over it.

These recommendations are not set in stone, though.

For instance, you can put more small or light food items in the basket as the hot air can still go around them.

However, if you are air frying something heavy or thick, like meat or poultry, your food needs ample space for sufficient heat contact. Otherwise, some parts will be over or undercooked.

Evenly Spaced Falafels for Air Frying

Why Avoid Overloading Your Air Fryer

Here are the reasons why you should not fill your air fryer basket to the brim:

  • To avoid unevenly cooked food. If you stack raw meat inside your air fryer, some parts will not get enough hot air and stay undercooked. Your meal won’t taste great and may even be unsafe to eat.
  • To avoid burning your food. When the air fryer basket is overcrowded, some items do not get enough heat while others get too much. Foods very close to the heating element will quickly burn, and the rest of your meal will absorb the burnt smell.
  • To avoid filling up your kitchen with smoke. Aside from ruining your lunch or dinner, an overfilled air fryer can also make your kitchen smell bad.
  • To avoid damaging your air fryer. Overfilling blocks the space between the heating element and the fan of your air fryer. Hot air will not circulate, causing the appliance to overheat and potentially blow up.

Considering these potential problems, knowing how full your air fryer basket should be is crucial. It will prevent you from wasting food and ruining your kitchen appliance.

How to Maximise Your Air Fryer without Overloading

While some home cooks may not know how full their air fryer baskets should be, some are consciously overfilling it.

It’s probably to cut cooking time and save energy. However, we know there is more harm than good when we overload the air fryer.

So, how can you air fry as much as possible in less time and energy? Here are some tips.

Use air fryer racks

Unless you are air frying French fries or small side dish ingredients, it is not good to pile or stack your food in the basket.

You can, however, grab a multilayer rack that fits your air fryer. This air fryer accessory lets you put more food inside without the items touching or covering each other.

This air fryer tip best applies to meat and other heavy food items.

With enough space between pieces of food, hot air can circulate properly and cook things evenly. You can also use the rack to cook two different items together.

To use it, fill the bottom of your air fryer. Ensure there is enough space between your food.

Next, place the rack inside and put your next layer of food.

Most air fryers have the heating element on top. That means the food on your top rack will likely cook faster.

So, halfway through your cooking time, flip your food and switch the items on top with the ones at the bottom.

It’s also best to prep your food at roughly the same size for even cooking.

Choose the right size of air fryer

Large air fryers can naturally cook more food. So, if you are not a fan of cooking in multiple batches, getting an XXL air fryer model is the way to go.

This tip also works if you have a large household. Here’s an air fryer size guide you can refer to.

1.9 L (2 quarts) 1 Snacks or small items like chicken tenders or side dishes
2.8 L (3 quarts) 2 Chicken wings and weeknight dinners
5.7 L (6 quarts) 3 to 4 Medium to large meals and desserts
9.5 L (10 quarts) 6 to 8 Whole roasted chicken, pizzas, or appetizers for a party


Final Thoughts

Knowing how full your air fryer basket should be is one secret to successful air frying. Aside from giving you the best meal results, this practice protects you from possible kitchen mishaps.

It keeps your air fryer in tip-top condition, too.

So, the next time you put your air fryer to work, fill it halfway with food or follow the food limit line inside the basket.

Ensure there is enough room for hot air to circulate. Use racks if needed to cook soft or big pieces of food evenly.

Lastly, don’t stack food to save time and energy. Instead, look for a high-quality air fryer with the correct cooking capacity.