Using an air fryer for baking bread and pastries differs from a traditional convection oven. A few recipe tweaks are necessary to ensure success.
Don’t worry. With this air-fryer baking guide, you’ll make freshly air-baked cookies, muffins, and hand pies like a pro.
Scroll down to learn the steps and tips to master another valuable air fryer function.
How is Air Fryer Baking Different from Traditional Ovens?
Using an air fryer for baking is not too different from convection ovens.
Both kitchen appliances have an electric coil as their heating element and a fan that circulates the hot air inside, producing nearly similar baking results.
However, considering air fryers are significantly smaller than conventional ovens, they can bake your sweet treats and pastries slightly faster.
The compact interior of an air fryer can quickly concentrate heat to bake your food.
Also, because of the smaller air fryer basket, you might need to bake things in more batches than traditional oven baking.
Don’t worry, though. Air fryers have a lower energy consumption than regular ovens.
Still, proper temperature, time, and product size adjustments are crucial to avoid overbaking or burning.
How to Use the Air Fryer for Baking
Most of the baking recipes published or online are for traditional ovens. So, the first step is to get your favourite recipe and adjust it to suit air-fryer baking.
- Reduce the original baking temperature by 14C (or 25F). If your recipe says to bake at 175C (or 350F), subtract 14 from the suggested temperature, giving you 161C (or 322F) for air-fryer baking.
- Reduce the original baking time by 20% (or one-fifth). If your recipe says to bake for 20 minutes, multiply 20 by 0.2, which gives 4. Subtracting this from 20 is 16 minutes of air-fryer baking time.
You can also use an oven-to-air fryer calculator to adjust the baking temperature and time faster.
Also, like traditional ovens, air fryers have unique baking behaviours. You would have to learn and master them through trial and error.
To be on the safe side, here’s my suggestion. Adjust your recipe accordingly, then set the timer to one-third of the total baking time.
Periodically check your baked goods to see how fast your air fryer bakes. From here, you can assess whether you should adjust your baking time or temperature further.
Checking your baking progress might be easier if your air fryer has a glass window.
While baking, don’t forget to rotate your home-baked goods based on your air fryer’s hot spots. Do the gentle poke and toothpick test to check for doneness, too.
Note all the changes and extra steps you made so you can do the same recipe with less monitoring next time.
Other Helpful Air Fryer Tips for Baking
Here are a few more tricks for higher chances of air-fryer baking success:
- Bake with a clean air fryer. Leftover crumbs can burn and transfer unpleasant smells or flavour to your baked goods. Plus, cleaning your air fryer is easier if you do it after every use.
- Start with simple baking recipes. If you are still learning how your air fryer behaves, pick recipes you’ve successfully done before. Progress and doneness checking should be easier this way.
- Bake with a preheated air fryer. Let your countertop appliance reach the proper temperature for a few minutes to avoid poor cake volume or under-baked goodies.
- Do not overcrowd your air fryer. Bake in smaller batches for even cooking and browning. Consider halving the original recipe so the remaining wet batter or dough won’t sit too long on the bench.
- Grease or flour your bakeware well. Air frying does not mean omitting butter or oil. Baked goods typically have sugar or sweet ingredients, so do the extra steps to ensure you do not end up in a sticky situation. Aside from grease, you can use silicone bakeware, non-stick pans, or parchment paper.
- Avoid making too small or cheesy baked goods. Both products have higher risks of burning in a very hot air fryer. Try to retain the usual size of your baked goods, or use cheese as a filling ingredient rather than an exposed topping.
Best Things to Bake in an Air Fryer
Using your air fryer for baking is a fun and mouth-watering kitchen activity. Here are some suggestions to get you started:
- Crunchy cookies. Air fryers produce concentrated heat, so it’s easy to make cookies with crispy edges.
- Cakes and quick breads. Make sure to use the proper bakeware when air-baking muffins and cupcakes. It’s important not to fill your cake pans more than half full so the air can circulate and the top won’t burn. Cover the pan with foil to let the inside bake if your cake is browning too fast.
- Cinnamon rolls. Frozen ready-to-bake dough should be ready in 9-11 minutes in an air fryer. Remember not to bake too many in one go. Also, keep your dough portions big enough for proper air fryer circulation.
- Doughnuts. Deep-fried doughnuts are good, but air-fried ones are slightly healthier and 100% less greasy. Make sure to cut your dough in slightly thicker portions for volume since the doughnut won’t get the same deep-frying heat shock in the air fryer.
- Hand pies. Savoury or sweet pies are perfect for air frying as high temperatures and fast baking result in delicious flaky crust and moist filling.
- Fruit crumble. An excellent alternative to sweet hand pies is a pan of baked fruit with a toasty top crust. The hot air fryer will perfectly caramelise the filling and keep the crumble crisp.
- Roasted bananas and baked apples. Both recipes can be tricky in a standard oven as the fruit can turn to mush. The fast-circulating hot air in an air fryer can evaporate the extra moisture from your bananas or apples to avoid sogginess.
One of the best things about using an air fryer for baking is that you can enjoy small batches of warm, fresh treats without worrying about leftovers or shelf life.
Compared with traditional ovens, air fryers also have a lower energy consumption. So, what are you waiting for?
Have your baking ingredients ready and whip up something delicious for a snack or dessert.
Don’t forget to adjust your recipe and follow the tips mentioned for guaranteed success.
Not a proud air fryer owner yet? Reading our top air fryer reviews and buying guide next might help.