When I made chicken in my air fryer for the first time, the results weren’t great because I didn’t know much about the air fryer’s ventilation and had wrongly stacked my food. I know many new air fryer users can relate to this confusion because there isn’t much clear-cut information on whether to stack food in the air fryer or not.
If you’re fiddling with the same question, I’ll answer it for you. So, stick around till the end and find all the correct methods of stacking food in your air fryer!
Can You Stack Food in An Air Fryer?
You can stack food in the air fryer if it’s lightweight and thinly sliced. Without impacting their final texture, you can stack potatoes, vegetables, donuts, croquettes, and cheese sticks in the air fryer. Contrarily, stacking fatty meats and moist vegetables in the air fryer is not recommended. When you pile fatty and thick food slices in an air fryer, they don’t receive sufficient heat and come out unevenly cooked.
New users often make the mistake of stacking food in the air fryer because they aren’t familiar with how this appliance works. An air fryer cooks your food by blowing hot air over it and drying the raw food’s moisture for an even texture. If you stuff the air fryer basket with food, it doesn’t have much breathing space and comes out mushy.
However, finely chopped and lightweight food doesn’t cause much trouble when stacked in the air fryer. The final dish comes out just fine since lightweight raw food doesn’t block an air fryer’s circulation.
You can stack potato fries, vegetable chunks, and thin chicken fillets in the air fryer without worrying about their taste or texture.
How To Properly Stack Food in An Air Fryer?
After knowing the stackable foods you can cook in the air fryer, the next step is to learn the proper way of doing so. Stuffing any food in the air fryer thinking it will come out well isn’t the right way; here’s how you can stack food in an air fryer and enjoy a hearty meal in one cooking round:
- Properly Slice the Food
The hot air won’t go through thick meat or vegetable chunks, especially when they are stacked. Start by finely chopping the uncooked food to ensure even cooking. If you’re cooking frozen food, let it defrost and cut it into equal pieces.
But because your air fryer basket has vent holes, tiny food pieces can fall through them; opt for medium-sized food fillets or chunks. Thin but wide meat fillets are ideal for stacking in the air fryer because hot air can pass through them.
- Stack the Food Diagonally
Pushing uncooked food in the air fryer will leave you with an unevenly cooked and sticky mess. Therefore, stack your food diagonally in the air fryer basket and leave air holes between different layers to attain the perfect crispy texture.
- Use an Air Fryer Rack or Separator
Air fryer racks are handy tools here to help you stack food. When you have to cook a large food batch in one go but overstuffing the basket is a no-no, an air fryer rack will come to the rescue.
These metal racks sit in the middle of an air fryer basket so that you have two cooking surfaces and don’t stack food that can become mushy this way. Air fryer racks and separators also let you cook different recipes together; having one such accessory is smart.
- Turn Over the Food
If you stack food in the air fryer, don’t let it sit throughout the cooking cycle. Turn over the stacked food with a metal toothpick or shake your air fryer basket 2-3 times to ensure the food doesn’t stick.
Since the stacked food is prone to sticking and coming out undercooked, following this tip is mandatory. You’ll improve air circulation inside your air fryer by doing this step.
What Foods Can I Stack in An Air Fryer?
Stacking isn’t suitable for all recipes because of their required cooking temperatures and consistency. Here are some common food items you can stack in the air fryer and enjoy an unaltered texture plus taste:
- French fries
- Cheese sticks
- Vegetable chunks
- Chicken wings (skinless)
Since these foods are lightweight and less fatty, stacking them in the air fryer isn’t a big deal. Your air fryer’s power fan and heating element will ensure these uncooked foods turn out perfectly crisped and flavored.
What Foods I Shouldn’t Stack In An Air Fryer?
A rule of thumb is to avoid stacking drippy and fatty foods in the air fryer because they need breathing space and uninterrupted ventilation. Here are some foods you cannot pile in the air fryer if you prefer perfect texture and taste:
- Burger patties
- Fish fillets
- Meat chops
- Chicken breasts
- Moist vegetables
Undercooked meat can be toxic to your health and taste bad too; so, avoid stacking greasy meat in the air fryer.
Most seafood types also need incredibly high cooking temperature and air circulation to attain a specific taste. If you want thoroughly crisped and softened food, don’t pile it in the air fryer.
How Full Can You Fill an Air Fryer?
You can fill an air fryer till it’s 3/4th level while cooking french fries and vegetables because they don’t require much rising space. However, only fill your air fryer halfway with recipes like meat, fish, and poultry to ensure they’re safe and tasty. If you stuff the air fryer basket with uncooked food, its vents block and emit a huge amount of smoke in your kitchen. Therefore, remember to leave some space above your food in the air fryer.
An air fryer works the best when its air freely blows on your food and its vents are free. While stacking food in the air fryer reduces your workload, it can surely compromise your food’s final look.
Most manufacturers recommend filling an air fryer halfway with lightweight and thinly sliced foods because they can work with somehow disturbed ventilation.
However, greasy foods like burger patties, steaks, and pork chops can quickly become mushy if your air fryer doesn’t have enough ventilation – fill your air fryer basket halfway with them, and you’re good.
How Do You Arrange Food in An Air Fryer?
Most new air fryer users misunderstand that they should put a minimal amount of food in the air fryer – that’s not true.
Let’s say you’re making chicken wings in the air fryer. Now you might be tempted to stack them in the frying basket, but don’t do it. Drizzle some oil on the air fryer basket and evenly spread a single layer of uncooked chicken wings in it. If you want to cook more in less time, use an air fryer rack to double the existing cooking surface.
Don’t cram your air fryer basket with food because it can create a lot of smoke in your kitchen. Another disadvantage of overcrowding the air fryer basket is uneven heat distribution. When the hot air directly hits some of your food while the other half remains deprived of it, the final dish doesn’t look appealing.
You can also use metal toothpicks or tongs to turn over the uncooked food to provide it with equal heating. Shaking the air fryer during a cooking cycle is another way of attaining the perfect food texture and flavor.
When you cook something drippy or greasy, leave some rising and breathing space around the raw food to keep it from sticking and getting mushy. Arranging food in the air fryer is more about the type of recipe you’re making and less about the basket space – you’ll learn it within a few cooking rounds.
Can I Cook More Than One Food in An Air Fryer at The Same Time?
Yes, you can cook more than one food type in the air fryer simultaneously by using a rack or separator. While making snacks like fish and chips, you can put both foods in the air fryer without using a separator tray because here, you won’t mind the flavors interchanging. But to enjoy the authentic flavors of different food items, place them on different cooking surfaces inside the air fryer.
Since large air fryers provide sufficient space, running multiple cooking cycles for different recipes isn’t mandatory. Along with increasing your air fryer’s cooking surface, metal racks and separator trays also keep different flavors intact.
Air fryer ovens already have multiple cooking racks, so preparing more than one food at the same time isn’t difficult with them. But if you have a small countertop air fryer, use a rack or separating accessory to enjoy unaltered food flavors.
Recipes whose flavors should not be interchanged, i.e., donuts and chicken wings, don’t do well in such conjoined settings. Cooking more than one food in the air fryer is mostly practical when you prepare party feasts or several snack variants simultaneously.
Remember that an air fryer separator won’t keep the food aroma and flavor from moving around – adjust your cooking preferences accordingly.
Can You Stack Chicken Wings in An Air Fryer?
You can stack chicken wings in the air fryer, but their texture won’t be particularly crispy in such situations. Chicken wings require uninterrupted ventilation and heat to attain that brown and crisped texture. When you stack chicken wings in the air fryer, some of them receive sufficient heat while others remain hidden; only to give you unevenly cooked wings. If you prefer crisp chicken skin, avoid stacking chicken wings in the air fryer.
Chicken wings are among the most popular air-fried snacks because an air fryer doesn’t alter their taste and texture. You can enjoy healthier and tastier chicken wings with the air fryer if you pile them correctly.
If you must stack chicken wings in the air fryer, ensure they have some space between them for the hot air. When the air fryer’s heat doesn’t have an outlet, it impacts your food, and you won’t like that.
The best way to stack chicken wings in the air fryer is by using a metal mesh rack. This handy rack will let you cook more than your air fryer’s average cooking capacity without making the wings mushy – having an air fryer rack is always helpful.
Best Air Fryer to Stack Food
Nuwave BRIO 6-quart digital air fryer is the best option for stacking food and preparing more than one recipe at once. This compact and practical air fryer is ideal for kitchen countertops where housing several appliances is not doable.
The Nuwave air fryer’s cooking basket is large enough to house a considerable quantity of uncooked food to make your cooking hauls faster and easier. This air fryer’s cooking pan comes with a divider to provide you with a double cooking surface at the price of one.
A Nuwave BRIO 6-quart air fryer should be on your to-buy list if you regularly cook snacks and desserts in the air fryer.
Air fryers come in different sizes and shapes – you should buy one that accommodates your cooking requirements without needing much effort. But if you have to stack food in the air fryer despite having a large model, you can make it work with a few tricks.
We have specified the foods you can stack in an air fryer without compromising their taste and consistency. Here’s a quick brief for you:
You can stack lightweight and thinly sliced foods in the air fryer without worrying about their texture because they don’t block your appliance’s airflow. Contrarily, stacking greasy and thick food fillets or chunks in an air fryer won’t be a smart move.
Air fryer racks and separators are useful accessories that make your cooking tasks easier and mess-free. If your air fryer doesn’t already have a rack, get one to enjoy quick cooking. Your air fryer basket needs uninterrupted airflow for cooking your food to perfection – keep its ventilation intact to enjoy some hassle-free, delicious meals.