How To Cook Hot Dogs In An Air Fryer – Get Delicious Hot Dogs Now!

How to cook hot dogs in an air fryer featured image

I enjoy hot dogs from time to time, but I’m pretty disappointed with a lot of them I’ve bought when dining out (especially from gas stations). Wouldn’t it be fantastic to be able to cook delicious, plump, and fresh hot dogs at home?

In this simple guide, you’ll learn how to cook hot dogs in an air fryer with excellent results.

I’ve made wonderful traditional dogs, chili cheese dogs, and more with even better taste than many restaurants or convenience stores but at 1/2 the cost!

Read on to learn how I did it.

Contents

Infographic – Air fryer hot dogs quick guide

How to cook hot dogs in an air fryer facts & tips infographic

Quick summary: Cooking hot dogs in an air fryer

Cooking fresh, warm, and tasty hot dogs yourself is easy. However, it’s helpful to know some things ahead of time to avoid headache or messing up your food.

Basic steps for cooking hot dogs in an air fryer
  1. Preheat the air fryer – Typically you’ll just need to let the air fryer run at the cooking temperature (350°F is recommended) for 5 minutes
  2. Place the cold hot dogs in the fryer basket – For best results, shake the container to even them out inside. This provides room around them for the cooking air to move.
  3. Cooking: With the temperature set to 350°F is good, cook for 5 minutes. After 2 1/2 minutes, shake the container a bit to rotate and expose the uncooked sides or use tongs.
  4. Final cooking: Your hot dogs will be ready to eat after 5 minutes. Hot dogs are done when they’re slightly darker red and have an internal temperature of 165°F and above.
  5. For fantastic cheese or chili cheese dogs, place the dogs in buns, add sliced or shredded cheese, and melt for 60 seconds at 350°F.

You can also cook great sausage dogs, too! Read on to learn all the details.

How & why to preheat your air fryer

Example image showing how to preheat an air fryer for cooking hot dogs

Top: Preheating an air fryer with digital controls. These often have a preheat mode button (some may use less than 5 minutes and adjust their time automatically). Bottom: For standard models, you can preheat the fryer by adjusting it to the 350 degree temperature and setting the cooking timer for 5 minutes.

Just like with regular ovens, air fryer makers recommend warming up the fryer to the cooking temperature before you add food. But why is that?

You should preheat your air fryer for several reasons:

  • The electric heating element gets hot and ready to use
  • Inside surfaces that touch & cook food are hot and ready to work properly
  • Preheating avoids a warming delay that would happen if you started cooking from room temperature

Air fryer brands recommend doing this as it gets your air fryer ready to start cooking right away – it’s preheated (already heated) and ready to go. There’s no need to try to figure out cooking times as you would starting from a cold fryer.

It’s similar to how you warm up a car in cold winters before driving.

Preheating means proper cooking

For food that’s heated properly and cooks well you’ll need to let your air fryer warm up. Doing this allows your meals to cook consistently and reliably.

It’s true that air fryers are small and don’t take as long as larger traditional ovens do. However, they still need a few minutes before they’re ready.

How to preheat your air fryer

Image showing temperature measurement of Dash air fryer preheat time

I recorded preheating times needed to get my air fryers ready before cooking frozen cheese sticks. I found out that they actually reach the cooking temperature before 5 minutes. However, the air fryer self needs the extra time (4-5 minutes total) to get completely ready. The internal surfaces will be hot and ready to cook the food as soon as it touches it.

Preheating is really easy! However, the way you go about doing it depends on the type & model of air fryer you own.

One of two ways are used:

  • Digital controls/push button models: These often have a preheat button. When used, the unit will heat itself for the time required then turn off. You can also set the temperature and cooking time manually to do the same thing. (Note: Some models may use a bit less time to preheat with automatic settings, which is fine)
  • Air fryers with dial controls can be set to the cooking temperature then set for 5 mins cooking time. When the timer is done you’re ready to add food and start the cooking process.

In either case, 5 minutes is usually a great preheat time to use. For the preheating temperature, set it to 350°F as we’ll use that for cooking.

Getting your hot dogs ready to cook

Image showing how to place hot dogs in an air fryer

It’s a breeze getting your uncooked hot dogs ready for excellent cooking. For best results, put them in your air fryer’s cooking basket (food container) with a bit of space between. This helps them get more exposure to the hot cooking air inside while it works. See my note further below about shaking or turning them during cooking.

Yes, I’ll admit that hot dogs are one of the easiest foods to cook. But if you want great taste and want to avoid overcooking or undercooking them, there are few things to know:

  1. When loading the air fryer basket with the hot dogs, don’t put too many. There shouldn’t be so many that they cover each other a lot.
  2. Shake the basket container until the hot dogs “even out” or use tongs or your fingers. That is, shake or arrange them until they spread out a bit inside. This helps them cook better as they get more even exposure to the hot air that cooks them (This is really important if you’re cooking a lot of food in an air fryer).
  3. Place the fryer basket back inside the air fryer.

When cooking with an air fryer, it’s important to understand that the food cooks by being exposed to very hot cooking air blowing down on it from the top. Ideally, the food will have as much of itself as possible exposed and uncovered.

Covered sides on your hot dogs (or what’s facing down) will usually be cooked slightly less. That’s why I and the air fryer manufacturers recommend shaking or turning food 1/2 of the way through the cooking time.

How long should I cook hot dogs?

Example of air fryer hot dogs cooked and measured cooking times

I measured cooking times for hot dogs until they were well-done and tasted like they should Both the larger air fryer (a 3.7 quart Cosori unit) and the smaller one, a 1.2 qt Dash personal air fryer were used. Both needed 5 minutes for plump, well-cooked dogs with an internal temperature above 165°F as recommended.

To get a really accurate idea about how much time 2 common sizes of air fryers need for hot dogs, I carefully measured the cooking times for a Cosori 3.7 qt model (more of a family size air fryer) and a 1.2 qt Dash Compact personal air fryer (perfect for individuals or couples).

These were common refrigerator-temperature (cold, not frozen) franks, by the way.

Here’s what I found when testing the cooking times & watching the hot dogs:

  • 0-1 mins: Starting to warm up.
  • 1-2 mins: Interior of hot dog franks are no longer chilled; slightly warmer.
  • 2 1/2 mins: Starting to plump and somewhat cooked; Some parts may be a bit darker. Time to shake or rotate.
  • 3-4 mins: Turning a normal red color, plump, and very close to being ready to eat & tasting good.
  • 5 mins: Plump, juicy, and tasty. Internal temperature is 165°F or above. Time to eat!

Unlike microwaved hot dogs (blah!) you’ll get juicy, naturally cooked hot dog meat that’s not about to explode. It’s actually a lot easier to use an air fryer as long as you’re careful with the timer.

Closeup image of a properly cooked hot dog

Closeup of a properly cooked hot dog after using an air fryer. The hot dog should be a darker red, plump, and soft. The taste is great when cooked well!

Don’t overcook your hotdogs. At around 5 minutes, some parts touching the hot cooking surfaces can start to crisp and turn a bit dark.

That’s another reason it’s best to turn them 1/2 of the way through cooking. As with other meats, properly cooked hot dogs will have an internal temperature of 165°F or above to make sure bacteria and other nasties are destroyed.

Don’t forget to shake them!

Shaking air fryer hot dogs example image

After about 2 or 2 1/2 minutes it’s best to shake or turn your franks. That’s because you’ll need to expose the areas which had less cooking heat previously and turn other areas to receive less heat.

While it’s not “necessary”, I strongly recommend shaking or turning the hot dogs at about 2 or 2 1/2 minutes during the cooking process. In my experience, air fryers do a great job but they can’t cover 100% of the food’s surfaces without your help.

It only takes a few seconds and will make sure your food gets enough hot air to give you the best results possible.

Image showing example of measuring the internal temperature of sausage hot dogs

Tip: Want to be 100% sure? Use a digital food thermometer to check how well your foods are cooked. I use one regularly for many foods I cook with my air fryers. My current handy digital thermometer is the easy-to-use and inexpensive ThermoPro TP03A digital kitchen temperature probe from Amazon.

Melting cheese for chili cheese dogs with an air fryer

Image showing example of preparing melted cheese hot dogs in an air fryer

Got cheese? Let’s be honest, gas station (or other) cheeses options for hot dogs are TERRIBLE! Real cheese should taste like…well, real cheese! To get fantastic cheese dogs or chili cheese dogs, you can use ANY of your favorite choices with your air fryer. Even though real sliced block cheese is harder to melt, it’s a snap to do this way.

Not all chili cheese dogs are the same! There’s a reason I almost never get cheese dogs when we go out to eat – usually they’re awful!

However, my homemade air fryer cheese dogs were excellent!

Image of Colby & Monterey Jack hand sliced cheese on a plate

The great news is that you can use any cheese options that work best for you and your budget:

  • Grated cheese in the bag
  • Sandwich slices
  • Hand-sliced block cheese (my favorite!)

Of the three, block cheese is a bit harder to use as it’s harder to melt. However, the great news that I’ve figured out the easiest way to do it.

How to best melt your cheese & for how long

Measuring time for melting cheese on hot dogs in an air fryer

As it turns out, home-cooked chili cheese dogs are GREAT! I was so happy to FINALLY enjoy cheap, delicious cheese dogs I made myself. It’s fast too, as it only takes about 60 seconds even for block cheese slices which are harder to melt. Shown: Delicious, fresh hand-sliced Colby, and Monterey Jack pieces melted perfectly.

You’ll want to do the following:

  • Cook the hot dogs first, as shown in the earlier sections
  • Place the hot dogs in their buns, fresh out of the bag (or refrigerated is ok too)
  • Cover the hot dogs evenly with grated/shredded, sandwich sliced, or hand-sliced cheese as desired
  • Melt at 350°F for 60 seconds

The result will be cheese that’s properly melted, won’t be burned, and will remain soft and gooey for a few minutes before eating. However, I strongly recommend you add toppings and eat as soon as possible!

Adding chili and other toppings

Making homemade chili cheese dogs example images

Eat with only cheese or add mustard, ketchup, or whatever suits your fancy. For seriously delicious chili cheese dogs, add hot dog chili from a can, onions if you like, and enjoy! It’s fantastic!

After carefully measuring melted cheese time & temperatures (and using 350°F, making it easier) I got my perfectly melted cheese dogs.

To create fantastic chili cheese dogs, I simply added hot dog chili from a can at room temperature and then fresh-cut onions. The result was excellent!

While you can heat up your chili, mine was fine at room temperature. If you’d like to heat your chili a bit, place it in the air fryer once you’ve added the topics and use the warm setting for 2-3 minutes, or 30-60 seconds at 350°F.

Note: Use any chili you like! However, hot dog chili is a bit easier to spread and is available in smaller cans than regular chili. You can also spend less money than for regular cans of chili, too.

What about sausage dogs and bratwurst?

Example of air fryer sausage hot dog cooking

Great news! Cooking bratwurst or other sausage dogs is exactly the same – and just as easy – as regular hot dogs. 5 minutes at 350 degrees and you’re done! For a wonderful traditional taste, add sauerkraut and onions as desired.

The great news is that your favorite sausages like bratwurst and traditional smoked types are cooked exactly the same in an air fryer!

Just like regular franks, cook for 5 minutes at 350 degrees and you’re ready. Don’t forget to turn them over at 2 to 2 1/2 minutes time, although it’s really not as important for sausages. (They cook slightly differently due to the different skin).

Garnish with sauerkraut, onions, and anything you like as desired. They’re great!

Final touches and it’s time to eat!

Image showing examples of adding garnish to hot dogs

Examples of the delicious hot dogs I cooked in my air fryers and garnished to taste. Whatever your favorites are, they’re warm, fresh, and tasty once you cook them. Just add the perfect garnish like sauerkraut, ketchup & mustard, onions, or so much more! (Note: I highly recommend wavy potato chips – they’re an excellent side for hot dogs. They taste great and are inexpensive, too!)

Once you’re done cooking your franks, my advice is to add your favorite toppings while they’re hot and serve right away. There’s simply no substitute for fresh & warm hot dogs. (Reheating with a microwave will give you poor taste and won’t be nearly as good!)

The good news is that after cooking them, there won’t be much to clean up.

What to expect

While other foods you can cook in air fryers such as mozzarella sticks, burritos, chicken wings, and especially hamburgers can result in a greasy mess at the bottom of the air fryer basket, hot dogs are different.

In my experience, aside from sausages, there’s almost no residue. Note that sausages do leave a bit more as they contain more fats, but overall it’s still only a very small amount.

Note: I don’t recommend using a microwave oven to reheat your hot dogs if they get cold. The taste simply can’t compare, and microwave ovens also don’t correctly heat the outside surfaces of food. That’s one reason microwave-heated foods are very disappointing and seem to be missing the original flavor & texture you enjoy.

For best results, warm & crisp them back to a tasty & fresh state by reheating them in a hot air fryer at 350°F for about 1-2 minutes. Some air fryer models provide a warm setting (usually at around 170-180 degrees) but will take a few more minutes to do so.

Clean up & last notes

Image of air fryer basket residue after cooking hot dogs

The great news is that hot dogs leave very little residue in your air fryer! While sausages leave more as they have more fat, as you can see above there’s not much to clean after cooking franks. It will only take a handful of seconds to clean up later.

Unlike other foods I’ve cooked (mainly frozen hamburger patties), there’s not much at all left over to clean up. Just a bit of residue from water and a very small amount of fats in the hot dogs.

Bratwurst and other types of sausages or sausage dogs do leave a bit more. Don’t ignore it, however, as all greases and food residues will develop a smell from bacterial growth after a few days if not cleaned.

Washing your air fryer after cooking

Images of cleaning air fryer baskets in a sink

Washing out the fryer basket is really easy.

Just add a drop of dishwashing detergent after filling it with warm water. Any droplets of oil or greasy water residue will wash out without any real effort.

Add a small amount of dishwashing detergent and then use a soft sponge to avoid damaging the nonstick coating inside the cooking basket as most air fryers have that protective coating. 

Wash briefly by hand, rinse out with water, and then leave to air dry. You’re done!

More air fryer cooking guides

Want even more fantastic food that saves money, too? There’s almost no end to the wonderful food options you can cook with your air fryer.

Learn more from my other helpful posts where I show you more:

How To Cook Frozen Mozzarella Sticks In An Air Fryer – An Easy, Cheesy How-To Guide

Featured image for how to cook frozen mozzarella sticks in an air fryer

What comes to mind you hear the words “mozzarella sticks”? Is it soft, bland, reheated cheese sticks or delicious, fresh and hot cheese you can’t get enough of?

hate poorly cooked cheese sticks to I did the hard work to find out the best way to cook them…and to help you do the same!

In this simple guide, you’ll learn how to cook frozen mozzarella sticks in an air fryer with excellent results.

It’s fast, easy, and you’ll love how they taste. Let’s go!

Contents

Infographic – How to cook great frozen mozzarella sticks

How to cook frozen mozzarella sticks in an air fryer infographic guide

Quick summary: Cooking frozen mozzarella sticks in an air fryer

Cooking frozen mozzarella cheese sticks at home is very easy. However, it’s helpful to know some things ahead of time to avoid headaches or messing up your food.

Basic steps for cooking frozen mozzarella cheese sticks in an air fryer
  1. Preheat the air fryer – Typically you’ll just need to let the air fryer run at the cooking temperature (350°F is recommended) for 5 minutes
  2. Place the frozen sticks in the fryer basket – For best results, shake the container to even them out inside. For a slightly crispier outside, use a cooking spray to lightly coat them. Canola oil is a good choice.
  3. Cooking: With the temperature set properly (350°F is good), cook for 4-5 minutes. After 2 minutes, shake the sticks to turn over uncooked areas for hot cooking air. Spray cooking oil again if desired. Start the air fryer again.
  4. Final cooking: Your cheese sticks should be ready to eat after 4 minutes. For a bit more crispiness, you can cook to 5 minutes time (note that cheese may leak in some cases). Don’t overcook the sticks.
  5. Empty the cheese sticks using a fork or tongs and serve. For best taste, serve immediately before the cheese can cool and the outsides soften. Add a dipping sauce like marinara and enjoy!

How & why to preheat your air fryer

Image showing preheat settings for air fryers when cooking cheese sticks

Top: Preheating an air fryer with digital controls. These often have a preheat mode button (some may use less than 5 minutes and adjust their time automatically). Bottom: For standard models, you can preheat the fryer by adjusting it to the 350° temperature and setting the cooking timer for 5 minutes.

Just like with regular ovens, air fryer makers recommend warming up the fryer to the cooking temperature before you add food. But why is that?

You should preheat your air fryer for several reasons:

  • The electric heating element gets heated and ready to use
  • Inside surfaces that touch & cook food are hot and ready to work properly
  • Preheating avoids a warming delay that would happen if you started cooking from room temperature

In other words, you’ll get your air fryer ready to begin cooking right away – it’s preheated (already heated) and ready to use. You won’t have to worry about trying to adjust cooking time for a cold fryer.

As some people warm up their car during the winter cold before driving it, the idea is the same.

Preheating means proper cooking

For food that’s heated properly and cooks well you’ll need to let your air fryer warm up. Doing this allows your meals to cook consistently and reliably.

It’s true that air fryers are small and don’t take as long as larger traditional ovens do. However, they still need a few minutes before they’re ready.

How to preheat your air fryer

Image showing temperature measurement of Dash air fryer preheat time

I recorded preheating times needed to get my air fryers ready before cooking frozen cheese sticks. I found out that they actually reach the cooking temperature before 5 minutes. However, the air fryer self needs the extra time (4-5 minutes total) to get completely ready. The internal surfaces will be hot and ready to cook the food as soon as it touches it.

Preheating is really easy! However, the way you go about doing it depends on the type & model of air fryer you own.

One of two ways are used:

  • Digital controls/push button models: These often have a preheat button. When used, the unit will heat itself for the time required then shutoff. You can also set the temperature and cooking time manually to do the same thing. (Note: Some models may use a bit less time to preheat with automatic settings, which is fine)
  • Air fryers with dial controls can be set to the cooking temperature then set for 5 mins cooking time. When the timer is done you’re ready to add food and start the cooking process.

In either case, 5 minutes is a preheat time to use. For the preheating temperature, set it to 350°F as we’ll use that for cooking.

Getting your mozzarella sticks ready to cook

Image showing how to prepare frozen mozzarella sticks in air fryers for cooking

It’s easy to get your mozzarella cheese sticks ready for cooking in your air fryer. For the best results, fill the fryer basket with the frozen sticks then shake them to help even them out. This helps them get the best exposure to hot cooking air. As cheese sticks can be a bit soft on the outside when done, to help them cook better and for more crunchiness spray them with good cooking oil like canola oil. 

Yes, it really is easy to cook cheese sticks, but I want you to get the tastiest, well-cooked cheesy goodness possible. Here’s how to get your frozen cheese sticks ready for the best cooking possible:

  1. Add the frozen sticks to the fryer basket. If you’ve got a really big bag of them, be sure you don’t pile them above the top edge of the container.
  2. Shake the basket container until the pieces “even out.” That is, shake them until they spread out a bit inside. This helps them cook better as they get more even exposure to the hot air that cooks them (This is really important if you’re cooking a lot of food in an air fryer)
  3. Since frozen cheese sticks may be a bit soft after cooking, you can help them crisp better by using a light cooking oil before you start the timer. Spray them lightly until they look slightly wet. Canola oil cooking spray is a great choice.
  4. Place the fryer basket back inside the air fryer.

When cooking with an air fryer what you don’t want to do is to let your mozzarella sticks pile up inside. It’s important that they get exposure to the cooking air inside.

Food that’s stacked on top of each other (like when you’re cooking a large bag full of cheese sticks) won’t cook as well.

That’s one reason I recommend shaking them a bit.

Using a cooking spray

Image showing an example can of canola oil cooking spray for air fryer use

One great tip is to use a cooking spray like canola oil or olive oil to lightly coat your food before cooking. Doing so helps your food crisp better and get a wonderfully crunchy outside.

The same is true not only for cheese sticks but also chicken wings, tater tots, french fries, and many other great foods you’ll want to cook in your air fryer. It’s a tip I picked up from my Cuisinart air fryer & toaster oven owner’s manual.

To use cooking spray with an air fryer, put the food inside then lightly coat the top of the food until it looks slightly wet. You won’t need much – just enough to coat the outer surface.

How long should I cook frozen mozzarella sticks?

I measured cooking times for frozen mozzarella cheese sticks until they were well-done and tasted good. Both the larger air fryer (a 3.7 quart Cosori unit) and the smaller one, a 1.2 qt Dash personal air fryer, only needed 4 minutes In both cases I shook the contents after 2 minutes and re-sprayed the canola oil.

To better test the size & power levels of air fryers that many people will use, I made tested cooking times using 2 sizes & power ratings: A Cosori 3.7 quart 1700W model (great for families) and a smaller personal air fryer, the Dash 1.2 quart 1000W model.

What’s I found is very interesting: Unlike other foods like fries, wings, or chicken nuggets, cheese sticks cook VERY quickly!

Here’s a brief timeline of what happens when cooking frozen cheese sticks:

  • 0-1 mins: Thawing, starting to warm up
  • 1-2 mins: Inside is no longer frozen or cold
  • 2 mins: Need to shake the sticks & move around for good cooking heat exposure
  • 3-4 mins: Outside is warming & crisping, inside cheese is heavily melted and hot
  • 4 mins: Hot, fresh, and ready to eat!

Your cheese sticks will be ready to enjoy after 4 minutes of cooking. I cooked them for 5 minutes for a bit more crisping on the outside.

While crunchy cheese sticks are wonderful, the downside is that a bit more cheese may leak out as it’s so hot.

Be sure you don’t cook past 5 minutes because the cheese will liquefy and drip into the bottom of the container.

Don’t forget to shake them!

Image showing example of shaking cheese sticks in an air fryer while cooking

After 2 mins it’s a good idea to shake your cheese sticks inside the fryer basket. This helps expose lesser cooked sides to the hot cooking air. Lightly spray cooking oil again then place them back into the air fryer.

For the best cheese sticks you can cook, remove them and shake after 2 minutes. This will turn them over and the sides that had less exposure to the air fryer’s hot cooking air will now get more.

If you’re using a cooking spray, coat them again now.

Put them back into the fryer and you’re done in 4 minutes total time (Your fryer’s cooking timer should be set to 4 minutes already anyway.

Your mozzarella sticks should now be fresh, hot, and fantastic!

Example of checking the internal temperature of cheese sticks while cooking with a digital thermometer

Tip: Keeping a digital food thermometer handy is a great idea. Using one, you can be sure frozen foods are cooked well by checking the internal temperature quickly (and cook longer if needed). For frozen foods like cheese sticks or burritos, an internal temperature of 100°F and higher is good. I use a ThermoPro TP03A digital kitchen gauge as it’s cheap and works well.

Final touches and we’re done. Let’s eat some cheese!

Image showing correctly cooked air fryer cheese sticks up close

Cheese sticks are easy to empty and put on your plate or another container after cooking (unlike foods such as wings and tater tots for example). Use a fork or a tong to make it a snap. The great news also is that cheese sticks don’t produce a lot of oil when cooking so there’s not much to clean up afterward. Note: A little bit of cheese leaking from the sticks is normal, so don’t fret if you see some.

Once you’re done cooking either pour them out directly or use a fork or tongs. (I recommend getting a cheap pair of tongs as they’re very handy for the many kinds of air fryer foods you’ll want to make)

The great news is that there’s not much to clean up afterward in most cases as cheese sticks don’t produce oil when the cook as some other foods do.

What to expect

You might find some leaked cheese at the bottom of your fryer basket (see further below for what I mean) or a tiny bit of crumbs and residue, but that’s about it.

Properly cooked cheese sticks will still be very hot right after cooking so don’t use your hands. They’ll cool off quickly, however, so don’t waste much time before serving them.

I strongly recommend serving your fresh cheese sticks right away. They cool off quickly and just won’t taste the same when that happens!

The sauce makes it even better!

Image showing marinara sauce example served on plate with cheese sticks

Pick up some marinara sauce as it makes a great dipping treat to eat with your fresh, hot mozzarella sticks you just made. It’s a traditional meal and I highly recommend it if you’ve never tried it.

Add some marinara dipping sauce and now you’ve got a hot, delicious, and cheesy snack or meal you’ll love!

Note: I don’t recommend using a microwave oven to reheat your sticks once they’re cold. It’s just not the same and won’t taste nearly as good.

For best results, warm & crisp them back to a tasty & fresh state by reheating them in a hot air fryer at 350°F for about 1-2 minutes.

The delicious results

Image showing properly served cheese sticks served on display

Yay! It’s time to eat. Get ’em while they’re hot! Serve up your cheesy goodness with your favorite dipping sauce or sides. For a classic cheese stick meal, I recommend traditional marinara as it’s a great match.

You’re done and it’s time to eat! It’s amazing how fast, easy, and healthy cooking them yourself in an air fryer is.

In fact, I find that because they’re not cooked in dirty cooking grease like at a restaurant, they taste much better! There’s nothing between you and that REAL mozzarella cheese flavor – and no grease soaked into them or dripping to make a mess, either.

Clean up & last notes

Image of dirty air fryer baskets after cooking frozen cheese sticks

Things MIGHT get a little bit messy after cooking cheese sticks. Cheese sticks might leak a bit of cheese, so be aware there might be a LITTLE bit to clean up afterward. However, it’s actually very easy to clean so don’t worry!

What I discovered during cooking testing different foods in air fryers is that many foods (especially meats) like chicken wings tend to leave behind a fair amount of grease & fat after cooking

What’s especially great about mozzarella cheese sticks is that they don’t. While you’ll find a few crumbs and leaked cheese you’ll need to clean up afterward, it’s not bad.

To keep the leaked cheese to a minimum don’t cook them past 4 minutes. After 4 minutes I saw much more cheese leaking out of the sticks into the bottom of the basket.

Either way, clean up is really easy only take a minute or two.

Image showing example washing an air fryer cooking basket in the sink

Washing out the fryer basket is really easy. Cleaning out leftover cheese is no problem at all.

Just add a drop of dishwashing detergent after filling it with warm water. Any leftover cheese will soften quickly and will be easy to wash out.

Gently wash the inside with a sponge or soft cloth because you don’t want to damage the nonstick coating inside. Washing a basket and its parts out usually only takes 60 seconds or less once the water is hot.

Let the parts air dry or use a towel if you like afterward. (Note: Most air fryer baskets are dishwasher safe so after cleaning out the drippings you can put them in the dishwasher)

More air fryer cooking guides

Want even more delicious food you can cook in minutes? Check out my other guides based on hands-on testing, measurements, and most of all….taste!

How To Cook Frozen Burritos In An Air Fryer – An Easy Guide For Great Flavor

Featured image for how to cook frozen burritos in an airy fryer guide

If you’re hoping to find out how to cook frozen burritos in an air fryer you’ve come to the right place!

As it turns out, it’s a bit trickier than cooking them in an oven. The great news is that they taste much better cooked in an air fryer vs a microwave. 

I’ve done the hard work: Lots of trial and error, and wasted a lot of burritos to find the best way. In my easy-to-follow guide I’ll show you how to make great burritos you’ll love.

Contents

Infographic – Fast frozen burrito air fryer cooking tips

Infographic guide showing how to cook frozen burritos in an air fryer

Basics first: Simple tips for cooking frozen burritos in an air fryer

It’s actually quite easy to cook your own great-tasting burritos at home. There are some things you’ll need to know, however, before cooking your first time.

Here’s a quick summary of the basic steps you’ll need.

Basic steps for cooking frozen burritos in an air fryer
  1. Preheat the air fryer – Typically you’ll just need to let the air fryer run at the cooking temperature (180°F is recommended) for 3 to 5 minutes
  2. Place the frozen burritos in the fryer basket – For best results don’t try to fit too many inside & don’t stack them directly on top of each other. A little bit of overlap is ok – fit as many as will still have great exposure to the internal cooking air (see example pics below)
  3. Cooking: With the temperature set low (180°F is good), cook for about 20-25 minutes. After 20 minutes you can check their internal temperature with a food thermometer. Otherwise, cooking for a full 25 minutes is recommended.
  4. When fully cooked, the internal temperature will be above 100°F and the outside should still be slightly soft but show a few signs of browning/cooking.
  5. Place the burritos on a plate or dish as you like & serve while fresh & warm. Note: Some burritos leak a bit of grease depending on their content (meats and cheeses especially) so they can get messy. It’s normal for the tortilla to become greasy after several minutes

Watch out! Don’t follow advice on the package

Image showing oven cooking instructions on the package of frozen burritos

Typical cooking instructions for using a traditional oven on my frozen burrito package. The problem is that while it’s fine for those kinds of ovens, air fryers are different. You’ll get terrible results doing it that way when using your air fryer!

Most frozen foods including frozen burritos, chimichangas, and much more included both microwave and conventional oven cooking instructions. I’m here to warn you: Don’t use those instructions for your air fryer when cooking your burritos!

You’ll get terrible results & you’ll really miss out on what you could have if done right. The reason is that while air fryers work very similar to an oven, in practice they don’t cook the same way.

Air fryers are a lot more intense and heat food faster than a regular oven.

While you might be tempted to cook frozen burritos at a higher temperature because you think you’ll get the same results faster, it’s not the case.

2 things will happen if you cook your burritos at a high temperature (like 350°F shown above) like you would in a regular oven:

  • The tortillas will dry out and become hard and crunchy
  • Burrito contents (especially with meats or cheeses) will overcook, leak out badly, and cause a mess

That being said, let’s move on to the right way to do it.

How & why to preheat your air fryer

Image showing how air fryer preheat settings for cooking frozen burritos

Top: Preheat settings for an air fryer with digital controls. These usually have a preheat mode button but you may need to adjust them manually anyway. Bottom: For models with dial controls, turn the cooking temperature to about 180°F and set the timer to 3 minutes (or 5 minutes if yours has a preset for that).

Air fryer makers recommend warming up the fryer to the cooking temperature before you add food. But why is that?

I can tell you from my personal hands-on experience there are several good reasons why:

  • The electric heating element (much like an oven) gets warmed and ready to use
  • Inside surfaces that touch & cook food are hot and ready to work properly. Food will start cooking when it touches them
  • Preheating avoids a warming delay that would happen if you started cooking from room temperature

In other words, you’ll get your air fryer ready to begin cooking right away – it’s preheated (already hot) and ready to use. You won’t have to worry about trying to adjust cooking time for a cold fryer.

Just like how you and I may warm up a car before driving during the winter it’s the same principle.

Preheating means good cooking

There’s not really a way around it most of the time – especially with frozen foods. In fact, those can be harder to cook than room temperature foods since they need more time to thaw.

For food that’s heated properly and cooks well, you’ll need to let your air fryer warm up. Doing this allows your meals to cook consistently and reliably.

Even though they’re small and don’t take nearly as much time as a regular oven to warm up, it’s still worth doing.

How to preheat your air fryer

Image showing temperature measurement of Dash air fryer preheat time

Shown: I’ve tested preheating times for several air fryers to find out what REALLY happens when preheating them. I found out that it depends on the temperature range. For cooking frozen burritos a lower temperature is best, which means it only takes about 3 minutes for most to warm up before cooking. However, for other foods, a higher temperature is needed. It takes up to 5 minutes for preheating the fryer.

Preheating is really easy! While it does depend on the particular model brand of fryer you own, the good news is that it works the same for nearly all of them.

You’ll do it one of two ways:

  • Digital controls/push button models: These often have a preheat button. If yours has a “warming” or preheat button for 180 or 170 degrees and 3-5 minutes, use that preset button. Otherwise, adjust the preheat time for 180°F and 3 minutes or more (5 minutes is fine, too)
  • Air fryers with dial controls can be set to the cooking temperature then set for 3 mins cooking time. When the timer is finished it’s ready for you to add the food and get started cooking

Use at least 3 minutes time at 180°F to preheat your air fryer. (Note: 5 minutes or more is fine too. It’s just longer than is necessary)

Getting your burritos ready to cook

Images showing how to place frozen burritos in air fryer

Getting your burritos ready set up to cook takes only a few moments. To get the best results, fill the fryer container (basket) with the burritos making sure they’re not stacked on top of each other. It’s ok if they touch but you don’t want them covered up much as that prevents the hot cooking air from reaching them.

Time to get your burritos ready to cook! It’s easy, though, so don’t stress…and it only takes a short moment too.

(Note: The same tips apply to other foods as well, like hamburger patties, Hot Pockets, and so forth)

  1. Put the burritos inside the basket so that they don’t cover each other. This is to avoid keeping the air fryer’s hot air from being able to reach them well (especially important for foods like fries, tots, etc.)
  2. If you’re trying to cook as many burritos at once as possible, try laying them inside at different angles and slightly touching each other
  3. In some cases it might be helpful to put them inside at 90 degree angles if there’s limited space or on their sides
  4. If necessary and space is tight, it’s ok if they touch each other a bit – just don’t completely cover burritos by adding more on top of them

When using an air fryer it’s important to avoid covering the burritos as much as possible. Food stacked on other pieces of food will cover surfaces and cause some areas to be undercooked.

That’s especially a bad idea for foods with a frozen interior like chimichangas and burritos that need heat for a long time to thaw & warm inside.

How long should I cook frozen burritos in an air fryer?

Image showing measured cooking times for frozen burritos

I measured cooking times while checking the burritos every 5-10 minutes until they were well-cooked and tasted great. I used my larger air fryer (a 3.7 quart Cosori unit) and a smaller one, a 1.2 qt Dash personal air fryer as they’re good examples for what many people will use. The larger one (cooking 4 burritos) was done in 25 minutes. The smaller, personal-sized air fryer had 2 burritos and was ready in about 20 minutes.

As not everyone has the same size air fryer I made sure to test cooking times using 2 sizes: A larger & popular Cosori 3.7 quart 1700W model (more suitable for families) and a smaller personal air fryer, the Dash 1.2 quart 1000W model.

Here’s a brief timeline of what happens when cooking frozen burritos:

  • 0-10 mins: Thawing out, still very cold inside
  • 10-15 mins or so: Outside becomes warm, inside has nearly completely thawed
  • After 15 minutes: Inside continues warming/cooking
  • After 20-25 minutes: The burritos are ready inside and great to eat!

Image showing examples of properly cooked frozen burritos

Tip: You can be confident how well food is cooked by using a digital temperature gauge with a probe to check. In the case of burritos, a temperature inside of 100 degrees and above is recommended. I recommend a thermometer like the ThermoPro TP03A digital kitchen gauge as it works well and comes in very handy!

Once the timer is done you can check to see if your burritos are fully cooked and ready.

To do so, one of the best ways is to use a digital food thermometer as shown above. For best taste and to make sure the inside temperature is good. When checking it you should measure above 100 degrees.

I’ve found that’s best for great taste. At below that they’re edible, but not nearly as tasty or enjoyable.

When fully cooked, your burritos will be like this:

  • Warm, relatively soft outside (shouldn’t be too hard or crunchy)
  • Melted, hot interior that tastes good

You may notice some grease or oil leaking out. That’s normal depending on the kind of burritos you’ve bought.

In the examples above I cooked beef & bean burritos which can leak a bit after cooking. I’ve had several where the soft tortilla had a bit of oil showing after time passed.

Example of an overcooked/high-temperature air fryer burrito

Image showing an example of overcooked frozen burritos

Here’s the result of cooking burritos in an air fryer at a higher temperature like 350° instead of a lower temperature. The inside can leak excessively and the outside tortilla will become hard and crunchy – not good to eat! These aren’t good burritos and are why I recommend using a lower temperature although it may take a bit longer.

As I mentioned before, here’s an example of why you don’t cook burritos at a higher temperature like 350°F. I found out the inside would begin to leak badly since it was overcooking.

Not only that but the outside became hard and unpleasant to eat. Not good!

Last touches and we’re done. Time to eat!

Image of cooked burritos being prepared to serve and eat

Once ready, it’s time to eat! The great news is that cooked frozen burritos are safe to eat immediately as they’re not too hot.

I recommend serving immediately for best taste, as if left too long they may tend to become saturated with grease from the cooked cheese or meat inside.

How to best reheat cold burritos

One thing I’ve found is that you won’t want to warm up your fantastic air fryer cooking in a microwave. It simply doesn’t taste anywhere close to how it did when fresh!

For best results, restore them to a delicious, fresh state by reheating them in a warm air fryer at 180°F for about 3 to 5 minutes. 

Clean up & last notes

Diagram showing examples of oil & grease left from cooking frozen burritos

Check out what’s left over after I cooked my burritos. While not typical of all burritos you’ll buy, those with foods containing fats or oils like cheese, meats, and others might leak into the frying basket while cooking. That’s normal.

I did find that my beef & bean burritos left a small amount of oil & grease behind when I was done. That’s nothing to be concerned about, as it’s normal.

The great news is that clean up is really easy!

Image showing example washing an air fryer cooking basket in the sink

To clean up your air fryer basket after cooking, just add a drop of dishwashing detergent after filling it with warm water.

Clean the inside with a soft washcloth or sponge as you don’t want to damage the nonstick coating with an abrasive cleaner. It only takes a few seconds and you’re done.

Allow the parts to air dry or dry with a towel if you prefer.

(Note: Most air fryer baskets are dishwasher safe so you could use that too).

More air fryer cooking guides

But wait, there are even more fantastic foods you can cook with your air fryer! Check out my other guides based on hands-on testing, measurements, and most of all….taste!