4 Of The Best Air Fryers Under $100 – Get The Best For Your Money!

Best air fryers under $100 featured image

I own several air fryers and absolutely love them! In fact, the food I cook with mine is better than the overpriced, greasy food you’ll get in a restaurant.

Ready for great food of your own, too? In this post, I’ll show you 4 of the best air fryers under $100 for your money.

I’ll share with you the details, pros & cons, and what to know before buying. There’s also some helpful info if you’re just getting started with air fryers.

Contents

Infographic – Air fryer basics to know

Air fryer basics infographic guide

What is an air fryer and how does it work?

How an air fryer works illustrated diagram

Illustrated diagram showing how an air fryer works and the main sections inside. Air fryers share a lot in common with traditional ovens which have a convection baking design. Food in an air fryer’s cooking basket is exposed to hot air forced onto it using a fan.

Air fryers don’t actually “fry” food. Hot air is forced onto the food in a way much like a convection oven.

Because they can cook food well and also crisp the outside similar to how a grease or shortening fryer works, they were given the name. It’s also because of how they’re more appealing if they’re seen as a healthy alternative to oil fryers. 

How they work

Airy fryer illustrated parts diagram & images

Air fryers come in a variety of styles but all have the same basic design: A heating element creates very hot air which is blown across the food using an electric fan.

Additionally, much like a traditional oven you may have used before they also have a cooking time control and temperature control.

An air fryer has several basic sections which may vary slightly depending on the brand or model:

  • A food container (also called a basket) in which food is placed. These normally have a nonstick coating and a slotted bottom (or a slotted tray that fits inside) to allow fat and other residues to fall to the bottom & away from food.
  • A drip tray or basket bottom section where melted fat, water, crumbs, and other residue collects. After cooking this is easy to separate from the food section for easy cleaning. These have a nonstick surface also.
  • Electric heating element (electric eye). These are usually a small version similar to those you see in a standard oven.
  • Electric fan. Place over or below the heating element, these force hot cooking air over the food.
  • Temperature and cooking time controls. For standard (dial) models these are electromechanical. Digital models offer push button controls and presets – these use more complicated electronics than more basic models.

Is an air fryer the same as a convection oven?

Air fryer vs convection oven efficiency comparison graph

In this comparison graph, a typical air fryer and a typical convection oven are compared. Air fryers use much less electricity and also have a faster preheat time (about 3 to 5 minutes). Additionally, they use a lower maximum temperature than ovens. There’s much less air to heat since they’re smaller, making them great for saving energy & hassle.

An air fryer is very similar to a convection oven, with a few differences. 

For example:

  • Convection ovens have a higher maximum temperature (450-500°F). Air fryers use a lower maximum temperature (typically 400°F).
  • You’ll normally cook food in an air fryer with a lower temperature than in an oven ( 350°F-370°F for example).
  • Air fryers, thanks to their size & cooking efficiency, use less electricity. Average models use about 1,000 to 1,300 watts. Ovens, however, often have a power rating of 2,500-3,000 watts.
  • It takes roughly half the time (or less) for an air fryer to reach its full preheat temperature. Convection ovens/traditional ovens often take around 10 minutes and have a great deal more air volume to heat.
  • Air fryers include the cooking container (food basket) which ovens don’t.
  • Food cooked in an air fryer is cooked by much more intense heat as the heating element is very close to the food.

Not only that, but air fryers with digital control features also provide preset buttons which make cooking common foods much easier than an oven.

On the other hand, more basic models are a much more economical way to get the same kind of food as you can cook in an oven. They’re a great choice if you’re usually only cooking food for yourself or a few people (like a small family).

Is an air fryer bad for your health?

Are air fryers healthy vs ovens and grease fryers comparison image

Are air fryers healthy to use? Indeed they are! In fact, they offer the same quality oil-free cooking as a traditional convection oven but with reduced cost & hassle.

Because they cook air including crisping the surface of food using hot air, air fryers are a very healthy way to cook food.

You might not be aware of it but many fast food (and other) restaurants reuse dirty cooking oil for several days! That’s correct – when foods are fried you could be eating food contaminated with several day’s worth of food fat residue and other matter.

That’s one reason fried foods often have a dull, somewhat odd flavor. Fried foods with fresher shortening or oil are better in flavor but still aren’t as healthy.

Fried foods may be crispy and crunchy, but they’re saturated with oil inside and out! Unfortunately because of that, you’ll be eating a lot of fats or grease that just aren’t good for you can also cause you to put on the pounds.

Air fryers completely avoid all of this.

Buying an air fryer: Is it worth it?

Are air fryers worth it list of reasons why

That’s a good question – and my respect for asking the right question and being smart with your money!

Air fryers have both pros and cons vs other appliances like microwaves, for example:

  • Microwaves can cook food much faster (for heating) but can be terrible for foods that should be crunchy or crisp
  • Convection ovens can hold much more food like large frozen turkeys or trays of cookies or bread vs air fryers
  • Steamers are great for vegetables, but again can’t cook crisp foods

Overall, the pros far outweigh the cons vs other kinds of appliances in general.

Reasons why an air fryer is worth it
  • Air fryers are a great way to save money and can pay for themselves vs the cost of a traditional oven or dining out
  • Food cooked in an air fryer tastes great. In fact, some of the best foods like tater tots I’ve ever had I cooked in an air fryer!
  • They’re affordable. Some of the best models are less than $100 in fact.
  • You can choose one based on how many (or how few) features you need. Dial (non-digital) models vs those with digital controls.
  • They’re much better for warmed food quality than a microwave and crisp the outside of food. You can also use the warming feature to keep your lunch or dinner fresh until you’re able to eat.
  • Easy clean-up. Because fat, crumbs, and water drain into the lower basket section, everything’s easy to wash right out. The nonstick coating means it’s only a few minutes of washing with water, a sponge, and a few drops of soap and you’re done!
  • Healthy food without grease or oil. As I mentioned earlier, you can get nearly the same crispy & crunchy taste with your favorite foods without having to worry about nasty & unhealthy grease, oil, or fat.

I own several models and I’ve been really glad I bought them. In fact, I bought one for my mother as they make great gifts, too.

★ 4 of the best air fryers under $100 ★

Our top picks at a glance

ImageProductDetails
sample-table__image★OUR #1 PICK!★Omorc 6 Qt
  • Excellent all-round value! Cook more food in less time w/ 1800W power.
  • Unique rotary dial & moisture-resistant control panel.
  • Includes recipe book, acessories available. 2 yr warranty
Check at Amazon
sample-table__imageCosori 3.7 Qt
  • A best-selling brand! Features 11 convenient food presets.
  • Moisture-resistant digital control panel wipes clean.
  • Shake reminder built in. Includes recipe book.
Check at Amazon
sample-table__imageGoWise USA 3.7 Qt
  • Spend less, get more. Affordable digital features.
  • 8 preset modes + 1,500W of great cooking power.
  • Easy to use & compact! Includes 50 recipe booklet.
Check at Amazon
sample-table__imageMoney saverDash Compact
  • Great taste for less money! Super easy to use.
  • Compact size needs less counter space.
  • Several color options. Includes recipe book.
Check at Amazon

Reviews, details, and pros & cons

1. Omorc 6 Quart 1800W – Cook more food in less time. Packed with features and a snap to use!

Number one recommended product badge

Omorc 1800W 6 qt air fryer black product image #1

Want the best for your money, but still want to keep the price reasonable? The Omorc 6 quart air fryer with digital controls is our top pick for a long list of reasons.

Once you understand the fantastic features, capacity, and ease of you get it’s easy to see why!

Check out what you’ll get:

  • 6 quart capacity feeds 2-8 people
  • The unique dial control makes cooking super easy
  • 1800W of cooking power for great results
  • Durable nonstick coating in the food & drip basket
  • Water/food resistant touch control panel
  • Clear & easy to understand display
  • Food warming/reheating feature
  • 2 year warranty
  • Available in 3 colors: black, green, and red

Omorc air fryer black green red color choices product image example

Choose from 3 great colors – here’s your chance to enjoy a fun choice for your home or apartment’s kitchen. Note that availability may vary.

Excellent controls

Diagram of Omorc air fryer dial control advantage vs other brands

Unlike the competition, with the Omorc air fryer the unique dial control makes cooking a lot easier and hassle-free. Instead of having to use slow push buttons to change cooking times & temperatures, just dial it in – it’s a great feature I love.

One thing that really stands out to me is the rotary dial feature that you won’t find with most other brands.

While most brands use push buttons that can be slow and kind of annoying to use, with the dial you can quickly & easily dial in the right cooking time & temperature.

It’s a snap to use and becomes like second nature in only moments.

Great cooking capacity & easy-to-handle basket

Omorc air fryer basket features image

The Omorc has one of the better food basket designs I’ve seen. To separate the drain from the basket, just slide the release guard (which helps prevents accidents) and push the button. Voila! The basket lifts right out for easy serving.

There’s no question you get some of the best food capacity & cooking power for your money – a generous 6 quarts!

While other brands in the same range or even higher off a smaller food capacity, the Omorc 6 quart can hold enough food to cook for your whole family. 

A strong 1,800 watts of power makes it one of the most powerful air fryers sold today. It cooks well, cooks faster, and food is nice and tasty, too.

I’ve enjoyed the great results from everything like chicken wings to fries and even hamburgers – they turn out great.

Great features you’ll love

Omorc air fryer control presets feature diagram

If the clear, simple controls and rotary dial weren’t enough, the Omorc’s design makes everyday cooking even easier! Choose from one of 7 presets to preload the correct time & temperature for perfect food every time.

It’s not short on features, either. As easy as the rotary dial is, why should you have to fiddle with the same routine every time you want to enjoy great food? Guess what – you don’t have to!

Choose one of 7 food cooking preset buttons to preload the air fryer with just the right cooking time & temperature for great results every time.

It works great, and I find it to be a real time & hassle saver. Cooking becomes like second nature and makes the routine so easy you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it.

Want to reheat or keep food warm? Use the warm feature to keep your delicious food fresh.

Omorc air fryer moisture resistant control panel feature image

Sticky fingers? No problem! Don’t worry – the moisture-resistant controls can handle it and make clean up as simple as wiping it away.

The controls are moisture-resistant, too, meaning you won’t have to worry with wet or sticky fingers when using the controls. Clean up is easy, too, as you can just wipe away fingerprints & residue.

Final thoughts

While I’m fond of some other brands I’ve tested (and own!), the Omorc won me over. It’s hands-down one of the best values I’ve come across and the cool rotary dial makes cooking a pleasure every time. 

It’s powerful too – food cooks fast and very well – I was surprised how great chicken, hamburgers, and much more taste. Delicious!

The included recipe book is a nice touch too, although it could be a bit better (needs editing) and some brands offer a better cooking guide.

PROS:
  • Large 6 qt capacity feeds more
  • Unique rotary dial works great
  • Touch control buttons
  • Clear, simple display
  • Quiet operation
  • 1,800W power
  • Recipes booklet included
  • Heating element guard protects against burns
  • 7 cooking presets
  • Non-stick basket & drip pan
  • Safety basket guard & release button
  • Easy clean up
  • Super easy operation
  • 3 color options
  • 2 yr warranty
CONS:
  • Uses more counter space vs others
  • Instructions/recipe booklet needs editing
  • Heat released from bottom, not top (beware some surfaces)
  • Larger basket size is harder to shake food
  • Recipe book could be better/suggest more

Hands-down it’s one of the best air fryers under $100 I’ve had the pleasure to recommend. It’s powerful, really easy to use, and well-designed. I love it and you will too!

Head over now and find out why it's one of the best-selling air fryers today at Amazon.

2. Cosori 3.7 quart 1500W digital – A top-selling, well-made model you’ll love. Good food doesn’t have to be hard!

Cosori 3.7 qt air fryer product image thumbnail

Let me tell you, I own a Cosori 3.7 quart model and I love it! It’s one of today’s best air fryers for healthy, crispy food any time you like. It’s a breeze to use too and includes a great recipe booklet.

In fact, I love mine so much I gave one to dear old mom for Mother’s Day. How’s that for a recommendation.

Check out why it’s one of the best-selling models today:

  • 3.7 quart capacity & 1500W power for great food
  • More food presets than others – 11 to choose from!
  • Moisture/food resistant control panel wipes clean
  • Built-in pause/shake reminder
  • Automatic stop/restart with basket removal
  • Durable nonstick basket coating
  • Easy basket separation and release safety guard
  • Food warming/reheating mode
  • High-quality 100 recipe booklet included
  • Cooking accessory set available
  • Handsome color options (black, white, red)
  • 1 year warranty (option to extend 1 year)

Did I mention? It’s also one of the best-made you’ll find, too. 

Cosori 3.7 quart air fryer black white and red color options product image

Choose your favorite of the 3 colors available for a wonderful complement to your kitchen & home.

Great features & controls

Cosori 3.7 qt air fryer control panel features diagram

Controls are simple and straightforward – just use one of the 11 convenient presets or set the cooking time & temperature as recommended in the owner’s manual. Want to reheat last night’s dinner or keep food ready & fresh? Use the Keep Warm button and it’s a snap! During cooking the shake reminder tells you when to shake the food for best cooking.

It’s not lacking in features, that’s for sure! Controls are easy to understand and straightforward: use the cooking time & temperature buttons to adjust up to 400°F temperature and up to an hour (60 minutes) of cooking time.

Another great feature is the Keep Warm button. I’ve found it really helpful for warming refrigerated leftovers from the night before or keeping cooked food warm and fresh. It’s as easy as pushing a button!

Cosori air fryer 11 preset feature diagram

No muss, no fuss! For some of the most common foods you love, just push a button and you’re off! The Cosori air fryer will load the correct cooking time & temperature for great results every time.

One thing that’s really helpful vs competitors is the number of cooking presets you get: 11 in total. While most offer a maximum of 7 or so at the most, that’s a nice advantage.

Power, cooking capacity, & basket features

With 1,500W of power it’s a very capable model and I’ve gotten great results every time.

In my honest opinion, the 3.7 qt capacity is pretty good and it’s enough for 2-4 people or so depending on your cooking needs.

For larger foods and bigger families, it might be worth spending the extra $20 or so to get the larger model (the larger 5.8 qt model Cosori Max XL offers 1700W).

Regardless, frozen foods cook very well in 25 minutes or so. Meats, fish, and popular sides like tater tots or french fries are amazing and delicious! I love how good my food tastes.

Cosori air fryer basket vs other brands comparison

Unlike some other brands, Cosori’s cooking basket design is not only easier to deal with but safer, too. Removing the basket is easy & you won’t have to worry about accidents with hot food. There’s a push button release and a safety guard, too, to avoid mistakes.

The basket’s especially easy to deal with. Unlike some other models I’ve used, there’s a pretty cool design that’s unusual in that’s not just easier but safer too:

  • Avoid spilling hot foods: A sliding cover prevents accidentally pushing the basket release
  • Easy in, easy out: Just push the basket release button to unlock the basket. Unlike other brands the basket comes out easily with the handle.

Clean up is a breeze thanks to both the nonstick coating and easy access to the drip pan. It takes only a moment to wash with warm water and a drop or two of soap and you’re done.

Final thoughts

It’s a great buy for the money – no doubt about it. I really like the instructions & especially the recipe booklet, too, which has 100 detailed recipes for great food. It’s easy to use, reliable, and really clean up is a breeze.

It’s not as quiet as some others while it’s working, though, so be aware of that. Also, when not using one of the presets the shake reminder doesn’t work, so you’ll need to keep track of that yourself.

PROS:
  • Great food results w/ 1,500W power
  • Clear, moisture-resistant touch panel
  • Good build quality
  • Clear & easy controls
  • Built in shake reminder
  • 11 food cooking presets
  • Basket separates easily with button
  • Easy clean up
  • Food warming/reheating mode
  • 3.7 qt capacity can cook several servings
  • Includes 100 recipe booklet
  • Accessory set available
  • 3 color options
  • Option to extend warranty by 1 yr
CONS:
  • Somewhat louder while cooking
  • 1 yr warranty included vs 2 yrs of others
  • No shake reminder when using manual cook settings
  • Pricier than some competitors
  • No memory feature for storing custom settings

The Cosori air fryer is a smart choice that works well and delivers hot, delicious food you’ll love just like I do. If you’re shopping not just based on price but instead for quality, it’s a great one you shouldn’t pass up!

Don’t make a buying mistake! Take a moment and check out the thousands of happy buyer reviews and best seller rating at Amazon.

Cosori air fryer CP158-AF 5.8 qt model product imageNeed a bigger one? Check out it’s big brother, the Cosori Max XL 5.8 qt model for about $20 more.

3. GoWise USA 3.7 quart 1,400W – An affordable value that’s hard to beat!

GoWise USA 3.7 qt air fryer product imageNeed a more affordable option but don’t want to give up features? The GoWise USA 3.7 quart air fryer is a great compromise between price, features, and performance!

Check out what you’ll get for under $75:

  • Great 1,400W power for 170-400°F cooking
  • 3.7 qt size hold enough for 1-2 meals
  • 1-30 minutes cooking time
  • Durable nonstick basket coating make cleanup easy
  • Clear, easy controls & display
  • 8 cooking presets including warm/reheat mode
  • 4 color options (where available)
  • 50 recipe booklet included
  • Compact size
  • 1 year warranty

GoWise air fryer product colors example image

Choose from several great colors to suit your fancy. Even a nice Plum (purple) for something that matches your personality.

Features & controls

GoWise air fryer controls diagram

Controls are simple, clear, and easy to use. Use of 7 food presets to bring up the perfect cooking settings for your favorite foods. Push the warm button to reheat or keep food fresh & delicious until you’re ready to eat.

One of my favorite things about the GoWise is that it’s really easy to use:

  • Controls are very clear and well-labeled
  • Pick one of 7 food presets (or warm/reheat) for the perfect settings
  • Alternatively, adjust the temperature & time using the “-” & “+” buttons

You’ll see the fan indicator show you when it’s cooking and a 5-beep reminder will let you know when cooking is done. 

You won’t get as many presets as with more expensive models, but it’s a compromise that comes with a more compact & less expensive model like this. Unlike the touch type of buttons some bigger models offer, the GoWise uses raised push buttons but in my experience, it works pretty well.

Not to worry if you get food on the controls while handling your meal: just wipe off the front with a moist towel and it’s clean.

Cooking basket, power, and more

GoWise air fryer basket product feature example image

No muss, no fuss! A great basket design means it’s a snap to handle food, serve it, and clean up later, too. Thanks to a smart design the food basket locks into place in the drip pan and separates 

With a 3.7 quart capacity I had plenty of room for 12 wings (my favorite!), a medium-sized bag of french fries, and even two chicken breasts. It’s not enough for a full family but plenty enough for 1-2 or even a few more people.

(Note: A larger capacity 5.8 qt GoWise air fryer is available, too)

The basket design is pretty good, too. Like other better brands I’ve tried, there’s a nice locking feature which allows securing or removing the food basket from the drip pan.

Not only that, but it’s also really easy to serve foods like crispy fries or my favorite: tater tots. Just tilt the basket and pour.

The cooking power (1,400W) is higher than many competitors in its price range which surprised me. 

It cooks really well, in fact – and there aren’t any undercooked food problems like you’ll get with the unknown brand air fryers you see in stores.

Final thoughts

It’s affordable, has good features, and it’s pretty compact too meaning it’ll take less counter space than others. Overall, it’s a good choice with only a few minor complaints.

Pure touch button controls & more food presets would be nice. Unlike other products like from Cosori, you’re limited to 30 minutes of cooking maximum vs 60. There’s also no built-in shake reminder offered either.

Regardless, those are pretty small gripes and don’t change my opinion: it’s a good value and a good performer worth checking out.

PROS:
  • Cooks well w/ 1,400W power
  • Great value for the money
  • Clear, moisture-resistant touch panel
  • Compact size (11.5 x 12.25 x 14 in.)
  • Simple & easy controls
  • Comfortable basket handle
  • 7 food presets + warm mode
  • Basket separates easily with button
  • Easy clean up
  • 3.7 qt capacity can cook several servings
  • Includes 50 recipe booklet
  • 4 color options
CONS:
  • 30 minute max. cook time
  • More limited 1 year warranty
  • No shake reminder feature
  • Push button controls vs touch controls of others

For less than $65-75, it’s a good one! It’s compact, powerful, easy to use, and more importantly, the food turns out nice & tasty! Want the best of both worlds – features and affordability? With the GoWise you can have it.

Don’t just take my word for it. Find out today why it's one of the most popular and best rated affordable air fryers at Amazon.

4. Dash Compact 1.6 qt (1.2L) 1000W – Affordable & reliable healthy cooking you can count on.

Dash Compact 1.2L air fryer red product image

How about a choice that’s super-simple, reliable, and saves money? The Dash Compact air fryer is all of these and more for around $50 or less.

It’s a great little choice for people who want to spend less and don’t need the bells and whistles that more expensive models offer. If you don’t need to cook meals for a family, it’s just right!

What really makes me happy about the Dash Compact (besides that it’s also pretty darn nice looking) is that it’s so darn easy to use!  It’s also about 1/2 the size of many of its competitors too.

Just add your food, set the temperature dial, adjust the timer dial, and you’re done!

While it’s good a classic, simple design, the features are pretty good for the money:

  • 1,000W power gives great-tasting & crispy meals
  • Better value per dollar vs other brands
  • Reliable dial controls don’t need electronics
  • Takes up less space (only 10.2 × 8.1 × 11.4 in)
  • Auto-off timer prevents overcooking
  • Cool touch handle prevents burns
  • Durable nonstick finish in basket & drip pan
  • Power-on & cooking indicators
  • Available in 5 classic & sleek colors
  • Includes clear instructions & 15+ recipe booklet

Simple, reliable controls

Dash Compact air fryer controls closeup image

It doesn’t get any easier than this! Just rotate the temperature & timer dials and you’ll have hot, delicious, and crispy food in a handful of minutes. With no electronic controls to worry about, you’ll get years of reliable use.

Let me be honest: while I do love electronics (who doesn’t?), there’s something to be said for non-digital electromechanical controls like the Dash compact offers.

They’re ultra-reliable, with years of foolproof reliability. They’re also so easy a child can do it!

The Dash offers not just affordability but also ultra-simple and super-reliable operation that’s as easy as rotating the dials. That’s it! 

Select from 170 to 400°F temperature range and 1-30 minutes of cooking time.

Power & cooking quality

Dash Compact air fryer cooked food examples

While you might think that with 1,000W vs the higher power of more expensive models is a drawback, it’s not. Since it’s a more compact air fryer the power is plenty and food turns out great!

I’ve gotten great results with wings, shrimp, cheese sticks, and much more. Food is hot, fresh, and crispy – delicious!

With a maximum of 30 minutes with the cooking timer, once the timer runs out the unit shuts off automatically so there’s no danger of overcooking or an accident.

With the 1.6 qt capacity, 12 wings or 1/2 bag of potatoes are no problem.

Basket features and easy cleanup

Dash Compact air fryer basket use example

Example of how fats & grease are caught in the drip pan after use. To clean up, you’ll remove the basket (food) tray from the pan and wash it with warm soap & water.

Clean up is easy once you’re done, although unlike some other models, unfortunately, there’s no easy release design that pulls a food basket from the drip pan with the handle. Instead, the food “basket” is a tray you remove by hand.

While not quite as convenient, it’s not hard and clean up is easy. Before removing the tray it’s easy to pour foods like french fries & wings directly onto a plate using the handle.

Clean up is easy! Just wash using a cloth or soft sponge and warm water with soap.

Final thoughts

It’s a great little affordable air fryer – perfect for 1-2 people, whether at work, home, or your college dorm. Food turns out very nicely and is tasty & crispy just like you love.

While fancier features are nice, what makes the Dash Compact great is the simple & reliable dial controls that won’t let you down. It’s amazingly easy to use, too.

The one downside is the basket design as there’s no quick-release button like with other models. However, in practice, it’s not a big drawback and doesn’t take away from a very nice little air fryer I’ve enjoyed using.

PROS:
  • Cooks well w/ 1,000W power
  • Affordable & well-made
  • Ultra-simple use
  • Compact size (10 x 8.1 x 11.4 in.)
  • Lightweight design
  • Shuts off automatically
  • Handle stays cool
  • Power & cooking indicators
  • Simple basket design
  • Easy clean up
  • Good for 1-2 people
  • Includes 15+ recipe booklet
  • 5 color options
  • 1 year warranty
CONS:
  • 30 minute max. cook time
  • More limited 1 year warranty
  • No shake reminder feature
  • Recipe booklet has fewer cooking ideas

I’ve grown to love the simplicity and small size of the Dash Compact. It’s a great little air fryer & perfect for work and people with smaller cooking needs.

At around $50 or so, it’s a good buy, too. You’ll love it as much as I have!

Take a second to see the amazing buyer reviews and current low price at Amazon now.

Helpful air fryer cooking articles

Want to make the perfect food but don’t know how? Check out my helpful articles showing you exactly how long to cook foods in an air fryer plus other tips:

How To Cook Tater Tots In An Air Fryer Like A Pro – Get FANTASTIC, Crunchy Tots Easily!

Featured for how to cook taters tots in an air fryer

Every time I’ve had tater tots while dining out they were a disappointment. Greasy, bland-tasting, and a big waste of money. In fact, I almost never order them anymore.

When I cooked tater tots in my air fryer everything changed. The results were fantastic – I couldn’t get enough of them!

Here’s a simple and easy guide to show you how to cook tater tots in an air fryer like a pro. You can get perfectly brown, crunchy, and delicious tots in 30 minutes or less!

Contents

Infographic – How to cook great frozen tater tots

Infographic showing how to cook tater tots in an air fryer

Basics first: Steps for cooking frozen tater tots

Cooking your own frozen tater (potato) tots at home is really simple. However, there are some details you’ll need to see to get the best results and avoid hassle.

First things first: Here’s a layout of the basics steps for cooking tater tots you’ll love to eat.

Basic steps for cooking frozen tater tots in an air fryer
  1. Preheat the air fryer – Typically you’ll just need to let the air fryer run at the cooking temperature (380°F is recommended) for 5 minutes
  2. Place the frozen tots in the fryer basket – To help cook better, shake the container to even them out inside. For great crisping, use a cooking spray to lightly coat with oil if desired. Canola oil is a good choice.
  3. Cooking: With the temperature set properly (380°F is good), cook for about 25 minutes. After 15 minutes, shake the tots carefully to turn over uncooked areas and expose to hot cooking air. Spray cooking oil again if desired. Start the air fryer again.
  4. Final cooking: Check the tots again after 20 minutes. When fully cooked, the internal temperature will be above 165°F and the outside browned and crisp. 25 minutes should be enough time to cook them well.
  5. Empty the tots carefully and avoid the hot fryer basket. Tots are easy to pour into a bowl or plate. A fork or tongs may help too.

How & why to preheat your air fryer

Image showing example of preheating air fryers for cooking tater tots

Top: Preheating an air fryer with digital controls. These often have a preheat mode button. Bottom: For standard models, you can preheat the fryer by adjusting it to the 380 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 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

Basically, it just means 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.

Just like in the winter when you warm up a car before driving, it’s a way to get your fryer ready to use.

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.

Even though air fryers are small and don’t take a long time to warm up like traditional ovens, they still need a few minutes time before they’re ready.

How to preheat your air fryer

Image showing temperature measurement of Dash air fryer preheat time

I recorded preheating times to 380°F for the air fryers used in this post before I started cooking tater (potato) tots. I found out that they actually reach the cooking temperature before 5 minutes. However, the air fryer self needs the extra time (5 minutes total) to get completely ready. The internal surfaces should be hot and ready to cook food when you put the food inside.

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.
  • 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 380°F as we’ll use that for cooking.

Getting your tater tots ready to cook

Image showing examples of how to prepare tater tots for cooking in air fryers

It’s really easy & quick to get your tots ready for the best cooking possible. Fill the fryer container (basket) with the frozen potato tots. Next, shake them to help even them out and spread them within the container for best heat exposure. For a wonderfully crunchy & browned outside, use a light cooking spray and add a light coat before cooking. Canola oil is a great choice.

Now it’s time to get your tots ready. Don’t worry, though – it’s really easy and only takes a moment. You’ll also find it helpful for cooking french fries, wings, or other foods in your fryer too.

  1. Add the frozen tots to the fryer basket. Fries or tots shouldn’t go above the top edge of the container.
  2. Shake the basket container until the pieces “even out.” That is, shake them until they’re more evenly spread inside the container. This helps them cook better as they get more even exposure to the hot air that cooks them.
  3. For wonderfully crunchy and browned tots, spray lightly using a cooking oil. Canola oil is a healthy choice and it’s very easy to use.
  4. Place the container back inside the air fryer.

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

That’s another reason you’ll need shake the tots during cooking (I’ll cover this below).

Using a cooking spray

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

A helpful bit of advice is that you can use a cooking spray like canola oil, available in any supermarket to spray the food with. Doing so helps the food crisp better while cooking.

That goes not just for potato foods like french fries but also wings, chicken, and other types that are more fun to eat when crunchy on the outside. It’s a tip I picked up from my Cuisinart toaster oven/air fryer 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 look slightly wet. You won’t need much – just enough to see on the top of surfaces.

How long should I cook frozen tater tots?

Image showing cooking times for frozen tater tots in air fryers

I carefully recorded cooking times while checking the tots every few minutes to get perfectly cooked tots. My larger air fryer (a 3.7 quart Cosori unit) and the smaller one, a 1.2 qt Dash personal air fryer, both were done after 25 minutes cooking time. In both cases I shook the contents after 15 minutes and re-sprayed the canola oil.

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.

What’s interesting is that unlike some other foods, in the case of tater tots both were done in 25 minutes.

That’s a bit different from what I’ve seen when cooking hamburgers, wings, and other thicker foods.

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

  • 0-8 mins: Thawed out, starting to warm up inside
  • 8-10 mins or so: Beginning to brown a bit on the outside slightly
  • 10-15: Insides are cooked decently, outside becomes crisped and browned
  • 15 minutes: (Shake, re-spray, and start cooking again)
  • 20-25 mins: Newly exposed, uncooked sides are crisping and browning
  • 25 mins: Crunchy, hot, and ready to eat!

Don’t forget to check & shake!

Labeled diagram showing checking and shaking tater tots after 15 minutes of cooking

Shaking your tots during cooking is important for getting perfectly evenly cooked results that you’ll love eating. Once 15 minutes of cooking time has passed, remove them, and shake (or use a fork or tongs, if helpful) to expose the unfinished sides. Lightly spray cooking oil again then place them back into the air fryer.

For the best tots you can cook, remove them and shake after 15 minutes. When doing so you’ll want to turn them over to expose the unfinished sides of the tots to face upwards.

I recommend spraying again lightly with cooking oil too.

Put them back into the fryer and check again at 25 minutes (your timer should be set for 25 minutes anyway). Your tots should be completely done and fantastic!

Image showing how to check tater tots internal temperature with a digital food thermometer

Tip: You can be confident how well food is cooked by using a digital temperature gauge with probe to check. When the temperature inside reaches 165° and above the food should be safe to eat and nearly done (depending on the outside too). I recommend the ThermoPro TP03A digital kitchen gauge as it’s affordable, easy to use, and works well.

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

Image showing a perfectly cooked tater tot example and empty the cooked food from air fryers

Unlike wings or other heavier foods, tater tots are fine (and pretty easy) to pour out directly from the container into a plate or container. They don’t produce a lot of oil that can spill like meats do. When using tongs or a fork to empty the fryer basket, use care as they’re easy to break apart.

While I usually recommend against pouring food directly from the fryer basket into a plate or container, it’s different for tater tots, french fries, and potato wedges. That’s because they don’t produce a lot of leftover oil and fat that can spill like chicken wings or other meats do.

Just carefully pour them directly from the container while being careful not to touch the hot metal. A fork or tongs can help too, but be careful not to scratch the non-stick coating inside or to break the tots open.

I learned the hard way that tater tots are easy to break open by accident with tongs.

I strongly recommend serving your fresh tots right away as if left to grow cold they’ll lose their crunchiness and won’t taste the same! 

Add a good brand of ketchup (or other tasty sauce you love) on the side, and enjoy!

Note: Don’t use a microwave oven to reheat cold or soft tots. It won’t work and honestly the taste is pretty disappointing compared to fresh ones.

You can warm & crisp them back to a delicious, fresh state by reheating them in a warm air fryer at 380°F for about 5 minutes.

Image showing example perfectly cooked delicious tater tots

Yes, you’re done – time to eat! After cooking add good ole’ ketchup or your favorite side sauce, then dig in! You’ll be enjoying AMAZING tater tots that are BETTER than from a restaurant! Healthier, non-greasy, and even taste better…I couldn’t believe it until I cooked my own. Simply fantastic!

Let me be completely honest: I never thought I’d enjoy tater tots after how many times I’ve been served soggy, tasteless, and cold ones in restaurants (while dripping grease, too!).

However, cooking my own tots in my air fryers was an amazing experience – I love them!

Plus the amount of time, hassle, and money you’ll save is great, too. Cooking them yourself at home when you want is a very cool & empowering feeling.

Not only that, but as well as being better tasting and crunchier, they’re much healthier, too! There’s no shortening oil to put in your body or to make a mess.

Clean up & last notes

Image showing leftover oil & grease in air fryers for chicken wings vs tater tots

Check out what’s left over after cooking different foods! The good news is that while foods like wings and hamburger patties can leave over some messy fat & grease, tater tots leave almost nothing. They’re 100% pure potatoes, after all. You can expect to have to clean up a tiny bit of residue and crumbs, however.

Many foods you cook in an air fryer like meats tend to leave a fair (or high) amount of fat and grease behind. That’s not the case with tater tots, french fries, and other foods like them.

I did have a very small amount of crumbs and residue left over to clean up, but it was almost nothing. Clean up is a snap!

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 do it that way as well)

More air fryer cooking guides

How about even more fantastic foods you can cook easily? Check out my other guides based on hands-on testing, measurements, and of course, delicious taste!

How To Make Frozen Wings In An Air Fryer – A Simple Guide For Everyone

How to make frozen wings in an air fryer featured image

Ah, yeah! It’s time for wings! They’re one of my favorite treats to enjoy when I eat out.

The problem is that while you & I both love fresh chicken wings it takes time & money to dine out. Even worse, I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve been disappointed by the ones I paid good money for.

In my detailed guide, I’ll show you how to make fantastic frozen chicken wings in an air fryer. It’s simple, cheap, and they’re delicious!

Contents

Infographic – Air fryer frozen wing basics

How to make frozen air wings in an air fryer infographic guide

Basics first: Steps for cooking air fryer chicken wings

Making your own frozen wings at home with your air fryer is simple. But there are a few things to know to get the best flavor for your effort and to avoid the hassle, too.

First things first: Here’s a layout of the basics steps to cook delicious chicken wings you’ll be proud of.

Basic steps for cooking frozen wings in an air fryer
  1. Preheat the air fryer – Typically you’ll just need to let the air fryer run at the cooking temperature (380°F is recommended) for 5 minutes
  2. Place the frozen wings into the fryer basket – To help distribute them better for good cooking, shake the container to even them out inside. For better crisping, use a light cooking spray to lightly coat with oil if desired. Canola oil is a good choice.
  3. Cooking: With the temperature set properly (380°F is good), cook for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, shake the wings carefully to turn over uncooked areas and expose to hot cooking air. Spray cooking oil again if desired. Start the air fryer again.
  4. Final cooking: Check the wings again after 25 minutes. When fully cooked, the internal temperature should be above 165°F and the outside browned and crisp. If necessary, shake again and continue cooking until 30 minutes are done.
  5. Remove the wings carefully to avoid the hot fryer basket. To avoid spilling leftover grease, tongs are recommended for empty them. Add seasoning or your favorite sauce. Enjoy!

How & why to preheat your air fryer

Image showing examples of preheating air fryers for cooking frozen chicken wings

Top: Preheating an air fryer with digital controls. These often have a preheat mode button. Bottom: For standard models, you can preheat the fryer by adjusting it to the 380 degree temperature and setting the cooking timer for 5 minutes.

Just as we do with ordinary ovens, air fryer manufacturers recommend warming up the fryer before. Why, you may ask?

Preheating an air fryer does several things:

  • The heating element is brought to a ready (hot) state
  • Interior surfaces which help cook food are heated and ready to work properly
  • Preheating removes the warming delay that would happen otherwise when cooking

Basically, this just means you’re getting your air fryer ready to begin cooking right away. You won’t have the cooking process slowed by having to heat up while you’re cooking. It’s sort of like how we let a car warm up in the wintertime before driving it.

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 air fryers are small and don’t take a long time to warm up like traditional ovens, they still need a few minutes time before they’re ready.

How to preheat your air fryer

Image showing temperature measurement of Dash air fryer preheat time

I measured the preheat times to 380°F for both of my air fryers before I cooked wings. Even though they reach their full cooking temperature in under 5 minutes, as a rule it’s best to use that amount of time. The internal surfaces should be hot and ready to cook food on contact so you’ll want to be confident they’re up to temperature.

Preheating is really easy! The way you go about doing it depends on the type of air fryer you’ll use.

Preheating is done two ways:

  • Digital controls/push buttons: Most have a preheat button to take care of this. 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.
  • 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 typical preheat time that works well. Use a preheating temperature that’s the same as you’ll use for your food (380°F is recommended for frozen wings).

Getting your wings ready to cook

Image showing getting frozen wings ready for cooking

Getting your wings ready is really simple and takes just a moment or two, so don’t worry! Fill your fryer container with the frozen wings (no higher than the top edge of the basket). Next, shake the wings to help even them out and space them apart for best exposure to the hot cooking air. Tip: To help crisping on the outside you may want to lightly coat the wings with a cooking oil such as canola.

Next, you’ll need to get your wings ready. It’s easy and fast, so don’t worry – in fact, you’ll need to do this same routine for french fries, tater tots, and other foods you’ll enjoy with an air fryer.

  1. Add the frozen wings to the fryer basket. Wings shouldn’t go above the top edge of the container.
  2. Shake the basket container until the wings “even out.” That is, shake them until they’re more evenly spaced inside the container. This helps them cook well as they get more exposure to the hot air around them.
  3. (Optional) For help with crisping the outside of the wings, add a light coating of cooking oil like canola or other oil of your choice.
  4. Place the container back inside the air fryer.

When it comes to using an air fryer, it’s important to cover up the food as little as possible. Food that’s stacked on each other cover portions and won’t cook as well.

It’s also one reason you’ll need to shake the wings during cooking (I’ll cover this below).

Using a cooking spray

Image showing an example of spray canola oil for cooking

A helpful bit of advice is that you can use a cooking spray like canola oil, available in any supermarket to spray the food with. Doing so helps the food crisp better while cooking.

That goes not just for meats but french fries, tater tots, and other foods that are more enjoyable when crunchy on the outside. It’s a tip I picked up from my Cuisinart toaster oven/air fryer owner’s manual.

To do so, spray enough to lightly coat the outside of your wings or other food. You won’t need much – just enough to cover the top surfaces.

How long should I cook frozen chicken wings?

Image showing examples of measured cooking times for chicken wings

To be very careful and get the best info, I measured cooking times for both larger and smaller air fryers. The larger model (a 3.7 quart Cosori unit) had the wings crisp & ready in 25 minutes. The smaller one, a 1.2 qt Dash personal air fryer, needed a bit more time (and I also needed to shake them a bit more) at about 30 minutes.

I carefully checked my wings and measured cooking times for wings prepared in 2 sizes of air fryers many people will use: One more suitable for families (3.7 quart capacity) and one for individuals (1.2 quart capacity).

What I found was interesting. Even though some other foods like frozen hamburger patties cook with about the same amount of time, in testing the times were slightly different for wings.

Basically what you need to know is that you’ll need to cook frozen wings for about 25 to 30 minutes.

Here’s a timeline of what happens when making wings:

  • 0-10 mins: Thawed out, starting to warm up inside the wings
  • 10-15: Cooking more inside, outside (on top) begins to brown. At 15 minutes be sure to shake and turn them over.
  • 20 mins: Last exposed sides of wings are browning
  • 25 mins: Some air fryers will be done!
  • 30 mins: Should be enough time for others fryers to finish

Don’t forget to check & shake!

Image with diagram showing example of partially cooked chicken wings in air fryer after shaking

Shaking the wings is important for getting great results. You’ll want to shake them to turn the uncooked sides over so they’ll be exposed to hot cooking air. In only takes a few seconds – just gently shake & stir them (or optionally you can use a fork or tongs) to move them around as needed.

It’s important to remove and shake the wings after 15 minutes. You’ll want to do this to turn them over and expose the uncooked sides to the hot air. If you wish, add more cooking oil spray again.

Put the wings back into the fryer and check again at 25 minutes. For some air fryers, the food will be fully cooked now.

Others (like the smaller Dash compact air fryer I own) may need a few more minutes. At 25 minutes cooking time, also check if you need to shake them again.

If you find that there are still some parts of the wings left uncooked, be sure to shake them again and continue cooking until 30 minutes are done.

Once cooking time is up, you’re ready!

Image showing how to check the internal temperature of wings with a digital food thermometer - ThermoPro TP03A

Tip: You can be confident how well food is cooked by using a digital temperature gauge with a probe to check. When the temperature inside reaches 165° and above the food should be safe to eat and nearly done (depending on the outside too). I use a nice little ThermoPro TP03A digital kitchen gauge that’s very affordable and works great.

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

Image showing cooked wings being removed from air fryers

While you can directly pour the wings onto a plate after cooking I recommend using a fork or tongs (even better!) When dumping the food out it’s easy to accidentally spill the leftover liquified fat or grease. I’ve also dropped wings on to the floor, sadly.

When done cooking, I recommend you don’t just dump out the wings on to a plate or bowl as it’s easy to spill the leftover grease/liquid fat or drop wings on the floor.

In my experience, it’s easier to use some inexpensive food tongs (or a fork as well). They’re also helpful for keeping your hands away from the hot fryer basket.

After emptying the fryer container, add your favorite dry sub seasoning, sauce, or whatever you prefer. I recommend serving them immediately as the taste just isn’t the same after reheating.

Note: If adding dry rub seasoning it’s a bit messy so go easy on pouring it out. After some time, however, the seasoning will stick to the wings and won’t be so hard to deal with when eating or moving them.

Image showing adding dry rub seasoning to wings after cooking and the finished basket of food

After cooking and adding the flavoring or favorite sauce you can have fresh, hot, and most of all delicious wings just like these! Restaurant-style quality that’s cheaper, healthier, and in less time. Even better – you can do it yourself any time you like!

I’m pretty amazed at how great mine turned out. The amount of time, money, and hassle I saved by cooking them at home is fantastic!

Not only that, but it’s a really great feeling to have cooked your own healthier and fresher food yourself.

Clean up & last notes

Image showing leftover grease after cooking frozen wings in air fryers

Check out what’s left over after cooking in an air fryer! Wow. Even though it looks terribly messy, clean-up is easy. After letting the cooking basket cool down in only takes a moment or two to wash the parts in your kitchen sink.

You’ll have some liquified fat (oil) and grease left after cooking your wings. I was really interested to see what it was that I wouldn’t be eating, unlike grease-fried wings from a restaurant.

Not to worry, though: clean up is easy. Give the cooking basket & parts some time to cool down. Drain the grease and fat out and dispose of it.

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

After that, just add warm water and a few drops of dishwashing detergent. Clean with a non-abrasive item like a soft sponge to avoid damaging the nonstick surface. It only takes a few moments 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 do it that way as well)

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 Hamburgers In An Air Fryer – A Simple & Easy Guide

How to cook frozen hamburges in an air fryer featured image

Got an air fryer? You’re in luck! It’s actually very easy to make fresh and delicious hamburgers at home.

To help make it simple I’ve put together some easy to understand steps based on my cooking, measurements, and most of all, taste testing!

In this detailed guide, I’ll show you how to cook frozen hamburgers in an air fryer like a pro. You’re going to love how delicious your air fryer hamburgers taste!

Contents

Infographic – Air Fryer Hamburger Quick Tips

Air fryer frozen hamburger cooking guide infographic

Basics first: Steps for cooking air fryer hamburgers

Cooking your own frozen hamburger patties in an air fryer isn’t hard – but there are some things you need to know along the way. I’ll explain more as we go to help save you frustration, wasted food, and time.

First things first: Here’s a layout of the basics steps to cook delicious hamburgers of your own.

Basic steps for cooking frozen hamburgers with an air fryer
  1. Preheat the air fryer – Typically you’ll just need to let the air fryer run at the cooking temperature (400°F is recommended) for 5 minutes
  2. Place the frozen patties properly into the fryer basket – Patties should be placed inside with as little overlap as possible. Add seasoning if you like.
  3. Cooking: With the temperature set properly (400°F is good), cook until slightly darkened. 14 minutes is a good starting point (Be sure to check periodically when first cooking patties)
  4. Remove the patties carefully to avoid touching the hot cooking basket & other surfaces. Be careful to avoid spilling the collected grease & liquified fat. Add condiments and serve hot. Enjoy!

How & why to preheat your air fryer

Image showing examples of preheating air fryers for frozen hamburgers

Top: Example of preheating an air fryer with digital controls that include a preheat mode button. Bottom: For standard control models, you can preheat it by setting it to the 400 degree temperature and set the cooking timer for 5 minutes.

Air fryer manufacturers recommend that – just like conventional ovens – you preheat them before cooking. Why you may ask?

Preheating an air fryer accomplishes several things:

  • The heating element is brought to a ready (hot) state
  • Interior surfaces which help cook food are heated and ready to work properly
  • Preheating removes the warming delay that would happen otherwise when cooking

In other words, it gets your air fryer ready to begin cooking right away and not having the cooking process slowed by having to heat up while you’re cooking. It’s sort of like how we let a car warm up in the wintertime before driving it.

If you want properly cooked food you’ll need to give your fryer time to warm up. Food cooks more consistently this way.

Even though air fryers are small and don’t take a really long time to warm up like traditional ovens, they do still need a few minutes.

How to preheat your air fryer

Image showing temperature measurement of Dash air fryer preheat time

I measured the preheat times to 400°F for both of my air fryers. Although they do reach their full cooking temperature in less than 5 minutes, as a rule it’s best to use that amount of time. The internal surfaces should be hot and ready to cook food on contact.

Preheating is actually super easy! However, it does depend on the type of air fryer you own.

Preheating is done two ways:

  • Digital models: Most have a preheat button to take care of this. 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.
  • Air fryers with dial controls can be set to the cooking temperature and for 5 mins of 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 typical preheat time that works well. Use the cooking temperature for hamburgers in this case (400°F is recommended).

Placing patties in your fryer properly

Diagram showing how to place frozen hamburger patties in an air fryer for cooking

Diagram showing how to place frozen patties in your air fryer for best results. It’s ok if the patties overlap a tiny bit. However, as little as possible is best. That’s because the patties need unblocked access to the hot air inside to cook properly. If a patty is covered too much it can’t brown properly, won’t taste as good, and won’t reach the right cooking temperature. For smaller air fryers, it may be possible to fit more than 1 inside in some cases.

What you need to know about frozen hamburger patties is that when it comes to air fryers you’re going to have to make compromises. Space is tight and that means you can’t cook as many frozen patties as you could on a grill or in an oven.

Because of that, you might be tempted to stack them on top of each other to fit more inside. Don’t!

Frozen patties should be placed inside your air fryer with as little overlap as possible to cook properly. That’s because when covered they won’t get enough exposure to the hot cooking air that’s circulating.

If you must try to squeeze several inside, try to keep them spread out as much as possible. For nice, well-done and browned hamburgers it’s a must!

By the way, browned patties simply taste better than those that aren’t.

Examples of frozen hamburger patties placed in large & small air fryers

Example of fitting 4 patties into a 3.7 qt. air fryer and a smaller 1.2 qt. model. For my larger Cosori model I was able to (barely) fit 4 patties with only a bit of trouble. I experimented with using 2 patties in the smaller Dash compact air fryer, but as you can see it can result in undercooked areas in the meat.

I’ve tested several ways of fitting patties in the smaller air fryer, but it’s hard to get results when trying to do that. My advice would be to cook 1 at a time in a smaller model.

Close up image of a hamburger patty with undercooked area

However, if you’re willing to live with a small amount of hamburger that isn’t browned you could use 2.

If the rest of the patty is browned it’s a sign that the other area is fine to eat – it’s just not done as well.

Got seasoning? Don’t forget!

Image showing adding seasoning to frozen patties in air fryer before cooking

If you’d like to add garlic, pepper, or other seasonings to your hamburgers now’s the time. Add a generous amount before you start cooking

Don’t forget the seasoning! If you’d prefer tasty hamburgers with your own favorite additions like pepper or even Adobo seasoning sprinkle some on the patties before cooking.

Even better, place them on a plate to add seasoning before putting them into the air fryer.

How long should I cook frozen hamburger patties?

Image showing the measured cook time for cooking hamburgers in an air fryer

While test cooking I carefully watched the patties and measured cooking times for 2 typical air fryers: One for families (3.7 qt capacity, 1500 watts power) and a personal model (1.2 qt, 1000 watts power).

What I found was interesting. The proper time was about the same for both appliances.

I measured 14 minutes at 400 degrees to get well-done hamburgers that taste great.

The cooking process for frozen patties was basically like this:

  • 5-6 minutes into cooking: Thawing, begin to cook
  • 8 minutes pass: Lightly cooked, edible, but not really good tasting
  • 10-12 minutes: Begin to brown and more thorough cook, the taste improves
  • 14 minutes: Fully cooked, browned a bit on the outside, and delicious!

What can I say? I’m very careful and a bit “scientific” about how I cook foods the first time. I wanted to be 100% sure I didn’t burn them as well as compare how 2 different air fryers would perform.

Most of all, though, is that I wanted to be sure they taste great!

Image showing measure hamburger meat internal temperature with a ThermoPro TP03A digital thermometer

Tip: You can be confident how well food is cooked by using a digital temperature gauge with pointed probe to check. When the temperature inside reaches 165° or above the food should be safe to eat and nearly done. I use a nice little ThermoPro TP03A digital kitchen gauge that’s very affordable and works great.

After 14 minutes at 400 degrees for most air fryers you should be done and ready to enjoy your delicious, healthy hamburgers.

Note: I strongly recommend carefully checking the progress your first time when cooking new foods. In my experience air fryers sometimes can cook food even faster than you’d expect!

Because of that, it’s easy to burn food until you get the hang of it.

Be sure to check the owner’s manual as well for any recommendations and in case a different cooking time is listed.

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

Images of finished hamburgers & cheeseburgers cooked and ready to eat

The interior surfaces are hot so be careful! I recommend using tongs to remove your patties when they’re done. Build your hamburgers, add condiments, and enjoy! The result is fantastic fresh hamburgers you’ll enjoy…and cooked with far less fat & grease.

When you’ve reached the cooking time or your air fryer has shut off (if you’ve used the timer or a digital preset, depending on the type you own) we’re ready!

While you can use a fork to remove the cooked patties from the fryer cook basket, I prefer tongs. They’re a lot less likely to slip & fall on the floor. They’re also easier to work with, too.

Put your patties on the buns, add condiments as you like, and most importantly, enjoy your fresh, tasty hamburgers!

You’ll notice they have much less fat and grease than those cooked on a traditional restaurant electric grill.

Display image of Dash air fryer with cooked hamburgers

You can enjoy cheaper, healthier, and fresher hamburgers at home…with restaurant-style taste thanks to your air fryer.

Since the patties will cool off rather quickly I strongly recommend serving them as soon as possible for the best taste.

I found mine just weren’t the same after they cooled off and especially if they had to be reheated.

Note: If you’re going reheat hamburgers, considering using the “warm” feature on your digital model or seat your air fryer to 300 degrees for a few minutes use. You’ll get better overall (taste) results than from a microwave oven.

Clean up & last notes

Image showing grease and fat after cooking hamburgers in an air fryer

It’s amazing how much fat and grease is left over after cooking hamburgers! Wow. Even though it looks terribly messy clean-up is easy. After letting the cooking basket cool down in only takes a moment or two to wash the parts in your kitchen sink.

You’ll have a fair amount of grease and fat left over after cooking frozen hamburger patties. I was surprised just how much, in fact.

Not to worry, though: clean up is easy. Give the cooking basket & parts some time to cool down. Drain the grease and fat out and dispose of it.

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

After that, just add warm water and some dishwashing detergent. Clean with a non-abrasive item like a soft sponge to avoid damaging the nonstick surface. It only takes a few moments 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 do it that way as well)

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!