Can You Cook Multiple Foods In The Air Fryer At Once?

Air fryers have taken the U.S. by a storm since they first became ultra-popular in 2017, with a little more than $1 billion worth of the appliances sold in 2021, according to The New York Times. And for good reason, as air fryers provide a healthy alternative to deep frying foods. Not only does air frying result in about 70% less calories than deep frying, but it even decreases the amount of acrylamide released, a chemical that has been associated with cancer, WebMD shares.

But those aren't the only benefits you get when air frying your favorite foods. Not only do these devices make food perfectly crispy without tons of oil, but they're easy to use with fairly quick cooking times — all you need to do is throw your food in the basket and set the time and temperature. The biggest caveat here is that not every food will hold up well in an air fryer. For example, loose liquids like sauces are a no-go (although you probably aren't trying to crisp up your sauce anyway), as well as high-fat foods that create drippings, like bacon (via Food Network).

If you're just cooking for yourself or a friend, you may be tempted to throw your whole meal in the air fryer — meat, veggies, and all. It's true that the baskets can technically fit more than one item, but is it possible to cook multiple foods in an air fryer?

Certain foods can cook together in an air fryer

For those trying to dirty as few dishes as possible, you're in luck, as you can cook multiple foods in an air fryer. According to New Air, some air fryers come with a separator, so you don't have to risk the ingredients rolling into each other while cooking. To keep things simple, try to pair items together that have similar cooking times and require the same amount of oil — for example, French fries and potato wedges can typically go together, Frying With Air shares.

Another way to cook multiple foods is to use a rack. While this does require an extra tool, Big Time Kitchen explains that any type of food can be air fried on a rack, as it increases your cooking surface area. If you don't want to deal with a rack, however, your options are a little more limited. An important rule of air frying is to avoid crowding the basket, as this will cause the food to cook unevenly — for example, stacking chicken breasts without a rack will prevent the center pieces from getting proper heat flow (via Food Network). If you realize you have too much food to fit in the basket on a single layer, you may have to cook your food in batches.

So in short, you can cook different items in an air fryer, but keep these guidelines in mind so you don't end up with an undercooked meal.