The Size Tip To Be Aware Of When Looking At Air Fryers

If you're like many home chefs with grand ideas and little time, an air fryer may be niggling at the edges of your culinary brain. It's an investment for sure, maybe even a splurge considering that you already have a perfectly functional oven. You might even own a countertop toaster oven for quickie cooking, but trust us — it's way different than the nuanced joys of air frying.

Keep those air fryer thoughts alive, because you can air fry just about anything that strikes your fancy. From french fries and homemade potato chips to chicken strips, vegetables, hamburgers, fish, frittatas, steaks, pickles, breads, and even whole roasted chicken with a rotisserie attachment.

Once you've convinced yourself to deep-dive into the world of air frying, that decision launches a sometimes overwhelming search for just the right type. Features and price considerations are a given, but there's one attribute that's arguably even more important: size.

In particular, you need one that meets the needs of your household, whether it's meals for one, two, or 20. Size matters when choosing food capacity limits as well as the types of meals you hope to cook inside your new oven. Let's face it — air fryers have relatively limited available cooking space, so it's important to know the limitations of each version.

Size and functionality

If you're just beginning the search for an air fryer size that fits your family and cooking style, it helps to become familiar with the two main styles: basket versions and what's generally known as "air fryer ovens."

Basket-style air fryers have the least cooking space, starting with a 1 or 2-quart capacity for single meals. Four quarts is an average size, suitable for 2-4 people, but may still require multiple rounds of cooking. That's especially true if you're air frying more than one meal component. Extra-large basket versions can go as high as 8 or 12 quarts for larger families and up to about 6-8 servings.

One thing that helps with diversified meals is dual-basket air fryers, which are not only larger but allow separate yet simultaneous cooking. 

Then there's the largest and most versatile of them all, the air fryer oven. Some look almost identical to countertop toaster ovens, but, like the original basket versions, they use circulating hot air to achieve fried, baked, roasted, toasted, broiled, and dehydrated deliciousness.

Air fryer ovens come with multiple levels of crisper trays, allowing several dishes to nestle separately inside. Overall capacities generally range from 12 to 32 quarts or more. The shape also matters, with short, wide versions easily accommodating pizzas, and the taller boxy ovens facilitating multi-tiered cooking and rotisserie chickens.

At the end of the day, it's wise to choose an air fryer that fits your needs (and your countertop).