Can You Stack Food In An Air Fryer? 

Air fryers have gained immense popularity as versatile kitchen appliances that can cook a wide range of foods with less oil, resulting in healthier and crispy results.

One common question that arises when using an air fryer is whether it’s possible to stack food inside the cooking chamber.

While stacking food can be convenient when cooking multiple items simultaneously, it’s essential to understand the considerations and techniques involved to achieve optimal results.

In this article, we will explore the topic of stacking food in an air fryer, discussing the important factors to keep in mind to ensure even cooking, proper airflow, and delicious outcomes.

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced air fryer user, these tips will help you make the most out of your cooking adventures with stacked food in an air fryer.

How does an air fryer cook food? 

An air fryer cooks food by utilizing rapid air circulation and high heat. It contains a heating element and a powerful fan that circulates hot air within the cooking chamber.

When you place food inside the air fryer basket or tray, the hot air rapidly surrounds the ingredients, creating a convection effect. This circulating hot air transfers heat to the food, cooking it from all angles. The intense heat and airflow help to mimic the effects of deep frying, resulting in a crispy exterior on the food.

The design of the air fryer allows for efficient and quick cooking, often requiring less oil compared to traditional deep frying methods. This makes it a popular choice for those seeking healthier cooking alternatives without compromising on taste and texture.

Can you stack food in an air fryer? 

Yes, you can stack certain foods in an air fryer, but it’s important to do so correctly to ensure successful cooking. Here are some key points to consider when stacking foods in an air fryer:

  • Similar Cooking Times: When stacking foods, choose ingredients that have similar cooking times and temperature requirements. This ensures that all the items cook evenly and are ready at the same time. If you’re cooking different ingredients with varying cooking times, you may need to stagger their placement or remove certain items earlier to prevent overcooking.
  • Proper Air Circulation: Air fryers work by circulating hot air around the food to cook it. To achieve even cooking, it’s important to allow proper airflow. Avoid overcrowding the air fryer basket or tray, as this can obstruct the air circulation and result in unevenly cooked food. Arrange the food in a single layer as much as possible, leaving some space between the items to allow hot air to circulate freely.
  • Toss and Flip: While stacking food, it’s beneficial to toss or flip the ingredients during the cooking process. This helps expose different sides of the food to the hot air, promoting even cooking. Tossing or flipping can be especially useful when cooking items like fries, chicken wings, or vegetables.
  • Considerations for Crispy Texture: If you’re looking for a crispy texture, stacking food may affect the final result. Foods that are stacked may not get as crispy on the sides that are in contact with each other. It’s worth keeping this in mind and adjusting your expectations accordingly.

How to stack food in an air fryer? 

Stacking food in an air fryer is a straightforward process. The only thing you should be very careful about is the airflow because an air fryer works mainly by circulating hot air; if this flow is compromised, the food will remain raw. 

To stack foods in an air fryer effectively, follow these simple steps:

Choose compatible ingredients

Select foods that have similar cooking times and temperature requirements. This ensures even cooking and prevents over or undercooking.

Arrange in a single layer

Place the first layer of food in the air fryer basket or tray, making sure to leave some space between the pieces. Avoid overcrowding to allow proper airflow and ensure crispy results.

Add subsequent layers

If you need to stack additional food, carefully place it on top of the first layer. Again, make sure to leave space between the items and avoid compressing the food too tightly.

Toss or flip during cooking

To promote even cooking, gently toss or flip the stacked food items during the cooking process. This helps expose different sides to the circulating hot air, resulting in uniformly cooked food.

Monitor cooking times

Keep an eye on the cooking times and adjust if necessary. Some ingredients may require longer or shorter cooking durations, so stagger the placement or remove items as needed to achieve desired doneness.

What is the best way to stack food in an air fryer?

The best ways to stack the food in an air fryer are written below; 

Using racks 

Stacking the food using racks in an air fryer is a great way to maintain the airflow. The tiny pores in the stands and the gap between the pieces allow the hot air to flow and cook the food properly. 

These stainless steel racks usually come along the air fryers as an accessory. You can also buy them from the local stores. These racks are easy and safe to use. You can wash them with cleaning agents or in the dishwasher. 

Cook food in batches

Instead of cooking large pieces of food in the fryer, divide the food into 2 or 3 batches to ensure evenly and faster cooking. 

Undoubtedly, batch cooking is time-consuming, especially if you have a large family. However, to enjoy the best quality and taste of food, you have to make this sacrifice. 

Buy a large air fryer. 

An oversized air fryer is an excellent option because it has more capacity and cooking functions that allow you to cook food more efficiently and nicely. 

You can stack more food in a large air fryer than in ordinary ones. Besides, you can cook two foods at once due to the stainless steel racks. 

How to use airfryer stacking racks? 

Using air fryer racks can be a great way to maximize the cooking capacity and versatility of your air fryer. Here’s a short and concise guide on how to use air fryer racks effectively:

  • Place the air fryer rack inside the cooking chamber of the air fryer.
  • Arrange the food items on the rack in a single layer, leaving space between each item for proper air circulation.
  • Ensure that the rack is stable and secure inside the air fryer to prevent it from shifting during cooking.
  • Set the cooking time and temperature according to the recipe or the desired doneness of the food.
  • During the cooking process, periodically check on the food and rotate the rack if necessary to promote even cooking.
  • Once the food is cooked to your desired level, carefully remove the rack from the air fryer using oven mitts or tongs.
  • Let the food cool for a few minutes before serving, as the rack may retain heat.
  • Clean the air fryer rack thoroughly according to the manufacturer’s instructions, ensuring it is completely dry before storing it for future use.

Do you have to flip flop an air fryer while using racks? 

When using racks in an air fryer, flipping or flipping the food items is not always necessary. The primary purpose of using racks is to allow better airflow and ensure even cooking on all sides of the food.

However, depending on the specific recipe or the nature of the food being cooked, flipping or rotating the food on the racks can be beneficial. Flipping can help promote even browning and crispy texture, particularly for items like chicken wings or fries.

If you notice uneven cooking or want to achieve a more uniform result, you can consider flipping or rotating the food items on the racks halfway through the cooking process.

However, for some foods, flipping may not be required, and they can cook perfectly without any intervention.

Can you double stack foods in an air fryer? 

In general, it is not recommended to double stack foods in an air fryer. Double stacking can hinder proper airflow and result in uneven cooking. The hot air needs to circulate freely around the food to ensure even browning and crispiness.

To achieve the best results, it’s advisable to arrange the food in a single layer, leaving some space between each piece for optimal air circulation.

If you need to cook a larger quantity of food, consider cooking it in multiple batches instead of double stacking, ensuring each batch has enough space for the hot air to circulate.

How much food should you put in an air fryer? 

Usually, the air fryers come with a line on the basket indicating the fryer’s maximum limit. By keeping the line in consideration, you can fill the basket of the air fryer with food. 

Air fryers are available in different sizes and ranges. For example, some fryers are for small families like 2-3 people, and some are for large families with large meal capacities. 

Most cooking experts recommend stacking food in batches no matter if you have a large fryer or a small one because when you toss large pieces of food together in the fryer, the heating element will start wearing off and burn the food quickly. 

Moreover, if you are air frying frozen meat or french fries, fry in batches. It will allow the hot air to move properly and make the outer layer crispy. 

How full can you fill your air fryer? 

The recommended fill level for an air fryer can vary depending on the specific model and manufacturer’s instructions.

However, as a general guideline, it is typically recommended to fill an air fryer basket or tray with food up to around 75% of its total capacity. This allows enough space for proper air circulation and ensures that the food cooks evenly.

Overfilling an air fryer can impede the air circulation, resulting in uneven cooking and potentially longer cooking times. Therefore, it’s important to refer to the instruction manual or guidelines provided by the manufacturer for the specific fill level recommendations for your air fryer model.

Can you overload an air fryer? 

Overloading the air fryer with food is not a great idea because every machine has its limit, and when you exceed that limit, it doesn’t work properly. 

When you fill the bucket of the air fryer with food, it blocks the airflow and starts damaging the appliance. 

Moreover, if you stack too much food in the air fryer, the hot air will be unable to circulate in the bucket and keep the food raw. In some cases, the hot air burns the surface of food and makes it tasteless. 

You should avoid overcrowding the air fryer if you want to enjoy an evenly cooked, delectable meal. 

Can you stack chicken wings in an air fryer? 

Yes, you can stack the chicken wings in the air fryer. Chicken wings are a delicious treat to satiate the cravings and serve the guest as a starter before the main course. In addition, it is easy to make and consumes significantly less time. 

Preparation of golden crispy fried chicken wings with a soft interior becomes even easier with the help of an air fryer. You can prepare it within a few minutes with little or no effort. 

Like conventional ovens, air fryers work by circulating hot air inside. All you have to do is; oil the fryer lightly and stack the chicken wings. Make sure the wings are uneven in shape and firm to avoid airflow disruption. 

Start cooking the wings. Do not forget to flip the sides at least 2-3 times to ensure even cooking and good texture. 

Apart from this, many cooking experts recommend cooking the chicken wings in two batches. The reason is the air fryer cooks by moving hot air, which makes the wings crispier quickly. 

Which thing can you stack in an air fryer?

Generally, the ingredients you can stir, shake, turn & separate easily, and don’t block the airflow inside the air fryer are allowed to stack in layers. 

The most common foods that you can stack in an air fryer are as follows; 

  • French fries
  • Fruit slices
  • Vegetables
  • Potatoes
  • Chicken wings
  • Donuts
  • Mozzarella sticks
  • Spring rolls 
  • Croquettes 
  • Baking goods
  • Fruits 

Which things cannot be stacked in an air fryer? 

The foods that are not suitable for stacking in the air fryer are as follows;

  • Steak 
  • Fish 
  • Burgers
  • Pork chops
  • Ribs 
  • Chicken breasts 
  • Large pieces of beef 

How to keep food from sticking to the racks?

To prevent food from sticking to the racks in an air fryer, you can follow these tips:

  1. Lightly coat the racks: Before placing the food on the racks, lightly coat them with a thin layer of cooking oil or non-stick spray. This helps create a barrier and reduces the chances of sticking.
  2. Use parchment paper or silicone mats: Consider placing a piece of parchment paper or a silicone mat on the racks before adding the food. These liners provide an additional non-stick surface, making it easier to remove the food without sticking.
  3. Flip or rotate the food: During the cooking process, occasionally flip or rotate the food items on the racks. This helps prevent them from adhering to the racks and promotes even cooking.
  4. Avoid overcrowding: Ensure that you don’t overcrowd the racks, leaving sufficient space between the food items. Overcrowding can lead to steam buildup and increase the chances of sticking. Cook in multiple batches if needed.
  5. Let it cool before removing: Once the cooking is complete, allow the food to cool for a few minutes before removing it from the racks. This can help prevent the food from tearing or sticking to the racks.

What are some common problems you encounter while stacking foods? 

While stacking foods in an air fryer, there are a few common problems that may arise:

Uneven cooking

Stacking food too closely together can obstruct proper airflow, leading to uneven cooking. The portions of food in direct contact with each other may not receive sufficient heat, resulting in undercooked or less crispy sections.

Extended cooking time

When stacking foods, especially if they are densely packed, it can increase the overall cooking time. The heat may have a harder time penetrating through the layers, requiring additional time for the food to cook thoroughly.


If there is excessive moisture in the ingredients, stacking them can trap the steam, leading to a higher chance of the food becoming soggy. This is particularly common with foods that release a lot of moisture during cooking, such as vegetables or certain meats.

Difficulty in flipping or turning

When you need to flip or rotate the food during cooking, stacking can make it challenging to access the individual pieces. This can be inconvenient and may require some careful maneuvering to ensure all sides of the food are evenly cooked.

Is it good to stack foods in an airfryer? 

While it is possible to stack foods in an air fryer, it is generally not ideal to do so. Stacking foods can impede proper airflow, leading to uneven cooking and potentially longer cooking times. It can also increase the risk of foods sticking together or becoming soggy.

To ensure the best results, it is generally recommended to arrange food in a single layer, allowing for optimal air circulation and even browning.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Can you cook two foods at once in an air fryer?

Yes, you can cook two foods at once in an air fryer. For example, most people cook nuggets, french fries, hot wings, and fish sticks together in the fryer.

For cooking two food items together in the fryer, all you need is a divider in the basket or air fryer racks. Arrange the food items in such a way that they don’t disturb the airflow. Set the timer and let the food cook.

If you are cooking the food using air fryer racks, there is no need to flip the sides because the tiny pores in the racks allow food to cook evenly.

Should you cook food in a single layer only?

No, it depends on your choice. Like other cooking appliances, you can cook multiple foods in an air fryer at once. Though, when you cook food in various layers, it takes very much time, and the food is not evenly cooked.

The professionals recommend cooking food in a single layer if you want to prepare it quickly and nicely with proper airflow.

How many racks can you fit in the air fryer?

Usually, the number of racks that you can fit in the air fryer depends upon the size of the air fryer. Some fryers are tall and some are wide. So, you can put as many racks as your air fryer can easily handle. 

For instance, if the air fryer is small, it can easily handle 2 racks whereas if it is large, you can fit 3-4 racks in it. 

While arranging the racks, make sure there is enough space between the racks and a considerable gap between the foods to ensure proper airflow.

What is the most giant air fryer?

The 16-quart air fryer is the largest one for prominent families. Moreover, it has a fantastic design that makes it durable and exceptional.

Unlike other air fryers, 16-quart air fryers have a large food capacity. Therefore, you can cook multiple foods at once in this air fryer. Besides, it has more cooking functions like grilling, baking, frying, roasting, etc.

This air fryer is available at a reasonable price. So, you can buy this from any of your favorite brands.

Can you air fry frozen things? 

Yes, you can air fry frozen foods. Air fryers are designed to cook frozen items, such as frozen fries, chicken nuggets, or vegetables, without the need for defrosting. The hot circulating air in the air fryer helps cook the frozen foods quickly and evenly, resulting in crispy and delicious results.

Does the air fryer cook top to bottom first? 

No, air fryers do not specifically cook top to bottom first. The hot air in an air fryer circulates around the food, cooking it from all sides simultaneously. The circulating air ensures even cooking and helps achieve a crispy exterior while cooking the interior of the food thoroughly.


Air fryers provide a versatile and convenient cooking method for a variety of foods. While stacking foods in an air fryer is possible, it is generally recommended to arrange them in a single layer to ensure even cooking and optimal results.

By following proper guidelines, such as considering cooking times, maintaining proper airflow, and avoiding overcrowding, you can maximize the potential of your air fryer and enjoy deliciously cooked meals with ease. 

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