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What Size Air Fryer Do I Need?

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The height of the basket in this air fryer is only around half the height of the unit.

The height of the basket in this air fryer is only around half the height of the unit.

How to Determine the Best Size

Before purchasing an air fryer, make sure it’s the right fit for you. Sizes usually range from two-quart models to 12-quart units. Those with a larger capacity take up a lot of counter space, so it doesn't make sense to buy a larger size than necessary. To determine the best size, think about what you want to cook and whether it will fit. I'll show you a way to get a sense of whether or not a particular size will work for you. You will need a rough idea of the air fryer's basket dimensions. This is important because many foods can't be stacked in an air fryer. For air to circulate and properly cook each item, they need space. If you are cooking steaks or chicken breasts, they need to fit on the base of the fryer. Ask yourself what do I want to cook and how often do I want to cook it?

1. What Do You Want to Cook?

Think about how you want to use an air fryer before deciding what size to buy. A two-quart air fryer could work well for a single person or a couple. However, if you entertain often, you may want to go with a larger unit. If you have a large family, consider a larger size. I have an eight-quart Bella Pro air fryer. When I first got it, I thought it was going to be way too big, but it turned out to be the perfect size for our family of four. When I cook steaks for four, the pieces take up most of the base.

2. How Often Do You Want to Cook It?

You also need to think about how often you're going to use an air fryer. If you're only going to use it occasionally, or use it for limited purposes, like cooking baked potatoes or homemade french fries, you need to consider if you have enough space to store it between uses. My eight-quart fryer is too large to put away in a cabinet, so I keep it on the countertop. I use it multiple times per week, so having it take up space isn't an issue. If you don't plan to use an air fryer often, think more carefully about size versus storage space and consider if a smaller size can work for your needs.

How to Estimate the Basket Dimensions

Once you have determined what you will be cooking and how often, there is a simple way to get a rough idea of the best size for you. Get a piece of cardboard and draw a rough approximation of the diameter or length and width of the base of the air fryer basket. Air fryers have either rectangular or circular baskets. Look at the dimensions of the air fryer you are considering, then draw an approximation of the size and shape.

It would be helpful if retailers always provided basket dimensions on their listings, but since they don't, you might have to make an educated guess if you are buying online. For example, the Dash Compact Air Fryer has dimensions of 10.2 x 8.1 x 11.4 inches. If the fryer itself has an approximately eight-inch diameter, the basket probably has a diameter of around six inches.

Cover the cardboard with plastic wrap, then place food items within the circle or rectangle you drew. For example, if you normally cook four chicken breasts for dinner, see if all four fit inside the shape. Do this with different kinds of food because items like chicken tenders take up less space than steaks.

There is another factor you need to consider in addition to the diameter or length/width of the base. That is the height of the basket. Height can be an issue for whole chickens and roasts. I can cook a six-pound chicken in my eight-quart air fryer, but it takes up most of the basket. Unless you can find a very small whole chicken, you probably need at least an eight-quart. For many models, the basket is only around half the height of the air fryer unit. Again, carefully consider the dimensions and what you want to cook before settling on a particular model and size.

© 2021 LT Wright