Air Fry vs Roast Setting: Exploring the Differences for Perfect Cooking

In recent years, the culinary world has witnessed a game-changer in kitchen appliances by introducing air fryers. These compact yet powerful devices have revolutionized our cooking, allowing us to enjoy our favorite dishes with a healthier twist.

One key feature that makes air fryers so popular is their ability to offer different cooking settings, with air fry and roast being among the most commonly used options. Understanding the distinctions between these settings is essential for achieving optimal results in your cooking endeavors.

In this complete article, we will explore the details of air fry and roast settings, explore their differences, discuss when to use each setting, and provide a helpful comparison chart.

What is Air Fry Setting?

The air fry setting on an air fryer is a remarkable innovation that mimics the crispy and delicious results of deep-frying without the excessive use of oil.

Instead of submerging food in hot oil, the air fryer employs rapid hot air technology to circulate intense heat evenly around the ingredients.

This process creates a Maillard reaction, causing the food’s exterior to turn golden and crisp while the interior remains moist and tender.

The air fry setting is incredibly versatile, enabling you to prepare various dishes such as French fries, chicken wings, and even crispy tofu with less guilt, significantly reducing calorie and fat content.

What is Roast Setting?

The roast setting on an air fryer replicates the traditional roasting technique used in ovens but more compactly and efficiently.

When using the roast setting, the air fryer combines the circulation of hot air with direct heat, which is particularly advantageous for preparing larger cuts of meat, whole poultry, and vegetables.

The result is a beautifully caramelized exterior with a juicy and succulent interior. Roasting in an air fryer offers quicker cooking times and energy efficiency, making it an appealing option for busy households or those seeking a quicker alternative to the oven.

Difference between Roast and Air Fry Settings

While both air fry and roast settings may achieve satisfying results, it is essential to understand their key differences to use them optimally:

1. Cooking Technique:

The air fry setting primarily depends on the flow of hot air to cook the food evenly from all angles, whereas the roast setting combines hot air with direct heat, making it ideal for achieving caramelisation and browning on larger cuts of meat and vegetables.

2. Texture and Finish:

Air frying produces a crispy exterior with a moist interior, perfect for foods like French fries and chicken wings. In contrast, the roast setting offers a tender and juicy texture with a golden-brown crust, making it perfect for roasts, whole chickens, and hearty vegetables.

3. Oil Usage:

Air frying requires minimal or no oil to achieve that crispy texture, making it a healthier alternative to deep frying. On the other hand, roasting may involve brushing the ingredients with oil or using marinades to enhance flavours and promote browning.

4. Cooking Time:

Air frying is generally faster than roasting due to the rapid hot air circulation, significantly reducing cooking times for various dishes.

When to Use Roast Setting on an Air Fryer?

The roast setting in an air fryer is particularly beneficial for the following dishes:

1. Meats:

When cooking larger cuts of meat, such as beef roasts, pork tenderloins, or whole chicken, the roast setting is the ideal choice. It allows the meat to cook evenly while developing a savory crust on the outside, resulting in a deliciously tender and flavorful centerpiece for your meals.

2. Vegetables:

Roasting vegetables in an air fryer brings out their natural sweetness and strengthens their flavors. The roast setting allows for even heat distribution, helping to caramelize the sugars in vegetables like root vegetables, Brussels sprouts, and bell peppers.

The result is a delightful combination of tender interiors and crispy exteriors that elevate your vegetable dishes.

3. Baked Goods:

Surprisingly, the roast setting on an air fryer can be used to bake various goods such as cookies, muffins, and cakes. With its precise heat control, the roast setting ensures even baking and browning, allowing you to enjoy freshly baked treats without needing a traditional oven.

Air Fryer vs Air Roast – Comparison Chart:

To provide a quick reference, here is a comparison chart highlighting the key differences between the air fry and roast settings in an air fryer:

AspectAir Fry SettingAir Roast Setting
Cooking TechniqueRapid hot air circulationHot air + direct heat
Texture and FinishCrispy exterior, moist interiorTender, juicy texture with a golden-brown crust
Oil UsageMinimal to no oil requiredOil or marinades are often used
Cooking TimeGenerally fasterIt may require a longer cooking time
Ideal DishesFrench fries, chicken wingsMeats, vegetables, baked goods

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I use the air fry setting to roast meat or vegetables?

While the air fry setting can provide a crispy exterior, it may be better for roasting larger cuts of meat or certain vegetables. The roast setting, which combines hot air with direct heat, is better suited for achieving the desired caramelisation and tenderness that comes with roasting.

Does using the roast setting require more cooking time than the air fry setting?

Yes, the roast setting may require longer cooking than the air fry setting. Combining hot air and direct heat in the roast setting allows for thorough cooking and browning, which can take longer.

Can I achieve a similar texture with the air fry setting as deep frying?

While the air fry setting can deliver a crispy exterior similar to deep frying, the texture may not be the same. Deep frying involves plunging the food in hot oil, creating a distinct texture and flavour.


Understanding the differences between air fry and roast settings in your air fryer allows you to make the most of this versatile kitchen appliance.

The air fry setting provides a healthier alternative to deep frying, achieving a crispy and tender texture with minimal oil. On the other hand, the roast setting replicates the results of traditional oven roasting, delivering succulent meats and beautifully caramelised vegetables.

Knowing when to use each setting empowers you to create delicious dishes tailored to your preferences and dietary choices.

So, whether you’re craving crispy fries, perfectly roasted chicken, or a batch of freshly baked cookies, your air fryer has the perfect setting to satisfy your culinary desires.

Remember, experimentation and exploration with your air fryer will help you unlock its full potential. Enjoy its versatility and convenience as you embark on a flavorful journey in your kitchen.

1 thought on “Air Fry vs Roast Setting: Exploring the Differences for Perfect Cooking”

  1. Thank you for your explanation of using air fry versus roasting function in a airfryer. i have wasted time trying to find out the differences in airfryer functions with mainly people suggesting to air fry everything, but then what is the point of having different cooking functions to choose from. I have only had my airfryer for a week and I decided to buy the latest Ninja AF500UK as you could either have two separate drawers or one big one. Its functions are Max crisp, air fry, bake, roast, reheat and dehydrate. The cooking guide and other cookbooks always say cook and never tell you which is the best function to use. I guess it will have to be trial and error.


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