Air Fryer Basket VS Tray: Which one is Right for You?

Air fryers have become insanely the most preferred kitchen appliance in recent years for their capability to prepare consistent and delicious meals with less fat and calories.

While air fryers are designed to simplify the cooking process, and it does big time, the additional accessories used to prepare meals can confuse new home cooks.

If you’re new to the air fryer world, you must have encountered the common tools, basket, and tray. Both accessories are designed to prepare delicious, crispy, and well-cooked meals, but they have some significant differences that can significantly impact the cooking.

Therefore, in this detailed guide piece, we will delve into the specifics of the most common air fryer tools, specifically baskets and trays, and compare their features and usage to determine the cooking possibilities they would bring along.

Let’s dive in.

Understanding the Air Fryer Basket and Tray

Let’s first shed some light on the accessories and their functionality and then compare their functions to judge their capabilities.

Air Fryer Basket

Air Fryer Basket

Baskets are the most common accessory used in the air fryer. Baskets sit inside the air fryer and are easily detachable using the included handle to put or remove food items.

Typically, air fryer baskets are made of plastic or metal, which is obviously air fryer safe, designed to survive the intense heat inside the machine and cook food to its perfection.

Also, baskets are generally great for cooking small items, like vegetables, chicken wings, frozen items, french fries, etc.

Air Fryer Tray

Air Fryer Tray

The air fryer tray is another common and preferred accessory of the air fryer after the basket.

Unlike a basket, it is a flat but solid surface designed to slide into the air fryer easily and is used to prepare large portions of food items, which is not usually possible with a basket.

They are also made of metal or usually come in stainless steel coating that prevents food from sticking and wouldn’t be hard to clean.

Air Fryer Basket VS Air Fryer Tray Comparison Chart

Air Fryer Basket VS Air Fryer Tray
FeaturesAir Fryer BasketAir Fryer Tray
Cooking CapacityIdeal for small portionsIdeal for large food portions
Food AccessibilityEasy to shakeNo need of shaking
Cooking ResultsProvides even browningUneven browning
CleaningHand Wash or dishwasherDishwasher-safe
VersatilityLimited to smaller portions of food itemsAccommodates larger food portions
MetalMetal or PlasticMetal
StorageCompact, easy to store, and handleRequire significant storage space
PriceGenerally more cost-effectiveSlightly expensive

Which One is Right for You?

Whether you choose a basket or tray for your air fryer depends on your cookery preferences and the types of foods you intend to prepare. There is no right or wrong accessory to use in the air fryer; it all depends on the portion size you want to prepare and the food item.

If you usually cook smaller portions of food or prefer shaking or flipping the food while cooking, the air fryer basket is your best choice. On the other hand, if you cook larger items like large-size pizza, fish, cookies, or even roasts, we suggest you opt for a tray for better results.

Air Fryer Basket VS Tray Cleaning

Air Fryer Basket VS Tray Cleaning

Moving forward, let’s shed some light on the cleaning protocol of both items because after cooking the delicious and mouthwatering food, this is what matters the most. Also, the cleaning and maintenance factor of the air fryer can be a deciding factor for many home cooks. So, let’s discover which is more easy to maintain.

Cleaning and Air Fryer Basket

Made of stainless steel or coated with a nonstick material, air fryer baskets are usually easy to clean with soapy water. They are also dishwasher-safe, so that’s plus and time-saving when you’re not in the mood to scrub after cooking.

Additionally, some air fryer models have removable parts that further simplify the cleaning process, while others need extra attention to remove stubborn food residue.

However, whatever you choose for cleaning, never forget to go through the manufacturer’s instructional manual for safety protocols.

Cleaning and Air Fryer Tray

Typically, air fryer trays have a nonstick coating, making them relatively simple to clean. Most trays are dishwasher-safe, making cleanup simple. However, they’re quite big, so you must be careful with the cleaning.

Also, It is recommended to use gentle, nonabrasive cleaning instruments to prevent injury. Referring to the manufacturer’s instructions will ensure appropriate maintenance of the nonstick surface.

Tips for Using the Air Fryer Basket and Tray

Here are some further tips for using the air fryer basket for optimal cooking results.

  • Preheat the air fryer before adding the food to the basket.
  • Do not overcrowd the basket or tray with food. Ensure there’s room for proper ventilation
  • Shaking the air fryer basket halfway through the cooking is recommended to ensure every item cooks evenly. You may flip items on the tray too.
  • Use a light coating of cooking oil on the food to prevent it from sticking.
  • Clean the basket or tray immediately after use to prevent food sticking that can get stubborn with time.

Bottom Line

Both the basket and tray of an air fryer have their own benefits and limitations, tailored to various culinary needs. By getting the differences between the two, you can make a decision that supports your culinary objectives.

Regardless of which accessory you choose, an air fryer can transform your cooking experience, enabling you to enjoy healthier versions of your loved fried dishes.

Happy frying!

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