Can You Deep Fry in an Air Fryer? [Updated Guide]

With the arrival of air fryers on the culinary scene, many questions have surfaced regarding the capabilities and versatility of these innovative appliances. We often hear a pressing question: “Can you deep fry in an air fryer?”

This article explores this question comprehensively, contrasting air frying with conventional deep frying and delving into the health considerations of both techniques.

Air fryers have grown in huge popularity due to their promise of delivering the familiar crispiness of deep-fried food but with significantly less fat and fewer calories. However, the reality is a bit more trace. Let’s delve deeper!

Air Fryer vs. Deep Fryer: The Fundamentals

Air Fryer vs. Deep Fryer

Traditional deep frying relies on utterly immersing food in hot oil, typically heated to a temperature between 350°F and 375°F. It ensures the food is cooked evenly, producing a golden, crispy exterior and a tender, juicy interior.

Conversely, an air fryer employs a method known as convection cooking, circulating hot air around the food at a high velocity. This technique requires little or no oil, dramatically reducing the final product’s fat content and caloric value.

But does this mean you can reproduce the deep-frying in an air fryer?

Air Fryer vs Deep Fryer Comparison Chart

Key DifferenceAir FryerDeep Fryer
Cooking MethodHot Air Circulation with Minimal or no OilSubmersion in Hot Oil
Oil UsageSignificantly LessLarge Quantity
Cooking TimeLongerRelatively Shorter
VersatilityPrimarily used for Frying, Grilling, Roasting, etc.Only for Deep Frying
Cooking CapacitySmallerLarger
CleaningEasier to CleanCan be Messy and Hard to Clean
Cooking SafetyLow Risks of BurnsHigh Risks of Burns or Oil Splatters
Cooking TemperatureTypically lower temperaturesOperates at High Temperature
Cooking ProcessCirculates hot air around the foodFully submerged food in hot oil
Cooking Skill RequiredEasier to Use with No Skills RequiredRequires special skills and continuous monitoring
Cooking OdorMinimal to no cooking odorStrong smell of fried foods
MaintenanceNo frequent maintenance requiredRequires regular oil filtration
Space RequiresRequires relatively less on countertopRequires more countertop
Cooking NoiseOperates QuietlyGenerates food sizzling Noise
ConsistencyRequires flipping or shaking food for even cookingProvides consistent and even frying results
Energy ConsumptionRequires Less EnergyRequires More Energy
CostRequires less to no oilRequires plenty amount of oil
Price RangeGenerally More ExpensiveGenerally Affordable

The Possibility of Deep Frying in an Air Fryer

In strictly technical terms, you cannot deep fry in an air fryer.

As we’ve established, deep frying requires food to be thoroughly drenched in hot oil—a task an air fryer isn’t designed to handle.

However, an air fryer can mimic the results of deep frying to a considerable extent, delivering a similar texture and flavor with significantly less fat.

Health Implications: Air Frying Vs. Deep Frying

There’s a good reason why health-conscious individuals are gravitating towards air fryers. Compared with deep frying, air frying can decrease calorie consumption by 70% to 80% and reduce fat content.

These percentages are significant, especially for those managing their diet or pursuing weight loss goals.

Moreover, deep-fried foods have been associated with various health problems, including heart disease, diabetes, and obesity, primarily due to their high fat and calorie contents. You can still enjoy your favorite fried foods with fewer health risks by switching to air frying.

The Flavor Debate: Air-Fried Vs. Deep-Fried

Many wonder if air-fried food can match the flavor profile of deep-fried food.

While air fryers can create a similar crispy exterior, the taste may not be an exact match due to the significantly lower oil content.

However, most people find the difference minor and appreciate air-fried food’s lighter, less oily feel.

Delving into the Nutritional Differences

When you deep fry food, it absorbs oil, increasing its caloric and fat content.

Air frying, however, produces a similar taste and texture without the extra oil. It can result in significant nutritional differences.

For instance, a deep-fried chicken wing may contain over 30% more fat than its air-fried counterpart.

Cost and Convenience Factors

Besides the health and taste aspects, cost and convenience also come into play. Deep fryers require a substantial amount of oil, which can be expensive and messy.

On the other hand, air fryers need minimal oil, making them cost-effective and easier to clean. They also preheat faster and have a smaller footprint, saving time and space in the kitchen.

Environmental Impact

Deep frying can also have a more significant environmental impact. The oil used in deep frying often ends up in landfills, contributing to waste. Air fryers also reduce this environmental impact by reducing the need for oil. 

Safety Concerns

Deep fryers can also pose safety risks. Hot oil can cause severe burns, and there’s always a fire risk if the oil gets too hot.

On the other hand, Air fryers eliminate these risks, providing a safer alternative.

The Final Verdict: Is Deep Frying in an Air Fryer Possible?

While you can’t technically deep fry in an air fryer, this innovative appliance offers a healthier alternative that doesn’t sacrifice too much on taste and texture. It’s an essential kitchen gadget for those looking to enjoy fried food with less guilt and more health benefits.

Air fryers offer a unique blend of convenience, safety, and health benefits that deep fryers can’t match. They allow you to enjoy your preferred fried foods with fewer calories, less fat, and reduced risk of associated health problems.

Plus, they’re easier to use and clean, making them a clear winner in the kitchen.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can you deep fry Oreos in an air fryer?

While you cannot technically deep fry in an air fryer, you can cook “deep-fried” Oreos. The hot airflow in the air fryer can give the Oreos a crispy, golden exterior similar to traditional deep frying.

Can I use my air fryer as a deep fryer?

No, an air fryer cannot be used as a deep fryer. Deep frying requires food to be fully immersed in hot oil, a process for which air fryers are not designed. However, air fryers can simulate the results of deep frying with a smaller amount of oil and fewer calories.

Can you deep-fat fry in an air fryer?

You cannot deep-fat fry in an air fryer. The design and functionality of air fryers do not allow for complete immersion in oil, which is necessary for deep-fat frying. Air fryers use hot air to cook the food, requiring little to no oil.

Can you deep fry fish in an air fryer?

While you cannot deep fry traditionally, you can cook fish in an air fryer to give it a similar crispy exterior. The advantage is that air-frying fish requires much less oil, making it a healthier choice.

Can you deep fry things in an air fryer?

Technically, you can’t deep fry anything in an air fryer because it’s not fully designed to submerge food in oil. However, you can prepare a wide variety of “fried” foods in an air fryer with significantly less oil and fewer calories.

Can you deep fry chicken in an air fryer?

You can cook chicken in an air fryer to achieve a texture similar to deep-fried chicken. The air fryer mingles hot air around the chicken, giving it a crispy exterior with less oil.

Can you deep fry battered fish in an air fryer?

Yes, you can cook battered fish in an air fryer. While it’s not technically deep frying, the hot air circulation can give the battered fish a crispy, golden-brown exterior similar to deep frying.

Can you deep fry ice cream in an air fryer?

Deep-fried ice cream is a complex dish that typically involves deep-frying a breaded scoop of ice cream very quickly to create a crispy shell without melting the ice cream. While you can’t technically deep fry in an air fryer, you could attempt a similar dish by freezing the ice cream solid, breading it, and then air frying it briefly.

Can you deep fry pickles in an air fryer?

Absolutely! While it’s not technically deep frying, you can cook “fried” pickles in an air fryer. The process gives the pickles a crispy exterior similar to deep frying but with significantly less oil.

Can you deep fry stuff in an air fryer?

While you can’t deep fry traditionally, you can use an air fryer to create dishes with a similar texture and taste to deep-fried food. The advantage is that air frying requires much less oil, making it a healthier choice.


The air fryer is a versatile, user-friendly appliance that can create healthier versions of your beloved deep-fried dishes. While it may not wholly replicate the deep-frying process, it comes remarkably close while significantly reducing calories and fat content.

This article is an in-depth guide to air frying versus deep frying, but as technology advances, our cooking methods will continue to evolve.

Stay tuned to AirFryerMag for more insights, guides, and recipes that help you make the most of your air fryer.

Leave a Comment