Chefs Are Sharing The Foods You Should Never Put In An Air Fryer Because Let's Face It, They Can't Cook Everything

  Witthaya Prasongsin via Getty Images
Witthaya Prasongsin via Getty Images

As far as countertop appliances go, air fryers have particularly passionate advocates... and particularly passionate detractors.

Some swear by this tool’s ability to quickly fry vegetables, meats, doughs, leftovers and frozen snacks without the use of oil, while others view air fryers as overrated and overpriced products that clutter your counter.

If you fall into the first category (or if you’re an air fryer newbie who’s intrigued by the possibilities), then a knowledge of which foods are most conducive to this cooking method will prove useful, as will an understanding of which foods never belong in an air fryer.

We asked chefs, cookbook authors and recipe developers to offer their opinions, and they gave us this list of five foods that thrive in the air fryer and five foods that do just the opposite.

Foods That Do Well In An Air Fryer

Brussels Sprouts

roasted brussels sprouts

Crispy Roasted Potatoes

a bowl of roasted potatoes


plantain chips


a bowl of falafel

Breaded Chicken

a plate of fried chicken breast and lemon slices

Foods That Shouldn’t Be Air Fried


a burger with multiple toppings

Wet Batters

a shallow bowl of batter and a plate of zucchini slices

Fresh Greens

kale in a glass bowl


a grilled cheese sandwich


bacon cooking in a pan

Don’t have an air fryer yet? Check out our guide!

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A no frills, budget-friendly option

At just $36.99, this air fryer is as affordable as it gets. It might not be the biggest or the fanciest (it only has analog options, which is why the price is notably lower than some other models), but for something basic and effective, it does the trick. Plus, it has hundreds of positive reviews so you know it can be trusted. $39.99 at Target

This 12-function machine for bigger families

Have a bigger family? This air fryer not only holds 5 quarts (bigger than the average, 2-to-4-quart-size air fryers on the market), but it also allows you to use it in a variety of different ways, from traditional air frying to dehydrating your own fruit snacks. It also automatically prompts and guides you to ensure that you’re preheating and flipping the food correctly while using the machine.$59.99 at Target

A foolproof, high tech version

If you're usually cooking for a smaller group of people, this 4-quart air fryer is a good option as well, with four simple buttons for air frying, reheating, roasting and dehydrating. It doesn’t get more straight-forward than that. It’s a little pricier than some options, but according to the reviews, it’s 100% worth it.$119.99 at Target

A dual-basket air fryer

The best part of an air fryer is the convenience. It makes it virtually impossible to overcook or undercook food (say goodbye to dry chicken breasts forever), but it can make cooking two different types of food at once a little more difficult. This dual-basket air fryer solves that problem, making the slightly higher price tag worth it (especially if you’re cooking for picky eaters). Even if you don’t need to cook two different types of food, this could be worth it for cooking larger quantities, since it holds 8 quarts total. $199.99 at Target

A toaster oven AND an air fryer in one

An air fryer is very similar to a toaster over in the sense that it’s very easy to dismiss them as unnecessary until you’ve tried them. Once you reheat food with a toaster oven instead of microwave or cook chicken in an air fryer instead of the oven or on the stove, there’s just no going back. It’s too fool-proof. So it makes sense that manufacturers decided to combine both functions into one. This Instant Vortex dual toaster oven and air fryer is a crowdpleaser and a comparable price to some other nice air fryers.Target customer praise: “I have owned for a little over two months now and use daily in the am for potatoes with my breakfast. Tots and hash browns turn out really, really perfect! I have making some meats, and reheating some food and all turned out really good as well. Pizza got crispy bottom and foods were fully reheated, unlike with the microwave.”$149.99 at Target

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