Air Fryer vs. Convection Oven: Which Wins the Battle of the Crispy Crunch (2023)

What is the difference between air fryers and convection ovens? Both use hot air for cooking food, but some critical differences between the two are worth exploring.

In this article, I’ll be taking a closer look at the differences between air fryers and convection ovens. We’ll explore the pros and cons of each appliance, and I’ll provide some tips on choosing the right one for your cooking needs.

Air Fryer vs. Convection Oven: Which Wins the Battle of the Crispy Crunch (1)
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Whether you’re looking to make healthier alternatives to your favorite fried foods or simply in the market for a new kitchen appliance, this article will help you make the best choice.

Ultimately, deciding between an air fryer and a convection oven depends on your cooking needs and preferences!

Upstate Ramblings

What is an Air Fryer?

Regarding cooking appliances, the air fryer is a relatively new addition to the kitchen. It is a countertop appliance that uses hot air to cook food. It works by circulating hot air around a heating element, creating a crispy exterior without needing oil.

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I love using my air fryer because it allows me to enjoy my favorite fried foods without the guilt of consuming too much oil. It’s also straightforward to use – simply place the food in the basket, set the temperature and time, and let the air fryer do its job.

But, while an air fryer is an excellent option for cooking small batches of food, there may be better choices for larger meals. The basket size limits the amount of food that can be cooked at once, so it may take longer to cook larger quantities. Overall, an air fryer is an excellent option for those looking to enjoy fried foods more healthily. It’s easy to use, doesn’t require much oil, and produces crispy, delicious results.

Air Fryer vs. Convection Oven: Which Wins the Battle of the Crispy Crunch (2)

What is a Convection Oven?

A convection oven is a full-sized oven that uses a fan to circulate hot air around the food, resulting in faster and more even cooking. The fan is at the back of the appliance. This type of oven is perfect for baking, roasting, and even broiling.

The fan helps to distribute heat evenly throughout the oven, which means that food cooks more quickly and evenly than it would in a traditional range. This is especially useful when cooking large items such as roasts or turkeys, as it ensures that the food is cooked all the way through without drying out or burning on the outside.

In addition, convection ovens can be more energy-efficient than traditional ovens. Because the fan helps to circulate the hot air, the oven can cook food at a lower temperature than a conventional oven while still achieving the same results. This means you can save time and energy when cooking with a convection oven.

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Air Fryer vs. Convection Oven: Which Wins the Battle of the Crispy Crunch (3)

Differences Between Air Fryers and Convection Ovens

So both an air fryer and a convection oven cook use convection fans to circulate the hot air. So what is the difference? The main difference is the size. An air fryer is a convection oven, just a very small one.

Cooking Mechanism

Both air fryers and convection ovens have a similar cooking mechanism. Both use convection cooking, which means they circulate hot air around the food during cooking. However, air fryers cook more quickly because of their smaller size and because the fan is at the top of the appliance. This results in faster cooking times and a crispy exterior on foods like chicken wings and French fries.


When it comes to capacity, convection ovens have a larger cooking capacity than air fryers. So you can cook more food at once, making it a better option for feeding larger families or cooking for parties.


While air fryers and convection ovens can cook various foods, convection ovens are more versatile. They can bake, roast, broil, and even toast, making them a fantastic all-in-one appliance for your kitchen. On the other hand, air fryers are best for cooking smaller batches, frozen foods, or foods you would usually deep fry, like mozzarella sticks or a blooming onion.


Finally, price is another factor to consider when choosing between an air fryer and a convection oven. Air fryers are usually less expensive than convection ovens, making them an excellent option for those on a budget. However, if you’re looking for an appliance that can do more than just air fry, a convection oven may be a better investment in the long run.

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Air Fryer vs. Convection Oven: Which Wins the Battle of the Crispy Crunch (4)

Pros and Cons of Air Fryers


As someone who has extensively used air fryers, I know they have many advantages over convection ovens. Here are some of the pros:

  • Faster cooking time: Air fryers cook food much faster than convection ovens. They use hot air for cooking food from all sides, resulting in evenly cooked food in a shorter time.
  • Ease of use: Air fryers are incredibly easy to use. All you need to do is set the temperature and time, and the machine will take care of the rest.
  • Cleaning: Air fryers come with removable parts that make cleaning a breeze.
  • Compact size: Air fryers are relatively small and compact, making them ideal for small kitchens or for those who don’t have a lot of counter space.


While air fryers have many advantages, they also have a few downsides:

  • Small capacity: Air fryers are generally smaller than conventional ovens, which means they can only cook small batches of food at a time. This can be a drawback if you need to cook large amounts of food or feed a big family.
  • Limited cooking options: Air fryers are great for cooking certain types of food, such as chicken wings, fries, and fish. However, they may not be suitable for cooking more complex dishes that require multiple cooking methods or temperatures.

Overall, air fryers are a great addition to any kitchen. If you’re looking for a healthier and faster way to cook certain types of food, an air fryer may be the perfect appliance.

Pros and Cons of Convection Ovens


Convection ovens have many advantages over air fryers. Here are some of the most notable:

  • Larger size: The large size of a convection oven makes it easy to cook for a big family or a party.
  • Versatile: You can cook more than one thing at a time. So if you want to roast a chicken, you can have a pan of scalloped potatoes in the oven simultaneously.
  • Simplicity: A convection oven works similarly to a conventional range, something most people are already familiar with.


While there are many advantages to using a convection oven, there are also some drawbacks to keep in mind:

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  • Expensive: They are more costly than air fryers.
  • Cooking time: They don’t cook as fast as an air fryer.

Which One Should You Choose?

If you are looking for a smaller appliance that can cook small portions of your favorite foods quickly and efficiently, an air fryer is a way to go. They are great for making food with a crunchy exterior and meals without the added oil and fat. They are easy to clean and take up less counter space than a convection oven.

On the other hand, if you need to cook larger portions of food, frequently bake casseroles, or want to use your appliance for baking or hosting parties, a convection oven might be a better option. They have more space and can cook a wider variety of foods.

It’s essential to consider your budget as well. While air fryers can be inexpensive, they can only partially replace a full-sized convection oven.

Ultimately, choosing between an air fryer and a convection oven comes down to your preferences and cooking needs. Consider the size of your household, the types of food you like to cook, and your budget before deciding. Both appliances can help you create delicious and healthy meals with less oil and fat.

It’s important to note that both appliances can be used in conjunction. For example, you can use an air fryer for cooking appetizers while using a convection oven to roast the main course.

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Ultimately, deciding between an air fryer and a convection oven depends on your cooking needs and preferences!


Which is better air fryer or air fryer oven vs convection oven? ›

Air fryers cook quicker than convection ovens and don't require heating a large appliance, like your full-sized oven. Their perforated racks also allow fat to drip onto the drip pan so your food doesn't absorb excess oil, which minimizes calories and becomes crispier since it is more dry.

Does air fryer make Crispier than oven? ›

An air fryer or a countertop oven on the air fry setting usually circulates the air a bit faster than in a convection oven. This can sometimes give you a crispier finish that is just a bit closer to an actual deep fried finish, depending on your recipe.

Does convection oven make Crispier? ›

Recipes that Are Even Better Cooked In a Convection Oven

A convection oven will make it faster and crispier.

What's the difference between an air fryer and a convection oven and a convection oven? ›

The quick answer is, an air fryer is a simply a smaller convection oven with a catchy name. There is no actual frying going on inside an air fryer—that's because an air fryer cooks food via convection baking. So air fryers are, in essence, convection ovens.

Can an air fryer replace a convection oven? ›

The main difference between these two appliances is size. A convection oven can cook larger amounts of food at one time than an air fryer, which can only handle smaller portions and often requires cooking in batches when it comes to larger amounts of food.

Which air fryer makes food the crispiest? ›

Best Overall: Instant Vortex 6-Quart Air Fryer Combo

We already love the Instant Pot, so it's no surprise that Instant Brands churned out another winning product with the Instant Vortex. During our tests, we found this air fryer cooked with more power than the others, delivering crispy, evenly cooked food every time.

Why doesn t my air fryer make things crispy? ›

Oil or fat has not been used correctly

To find out how to use oil in your airfryer correctly, please follow the next tips: Dry the outside of the food properly before you add oil. Do not use too much oil, as this will make the food less crispy and more fattening.

Can you get crispy food from an air fryer? ›

The air fryer does a great job of making food crispy because of the convection function, Pixley said. This feature allows hot air to surround the food, cooking it more evenly and quickly.

How do you crisp food in a convection oven? ›

Use low-sided baking sheets and roasting pans.

The convection setting also works best if you use low-sided pans or rimless baking sheets, especially when baking cookies or roasting vegetables. This allows for better air circulation around the food and helps crispy foods become even crisper.

Does convection crisp food? ›

The exhaust portion of the convection oven features will also help pull moisture out of the oven, which can leave your food more crisp and fresh, which is perfect for veggies or baked chips! So the benefits of convection ovens are numerous—faster cooking, crispier end product, and more even cooking.

What things cook better in a convection oven? ›

Convection cooking is ideal for foods that do better in a dry climate and where you want to encourage browning and crisping. So roasting meats, potatoes and vegetables are all ideal, and it's great for reheating things like fried chicken or baking pizza.

What can you not cook in an air fryer? ›

8 Things You Probably Shouldn't Cook in an Air Fryer
  • Battered foods. Avoid placing wet batter in the air fryer. ...
  • Fresh greens. Leafy greens like spinach will cook unevenly because the machine uses high-speed air. ...
  • Whole roasts. ...
  • Cheese. ...
  • Raw grains. ...
  • Hamburgers. ...
  • Toast. ...
  • Popcorn.
Feb 23, 2023

What is air fryer convection oven good for? ›

Despite its name, an air fryer doesn't fry your food: it bakes it using convection heating. Because of the way it simulates the crispiness of fried food, air fryers are great for cooking things like french fries and chicken wings.

Is it worth it to have an air fryer? ›

Research shows that air fryers are more energy efficient than using an oven and that means savings on energy bills. They are healthier than deep frying or using an oil-soaked frying pan so there are some health benefits too.

What should you not use convection for? ›

Avoid convection baking foods like cakes, quick breads, custards and other delicate desserts and pastries.

Why would I want a convection oven? ›

Convection creates a dry atmosphere that caramelizes the sugars faster when roasting, so foods like meats and vegetables get browner, but the interiors stay moist. It saves energy: Because food cooks faster in a convection oven, and generally at a lower temperature, it's a bit more energy efficient than a regular oven.

Do chefs prefer convection ovens? ›

A lot of professional chefs use convection ovens for the even way they cook food, but also because they reduce cook times by up to 25 percent, which is quite a time saver. Another bonus is that the fans can often be turned off on convection ovens so they can be used like a conventional oven if desired.

Can you air fry French fries in a convection oven? ›

Using a perforated basket in a convection oven can help you achieve crispy French fries. Like air fryers, convection ovens circulate hot air around foods to produce that delicious crispy exterior.

How to air fry chicken wings in a convection oven? ›

Spread the wings out in a single layer on the cooling rack that's on the rimmed baking sheet. Convection bake at 425 degrees for 35-45 minutes, flipping the wings over every 15 minutes. Start checking the wings for doneness at 30 minutes. They may take up to 55 minutes, depending on your oven.

Do professional chefs use air fryers? ›

Professional chefs have been utilizing convection cooking—fine, air frying—to quickly cook everything from potatoes to roasted veggies and more for decades. In fact, you might be surprised to find out that you may already have an air fryer located in your own kitchen, just inside of your oven.

What I wish I knew before I get an air fryer? ›

7 Things You Should Know BEFORE Buying an Air Fryer
  • 1) It's loud.
  • 2) It smokes a lot.
  • 3) It only goes up to 400 degrees.
  • 4) You can't see the food.
  • 5) It won't do batter fried food.
  • 6) You still have to add oil.
  • 7) The inside is entirely coated with non-stick surfaces.
Feb 16, 2019

Why is my air fryer making my food soggy? ›

Overfilling the basket

Same goes for your air fryer – crowding and overfilling it is a no-no. Ensuring ingredients have space allows air to efficiently circulate, resulting in crispy, rather than steamed, food. "Overfilling the basket causes uneven cooking and browning, as well as uncooked soggy areas," warns Fiona.

How do you make crispy skin in an air fryer? ›

Lay three or four chicken skins in a single layer, skin-side down, on the air fryer basket and program the air fryer to cook at 400°F for a total of 12 minutes. At the halfway point (i.e. 6 minutes), flip the chicken skins over so they are skin-side up. Air fry the chicken skins the remaining 6 minutes or until crispy.

How do you crackle in an air fryer? ›

Pat pork dry with paper towel. Rub salt into pork rind. Step 2: Place the pork in the air fryer basket and spray with oil. Set timer for 25 minutes and cook until the rind crackles.

What is the best meat to cook in an air fryer? ›

As with all dry-heat cooker methods (grilling, broiling, pan frying and oven roasting), tender beef cuts perform best in the air fryer. Those cuts include Top Sirloin, KC Strip, Ribeye, Tenderloin and Tri Tip. Ground beef also can be easily prepared in an air fryer.

Do convection ovens make food dry? ›

The convection effect can dry out the surface of meats, and the higher overall temperature can cause roasts to shrink more than in ordinary ovens, as the additional heat squeezes the protein fibers.

Should you use foil in a convection oven? ›

Answer: The oven trays supplied with the Convection Steam Oven can be covered in aluminum foil. Any baking mode can be used. Never place foil or foil pans on the floor of the oven, or allow foil to touch the back wall of the oven as it will cause permanent damage.

Do you use foil in a convection oven? ›

Metal and foil can be used safely and effectively with the convection cooking feature in a microwave convection oven.

Does meat cook better in a convection oven? ›

Most convection roasted items will cook about 30 percent faster than they would in a conventional oven. This means that meats cook faster with a better sear in a convection oven, allowing the meats to stay moister and juicier.

Can you cook potatoes in convection oven? ›

In a convection oven, bake the potatoes at 375 for 45 to 50 minutes and turn them halfway through the cooking time. Split open the potatoes and scoop out the cooked potato, being careful to keep the skins intact.

Should you use convection for pizza? ›

A convection oven is perfect for baking pizza. Because the hot air from it moves around, your pizza cooks more quickly than in a conventional oven. Because of this, your pizza will be crisper and have a more even surface than when you bake it in a traditional oven.

What is the best food to cook in air fryer? ›

Below, you can see our top suggestions for what to cook in an air fryer, plus tips on getting the best results for tasty food.
  • Whole roasted garlic. ...
  • Burgers and patties. ...
  • French fries. ...
  • Single-serve desserts. ...
  • Reheated leftovers. ...
  • Frozen chicken goujons. ...
  • Crispy bacon. ...
  • Crispy roast potatoes.
Sep 8, 2022

Can you put raw meat in Airfryer? ›

It is safe to cook raw meat in the air fryer if it is fully defrosted, seasoned, and monitored. Some fully cooked foods, including chicken tenders or fries, can be placed frozen in the air fryer. However, with raw meat, it's recommended to thoroughly defrost to allow more even cooking and a tasty final product.

Can I put aluminum foil in an air fryer? ›

The short answer is yes, you can put aluminum foil in the air fryer.

Is it cheaper to roast a chicken in an air fryer? ›

According to recent research, using an air fryer to cook food costs about half the price of cooking. Of course, there are caveats. If you are going to cook larger quantities or more dishes, it makes sense to use an oven.

Can you fry an egg in air fryer? ›

Crack the egg/s and place them in the pan. Set the pan in your air fryer basket. Cook the egg for 3 minutes and then check it. If the edges of the yolk are not fully cooked, cook for another 30 to 45 seconds or longer as needed.

What are the pros and cons of a air fryer? ›

It's faster than an oven, so it's worth it not wait to pre-heat up the oven, and make your house hot. An air fryer also gets food crispy, while a microwave won't. All that said, air fryers do have their disadvantages, too. They cook slower than a microwave, can be a bit noisy, and aren't great for large groups.

Does a convection oven use more electricity than an air fryer? ›

The difference is about 50% less total energy used, and that's before factoring in the shorter total time needed for most food when cooked in an air fryer versus the big oven. Here's how we got that figure and a breakdown of how much you can save using your air fryer instead of the oven.

Does air fryer taste better than oven? ›

So what does air fried food actually taste like? It tastes like extra-crispy oven-baked food. Here's why: Air fryers are basically tiny convection ovens, which work by constantly circulating hot air all around your food.

Which uses less electricity air fryer or convection oven? ›

Air fryers are much more energy-efficient than most convection ovens because they cook food much faster, though they do use electricity which is typically more expensive than gas.

Is it worth getting an air fryer? ›

Research shows that air fryers are more energy efficient than using an oven and that means savings on energy bills. They are healthier than deep frying or using an oil-soaked frying pan so there are some health benefits too.

Are convection ovens worth it? ›

Overall, the convection oven setting is a great choice if you want a crisp, quick, product, but if you want your dish to maintain moisture or rise before it is finished baking, then stick with the conventional oven.


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