Assorted vegetables on a sheet pan broiling in an open wall oven

GUIDE TO AIR FRYING IN A CONVECTION OVEN

Air frying can create a golden crust on everything from roasted potatoes and cauliflower to flakey fish filets, but you may not need a countertop air fryer to create a crispy exterior. Use this guide to discover the differences between an air fryer and a convection oven, learn how to air fry in a convection oven and see recipe ideas to get you started.

 Open, single wall oven with food cooking on the top and bottom racks  Open, single wall oven with food cooking on the top and bottom racks

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AN AIR FRYER AND A CONVECTION OVEN?

Air fryers and convection ovens both use fans to circulate heat and create crispy, fried food without deep frying, but there are a handful of differences between the two appliances. Countertop air fryer compartments are much smaller than an oven cavity, so food typically cooks faster. Air fryers also use optimized heat and air flow for a “fried” result. Convection ovens have enough capacity to brown several servings at once so you can make more to share.

Person setting controls on a KitchenAid® countertop oven Person setting controls on a KitchenAid® countertop oven

HOW DOES AN AIR FRYER OVEN WORK?

Air fryer ovens use a convection fan to rapidly circulate hot air over, under and around food to create a crispy and browned exterior. Countertop air fryers like the KitchenAid® Digital Countertop Oven with Air Fry—and convection ovens with an air fry mode—do this exceptionally well, but there are ways to crisp up foods using an air fry basket and the convection setting on your oven.

HOW TO AIR FRY IN A CONVECTION OVEN

You can use a convection oven with an air fry basket to add extra crunch to roasted vegetables, meat, fish and more. See the steps below to learn how to prepare your oven, cookware and food to try air fry recipes in a convection oven.

SUPPLIES
  • Oil

  • Foil or parchment paper

TOOLS
  • Air fry basket
  • Baking sheet or pan
  • Oven mitts
  • Heat-resistant tongs

 

Person removing a baking dish from a wall oven slide-out rack

STEP 1: PREPARE OVEN

Food air fries most evenly in the center of the oven, so make any necessary readjustments to rack placement before you start preheating. Then, if you’re hoping to catch crumbs or drips, line a pan with parchment paper or foil and place it on the rack below the food. Avoid putting anything on the bottom of the oven that may interfere with air flow, and preheat the oven to your desired temperature.

Person placing a dirty air fry basket in a loaded dishwasher

STEP 2: FIND THE RIGHT COOKWARE

A perforated air fry basket allows hot air to circulate across every surface of your food, making it easier for food like vegetable fritters or chicken katsu to achieve a crispy and browned exterior. If you don’t have an air fry basket, you can try using an oven-safe dark or nonstick tray with low sides or an oven-safe cooling rack that supports your food.

Vegetable kabobs on a grilling pan slid out on a gliding oven rack

STEP 3: PREPARE FOOD

Maximize the surface area of food like veggies by cutting them into cubes, spears or medallions so more of your food comes into contact with circulating hot air. Lightly coat air fried foods with oil to help promote browning. 

 

Prepare meat or fish by patting the surface dry before applying a light coat of oil, and always opt for breading—rather than wet batter—to coat foods like fried chicken. Arrange food in your air fry basket or pan with plenty of room for even air circulation, as overcrowding can prevent even crisping and lead to soggy spots.

Person selecting settings on the digital display of an oven

STEP 4: SET TIME AND TEMPERATURE

Cooking time and temperature varies by recipe, but expect air frying in a convection oven to take a bit longer than it would in a countertop air fryer. You can reference your oven’s manual for cook times and temperatures for air frying. If your manual has no instructions or you can’t access it, follow your recipe’s cooking time and temperature and keep an eye out for doneness as your food cooks.

Person arranging food with tongs

STEP 5: FLIP FOOD

A perforated air fry basket should help food crisp, but sometimes carefully flipping or shaking food halfway through can help promote more even browning. Not every recipe requires flipping, so be sure to leave the oven door closed unless rotating is absolutely necessary. Some air fryers, like select KitchenAid® countertop ovens, feature an Air Fry function that uses a No-Flip Air Fry Basket, so you can count on crispy results without the hassle of flipping ingredients.

CONVECTION OVEN AIR FRYER RECIPES

Though true air fried results are best achieved using an air fryer or an oven with an air fry settings, you can add extra crisp to your recipes using a convection oven with an air fry basket. See below for recipes that teach you how to air fry vegetables, meats and fish in your convection oven.

Baked chicken thighs in a dish

1. AIR FRYER CHICKEN THIGHS IN CONVECTION OVEN

You may not notice the same level of crispiness using a convection oven vs. an air fryer, but you can modify this air fryer recipe to achieve crunchy results compared to conventional oven baking techniques. Simply marinate the chicken thighs, make the breading, bread the chicken and lightly spritz it with oil before placing it in the air fry basket and popping it into the oven.

 

SEE RECIPE

Herb garnished french fries on a plate with dip

2. CONVECTION OVEN AIR FRYER FRENCH FRIES

An air fryer can help you make extra crunchy french fries with less time and oil, but adapting this air fryer recipe to your convection oven can still give you great results. Thinly slice russet or Yukon gold potatoes and experiment with various oils like olive, peanut, grapeseed or canola oil as you air fry French fries in a convection oven.

 

SEE RECIPE

Person chopping carrots on cutting board

3. AIR FRYER VEGETABLES

Whether you’re air frying zucchini, cauliflower, green beans or asparagus, air fried veggies make a mouthwatering appetizer or side dish for any occasion. Use seasoning, a light coat of oil and an air fry basket to make this delicious side dish.

 

SEE RECIPE

Salmon on a plate with Brussels sprouts and orange wedges next to a KitchenAid® countertop oven

4. AIR FRYER SALMON

Indulge in salmon that’s slightly crispy on the outside and tender on the inside when you air fry the entree in a convection oven. Adapt this air fryer recipe by preparing the salmon in even slices, patting it dry and adding your desired seasoning with a light coat of oil. Then, simply slide it into the oven in an air fryer basket.

 

SEE RECIPE

Grilled filets of steak on a serving board

5. AIR FRYER STEAK

This air fryer recipe will help your steak lightly sear on the outside while locking in succulent juices. Lightly brush a 1-inch slice of your preferred cut with oil, flavor it with your favorite seasonings and place it in an air fry basket to cook in your convection oven.

 

SEE RECIPE

Roasted potatoes garnished with herbs in a bowl

6. TWICE BAKED POTATOES IN AIR FRYER CONVECTION OVEN

Air frying twice baked potatoes creates a crowd pleasing dish that combines fluffy potatoes and a rich, creamy filling with a delicately crisped potato skin. Try serving air fried potatoes alongside steak, chicken or a side salad.

 

SEE RECIPE

 

EXPLORE KITCHENAID®OVENS AND COUNTERTOP OVENS

Experiment with countless healthy and fresh recipes with KitchenAid® countertop ovens. Select models feature up to 12 essential cooking functions so you can do everything from air frying and dehydrating to toasting, proofing and more. Plus, select KitchenAid® ranges feature Even-Heat™ True Convection, so you can try your hand at air frying your favorite foods using consistent temperatures and even heating.

A person pulling a roasting pan out of the oven.

Wall Ovens

Crispy results straight from the oven

Whatever your creativity calls for, KitchenAid® wall ovens will help you crisp, brown, bake and more--all to perfection.

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