As the air fryer is becoming increasingly popular, more and more new air fryer users are entering the fray. I love reading glowing comments from all those people that just got their first air fryer as a gift or an impulse purchase! I see many questions coming from these new users, and one of them is ‘can I just cook food in my air fryer for the same time as in my traditional oven?’. This is the question I will answer today.
Are Air Fryer and Oven Cook Times the Same?
The short answer is no! An air fryer uses a much more intense cooking method than a traditional oven, being designed to be a substitute for deep fat frying. It will pump incredibly hot air around your food to cook it, usually in just over halve the time of even a fan assisted oven.
How Can I Convert an Oven Cook Time to an Air Fryer Cook Time?
If you look at my bro meals section of Air Fryer Bro, you will see I have cooked a wide variety of frozen food in my air fryer. This has given me real experience converting the oven cook times on food packets to something useable in an air fryer. What I came up with from those experiences was simple.
To change an oven cook time to an air fryer one, take the time required for a traditional oven and halve it. If you take a time for a fan assisted oven, you will need to use about 60% of the cook time. In both cases, cook for halve the time at the same temperature on the oven cooking instructions and take a look at your food. If it looks done, then test a small piece. Be ready to cook for another 5 minutes or so to finish off. If your food is slightly burned or charred, lower the cook time slightly next time.
This is not an exact science, but as you cook the same things several times, you will get an exact feel for the timings you need. This is not a one size fits all situation anyway, as every air fryer has a slightly different cooking strength.
Do the Air Fryer Conversion Calculators Work?
If you look at Google, you will see that there are a lot of websites claiming to have calculators that can quickly help you convert your oven cook times to air fryer ones. But do they work? Let’s take my experience and see how close these calculators get.
A license to grill has an air fryer calculator. When I entered a 20 minute oven cook time into their calculator, I got a 16 minute cook time with a slightly lowered temperature. In my experience, I never have to lower the temperature from an oven cook time and even with that slightly lower temperature, if you followed this cook time you would get over browned or even burned food in my opinion.
Next up we have a whole website dedicated to being an air fryer calculator, so they must know their timings, surely!
Entering in the same timings as above (350F for 20 minutes oven cook time) it gave me a temperature of 325F for 16 minutes. Again, these calculators love to ask you to lower the temperature, although this time by slightly less. But if you followed this cook time of 16 minutes, you wouldn’t most certainly get borderline burned food out the other side!
So, there you have it! Even though you will find these air fryer calculators recommended all over Google, for me they give cook times that leave a lot to be desired! The whole reason I started Air Fryer Bro was because I saw a lot of mis-information about air fryer on the internet from people that have probably hardly ever touched an air fryer themselves. This is another example of this! Stay well away and follow my simple instructions instead.