Can I Use Air Fryer Without Basket?

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The changing lifestyles and food preferences, including the inclination to healthy food, have made air fryers a coveted choice.

Though air fryers have been around for quite some time, people are still unaware of many aspects of using them correctly.

A frequently question about using an air fryer without a basket caught my attention, so I decided to address it.

Yes, you can use an air fryer without a basket. However, you need to prevent blockage of airflow to get good cooking results. Using an accessory in the air fryer with poor airflow will result in uneven cooking or can malfunction the unit.

Correct Use Of An Air Fryer Without A Basket

Some things you must make sure of for adequately using an air fryer without a basket are the following:

Use accessories that don’t impede the airflow. If the placement and size of the alternative accessories block airflow, food will cook unevenly with some burnt and undercooked spots.

Buy yourself a metal rack to ensure proper airflow.

Metal racks have a small surface area, so they don’t block airflow. You can also put any pan or cupcake cases on the rack.

Lubricate the metal rack with oil before placing food to prevent sticking.

Why Cooking Food In Air Fryer Without Basket Is Not Recommended

Cooking in an air fryer without a basket is possible, but it is not recommended. Here is why!

Blocked Airflow

The air fryer basket holds the food over the cooking floor.

The perforations on the basket help circulate the air through the food, cooking it thoroughly from all sides.  

In a basket-less air fryer, air doesn’t circulate under the food properly, preventing you from achieving the desired results.

Safety Lock Feature

Using some air fryers without a basket is impossible because they come with a basket safety lock feature.

This feature does not let the air fryer cook until the basket is correctly seated inside the drawer.

Therefore, you have no other option but to use the basket.

Cleaning Difficulties

In some air fryers, the drawer is not coated with a non-stick coating.

In these units, cooking food without a basket results in the food sticking to the surface of the drawer, making cleaning difficult.

Healthiness of the Food

Without the air fryer basket, food juices and oil drippings will not drain out properly from the food, leading to the food cooking in its oil.

This may cause your food to retain some unhealthy elements, affecting its health.

What To Instead Of The Basket In The Air Fryer?

The suitability of a material for substituting an air fryer basket depends on how truly it allows the air to flow around it.

If it completely blocks the air, steer clear of it; otherwise, consider it an option.

Some things to use in an air fryer instead of an air fryer basket include:

  • Aluminum foil or pan
  • Baking pan
  • Grilling rack
  • Skewers
  • Silicon molds and trays
  • Pizza stones
  • Baking tin
  • Grill pan
  • Glass/ceramic bowl
  • Baking Paper or Parchment Paper

You can put any tin or aluminum pan in an air fryer if it is ovenproof (check the best ovenproof pan) and does not block the airflow.

Furthermore, when using a pan, ensure it does not have a handle.

A pan with a handle will take up more space, canceling the purpose of removing the basket.

When Can You Skip Using A Basket In The Air fryer?

Only a few situations allow you to skip using a basket in the air fryer. Here they are:

Cooking Large Food Items

Air fryer baskets are generally not spacious from the inside; therefore, they may not cook larger food items such as whole chicken or bigger portions.

So, when you need more cooking space, you can remove your air fryer’s basket.

Cooking A Particular Food

You can skip using an air fryer basket when cooking foods like cupcakes and flatbreads.

To make perfect cupcakes, you need cupcake cases.

In that case, using the basket may seem redundant, while directly placing the cases in the drawer may be a better option.

The same goes for making lasagna; you need a dish for this purpose.

However, ensure the accessories and dishes you use are food-grade and oven-safe.

Also, use only utensils and accessories that don’t block the airflow.


Can I use the air fryer basket in the pressure cooker?

Yes, you can use an air fryer basket in a pressure cooker, but only if there is a pot to hold the water or broth for making steam.

A pressure cooker cooks food with the help of steam.

If you use a perforated air fryer basket, you will have nothing to put water in for the steaming function.

Can I use the instant pot air fryer lid without the basket?

Yes, you can use the instant pot air fryer lid without the basket.

However, using a basket gives you better results.

Using an elevated basket raises your food and lets the blowing and swirling air pass through and under it, cooking it evenly and crisping it from all sides.


Using an air fryer without a basket is okay, but it is not recommended. There is a high chance that skipping the basket will block the airflow underneath the food. Skip using the air fryer basket only when necessary, such as making pizzas and cakes. Also, In these situations, ensure it does not compromise the quality of cooked food or harm your appliance.

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