How Full Can You Fill an Air Fryer? Can You Fill To The Top?

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Putting everything in the air fryer at once and cooking together seems convenient and time-saving, but is it the right thing to do? More importantly, does doing this keep your air fryer safe from harm?

Knowing whether you can fill the basket to the brim is an extremely important matter vis-à-vis cooking in an air fryer, so we wanted to clarify a few things.

No, you should not fill an air fryer. Whether you have a small or a family-size air fryer, never fill it to the brim. We advise you to fill your air fryer basket at most 3/4th of its total stated capacity to get the best cooking results.

Knowing the reason behind this rule will convince you of its importance. You may also like to check the 100 percent stainless steel air fryer.

How Full Can You Fill an Air Fryer? Can You Fill To The Top?

Air Fryer Basket Filling

You cannot overload the air fryer basket because it affects its cooking mechanism. Air fryer follows the principle of convection cooking in which food is cooked with the help of moving hot air.

When you stuff the basket with more food, the hot air fails to circulate freely. It does not reach food from all sides, resulting in undercooked and overcooked spots.

What We Advise

Experts at Kitchen Hanker advise always leaving 1/4th of space in your air fryer’s basket when cooking. For instance, if your air fryer has an 8 quart capacity, as in the case of Chefman large air fryer max XL, put as much that only occupies 6 QT cooking capacity leaving the rest to allow free-flow of hot air.

Some air fryer brands don’t leave you at the mercy of mental calculation and provide a max-limit mark on the air fryer basket. Just follow that mark to use your air fryer safely.

Effects Of Over-Filling The Air Fryer Basket

Single Basket Air Fryer

The most common reason people overload the air fryer basket is to save time when in a hurry, avoid cooking in batches, or when famished. It can be quite hard to wait for the next batch of lip-smacking buffalo sauce-coated chicken wings or grilled thick juicy beef before it is ready to be served.

You might be drawn to throw everything in the air fryer at once and load the basket. But don’t get carried away by the temptation. Here is why we advise against filling your air fryer basket:

It Makes The Food Soggy

It Makes The Food Soggy

The primary reason for making Crispy fries, roasted veggies, or Chicken wings in an air fryer is to make them crunchy. When you fill the air fryer to the brim, the heat does not reach all parts of the food.

Instead of crisping up the exterior, the heat inside the air fryer steams the food, making it soft and soggy. Therefore, always put only enough that leaves some space among the food pieces for proper airflow.

Results In Uneven Cooking

Filling your air fryer with more than the required amount of food is like overfilling your dryer with wet clothes. Some food will turn out ok, but most of it will not. As a result, you will end up eating unevenly cooked food.

Causes Smoke

Air Fryer Smoking

When the air fryer basket is filled beyond the max line, food often pokes high, touches the heating element, and burns. It produces a lot of smoke, which, if not tackled properly, can be dangerous. Air fryer smoke and burning smell also linger in the house for some time before fizzling out in the air.

Food touching the heating element and burning on it can break it down too. If this happens, immediately lower the heat, remove some food from the basket, and cook it in the next batch.

Uneven Browning

Overfilling the air fryer basket results in some food pieces will be exposed to more heat than others. This thing is especially true for food directly exposed to the heating element.

It will cause uneven browning; for instance, some pieces of Brussels sprouts or sweet potatoes will attain darker shades of brown than the rest. Uneven browning doesn’t make your food presentable, so try avoiding it.

Tips To Accommodate More Food In An Air Fryer

Though you should never give in to the temptation of overstuffing your air fryer, there is a way to accommodate more food in an air fryer.

Multi-Layer Metal Rack

Using Racks in the Air Fryer

Using a multi-layer metal rack is a stress-free way to cook more food in an air fryer. An air fryer with racks and shelves helps you cook more food in each batch by accommodating more food on its multiple layers.

Food can be arranged, ensuring space between each food piece. Using a multi-layer rack to cook more per batch is a tried and tested air fryer tip for beginners.

If an air fryer rack is unavailable, you can line up foods like drumsticks, wings, etc., in a standing position along the sides of the basket and then flip them halfway.

This will adjust more food in the basket and cook it evenly. The bigger the air fryer, the more food you can arrange. For instance, if you have an 8-quart air fryer, you can easily accommodate 10 to 12 chicken wings along the wall.


Can you put more than one layer of food in an air fryer?

Yes, you can put more than one layer of food in an air fryer using accessories such as racks and trays. Some air fryers have racks and all the related accessories used in cooking. If your air frying unit does not have a rack, buy one to expedite your cooking.

Can I cook more than one thing in an air fryer?

Yes, you can cook more than one thing in an air fryer. There are a few ways to do that. Firstly, you can bring home the best dual-basket air fryer. Secondly, you can use air fryer basket separators to create a partition between different food items. Or you can put a two or three-tier rack and cook a different thing on each layer.

Wrapping Up!

Knowing how full you can fill an air fryer is important before putting food in it. Overfilling increases the chance of food touching the air fryer heating element and triggering a smoke and fire hazard. So, overstuffing the air fryer is never recommended. It blocks the air fryer, cooks food unevenly, and ruins the unit.


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