How Full Can You Fill An Air Fryer?

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Knowing how much food you can add to your air fryer basket is an extremely important matter vis-à-vis cooking in an air fryer.

Putting everything in it at once and cooking large quantities 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?

You should not fill your air fryer more than 3/4th of its total stated capacity. Filling the basket to the brim can hamper its ability to evenly circulate hot air through food, resulting in undercooked or unevenly cooked food.

How Much Food You Can Put In The Air Fryer Basket

Air Fryer Basket Filling

As a rule, always leave 1/4th space in your fryer’s basket vacant when cooking.

If your air fryer has an 8 QT capacity, like the Chefman large max XL, add only as much food to occupy the 6.5 QT capacity.

The rest of the space will help promote the free flow of hot air.

Keeping this in mind, an 8 qt air fryer can accommodate the following quantities of food:

  • 8-12 chicken wings
  • 6-8 drumsticks 
  • 3-4 cups of chopped vegetables

Remember these are conservative estimates; the actual quantity can vary depending on the basket's shape and the food's size. 

Some air fryer brands provide a max-limit mark on the basket; following that mark can help you get the best results.

Effects Of Over-Filling The Air Fryer Basket

Single Basket Air Fryer

The most common reason people overload the basket is to save time when in a hurry, avoid cooking in batches, or when famished.

Understandably, waiting for the next batch of lip-smacking buffalo sauce-coated chicken wings or thick, juicy grilled beef can be a trial.

However, a little wait goes in your favor. Here is why we advise against over-filling your cooking appliance basket.

Makes The Food Soggy

The primary reason for making 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.

Results In Uneven Cooking

It Makes The Food Soggy

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 okay, but most of it will not. As a result, you will end up eating unevenly cooked food.

Causes Smoke

When the air fryer cooking basket is filled beyond the maximum line, food often touches the heating element and burns.

This 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.

Uneven Browning

Overfilling the basket means some food pieces will get more heat than others.

This is especially true about food directly exposed to the heating element.

This will cause uneven browning; for instance, some pieces of Brussels sprouts or sweet potatoes will attain darker shades of brown than the rest.

Tips To Accommodate More Food In An Air Fryer

While you should never overstuff your air fryer, there is a way to accommodate more food in an air fryer if necessary.

Use Multi-Layer Metal Rack

Using Racks in the Air Fryer

Using a multi-layer rack to cook more food per batch is one of the tried and tested air fryer tips for beginners.

A multi-layer metal rack can cook more food in each batch on its multiple layers.

Food can be arranged with space between each piece to allow air circulation.

Arrange Food Along The Walls

What if an air fryer rack is not available?

In that case, you can line up foods like drumsticks, wings, etc., in a standing position along the sides of the basket.

This hack will help you adjust more food in the basket and cook it evenly. The larger the air fryer, the more food you can arrange this way.

For instance, if you have the best 8-quart air fryer, you can easily accommodate 10 to 12 chicken wings along the walls.


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.


Knowing how full you can fill an air fryer is important for even cooking. Overfilling the air fryer increases the chance for the food to touch the heating element and trigger a smoke and fire hazard. Additionally, it blocks the air, and the food cooks inefficiently. Therefore, overstuffing the air fryer is never recommended. 

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