Can You Open Air Fryer While Cooking?

I am always excited to see food changing textures and shapes while cooking. As the food smells start coming out, it gives me an adrenaline rush.  

Another reason for me to visually check on food while cooking is to ascertain if the cooking is going right.

I prefer to have control over the appearance of my cooked food. It is said that the eyes decide perfectionism before the palate. 

I have just purchased an air fryer and I can’t wait to try it out. I wonder if I can open the air fryer while cooking? I decided to find out. 

Before moving in for the kill, let me briefly discuss why would people want to open their air fryer while cooking. 

Common Reasons You May Want to Open the Air fryer While Cooking 

There are three reasons for this : 

Checking on the Food 

I fall into this category. I prefer to check the progress of cooking myself and I feel more satisfied with the results. 

People have different likes and tastes. Just like people like their eggs done differently, anything cooking in an Airfryer will also have to be approved by the chef.

After all, the home chef knows best how the family likes their food.

Impatience /Hunger

Sometimes, people reopen out of impatience or curiosity. This is understandable, especially if you have just got a brand-new air fryer or are super hungry. 

I would recommend patience here and getting occupied with other chores like setting the table, cleaning the room, laying out the cutlery, etc.

Reopening, again and again, will just delay the cooking process. 

Adding Oil/Seasonings/Forgotten Ingredient

At times, people forget to add an ingredient. It is easy to just pull out the basket and add the forgotten Ingredient. 

It could be anything like oil, seasonings, or sides. 

We also need to flip the food halfway. At times the recipe requires us to oil again after flipping for a crisp texture.  Sometimes the seasoning needs to be put halfway. 

Certain delicate ingredients have to be placed just minutes before the food is cooked to avoid burning.

For all such reasons, it is quite normal for people to open the air fryer while cooking.

Let us now find out if it is ok to open the air fryer while cooking.

Can You Open the Air Fryer While Cooking? 

Yes, you can open the air fryer while cooking. You will not be hampering the cooking process or damaging the air fryer. 

According to the manufacturer, we should open it up at least once midway to flip the food for an evenly cooked and crisped surface.

Most air fryers have an inbuilt system of pausing the settings automatically as soon as you open the door.

As soon as you place the air fryer basket back, the cooking will resume from where it stopped automatically. 

As far as falling or spilling is concerned, the air fryer has a safety lock on the basket that prevents the basket from falling from the drawer. So no food falls when you remove the drawer from the air fryer. 

However, it is not encouraged to keep opening the air fryer a lot of times while cooking. This is because the food cooking will get delayed. 

Reopening frequently will cause the heat levels to go down. It will take time for the air fryer to create a hot atmosphere to cook food. 

Consumers are also encouraged to check if the food is getting cooked right and not burning near the completion time. 

What Happens When We Open the Air Fryer During Cooking? 

As soon as you remove the Airfryer basket, the cooking process gets paused.

The temperature and the time freezes, and the countdown will no longer show. 

When you place the drawer back into position, the air fryer will beep, and the cooking process will resume automatically. 

You don’t have to re-enter the settings or press any button. The air fryer will pick up from where it was paused and start the cooking process. 

You could increase the time by a minute more to make up for the lost time, as the temperature of the food drops when you take it out midway. 

However, if the gap was only for a short duration, you don’t have to increase the time duration. The air fryer will raise the temperature of food in no time. 

How to Open the Air Fryer While Cooking? 

It is very easy to open the air fryer during cooking. Just follow the steps below: 

  • Pause your air fryer and wait 30-45 seconds. Alternatively, you could just pull out the drawer without pausing if your air fryer has the auto pause feature
  • Hold the handle of the drawer and pull it outwards slowly.
  • Place the drawer with the basket on a flat surface near the air fryer. 
  • If you wish to remove the basket from the drawer, just slide the clasp holding the button and press the button. The basket will easily lift out. 

How to Know If the Air Fryer has an Auto-Pause Feature? 

An easy way to find this out is to open the air fryer while it is cooking food. The cooking process will get paused, and the inbuilt fan will stop operating.

If you are not sure, read the manual or contact the manufacturer of your brand directly. Most basic and standard air fryers have this inbuilt feature. 

How to Open the Air Fryer While Cooking if it Doesn’t Have the Auto Pause Feature? 

Although most air fryers come with an auto-pause feature, there are some exceptions. 

For example, Ninja AF 101 air fryer does not have an auto-pause feature. 

If your air fryer does not have an inbuilt auto pause function, don’t worry.

Hit the pause button and wait 30 seconds. Take the drawer out.

After flipping your food or adding whatever you want to add, place the drawer back inside and hit the pause button again manually. The air fryer will continue cooking from where it was paused. 

Tips On Safety While Cooking in the Air fryer 

Here are a few tips that will go a long way to make your cooking safe and easy in the air fryer : 

Read Your Manual 

The manual is the guiding light for your air fryer. It will tell you exactly how to operate and how much to cook.

It will also guide you on how to use the temperature and timing setting for a specific food. 

Use Mitts/Tongs

When opening the drawer in between cooking or removing the drawer after cooking, wear oven mitts.

Although the handle will not be hot, the mitts will protect your fingers from the hot temperature of the cooked food. 

To place or remove the food from the air fryer, use tongs. Your hands will stay safe while you let the utensil take care of handling the food. 

Also read: Can Oven Mitts Be Washed (Washing Machine, Dishwasher, Dryer)?

Keep Out of Reach 

The air fryer can get hot and also releases hot air from a small vent on the backside. Make sure to keep it away from small kids and pets. 

Keep a sufficient gap between the wall and the air fryer for the vent to work well. 

Do Not Place Normal Cookware 

Never place cookware that is not oven safe inside the Airfryer.

They can melt, release toxic fumes, and damage the Airfryer. They can also be responsible for creating fires in the kitchen. 

Also read: Can You Put a Glass Bowl in an Air Fryer?

Place the Drawer All The Way Inside 

When you remove the drawer, make sure to lock it back in position.

The drawer should go all the way inside until you hear a beep from the air fryer. 

Should I Open the Air Fryer During Cooking If I See Smoke? 

There can be many reasons for smoke to come out while food is cooking inside the Airfryer. 

  • If the smoke is white, it is excess grease. 
  • If the smoke is black, it is leftover or stuck food gunk that is burning 
  • If the smoke is blue, it indicates an electronic defect. Switch off your air fryer as soon as you see the smoke and contact customer care.

Apart from white smoke, turn off the air fryer as soon as you spot the smoke. Open the doors and windows and contact customer service. 

Also read: Do Air Fryers Smoke? Common Causes + Fix!

Can I Add Food During Cooking in the Air fryer? 

Yes, you can add food to the basket while the food is cooking. Just don’t overfill the basket. Keep a sufficient gap for good airflow. 

Another important thing to remember is to add the same food that is already being cooked if you add it midway.

For example, while cooking chicken wings, don’t add steak or burger patty in the middle. Your new food can get under or overcooked. It can also be burnt.

This happens as the temperature and timing will vary. Each food type needs a specific temperature or time to cook. 

As the air fryer will sense cold new food, it will increase the temperature which can burn the half-done food added before. It can lead to uneven cooking due to undercooking/overcooking.  

If you have the extra space and need to add the food, add the same type of food that is being cooked.

Then once the cooking time is completed, remove the food that you added in the beginning and complete the time duration for the food added later on. 

The Bottom Line 

As you are now aware, it is completely safe to open the Airfryer while food is cooking. 

To avoid escaping hot air and a prolonged time duration, remove the drawer quickly and place it back inside the air fryer in the shortest time duration. 

Lack of knowledge can cause damage or injury to you as well as the Airfryer. 

Make sure to follow the instructions above and also to read the air fryer manual thoroughly. If you need further help, go through the manufacturer’s website or call customer care. 

Stay safe and cook safely. Cheers! 

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I’m Jueria and I am a regular contributor on In my articles, I share time-saving techniques, appliance wizardry, and health-friendly recipes to bring taste and wellness to your table. So raise a glass (or a spatula) with me, to good health and good food, made easy!