Do Air Fryers Cook Faster Than Convection Ovens?

In the busy modern world, we are always running out of time. 

For me, cooking food has always been for me a long and tiresome chore.

I recently got myself an air fryer and I have been using it quite a lot recently. I also have a convection oven and some of the stuff I use to cook in my oven can also be cooked in the air fryer.

I wonder which of them is better for cooking performance and which one will help me save time. Is an Air fryer faster than an oven? 

Do Air Fryers Cook Faster Than Ovens? 

Yes, air fryers do cook faster than ovens.

This is because an air fryer is a compact chamber and so the heat remains confined to a smaller area. 

Also, they do not need any preheating. It can reach high temperatures within two-three minutes, so the cooking starts sooner.

An air fryer has a fan that is more powerful in speed compared to a convection oven, where the fan is not so powerful. This results in the air fryer cooking food faster. 

One area where ovens are better than air fryers is when you have to cook more food. Due to the limitation of the size of an air fryer, it can cook less food, so you may have to cook in batches. So if you need to cook more food, an oven would be faster.

Let us go into details regarding why an air fryer cooks faster than an oven.

Why Do Air Fryers Cook Faster Than Ovens? 

Here are some of the main reasons why air fryers are ace at cooking : 

Small, Compact Built

It’s all physics. The smaller the area, the more the heat absorption, and faster cooking. 

Although an oven has two heating elements while an air fryer has only one, the size makes a difference in speed. 

Another aspect is that heat comes from the top of an air fryer. This heating element directly heats food with the help of a fan.

The distance from the heating element to the raw food is nearer in an air fryer compared to the oven. 

An oven is bigger so it takes time for the heating element to become hot and circulate heat all around the oven cavity. 

Shorter Waiting Time for Preheating 

An oven needs to be preheated for some time depending on the recipe. This waiting period (during which the oven is becoming warm enough for your cooking) is called preheating. 

In an air fryer, the preheating time is two to three minutes. In most air fryer recipes, there is no need to preheat as the air fryer gets hot quickly. 

This is due to the convection mechanism in the air fryer. It can blow hot air directly at the food within seconds. 

But if the air fryer recipe calls for preheating, you can do it in two minutes. In an oven, it can be 10-15 minutes. 

Minimal to No Oil (or Marination)

Thanks to the high heat and blasting technique, food gets cooked from the inside out. You do not have to marinate it before cooking and neither do you need a lot of oil for a crisp fry. 

Some oven recipes call for prior marination and application of grease for cooking. 

In an air fryer, you can go ahead and cook food without any prior marination. The grease/oil requirement is also quite less. Some recipes don’t need oiling at all. 

Speed and Size of the Embedded Fan 

An air fryer has a high-speed fan inside that is located at the top near the heating element. 

This position allows good heat distribution to the food and decreases the cooking time. 

The quick space heating is also due to the high rotational speed of the fan. This speed is 30-35 percent higher compared to a basic convection oven.  

A convection oven has a low-speed fan. The quantity may be one or two depending on the model. The size of the fan embedded inside the oven is also small. 

Speed of Cooking 

Here an air fryer takes away the crown. An average air fryer takes about three minutes to reach 325-350° F. The circulating heat is similar to hot steam. 

An oven can never reach that temperature even after five minutes. 

It takes fifteen minutes for the oven to reach this temperature. 

A toaster oven is slightly faster, taking 6-7 minutes to reach that temperature. However, it falls short when it comes to speedier cooking by an air fryer due to its size and marksmanship. 

Also read: 8 Benefits of Using an Air Fryer (Why Use an Air Fryer)?

Adjusting Oven Recipe For Air Fryer

Let us look at the cooking time conversion. If you have an oven recipe and wish to try it in the air fryer, simply decrease the temperature stated by the recipe by 25%

As for the time, subtract 20% from the total time taken to cook in the oven.

That is the time needed to cook in an air fryer. 

The only con of air frying vs oven cooking is that you have to flip the food halfway in the air fryer for all-around thorough cooking. 

Allow me to briefly tell you about the benefits of cooking in each appliance 

Advantages of Air Frying 

  • With little to no oil, air fryers give great frying results 
  • High temperatures of 350-400F are reached quickly inside an air fryer. 
  • Due to less oil used, it protects your heart from inflammation and disease. It is a healthier alternative to deep-frying and other traditional cooking methods. 
  • You can control the amount of fat and calories you wish to consume. Air fryers are great for cutting down weight.
  • An air fryer helps to reduce toxicity. When hot oil is used for making food crisp in a deep fryer, it results in the production of a harmful compound. This is called acrylamide. Acrylamide has a toxic effect on the human body and is known to cause cancer.
  • Some examples of food you can cook in an air fryer include pizza, nuggets, donuts, cookies, french fries, wings, vegetables, fish, steak, etc.
Also read: 10 Reasons Why Air Fryers are So Popular

Advantages of Oven Cooking 

  • The oven uses hot air to slowly bake or cook food inside out. This helps to solidify food from liquid to solid state.  
  • You can bake, roast, toast, and broil inside the oven 
  • As the fat content reduces during roasting in an oven, you get to consume low fat. 
  • Cooking food in an oven is healthier as it cooks food with the help of the heating element. There is no harmful exposure to rays.
  • Baking helps in retaining nutrients like vitamins and minerals from the food. 
  • Some examples of oven cooking are bread, pizza, cheesecake, muffins, casseroles, meat, bacon, etc. 

FAQs about Cooking in Air Fryer vs Oven

Here are some frequently asked questions 

What is the Advantage of High Heat Exposure in an Air Fryer? 

High heat exposure helps to kill bacteria in the raw food. This high heat comes from high temperatures used for cooking food in an air fryer.

 The high temperature is greater than the temperature used for the sterilization of food. 

Which is Better at Reheating Food – Air Fryer or Oven?

An air fryer will reheat your food quickly compared to the oven.

Not only will it reheat in minutes, but it will also bring back life into soggy and tender goods making them crisp and brown.  

However, if you have a lot of quantity, ditch the air fryer. An air fryer has a compact design, so there is less space to put a lot of food. 

Which is Better When it Comes to Variety? 

An oven! It has many cooking modes and can be used to cook a large variety of food. 

They have adequate space so you can cook variety in bulk. 

How Long Will it Take to Cook Chicken in an Air Fryer? 

Chicken usually takes about 15-20 minutes in the air fryer. Frozen chicken may take a bit longer. 

The other day I tried chicken breasts in the air fryer. It took me 20 mins for a well-done crusted surface chicken with a flavorful and juicy interior.

How Long Does Fish Take to Cook in an Air fryer? 

Fresh fish will take lesser time compared to frozen fish. 

Frozen Fish fillets take about 12 minutes to cook while fresh fish can take 6-8 minutes to cook in an air fryer. 

How Long Does a Steak Take to Cook in an Air Fryer? 

It takes roughly about 15-20 minutes. You need to flip it halfway to cook it from all sides. 

You can also check with a thermometer and decide the time according to the temperature achieved.

The temperatures are 160° F for a well-done steak, 130° F for a medium steak, and 125° F for medium-rare. 

Conclusion 

Air fryers cook faster than the oven. The reason is the small built, compact design, top location of heating element, fan size, and speed.

The preheating time is also largely reduced to only about two minutes.

This is because the temperature raises quickly inside an air fryer, within minutes. All of these contribute to a meal being prepared much faster than in an oven. 

However, you can use both the electrical appliances for a quick meal. In the end, all that counts is delicious food.

For bulk cooking, choose an oven. An oven also gives you multiple modes of cooking compared to an air fryer. 

Apart from speed, both the appliances come with their benefits. 

Have a look at the advantages and the list of food preparations mentioned above. 

If you have the space and budget, buy both. You are bound to enjoy the food even more. All the best!  

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