How to Air Fry Without an Air Fryer?

Have you ever wanted to achieve the crispy, delicious results of air frying but don’t have an air fryer?

No worries, you can still achieve that delightful crunchiness without the fancy appliance.

I will tell you simple techniques to recreate the air frying experience using your regular oven or toaster oven. By making a few adjustments to your cooking process, you’ll be enjoying healthier, crispy treats in no time. 

Before I tell you how to go about air frying without an air fryer, allow me to quickly brief you on the concept of air frying. 

How Air Frying Works

Air frying relies on hot air to cook your food. Your food is placed inside the air fryer, and hot air circulates it at high speed.

This process ensures that your food cooks evenly and achieves a crispy exterior similar to traditional frying. 

How to Air Fry Without an Air Fryer

While air fryer is an amazing appliance, in case you don’t have one (or yours is broken), here are some other appliances you can use to air fry your food without using an air fryer

Convection Ovens

A convection oven is a great alternative. These ovens use a fan to circulate hot air, which helps to cook food evenly and give it a crispy texture, just like an air fryer.

When using a convection oven, it is important to arrange food in a single layer on a dark, non-stick baking pan.

This helps to maximize the surface area of the food for even browning. The dark color helps to conduct heat to the food faster.

You can use the same temperature that the air fryer recipe calls for in a convection oven.

In a regular oven without a convection setting, you need to preheat the oven and lower the temperature by 20-25 degrees.

Also read: Convection Oven vs. Air Fryer: What’s the Difference?

Toaster Ovens

A toaster oven is another alternative to an air fryer. If your toaster oven has a convection setting, you can replicate the air frying process.

Consumer Reports recommends using a convection roast or convection bake, along with a dark baking pan.

Some tips for using a toaster oven include:

  • Spread the food out evenly so it can crisp up without steaming
  • Use a lower rack for faster cooking
  • Keep an eye on your food and adjust cooking times as necessary
Also read: Air Fryer vs Toaster Oven – What’s the Difference?

Countertop Ovens

A countertop oven can also be an alternative to an air fryer. Countertop ovens with a built-in fan are especially useful as the fan helps circulate the hot air.

This creates crispy results similar to air frying.

Remember the following when using a countertop oven:

  • Preheat the oven before placing your food inside
  • Use a crisper tray, if available, to facilitate even air circulation
  • Check and flip the food periodically for even cooking

According to the consumer reports editor, an air fryer is a mini convection oven.

Watch the video below, where she tells you how to air fry without an air fryer. 

Interestingly, I read a piece on Y Combinator where a consumer mentioned how the new york times wirecutter recommends people just get a good convection toaster oven over an air fryer.

Below is a table where I have summarized the ways you can air fry your food without using an air fryer:

TechniqueApplianceKey Tips
Air Frying with Convection OvenConvection Oven1. Arrange food in a single layer on a dark, non-stick baking pan. 2. Use the same temperature as the air fryer recipe.
3. Preheat the oven and lower the temperature by 20-25 degrees if using a regular oven without a convection setting.
Air Frying with Toaster OvenToaster Oven1. Use a convection roast or convection bake setting, along with a dark baking pan.
2. Spread food out evenly for better crispiness.
3. Use a lower rack for faster cooking.
4. Monitor your food and adjust cooking times as necessary.
Air Frying with Countertop OvenCountertop Oven1. Preheat the oven before placing your food inside.
2. Use a crisper tray, if available, to facilitate even air circulation.
3. Check and flip the food periodically for even cooking.
Air Frying in a Regular OvenRegular Oven1. Choose the correct pan (perforated or oven-safe cooling rack).
2. Prepare your food by patting it dry, applying a small amount of oil, and avoiding overcrowding the pan.
3. Set the temperature 25°F lower than the suggested oven temperature, and reduce the cooking time by about 20%.
4. Check and flip your food during the cooking process for balanced crispness.
Also read: Can You Air Fry Battered Food?

How to Air Fry in a Regular Oven

While air fryers make it simple to enjoy crisp, air-fried meals, you can still achieve similar results using your regular oven.

Let’s explore how to air fry in a regular oven, focusing on choosing the right pan, preparing your food, and setting the temperature.

Choosing the Right Pan

For effective oven air frying, it’s essential to choose the right type of pan. A perforated pan or an oven-safe cooling rack is most suitable for this purpose.

A perforated pan has small holes that allow hot air to circulate around your food, producing a crispy texture.

2 Pack 2-1/2 Inch Deep Half Size Perforated Steam Pan Stainless Steel Perforated Steam Table Food Pan Restaurant Supplies for Kitchen (2.5 Inch Deep)

Placing an oven-safe cooling rack on top of a baking sheet also works well. The elevated position promotes air circulation and even cooking.

Preparing Your Food

To achieve a crisp and golden outer layer, you need to prepare your food correctly.

Follow the steps below:

  • Pat dry your ingredients, removing excess moisture.
  • Sprinkle or coat your food with a small amount of oil to enhance browning.
  • Avoid overcrowding the pan. This allows hot air to circulate freely resulting in an even cooking.

Setting the Temperature

When using a regular oven for air frying, it’s important to adjust the temperature settings for optimal results.

The general rule is to reduce the suggested oven temperature by 25°F. Cut the cooking time by about 20% when following an air fryer recipe in a regular oven.

Remember to check and flip your food during the cooking process to ensure balanced crispness on all sides.

Also read: Induction Cooking Temperature Guide

Air Frying Tips and Techniques Without an Air Fryer

Here are a few tips and air frying techniques to help you achieve crispy food without an air fryer. 

For even cooking results:

  • Preheat your oven to the recommended temperature for the specific dish.
  • Use a convection setting if your oven has one.
  • Spread out food pieces on a dark baking sheet, making sure they have enough space around them.
  • Flip and rotate your food around halfway through the cooking time.

To achieve a perfect browning:

  • Cut food items like french fries, chicken wings, and tofu into similar-sized pieces so they cook evenly.
  • Dry your food thoroughly before cooking, as excess moisture can cause steaming instead of browning.
  • Use a neutral oil with a high smoke point to help the food crisp up without burning.
  • Lightly mist or apply oil onto the food with a brush to ensure an even coating.

Using Oil and Seasoning for Air Frying

When air frying without an air fryer, using the right oil is crucial. A neutral oil with a high smoke point, such as canola or avocado oil, works well.

This type of oil will give your food a beautiful golden color and prevent any burnt taste.

Before you place your food on a baking sheet, lightly coat it with the chosen oil. This step will help the seasonings to stick better and allow for even cooking, as hot air circulates the food.

Seasonings can enhance the flavor of your air-fried creations.

Experiment with different spices and herbs. Here are a few tips for seasoning your food effectively:

  • Combine dry spices with oil before applying them to food to prevent them from being blown off during cooking.
  • Gently toss your food items in a bowl with oil and seasonings to ensure even coverage.
  • Shake the baking tray at least once halfway through cooking to help prevent any clumping or uneven browning.

Following these tips, you can achieve delicious, air-fried results in your standard oven without investing in a separate air fryer.

Also read: Do Air Fryers Need Oil? (Best Oil for Airfryer)

Popular Air Frying Recipes in the Oven

If you want to enjoy the taste of air-fried foods without an air fryer, here are some popular recipes you can easily recreate in your oven. 

These tasty treats are perfect for snacks, parties, or just a delicious dinner with your family.

Crispy French Fries

You can create mouthwatering, crispy french fries using your oven’s convection setting. Here’s a simple recipe to follow:

Preheat your oven to 425° F for five minutes. Cut potatoes into thin strips and toss them with a little oil. Place the fries on a baking sheet, ensuring they don’t overlap.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, flipping them halfway through to ensure even cooking.

Golden Chicken Wings

Enjoy delicious, crispy chicken wings without the need for deep frying. Preheat your oven to 400°F for five minutes.

Toss chicken wings with your favorite seasoning or marinade.

Place the wings on a baking sheet, spaced apart to allow for air circulation. Bake for 40-45 minutes, turning them halfway through to ensure even cooking.

Quick Tofu Bites

Get crispy, flavorful tofu bites with this easy recipe. Preheat your oven to 400°F for five minutes. Press and drain tofu, and then cut it into bite-sized cubes.

Toss the cubes in a mix of soy sauce and your preferred spices. Place the tofu cubes on a baking sheet, not touching each other.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, flipping the tofu halfway through cooking.

Mozzarella Sticks

Indulge in some cheesy, crispy mozzarella sticks using this oven-baked recipe. Preheat your oven to 400°F for five minutes.

Wrap mozzarella sticks in wonton wrappers or use store-bought breading.

Place the wrapped cheese sticks on a baking sheet with space between them. Bake for 10-12 minutes, watching closely to prevent overcooking and cheese leakage.

Common Air Frying Mistakes in the Oven

When air frying in the oven, it’s easy to make some common mistakes.

One mistake is overcrowding your baking tray. When food items are piled on top of each other, they release moisture which causes steaming instead of frying.

To avoid this, give enough space between the food pieces on your tray.

Another mistake you should avoid is not pre-heating your oven. 

Even if you may not have a specific air fryer function, pre-heating allows your oven to reach the right temperature before you start cooking your food.

Lastly, don’t forget to keep an eye. Pies and other delicate items can become overcooked if you don’t monitor them closely.

Keep a close eye on your pies, and adjust the cooking time as necessary to achieve the desired crispy texture.

Air Fryer Accessories and Adaptations

If you want to air fry without an air fryer, you can still achieve similar results by using some handy accessories and adaptations in your oven.

Firstly, to simulate the air-fry setting, use your oven’s convection setting, which utilizes a convection fan to circulate hot air.

Simply preheat your oven to the desired temperature and turn on the convection setting.

To get the crispiest results, use a dark-colored pan or small baskets on your oven’s rack. The dark color helps retain heat, improving the crisping process. 

Additionally, remember to use very little oil on your foods; this is another key to achieving that desired texture you get from air frying.

Organize your food efficiently with the following tips:

  • Spread out your food so it doesn’t overlap, avoiding steaming and ensuring even browning.
  • Maximize the surface area for cooking by cutting or tearing food into smaller bite-sized pieces.
  • Pat your food dry before cooking to help enhance its crispiness.

Keep a close eye on the temperature setting and cooking time, as oven temperatures can sometimes vary slightly from the settings.

Adjust as needed to prevent overcooking or undercooking your food.

So, with these simple adjustments and accessories, you can enjoy air-fried food without needing a dedicated air fryer appliance. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions:

Can I Use a Toaster Oven for Air Frying?

Yes, you can air fry in a toaster oven if it has a convection setting.

The convection mode circulates hot air, mimicking the air frying process. Place food on a wire rack for better air circulation.

Is a Convection Oven the Same as an Air Fryer?

While they use similar technology, they’re not the same.

A convection oven circulates hot air throughout the oven, whereas an air fryer has a more concentrated heat source and faster air circulation, resulting in crispier food.

Also read: 

Do I Need Any Special Equipment for Air Frying in a Convection Oven?

No, you don’t need special equipment, but using a wire rack on a baking sheet will ensure proper air circulation and a crisper result.

What Temperature Should I Set My Oven for Air Frying?

Set the temperature to 25°F (15°C) lower than the recipe calls for when using a regular oven.

For example, if the recipe says 400°F (200°C), set the convection oven at 375°F (190°C).

How Long Does it Take to Air Fry in a Convection Oven?

It varies depending on the food. Generally, it takes less time in a convection oven than in a regular oven.

Check for doneness frequently and adjust cooking time as needed.

Can I Use Aluminum Foil or Parchment Paper in a Convection Oven?

Yes, but ensure the paper or foil doesn’t obstruct the airflow.

Use a perforated or crumpled sheet to allow for better air circulation.

How Should I Prepare Food for Air Frying in a Convection Oven?

Cut food into small, evenly-shaped pieces for even cooking.

Pat food dry to maximize crispiness, and use a small amount of oil or cooking spray to lightly coat the food for even browning.

Can I Air Fry Frozen Food in a Convection Oven?

Yes, but adjust the cooking time and temperature accordingly. Generally, frozen food requires a slightly longer cooking time and a higher temperature.

Do I Need to Preheat My Convection Oven for Air Frying?

Yes, preheating is important for even cooking. It usually takes about 5-10 minutes for a convection oven to preheat.

How Do I Clean My Convection Oven After Air Frying?

After the oven has cooled down, remove any food debris or oil, and use a damp cloth or sponge to clean the interior.

For stubborn stains, use a non-abrasive cleaner or a mix of baking soda and water.


In summary, you can still achieve the air-fried texture without an air fryer by following a few simple steps:

  • Use your oven’s convection setting, if available
  • Opt for a toaster oven with a convection setting as an alternative
  • Preheat the regular oven that does not have a convection setting
  • Use a perforated pan or an oven-safe cooling rack
  • Spread out the food on the pan to prevent overcrowding for even cooking
  • Cut food into long strips or bite-sized pieces to increase surface area and crispiness
  • Make sure to thoroughly dry your food before cooking for optimal results

Remember, practice makes perfect. Don’t be discouraged if your air-frying attempts don’t turn out as expected at first.

Experiment with cooking times and temperatures to determine what works best for you and your oven. You’ll soon master the skill of air-frying without an air fryer, and both your taste buds and waistline will thank you for it.

Happy air-frying!

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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!