Can You Use a Convection Oven as an Air Fryer?

Yes, you can use a convection oven as an Air fryer.

Although both are designed differently to perform cooking functions, they both work on the same principle of ‘convection’. 

To understand this, allow me to elaborate further on convection, the workings of a convection oven and an air fryer, and the difference between the two.

I will be also giving you some tips on when to substitute a convection oven for an air fryer and vice versa.

What Is ‘Convection’? 

Convection is the process of heat transfer by actual motion. It can be in liquid or gas and involves a bulk transfer. 

To put it simply, convection means transferring heat by movement. 

In this case, food is heated up and cooked by circulating hot air in the oven with the help of an embedded fan. 

Both an air fryer as well as a convection oven have a fan inside that helps to cook food by circulating hot air around it. 

When Should You Convection Oven Instead of Air Fryer? 

Here is a quick guideline on when you can substitute a convection oven with an air fryer

  • Use it for quick results. If you don’t have a lot of time and want a quick bite, use an air fryer. 
  • Use an air fryer if you like eating frozen foods like burgers, chicken wings, pops, and crisp veggies. An Airfryer will dry up the liquid contents completely giving you excellent results just like deep frying with oil. 
  • Opt for an air fryer if you want to skip using oil for cooking completely. 

Following are some tips when you can substitute an air fryer with a convection oven

  • Use a convection oven instead of an air fryer for bulk cooking. On family gatherings and occasions, you can cut short the need to use an air fryer repeatedly and reduce your cooking time. 
  •  Use a convection oven for baking cookies, pizzas, and casseroles. The oven assures you of crispy exteriors while remaining soft and juicy on the inside compared to air fryers.
  • If you have the budget for just one appliance, purchase a convection oven. A convection oven will give you more options for different cooking techniques that are limited in an Airfryer due to less space and basket design.  
  • If you are too lazy to clean up afterward, skip the air fryer and opt for an oven that has a self-clean function.
  • Some convection ovens come with a perforated tray to mimic the same results of the perforated basket in an air fryer. Try it out to skip the air fryer for good. 

How Does a Convection Oven Work? 

A convection oven cooks food evenly from all sides by circulating hot air around it with the help of a fan. 

A traditional oven cooks food either with the help of heating elements or with the help of gas and direct flame. 

A convection oven has heating elements as well as a fan that is usually present on the backside. The electric fan is controlled with the help of a knob so you can increase or decrease fan speed depending on your recipe. 

The fan circulates the heat radiated from the heating element to all corners of the oven cavity. 

This helps to cook the food faster and makes the food more crunchy and crispy on the outside while remaining tender and juicy on the inside. 

A convection oven cooks food about 30% faster than a normal traditional oven! 

Due to its large size compared to air fryers, it is a great option for families and occasions.

Convection ovens are an excellent choice for cooking pizzas, roasting turkeys, baking cookies, bread, and casseroles.  

How Does an Air Fryer Work? 

Air fryers are designed to fry food without using oil and that’s why they are called ‘Air fryers’. 

Air fryers have an electric fan mostly located on top as well as a heating element.  It also has a porous tray or basket on which food is kept for better air circulation. 

The heat generated with the help of heating elements is circulated at high speed inside the chamber to dry up or fry food with the help of hot air. 

An air fryer is the latest fad for the health-conscious. You can completely skip using oil in an air fryer.  

Due to its small size, it is a great option for solo cooking for bachelors.

It is also the appliance to go for if you eat a lot of frozen meat, fries, chicken wings, and roasted veggies. It will make food crispy from the inside just like the results you get when frying in hot oil. 

Final Thoughts 

Summing up, while it is very much possible to substitute a convection oven for an air fryer, if you have the budget and space, go for both. 

Both a convection oven and an air fryer are excellent appliances with similar cooking techniques. However, the space design and results of both are slightly different. 

While an air fryer is best for quick cooking and frying meat and veggies using no oil, convection is slightly slow in cooking and can use a little greasing. 

It does not completely dry up the liquid content 100% like an air fryer, so the food is likely to be more juicy and tender on the inside.  

A convection oven is an excellent choice for families and functions due to its large size and gives you the option to try out different cooking techniques roasting a complete turkey, baking a large batch of cookies, etc. 

It is also easier to clean compared to the air fryer with the option of self-clean function available in the convection oven.

Nowadays convection ovens come air fry perforated tray option that completely mimics the perforated basket in an Airfryer to give you the same cooking results. 

I hope all these details have helped to shed some light so you know which one fits the bill for your needs and when to substitute convection with an Airfryer. 

All the best for kitchen setups matching your requirements! 

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