Why is My Air Fryer Not Cooking Properly?

Have you ever wondered why your air fryer might not be cooking your food evenly or properly?

People who start using air fryers often find them an essential appliance that they use on a daily basis. So if it is not cooking properly, that is a big hassle for most air fryer owners.

Let us together explore some common air fryer problems and their solutions. By the end of the article, hopefully, you will be able to enjoy perfectly cooked meals.

Why is My Air Fryer Not Cooking Properly?

First, let us address the importance of proper cooking capacity.

Overloading your air fryer can hinder air circulation, leading to uneven cooking.

It’s important to be mindful of portion sizes and ensure you do not exceed the appliance’s maximum capacity. 

Power and heating issues are other common factors that can impact your air fryer’s cooking performance

You might need to check your power socket, power cord, or even the temperature settings, as these can all contribute to your air fryer not working correctly.

Stay tuned, as we dive deeper into these challenges and tips on overcoming them to ensure you achieve that perfectly crispy, delicious dish every time.

Common Issues with Air Fryer Cooking

Here are some most common issues when cooking in an air fryer: 

Uneven Cooking

One common issue you might face while using an air fryer is uneven cooking.

This often happens when the food is overcrowded, limiting the circulation of hot air necessary for proper cooking.

To make sure your food cooks evenly, try the following solutions:

  • Shake or stir the food periodically during the cooking process.
  • Do not exceed the recommended capacity of your air fryer, as mentioned in the user manual.
  • Arrange the food in a single layer or use suitable accessories to separate layers of food.
Also read: Do Induction Cooktops Heat Evenly?

Undercooked Food

If your food is undercooked most of the time, the culprit could be either an incorrect temperature or time duration.

Keep in mind that different air fryer models may require different cooking times or temperatures.

To address this issue, follow these suggestions:

  • Consult your air fryer’s user manual for the correct temperature and cooking time.
  • Adjust the temperature or the cooking time (if needed) based on your air fryer’s performance.
  • Use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of meats to ensure proper cooking.

Overcooked Food

Overcooked food in an air fryer might result from setting the temperature too high or cooking for too long.

Overcooking can lead to food that is dry, chewy, or burnt.

To prevent overcooking, consider these tips:

  • Check your air fryer’s user manual for the suggested temperature and cooking time.
  • Monitor the food during the cooking process to prevent overcooking, especially when trying new recipes.
  • Keep a cooking journal to note the ideal settings for your favorite dishes in your specific air fryer model.
Also read: Why Does Your Air Fryer Burn Everything?

Proper Usage of Air Fryer

Proper use of your air fryer is necessary for optimal cooking results.

This section covers four key aspects that will help you use your air fryer to it’s full potential: preheating, food placement, cooking time, and temperature adjustment.


Preheating your air fryer is an important step that should not be skipped. It helps the air fryer reach the desired temperature and promotes even cooking. 

To preheat, simply turn on your air fryer and let it run empty for about 3-5 minutes before adding your food.

Not preheating can result in unevenly cooked food or longer cooking times.

Also read: How Long Does it Take to Preheat an Oven?

Food Placement

Proper food placement is also crucial for you to get even cooking in the air fryer.

Avoid overcrowding your air fryer basket, which can lead to unevenly cooked food.

Give your food enough space for the hot air to circulate freely (which is how the air fryer cooks your food).

To do this, you can:

  • Use smaller portions if needed
  • Arrange food in a single layer in the basket
  • Shake or rotate your food during the cooking process

If you find that your food still isn’t cooking evenly, try adjusting the placement or reducing the amount of food in the basket.

Cooking Time and Temperature Adjustment

Adjusting cooking time and temperature can significantly impact the outcome of your dish. 

Air fryer cooking times may vary depending on the brand. It is best to consult your air fryer’s manual for recommended times and temperatures specific to your model.

If you notice your food is cooking too quickly or burning, try lowering the temperature or adjusting the cooking time.

On the other hand, if your food isn’t cooking fully, try increasing the temperature or extending the cooking time.

Be sure to also factor in your personal preferences for crispy or well-done food – this can help you fine-tune your temperature and time settings for the best results.

Also read: 10 Reasons Why Air Fryers are So Popular

Maintenance and Cleaning

Proper maintenance and cleaning are vital for keeping your air fryer working efficiently.

By following a few simple steps, you can ascertain that your air fryer cooks your food properly every time.

Regular Cleaning

It’s important to clean your air fryer after each use to prevent buildup and lingering odors.

Here are some key steps to follow:

  • Allow the air fryer to cool completely before cleaning.
  • Remove and wash the cooking basket, tray, and any other removable parts with warm, soapy water. For stuck-on food, soak the parts before scrubbing.
  • Wipe down the inside chamber with a damp cloth. For tougher stains, create a baking soda paste by combining ½ cup baking soda with a few drops of water and scrub gently.

Also, remember to dry all parts before reassembling and storing the air fryer.

Inspecting and Replacing Parts

Over time, wear and tear on your air fryer’s components can lead to decreased performance. Here’s what you should do:

  • Regularly check the cooking basket and tray for damage or warping. If you notice any issues, replace the parts as needed.
  • Inspect the heating element for any debris or buildup. If necessary, clean it with a soft brush and damp cloth.
  • Check the air fryer’s vents and airflow to ensure they’re not obstructed. This helps maintain proper air circulation and cooking efficiency.

By following these maintenance and cleaning tips, you’ll keep your air fryer in top shape, ensuring delicious, properly cooked meals every time.

Choosing the Right Air Fryer Accessories

Using the correct air fryer accessories can enhance your cooking experience and make your meals more evenly cooked.

Let’s explore some useful accessories in the following subsections:

Air Fryer Baskets

Choosing the right basket for your air fryer is crucial for even cooking. Ensure the basket has enough space for hot air to circulate your food.

I would suggest finding a basket with a nonstick surface to prevent food from sticking.

Also read: Air Fryer Basket Not Closing – Reasons + Fix!

Cooking Racks

Including a cooking rack in your air fryer can help you cook multiple layers of food at once.

It’s important to choose a rack designed for your air fryer model that fits well inside the basket. This way, you can cook more food evenly and quickly.

Also read: Can You Use Air Fryer Without Rack/Tray?


Avoid messy clean-ups by using liners in your air fryer basket. Liners are especially helpful when cooking sticky or saucy foods.

Opt for perforated parchment paper liners to allow the hot air to circulate and cook your food evenly.

Air Fryer Parchment Paper Liners, 200Pcs Square Air Fryer Liners, 8.5 Inch Perforated Parchment Paper Sheets for Baking, HOFHTD Parchment Paper for Air Fryer and Bamboo Steaming Basket (Unbleached)

Remember, your liner should fit your air fryer basket properly to avoid blocking the airflow.

So, the next time you cook with your air fryer, incorporate these accessories to enhance your cooking experience and avoid uneven cooking.

Plus, always ensure proper food placement and spacing to make the most of your air fryer’s capabilities.

Tips for Cooking Different Types of Food in the Air Fryer Correctly

Here I will give you some tips on different types of food in your air fryer. Let us begin.

Use the Right Temperature

Different types of food require different temperatures to cook properly.

For example, vegetables and fish usually cook best at lower temperatures (350°F), while meats and potatoes may require higher temperatures (400°F). 

Check the manufacturer’s instructions or recipe recommendations for the best temperature for the food you are cooking.

Preheat the Air Fryer

Preheating the air fryer for a few minutes before cooking can help ensure even cooking and prevent sticking.

Select the required temperature and let it run for 3-5 minutes before adding your food.

Use the Right Amount of Oil

While one of the benefits of air frying is that you don’t need as much oil as traditional frying, some foods still require a bit of oil to crisp up properly.

Use a high smoke point oil like canola, vegetable, or peanut oil, and use just enough to lightly coat the food.

Too much oil can cause the food to become soggy and not crisp up properly.

Don’t Overcrowd the Basket

Overcrowding the air fryer basket can cause uneven cooking and prevent the food from crisping up properly. 

Leave enough space between the food to allow for proper air circulation. For a large quantity of food, air fry in batches.

Shake the Basket

Shaking the basket halfway through cooking can help ensure even cooking and prevent sticking.

Use tongs or a spatula to move the food around and flip it over if necessary.

Use a Meat Thermometer

To check if the meat is cooked properly, use a meat thermometer. 

Instant Read Meat Thermometer for Cooking, Fast & Precise Digital Food Thermometer with Backlight, Magnet, Calibration, and Foldable Probe for Deep Fry, BBQ, Grill, and Roast Turkey

The ideal internal temperature of the cooked meat is 165°F (74°C).

Remember, different air fryers may have different optimal settings, so always check the manufacturer’s instructions for recommended cooking times and temperatures.

With a little experimentation and practice, you can use your air fryer for cooking a variety of delicious and healthy meals!

How to Season and Marinate Different Foods for Air Frying

Here is a quick guide to get the seasoning and marination done correctly for air fryer cooking

Use dry rubs or marinades

Dry rubs and marinades can add flavor and moisture to your food before air frying. For dry rubs, simply mix your desired spices and rub them onto the food before cooking. 

For marinades, mix your desired ingredients (such as oil, vinegar, herbs, and spices) and let the food soak in the mixture for a few minutes before cooking.

Consider the type of food

Different types of food work best with different types of seasonings.

For example, chicken pairs well with thyme and rosemary. Beef tastes best with garlic and chili.

Use fresh ingredients

When seasoning or marinating your food, use fresh ingredients. This will help enhance the flavor of the food.

Generally, meats can be marinated for several hours or overnight, while vegetables may only need a short marinade of 30 minutes to an hour.

Be sure to check the recipe or manufacturer’s instructions for recommended marinating times.

Alternative Cooking Methods

Here are some suggestions for alternative cooking methods for foods that may not be suitable for air frying:

Delicate foods

Some delicate foods like fish and eggs may not hold up well in an air fryer.

You can cook fish and eggs with an alternative cooking method like a stovetop, or an oven.

High Moisture Content

Foods with high moisture content, like fresh fruits and vegetables, may not crisp up properly in an air fryer.

Instead, try roasting these foods in the oven or grilling them on a barbecue. 

For example, vegetables like zucchini and bell peppers can be roasted in the oven or grilled on a barbecue. You can also cook them on the traditional stovetop.

Foods that Require Deep Frying

While an air fryer can produce crispy foods with less oil than traditional deep frying, some foods may still require deep frying to achieve the desired texture. 

Use a deep fryer or a stovetop instead. Be sure to use a high smoke points oil like canola or peanut oil and carefully monitor the temperature to prevent burning.

Also read: Air Fryer vs Deep Fryer – What’s the Difference?

Troubleshooting Tips and Fixes

Here are some tips and fixes to get your air fryer back on track:

  • If your air fryer isn’t turning on or cooking your food, unplug it for a few minutes. This simple “reboot” can sometimes fix minor issues. After waiting, plug it back in and turn it on to see if the problem is resolved.
  • Ensure the power cord is functional and securely plugged into both the air fryer and the electrical outlet. Additionally, confirm that the outlet itself is functioning properly by testing it with another device, such as a phone charger or lamp.
  • Another thing to check is the basket placement. Make sure the basket is attached correctly and the air fryer’s door is closed completely. 
  • Sometimes, a malfunction could be due to a bad heating element. If you suspect the heating element is faulty, consider contacting the manufacturer for assistance or taking your air fryer to a repair shop.

Here is a troubleshooting chart/checklist for your reference when experiencing issues with their air fryer:

The air fryer won’t turn on Ensure the air fryer is plugged in and the outlet is working.- Check the power cord for any damage or fraying.- Ensure the air fryer is assembled correctly and all parts are securely in place.
The air fryer won’t heat upMake sure the food is not overcrowding the air fryer basket.- Shake the basket or flip the food halfway through cooking to ensure even cooking.- Make sure the air fryer is preheated before adding the food. Check the temperature setting to make sure it is set to the desired temperature.- Check the timer setting to make sure it is set to the desired cook time.
Food isn’t cooking evenlyMake sure the food is not overcrowding the air fryer basket.- Shake the basket or flip the food halfway through cooking to ensure even cooking.- Make sure the air fryer is preheated before adding the food.Check the temperature setting to make sure it is set to the desired temperature.- Check the timer setting to make sure it is set to the desired cook time.
Food is sticking to the basketCheck if the air fryer basket is properly greased with oil or cooking spray.- Try using parchment paper or aluminum foil to line the basket. Make sure the food is not overcrowding the basket. Check the temperature setting to make sure it is not too high.
The fan is making loud or unusual noisesMake sure the air fryer is appropriately assembled and all parts are securely in place. Check the fan for any obstructions or debris.

By keeping these troubleshooting tips in mind, you can quickly identify and resolve any issues you may encounter with your air fryer, ensuring you can get back to enjoying delicious, crispy meals.

Understanding Your Air Fryer’s Instructions and Specifications

It’s essential to familiarize yourself with your air fryer’s instructions and specifications. 

By doing so, you can prevent undercooking or overcooking issues and ensure optimal cooking results. Here is what you can do: 

Consulting the User Manual

Your air fryer comes with a user manual that provides information on cooking times, temperatures, and optimal food placement.

These guidelines help you determine the right settings for your recipes. 

Refer to your manual’s table or guidelines when adjusting cooking settings. Also, leave some space between food items in the basket for better air circulation.

Contacting Customer Support

If you’re experiencing troubles despite following your air fryer’s user manual, don’t hesitate to contact customer support. 

They can assist you with troubleshooting and provide additional insights into your device’s operation. For example, they might suggest:

  • Checking your device for malfunctions or damages
  • Maintaining proper cleaning and care of your air fryer
  • Adjusting cooking times and temperatures for specific food items

In conclusion, taking the time to understand your air fryer’s instructions and specifications can significantly improve your cooking experience. 

Consult your user manual for guidelines and reach out to customer support when needed for the best results.


Air fryers are a popular kitchen appliance that can cook food evenly and deliciously when used properly.

In summary, your air fryer might not be cooking properly due to a few common reasons:

  • Overcrowding the basket, causing uneven cooking
  • Improper cleaning and maintenance 
  • A Potentially faulty heating element 

To avoid these issues, it’s essential to give your air fryer proper care and attention. This includes not overloading it, cleaning it regularly, and checking for damaged components that might need replacing.

It is also important to use the right accessories and follow the correct seasoning method. Troubleshooting tips will help improve the air fryer’s performance.

Understanding your air fryer and how it works will result in perfectly cooked food, and also a hassle-free cooking experience. So go ahead, and continue experimenting with your air fryer recipes, and remember, practice makes perfect!

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I’m Jueria and I am a regular contributor on cookeryspace.com. 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!