Whirlpool® Air Fry Oven with chicken wings on an air frying basket.

How to air fry in your convection oven

Did you know that air fryers function similarly to a convection oven? In fact, if you own a convection oven, you may not need a standalone air fryer to get the crispy results that these countertop appliances are known for. Learn the differences between an air fryer and convection oven and how to get excellent “fried” results using your convection oven with this guide.

Air frying vs. convection baking in an oven

Air fryer vs. convection oven: what’s the difference?

In essence, a countertop air fryer and a convection oven work similarly, just in different sizes. Both have fans that circulate heat in either a countertop air fryer or oven cavity to achieve crispy, air fried food. Because countertop air fryer compartments are typically significantly smaller than convection ovens, they may have quicker cooking times. However, convection ovens also have more capacity than air fryers, so you should be able to fit more food in the oven as opposed to the two servings that some air fryers cap out at.

Can I use my convection oven as an air fryer?

You can air fry in your convection oven and still achieve great results as with a countertop air fryer. In fact, using your convection oven can actually be more convenient, since you have more cooking room to work with. Convection ovens and air fryers work similarly, with a convection fan circulating hot air around food in the oven cavity or air fryer compartment. To make sure that you get perfectly crispy results, investing in an air fryer basket or tray can be beneficial. Whirlpool® Ranges with Air Fry Mode include a dishwasher-safe air fry basket, giving you the added benefit of easy cleaning. Other benefits of using your convection oven to air fry include:

  • Convenience - Using a convection oven or an oven with air frying capabilities takes away the need for another appliance that takes up counter space. 

  • Easy to clean up - Air fryers typically require cleaning the basket as well as the pullout compartment that the food goes in after every use, as opposed to just using a sheet pan in a convection oven.  

  • Crispy results - Especially if using dark cookware or a perforated basket, air frying in your convection oven will give you satisfyingly crispy food. 

  • Cook larger batches at once - Since most air fryers don’t have the same capacity as convection ovens, you’ll be able to cook more food at once than with a countertop air fryer, where you might have to cook in batches depending on the number of servings.

 

An air fryer oven control panel with an air fry setting

What is an air fryer oven?

An air fryer oven is simply a convection oven that has a built-in air frying feature that makes air frying in your oven easy. Convection fans will circulate hot air very quickly around the surface of the food, which will in turn crisp it up to a delicious, golden crust. Several brands, like Whirlpool, have their own models of ovens with air frying capabilities, so you can enjoy some of your favorite foods, like wings, chicken nuggets or fries without having to pull out an extra appliance.

Discover Whirlpool® Ranges with Air Fry Mode

If you’re looking for the convenience of having air fried food without the need to add an additional appliance to your kitchen, Whirlpool offers a selection of ranges with Air Fry Mode. You’ll be able to skip preheating on select models and air fry vegetables, chicken tenders, fries and more to get crispy results right in your oven.

Shop Whirlpool® Ranges with Air Fry Mode

How to use your convection oven as an air fryer

If you have a convection oven that doesn’t have an air fry mode or option, you can still get similar results to an air fryer by making a few adaptations. Use these tips to get golden and crispy results when air frying in your convection oven.

Brussels sprouts on an air fryer basket

Step 1: Prep your food for air frying

Depending on what you’re trying to air fry, you’ll want to prep the food to ensure a crispy and golden exterior. Foods like veggies and potatoes work better when they are cut into smaller bite-sized pieces, so to give them that nice crunchy exterior, cut them into spears, medallions or cubes and lightly coat in oil to encourage browning.

If working with meat or fish, make sure that the skin isn’t too wet by patting the surface dry and lightly coat it with some oil or cooking spray to help the skin crisp up. If using breading, air frying has better results with a drier exterior (think of adding toppings like panko, shredded cheese or breadcrumbs) as opposed to a wet batter.

Wings and fries air frying in an oven in an air fry basket

Step 2: Use the right air frying cookware

Part of what makes countertop air fryers so efficient at crisping up your food has to do with the perforated basket that is designed for air frying. To ensure that you achieve similar levels of crispy as you would with an air fryer, use a perforated tray or basket to allow the hot air to circulate thoroughly on the entire surface of the food. If you don’t have a perforated tray or basket, use a dark or nonstick tray with low sides, or an oven-safe cooling rack. Place a cookie sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper on the lower rack to catch any drippings.

Chicken wings spaced evenly on an air frying basket

Step 3: Give your food space

Avoid overcrowding so that the hot air can cook/crisp your food evenly and thoroughly. The hot air that the convection fan circulates around the oven cavity will need to reach the entire surface of your food in order to help create a golden crust. Overcrowding will prevent proper crisping and may instead leave you with a less appetizing soggy exterior.

An air fryer oven control panel with time and temperature settings

Step 4: Be mindful of air frying times and temperatures

Convection ovens typically don’t cook as fast as countertop air fryers, so you’ll most likely have to adjust the cooking times. Countertop air fryers tend to use higher temperatures as well, which you’ll have to account for when finding the right cooking times. If using a recipe that has the time for a conventional oven, it’s best to reference your oven manufacturer’s instructions for cook times and temperatures. If you don’t have your instruction manual handy, then start out by using the times in the package or recipe, and keep your eye on the food as it cooks.

Chicken wings air frying in an oven

Step 5: Flip halfway through

As you would with a countertop air fryer, you may want to flip or shake your food to improve air distribution to food surfaces during cooking, but flipping should only be done if the food requires it to avoid any heat loss in the oven. Spray or rub with a little extra oil or cooking spray to promote crisping.

Convection oven air fryer recipes

If you’re ready to give air frying a go with your convection oven, try some of these recipes using an air fry tray or basket to get a delicious result and healthier alternative to deep frying.

Chicken wings on a plate with dipping sauce

Oven-fried chicken

Prep and cook time: 75 minutes

Crisp oven-fried chicken gives you all of the flavor of traditional fried chicken but without the deep-fried guilt.

View The Recipe

 

Sweet potato fries plated with a side of aioli

Baked sweet potato fries

Prep and cook time: 30 minutes

Four ingredients — including salt and pepper — and under half an hour in the oven are all you need to make these golden, roasted sweet potato fries.

View The Recipe

 

Glazed brussels sprouts in a white bowl

Honey balsamic glazed brussels sprouts

Prep and cook time: 40 minutes

These honey balsamic glazed brussels sprouts are the perfect balance of sweet and savory. 

View The Recipe

 

Latkes with apples next to a menorah and dreidel

Oven-fried potato latkes

Prep and cook time: 80 minutes

These oven-fried potato latkes are creamy on the inside and crispy on the outside while using only 1/3 cup olive oil.

View The Recipe

 

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