Can you use an air fryer as a microwave?

We are sure this article will bring you a smile because the answer to the title is affirmative! You can use your air fryer as a microwave. So, an air fryer can be used as a substitute if you do not own a microwave, but be sure to expect different results.

Additionally, if you have a compact kitchen with little free space and want to go clutter-free, you might be glad to get things done using just your air fryer. Let’s delve into the details of how you can substitute your air fryer for a microwave.


Air Fryer vs. Microwave


Air Fryer and Microwave are two different tools; hence, they differ considerably. Let’s first draw a comparison between the two and see how they differ in their properties.


Heating technology

Both air fryers and microwaves employ different principles and techniques in the preparation of food. The air fryer uses a fan and a heating coil, wherein hot air rapidly circulates around your food, giving it texture and crispiness. It deep fries your food without actually using much oil.

In the case of microwaves, a magnetron, which is an electron tube, produces microwaves. These microwaves cause the water molecules in the food to vibrate and help produce heat, which in turn cooks the food.


Cooking Time


One can’t deny the quickness of a microwave in terms of cooking and heating food. While an air fryer is also convenient when it comes to cooking time, it takes longer minutes than a microwave would. A microwave can heat your food within seconds or a few minutes, depending on the type and quantity of food. An air fryer will take between 15 – 20 minutes to prepare food.

One plus point of the longer cooking time of an air fryer is that the food prepared will have better flavors and crispiness to it.


Health benefits


An air fryer beats a microwave in this regard. The air fryer uses oil-free rapid air technology to prepare food; hence it is much healthier than microwave food. It cuts out a lot of calories from the food. However, food in a microwave requires some amount of oil for preparation. In addition, the waves of a microwave may deplete the nutrient content present in the food.


Food Capacity

While a microwave can accommodate a large batch of food, the same cannot be said for an air fryer. You can put a desired quantity of food in the microwave, and it will be cooked in the right amount of time.

As far as air fryers are concerned, the baskets are pretty compact and can only contain a limited amount of food. So, if you need to prepare larger amounts of food using an air fryer, you will have to do so in installments. Your food will be ready faster if you do not overstuff the air fryer basket.




An air fryer is great for food items that require deep frying. However, you may also use this device to cook meat or for baking purposes. You can also use it for roasting veggies.

A Microwave, on the other hand, is way more versatile than an air fryer since it can cook more types of food. It is the best device for heating food. Plus, you cannot prepare a large amount of food using an air fryer since it is smaller and compact. A microwave can contain a larger quantity of food, depending on the size of the container you put in.

Also, it is very convenient to warm food in a microwave within seconds or minutes. Though you may, an Air fryer is not very convenient for warming food.



Air fryers are easy to maintain and clean due to their compact size. On the other hand, microwaves are a little bit difficult to clean. It doesn’t come with any detachable parts, so you must ensure your hand reaches the inside of it pretty well.




We have already discussed how air fryers are healthy since they do not use oil and resort to cooking food using hot air. In addition to that, there is another essential health benefit of an air fryer that not many people know of.

Acrylamide, a carcinogen, is found in many food items, and its levels can increase when food is subjected to heat. The report demonstrates that air frying can decrease acrylamide content by nearly 90% compared to the conventional frying process. In contrast, another study shows that the acrylamide content can increase in food due to microwaving, depending on factors such as the time period for which food is exposed to heat.


Can an air fryer be used as a microwave?


It must be entirely clear by now that the two devices are very different and work in different ways. Certain foods that we can cook in a microwave, we can’t cook using an air fryer. However, you may use an air fryer for heating food, but with slightly different results.


Texture variation

The food heated or cooked in an air fryer will have a crispy texture to it, unlike the food cooked in a microwave. Plus, the hot air of an air fryer has a drying effect on food. An air fryer is hands down the best option for foods such as fries, pizza, eggs, burgers and patties, and much more.


Difference in taste

The taste of the food put in the microwave and in an air fryer will considerably differ due to the different cooking methods of both devices.


Differences in the content of food nutrients


The use of microwaves in cooking or heating food may result in the loss of some of the food nutrients. In contrast, air fryer cooking does not lead to a loss of food nutrients.

Tip:  The air fryer basket tends to get sticky with certain food items. Using a vegetable oil spray lightly can help take care of that problem.


Can food be reheated in the air fryer?


You can reheat food in the air fryer, but you must know that the longer it stays in there, the crispier your food will get. Also, keeping the food in for a long time might lead to burnt edges. However, practice can make it better for you. Keep note of the time it takes to heat different food items for your convenience. Also, keep the temperature low while reheating food items so as to prevent them from being burnt.

A benefit of heating food using an air fryer is that it prevents food from being soggy since it doesn’t use oil. It is also a fact that an air fryer is not as fast as a microwave when it comes to heating food, but nevertheless, it does the job.


Tips for using an Air fryer as a microwave

While reheating food using an air fryer, make sure only less heat is used, preventing your food from getting burnt. The time duration for which you must heat your food depends on the thickness of your food item. A little bit of experimentation will help you figure out the perfect heating time for your food items.


What kind of food can one not prepare in an Air fryer?

Not all kinds of food items can be cooked in an air fryer. You must avoid putting certain kinds of foods in it. These include battered food, leafy vegetables (since they will remain unevenly cooked), cheese, toast, and popcorn.




Can one put aluminum foil in an air fryer to prevent stickiness?

Yes! It is safe and acceptable to put aluminum foil in an air fryer. In fact, it is an excellent way to keep your air fryer clean and mess-free. Remember not to block your air fryer’s heating coil or fan. Foil can also prevent your food from sticking to the air fryer basket. However, it would be best if you refer to your air fryer’s manual beforehand so as to get a clearer idea.


Does one need to preheat an air fryer?

An air fryer is quite fast and efficient in its functioning. It heats fast enough, so there is no need to heat it for minutes before adding food. It is totally fine to put your food ingredients immediately into the air fryer basket without subjecting it to heat first.


Can I cook eggs in an air fryer?

You can fry eggs using an air fryer for 3 – 4 minutes. It is a fast, simple, and easy method for preparing eggs. You can also prepare more than 1 egg at a time for convenience.



We know air fryers and microwaves are two different devices and have different properties as well. But when it comes to using an air fryer as a microwave- that is, for the purpose of heating and reheating the food, you must expect somewhat different results than a microwave.

Having said that, both microwaves and air fryer have their purposes. While an air fryer can’t replace a microwave completely, there are many benefits one can enjoy.

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