Can You Open Air Fryer While Cooking (Unveiling the Do’s and Don’ts)

Originally posted on 18 August 2023 @ 15:01

Can You Open Air Fryer While Cooking

Air fryers have become wildly popular in recent years as a healthy alternative to deep frying. Their convection heating technology allows you to make crispy fried favorites like french fries, chicken wings, and more using little to no oil.

 But there’s still some confusion around how exactly to use an air fryer, including whether or not you can safely open it while food is cooking inside.

How Air Fryers Work

Air fryers work by rapidly circulating hot air around the food at high speeds to mimic the process of deep frying. A heating element and fan are located inside the air fryer, with a mesh basket or tray designed to hold the food you want to “fry.”

The high-speed airflow quickly crisps up the exterior of foods, while the interior cooks by gently using conduction heat. This allows you to achieve that crunchy, fried texture without submerging food in unhealthy amounts of oil.

Is It Okay to Open an Air Fryer Mid-Cook?

The short answer is yes, it is generally safe to open an air fryer while cooking is underway. However, there are a few precautions you should keep in mind:

Heat and steam escape:  Opening the air fryer will allow built-up heat and steam to escape from the cooker. This can slightly cool down the interior, which may require adjusting cooking times.

Food moves around:  The rushing air in an air fryer keeps foods suspended and moving around. Opening the basket may cause food to shift or blow around.

Affects crisping:  That blast of hot air is key for crisping and browning foods. Letting air escape can interrupt the crisping process.

So while it’s okay to open your air fryer during cooking, it’s best to do so quickly and minimize the time the basket is open. Opening frequently or for long periods can definitely impact the cooking process.

When You May Need to Open an Air Fryer Before Food is Done

There are a few instances where you may want or need to open up an air fryer before the cooking time is complete:

  • To check food:  Peeking in on thinner items like fries ensures they aren’t burning. You may need to stir or flip food for even cooking.
  • To add ingredients:  Some recipes call for adding ingredients partway through cooking, like tossing veggies into fries.
  • To remove done foods:  When batch cooking, you’ll need to open the basket to remove finished foods.
  • To baste or brush foods:  Opening the air fryer gives you a chance to brush sauces or oils onto cooking foods.
  • To release steam: Opening the basket briefly can allow excess steam to escape, which prevents soggy results.
  • To clean out crumbs:  A quick opening and wipe-down lets you remove any loose crumbs or debris.

So feel free to briefly open up the air fryer when needed during the cooking process. Just be sure to get it closed back up quickly to retain heat and airflow.

Tips for Opening an Air Fryer During Cooking

If you do need to open up your air fryer before your food is done cooking, follow these tips:

  • Open only briefly, for just a few seconds if possible.
  • Use oven mitts to protect your hands and arms from steam and heat.
  • Open the basket slowly to allow steam to escape gradually.
  • Remove or add food quickly, then close the basket immediately.
  • Add a couple of extra minutes to the cooking time to account for lost heat.
  • Avoid opening frequently, such as constantly checking food.
  • Open from arm’s length away to avoid getting hit with a blast of steam.
  • Make sure food isn’t so crowded that it spills or blows out when opened.
  • Let hot, crispy foods sit for a minute or two before removing them to avoid breakage.
  • Following these best practices will help minimize the impact that opening your air fryer mid-cook has on your final results.


Can you open the air fryer while it is preheating?

Yes, it’s fine to open the air fryer basket during preheating. This allows you to add food once the air fryer reaches temperature.

Should you open the air fryer to flip or turn food?

It’s a good idea to give foods a shake or flip midway during air frying. Open quickly, rearrange/flip items, then close again immediately.

Does opening the air fryer stop the cooking process?

Opening pauses air circulation, but conduction heat continues cooking food. Avoid leaving it open too long to prevent completely halting cooking.

Should you add oil if opening the air fryer?

No, adding more oil usually isn’t necessary when opening briefly. The spritz of oil before cooking should suffice.

Can you add more food to an open-air fryer?

Yes, you can add more food or ingredients to a partially cooked batch in an air fryer. Work quickly to retain heat.

Is it safe to open an air fryer when cooking meat?

It’s safe, but opening frequently may impact how well meat browns or crisps. Minimize openings with meat.

Can steam from an opened air fryer cause burns?

Yes, hot steam can cause burns. Always open slowly away from your face and use mitts to protect yourself.

Should you remove food immediately if the air fryer timer goes off?

No – very hot or crispy foods may need a minute or two sitting in the hot air fryer before removing safely.


Opening your air fryer during the cooking process is generally safe, provided you take some basic precautions. While the rush of hot air and steam escapes, conduction heat continues to cook food. 

Limit open times, work quickly, and add a minute or two to the cooking time. Following best practices will allow you to flip, stir, baste, or sample food for maximum crispiness. Just be very careful of escaping steam, as this can cause nasty burns. As long as you open your mindfully, you can easily take a peek or tend to food in your air fryer at any time during the cooking cycle.

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