Can You Cook Frozen Food In an Air Fryer?

Can You Cook Frozen Food In an Air Fryer - Air Fryers for Home Use

The convenience of owning an air fryer cannot be overstated. Sure, they might take up a bit of space on your countertop but the convenience is worth it. So can you cook frozen food in an air fryer? Of course, you can! A resounding yes! Not only can you cook frozen food in it, but the air fryer will also probably cook frozen food better than your conventional oven.  

Why Would You Want To Cook Frozen Food In An Air Fryer?

Perhaps the better question here is, why wouldn’t you want to cook frozen food in an air fryer?? I mean, after all, it’s so much more convenient than using your oven! 

So let’s answer that question. The simple answer is TIME! With a conventional or convection oven, you have to preheat it. Most frozen food won’t require you to preheat the air fryer.

8 Steps to How to Cook Frozen Food in an air fryer

Before you get too excited, let’s take a breath. The first thing you need to do is check your owner’s manual and make sure that (1) your air fryer has no cooking restrictions and (2) you are aware of any frozen foods that you shouldn’t cook. This is really just a precaution. After all, air fryers were invented for frozen food.

The next thing to do is to read any special instructions on the frozen food box. This is where you should find the temperature and time information.

  • Adjust Both Temperature and Cook Time (can change)
    • Since air fryers are essentially little convection ovens, you may need to adjust the temperature and cooking time. In some cases, a frozen food package may recommend a heat setting that is too high for your air fryer. If this is the case, cut the cooking time in half and reduce the temperature by 10-25 degrees. This will give you a chance to check on your food while it’s cooking and to make sure it’s fully cooked. 
  • Frozen Food vs. Thawed Food
    • Fully thawed food won’t need any adjustment to the cooking time.
    • When cooking frozen food that hasn’t been thawed out first, add 50% more to the cooking time.  
    • To make sure your frozen food isn’t burned on the outside and raw on the inside, you can use a simple calculation to make the right adjustments. 

The Start Temperature / End Temperature = % Difference

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If you need to adjust to going from 450°F to 400°F, the calculation is:

450°F / 400°F =1.125 (or 125%)

To adjust the expected time, multiply the original time by the percentage difference so if something takes an hour at 450°F the time is calculated as:

60 (minutes) x 1.125(differential) = 68 minutes

If you have the opposite where you are going from 400°F to 450°F, then you would flip the equation.

400°F / 450°F =.89 (or 89%)

To adjust the expected time, multiply the original time by the percentage difference so if something takes an hour at 400°F the time is calculated as:

60 (minutes) x .89(differential) = 53 minutes

This should not be taken as an exact measurement. Using the example above, check your food between 30-35 minutes just to be sure.

  • To Oil or Not to Oil, That is the Question (When and How to Use Grease)
    • Frozen food should be treated no differently than other foods. Lightly coat your basket with spray oil. This may also be the stage you want to add parchment paper, aluminum foil, or silicone mat to the basket instead of adding oil.
    • Preheat Your Air Fryer
    • Based on the temperature indicated on the box, preheat for 5 minutes.
  • Set The Adjusted Temperature and Cook Time
  • Place Food in Basket
    • Be careful to avoid overcrowding the basket when placing the food inside. The pieces need to have enough space to allow for air to circulate and fully cook the food.
  • Cook Your Food
  • Remove from the basket 
  • Enjoy your meal! 
Frozen Food - Can You Cook Frozen Food In an Air Fryer

How you cook frozen food will depend entirely on the temperature and cooking time indicated on the box. 

Converting Recipes To Make Them Air Fryer Friendly

To convert conventional oven recipes to air fryer recipes, the general rule of thumb is to reduce the suggested temperature by 25°F and then reduce the cooking time by 20%. When doing this for the first time, it’s wise to use the pause button on your air fryer to check your food during the cooking process.

Easy Air Fryer Frozen Foods

This is where it gets exciting. There are tons of frozen food you can cook in your air fryer. See the table below with some time and temp. for your favorite frozen food.

When cooking frozen meats like frozen chicken breasts, be sure to use a meat thermometer to check that the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165°F.

If you are ever unsure, just check the box for specific instructions. I think you’ll find that most frozen food can be cooked in your air fryer.

Frozen chicken wings   380°F12-14
Frozen vegetables380°F12-14
Fish Sticks400°8
Frozen Salmon Fillets380°F9
Chicken Nuggets400°F10
Mozzarella Sticks 8oz380°F6-7
Corn Dogs380°F6*8
Egg Rolls400°F12-15
Frozen dinners350°F25
Frozen chicken breasts400°F15
Breaded Shrimp380°F8-10
French Fries (Thin Cut)400°F13-15
Green Beans380°F12
Hash Browns400°F10
Onion Rings (12oz)400°F8-10
Pizza Bagels (mini)380°F4-6
Sausage (breakfast 2/3oz) 400°F10
Tater Tots (16oz)400°F10-12
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Now you know some of the best ways to cook frozen food in an air fryer. Frozen food is one of the most convenient things you can cook in an air fryer. And I’m sure you will find that the possibilities are endless. 

Have you ever had any problems converting recipes for your air fryer or problems with frozen food in it? We’d love to hear about your experience so please leave a comment below.

Frequently Asked Questions 

There’s no exact time frame to cook frozen food. It all depends on how big/small the piece(s) are. Check the box for specific instructions. You can also use the chart above.

The quick answer is yes, most frozen food is suitable for an air fryer, toaster oven, or convection oven. The frozen food you put in your air fryer is generally already cooked so there’s no need to defrost it. In fact, it’s recommended that you don’t defrost frozen food. You are simply heating it up and, in some instances, making it crispy. A good example of this is french fries or egg rolls.

Frozen meat will take longer to cook than fresh meat. But, thanks to advances in air fryer technology you can now cook a variety of frozen meat products quickly such as meatballs, pork chops, turkey burgers, steak, and more.

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