Can You Cook Different Foods Together in an Air Fryer? (Saving Time and Energy)

Have you ever been so hungry that you want to throw all your favorite ingredients into one dish and call it dinner? Well, if you’re one of the many people who now own an air fryer, then you’re in luck!

Yes, you can cook different foods together in your air fryer. As long as they require the same temperature and time to cook, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to combine them.

Roasted whole chicken and vegetables on an air fryer. Credit: canva

Let’s explore the wonderful world of cooking multiple ingredients together in an air fryer. 

Advantages of Cooking Different Foods Together in an Air Fryer

  • Saves time: When you cook multiple ingredients together, it saves time because all the food is cooking at once. This is especially helpful if you’re looking for a quick dinner option.
  • Saves space: Air fryers are smaller than traditional ovens, so you can conserve precious countertop space when you cook multiple foods in an air fryer.
  • Flavorful: When you combine multiple ingredients into one dish, it creates a more complex flavor profile that can’t be achieved if each ingredient is cooked separately.
  • Conserves energy: Since you’re cooking multiple ingredients in one appliance, it conserves energy since you don’t have to heat up multiple appliances.
  • Easy to clean: Since all your ingredients are cooked in one appliance, you don’t have to deal with multiple pots and pans. This makes cleaning up much more manageable.
Credit: canva

Factors to Consider

Safety First 

Whenever you are cooking with heat, safety is paramount. Before combining ingredients, ensure they are both safe to cook together and won’t react adversely with each other during the cooking process.

When using an air fryer, pay attention to the temperatures involved and ensure that whatever combination of food items you’re cooking can be cooked at the same temperature for the same amount of time without compromising their safety or quality. 

Cooking Times 

When it comes to cooking different foods together in an air fryer, timing is key. Different types of food will require different cooking times—some foods take longer than others.

To ensure that everything gets cooked evenly and thoroughly, it’s best to arrange them into layers on the tray and stagger their cooking times accordingly.

For example, if one type of food needs 10 minutes while another only needs 5 minutes, start with the 10-minute item first and add the 5-minute item halfway through its cooking cycle to both be done simultaneously.  

Flavor Combinations 

Combining flavors can be tricky, but it doesn’t have to be! When choosing what to cook in your air fryer, think about flavors that go well together. You want the flavors to complement each other, not compete with each other and create an unpleasant taste experience.

Sweet and savory combinations are always popular choices when creating memorable meals!  

Dessert on an air fryer. Credit: canva

Good Combinations

Meats and Vegetables

Here are some ideas to get you started: 

  • Root vegetables (like sweet potatoes) and fish fillets
  • Broccoli florets and shrimp
  • Chicken tenders and onion rings    
  • Bell peppers and turkey sausage     
  • Zucchini slices and pork chops     
  • Asparagus spears and steak cubes     
  • Mushrooms and beef strips     
  • Carrots and salmon fillets       
  • And much more!  

Frozen Foods

Air-frying frozen food is a great way to save time in the kitchen. Just be sure to check the instructions on the package for any special cooking instructions and adjust your timer accordingly.

Good options include:

  • French fries and chicken nuggets
  • Onion rings and fish sticks
  • Potato skins and mozzarella sticks 
  • Tater tots and jalapeno poppers 
  • Sweet potato fries and chicken patties       

Desserts

Yes, you can even make desserts in an air fryer! Try pairing pre-made cookie dough with a cake mix for a delicious treat. Or combine apples and cinnamon for an easy apple crisp.

The possibilities are endless!

French fries on an air fryer. Credit: canva

Bad Combinations

  • Strong-smelling foods: When cooking multiple ingredients in an air fryer, try to avoid combining strong-smelling foods. This will help to prevent the flavors from competing with one another and creating a bad taste experience.
  • High water content foods: Foods with high water content, like tomatoes and cucumbers, can release too much liquid, leading to soggy and unevenly cooked foods.
  • Foods with different cooking times: When combining multiple items in an air fryer, it’s essential to ensure they have similar cooking times. If one food takes longer, adjust your cooking time so everything is cooked correctly.
  • Foods with different textures: Foods with different textures, like soft and crunchy, should be cooked separately in the air fryer to ensure that the crunchy items don’t become too soggy.

Tips and Tricks

Preparation is key to successfully cooking multiple foods together in your air fryer.

  • Ensure that all your ingredients are cut into roughly the same size pieces — this will ensure even cooking.
  • To ensure that everything cooks appropriately, make sure to adjust your time accordingly or add certain ingredients later on in the process. 
  • Additionally, if some of your ingredients need more or less time to cook than others, layer them accordingly.

For example, if your potatoes need 20 minutes to bake but your chicken only needs 15 minutes, place the potatoes on the bottom and the chicken on top. This way, everything will be cooked perfectly by the end of the cycle.  

air fryer
Credit: canva

FAQs

Do I need to preheat my air fryer before cooking multiple items?

It is not necessary to preheat your air fryer before cooking multiple items. However, if you are cooking something that requires a longer cook time, you may want to consider preheating the air fryer so that all the food cooks evenly.

Can I cook frozen food and fresh food together in my air fryer?

We suggest air frying the fresh food first, so it doesn’t overcook while the frozen food is still cooking.

If you’re cooking chicken nuggets and french fries, for example, cook the chicken nuggets first for 5 minutes, remove them from the air fryer, then add the french fries and cook for an additional 10-15 minutes.

Can you cook raw chicken and fries together in air fryer?

Yes, you can. However, it is essential to adjust the cooking time accordingly so that both ingredients are cooked properly. We suggest starting with the chicken for about 10 minutes before adding the fries for another 7-10 minutes.

Can you cook a whole meal at once in an air fryer?

Yes, you can cook a whole meal at once in an air fryer. Make sure to account for the different cooking times of each ingredient and adjust the timer accordingly. Additionally, layer the ingredients based on their cooking time, starting with the longest first.

For example, if you’re preparing chicken, potatoes, and broccoli, start with the chicken for about 10 minutes before adding the potatoes and then finally the broccoli. This will ensure everything is cooked correctly by the end of the cycle.

Was this article helpful?
YesNo