Do You Have To Flip Food In An Air Fryer?

It is simpler to cook with an air fryer than the traditional fryer, but it's not always straightforward. Do you have to flip food in an air fryer for even cooking? We've done the research to get the answers your looking for.  

Even though food gets cooked by convection method when the hot air moves around inside the air fryer, you will still need to flip the food due to the following reasons:

  • Food will cook through more evenly
  • Air fryers only have one heating element

Keep reading to know why you need to flip food, how to flip, and tips on how to cook with an air fryer. You'll also learn more about the foods that you cannot cook in an air fryer and the reasons why.

Cooking potatoes and carrot sticks with spices in an air fryer, Do You Have To Flip Food In An Air Fryer?

Do You Need To Flip Food In The Air Fryer?

Grilled herb marinated pork in air fryer machine

The air fryer cooks by convection. This means that the hot air moves around the food to cook and crisp it up.

Closely following an air fryer recipe will guarantee you something tasty, but not all recipes specify if you need to flip your food. Also, if you get creative with your air fryer, you might not have a recipe at all!

So which is it? To flip, or not to flip? Generally, you'll want to flip your food in an air fryer, but there are some exceptions. Let's take a closer look at the reasons for this.

To Cook Food Through

Slender slices of meat or potato chips cut into thin strips may not need flipping. However, food that is thick and dense will need to be flipped over so that it can cook through.

When food like chicken breasts and fish is cooked halfway, you have to open the air fryer and flip it over. Other than flipping, the food can be rotated, shaken, or turned.

An example of dense food that can be cooked in the air fryer is a whole chicken.

After seasoning it with your favorite spices, and applying a little oil on top, open the drawer of the air fryer and place it inside, and close it.

Set the time for 30 minutes and the temperature at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

When it is cooked halfway, open the air fryer and flip it over using a pair of tongs and let it cook for another 20 minutes. Flipping is done so that the chicken browns well, attains a crispy skin, and retains the juices.

Below is a video showing how to cook and flip a whole chicken in the air fryer:

Air Fryer Has One Heating Element

The standard air fryer has a heating element on top of the unit. These air fryers, like the one below from Chefman, heat the food from the top after placing it is placed in the perforated tray inside the basket.

Click here to see this air fryer on Amazon that you can use to cook a healthy meal.

After food cooks halfway, it needs to be flipped over for it to cook through.

But, if you have an air fryer oven with dual heating elements or a rear heater, you may not have to flip it over for even cooking. The air fryer oven below, from Ninja, uses a rear heating element that gets more heat to the underside of food.

Click here to see this air fryer oven on Amazon.

Tips To Cook Food With An Air-Fryer

To cook food through and achieve a crispy brown exterior, you often need to flip it, sometimes more than once. But, this is not the only thing you have to do to cook delicious food.

The Following are tips on how to cook with an air fryer:


Just like an oven, an air fryer needs to be pre-heated before putting in food.

It allows food to start cooking immediately once you place it inside the air fryer. 

Cook until Golden-Brown 

Air Fried, Crispy French Fries

If you don’t use any oil when cooking, food like fries will appear pale.

For your fries to have a golden brown color, spray some oil on them. 

Space Out Your Food

For your food to cook and have a brown and crispy covering, it needs to be spaced. Place your food in a single layer instead of placing them one on top of the other, overcrowding the basket.

You Don’t Need To Grease The Basket 

You don’t need to grease the basket. As seen earlier in this post, a little oil spray is enough for the brown color to form.

Use A Thermometer

Your food can be well cooked on the outside, but the inside may not have the appropriate temperature. Thus check the food using a thermometer to make sure it has cooked well.

Re-Heat Leftovers

You can still enjoy your leftovers by re-heating them in an air fryer that will give you a crisp texture. They might even taste better than when re-heated in a microwave or an oven. 

Have Some Space Around The Appliance

For your unit to pull in enough air, ensure there is enough space between the wall and the air fryer. This allows air to circulate well inside the unit. 

After you are done using it, let it cool down, and then put it away in a corner near the wall on your countertop, or even in a cupboard.  

Ensure It’s Always Clean

Since you might start using it often after seeing the benefits, don’t forget to clean it.  Clean the tray and basket with warm soapy water.

You could also wash them in a dishwasher if these parts are dishwasher safe. The coil and the outside of the unit can be cleaned with a damp cloth. 

Foods That You Can’t Cook In An Air Fryer

Air fryer machine cooking potato fried in kitchen. Lifestyle of new normal cooking.

You can cook almost any food in the air fryer, such as French fries, chicken, and bacon. You can also reheat leftovers. All these foods require that you flip them over when they are halfway cooked. 

Sometimes, instead of flipping, all you have to do is shake the basket when cooking fries. At other times you may need to rotate them when cooking whole potatoes. 

But, did you know there are foods that you cannot cook in an air fryer? Let’s find out what foods these are.

Battered Foods

It’s best to avoid battered foods because of the mess they will create. The oil will seep out of the food and onto the tray and may start to burn and eventually smoke.

Furthermore, it will not have a crunchy exterior like it would have when deep-fried.  


Leafy greens like spinach will not cook evenly because they will keep moving around due to the high-speed air. If you have to cook vegetables, choose those with some weight like zucchini or broccoli. 

Frozen vegetables can be cooked using an air fryer because they will retain moisture that comes from the ice. 

Whole Foods 

Cooking with an air fryer requires enough space for the hot air to circulate.

Therefore, if you are cooking a whole chicken, you may have to get one that is not too big to allow it to cook through. If it is too big, cut it into smaller pieces. 


The cheese will probably melt when you cook with an air fryer. This will create a mess as it will be all over the floor of the basket. 

Raw Grains

Foods that need water to cook will not do well in an air fryer that needs dry heat to cook food. Rice or pasta needs a lot of water to cook, and cannot do well in an air fryer. 

In Closing

Close up flat lay image of an air fryer oven on kitchen countertop.

The air fryer has revolutionized how we cook food. It has enabled us to cook much faster and healthier food because you need little or no oil.

To cook delicious food that has a crunchy and golden-brown exterior, flipping is necessary. Sometimes, you may need to rotate, turn, or shake the food so that it cooks through. 

Other than flipping, it’s important to know a few more tips on how to use the air fryer to achieve tasty and crispy food. It’s equally important to know the foods that you cannot cook in an air fryer. 

Flipping is just one factor of air fryer cooking. To learn even more about how to make the most of your air fryer, be sure to check out these great articles:

Can You Put Pizza In Air Fryer?

Can Aluminum Foil Or Parchment Paper Go In An Air Fryer?

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