Air Fryer Cook

Home > What Air Fryer Capacity do I need?

What Air Fryer Capacity Do I Need?

How much food can you cook at once in an air fryer? The answer depends on the air fryer capacity, which is the air fryer size.

I’ve been cooking with an air fryer for a few years now, and I often get the question, “What size air fryer do I need?” I think back to when I got my first air fryer, a Consori 5.8 Quart (5.5 Liters), and remember how the words “air fryer capacity” meant nothing to me at all!

So, in this article, let me share what I have learned and my views about air fryer capacity with you.



air fryer capacity

Decoding Air Fryer Capacity

There are four main factors to consider when choosing the right size air fryer.

#1. How frequently will you use the air fryer?

Consider your cooking habits: will the air fryer be a daily go-to appliance or just for occasional use? Your frequency of use will influence the size that’s best for you.

#2. How many people do you regularly cook for, and how big are their appetites?

Everyone has different appetite levels, so the number of people you cook for alone will not accurately reflect the size of the air fryer you need.

#3. What is your kitchen layout, and more specifically, how much countertop space do you have?

Air fryers are bulky appliances. The compact and small air fryers are better for small spaces, but when you start looking at the medium and bigger air fryers, you will find that space is a big factor. The last thing you want is to find out you don’t have enough space on the kitchen counter for your air fryer!

#4. What will you be cooking in the air fryer?

Air fryers can cook various types of food. However, bulkier food like whole chicken and meat roasts can only be cooked in bigger air fryers as the smaller air fryers cannot accommodate the size of these foods.

Also, the bigger your air fryer, the more cooking functions it has. For example, if you like rotisserie whole chicken, you would need to buy a bigger air fryer with a rotisserie function.

Now let’s have a quick glance at the different air fryer sizes and what capacity they have:

Designed for the individual, these mini marvels fit snugly in apartments, dorms, and RVs. They are great for small spaces and, due to their lightweight, offer more flexibility regarding storage.

Mini air fryers range between 1 to 2 Quarts (0.95 to 1.9 Liters) of food capacity.

This makes them great for reheating leftovers, making snacks, and cooking small meals for one person.

For those with a tight budget or a compact kitchen, a compact air fryer, like the Mini Instant Vortex, offers:

  • Quick reheating of leftovers
  • Great size to make snacks like chicken nuggets
  • The air frying function is the only function that’s straightforward to use

This size air fryer is ideal for couples or small families. It is still compact enough to fit in small kitchen spaces.

Small air fryers range between 2 to 4 Quarts (1.9 to 3.8 Liters) of food capacity.

Like the mini air fryer, they are great for quick snacks and reheating leftovers but can accommodate 2 to 3 people servings. Plus, top brands, like the Ninja 4-quart small air fryer, will have basic preset menus to take the guesswork out of the cooking settings.

Now, the Medium Air Fryer is the baseline for a family-sized air fryer. With enough room to air fry a pound of wings or half a bag of frozen chips, these units serve up convenience without sacrificing capacity.

The 5 to 6-quart range easily cooks for 3 to 4 people, making it perfect for small to medium-sized families and couples who love to entertain.

I would say that medium air fryers are the best standard air fryers overall.

They can cook decent-sized meals with enough space for a small whole chicken (around 2 pounds/ 1 kilogram). Also, they take up the same amount of space as a pressure cooker. So, it’s not overwhelmingly big! My Consori Air Fryer 5.8-quart can easily cook for my family of 4.

Stepping up to the big league, large air fryers are for families with 5 to 6 people.

These larger air fryers have a capacity range of 7 quarts to 9 quarts (6.6 to 8.5 Liters). Now, that’s a lot of space! I could fit a whole chicken in mine, around 3 pounds (1.3 kilograms), and it came out perfectly crispy.

But here’s the kicker: it’s not just about the size. It’s about the performance!

The convenience of these larger air fryers is a total game-changer. They come with a bunch of pre-set programs. I mean, we’re talking about the ability to air fry, bake, grill, roast, reheat, dehydrate, and even toast.

Take the Chefman 8-quart air fryer, for example. This large air fryer has 8 presets, which include cooking settings for common food types that people cook, like bacon, veggies, fries, meat, fish, and more.

It’s like having a mini kitchen countertop oven that specializes in healthier cooking since you’re using way less oil.

Ok, so far, we know that the basic air fryer size can be as small as 1 Quart (0.95 Liters) to 9 Quarts (8.5 Liters). That’s cool, but that wasn’t enough for the cooking enthusiasts.

So, they went one step further and started combining multiple cooking functions with the air fryer. That was the birth of multifunctional air fryers.

Just in case you don’t already know, these air fryers do not have an air fryer basket. I will give a quick rundown of the three popular multifunctional air fryers.

First up is the Air Fryer with Rotisserie. For all you meat lovers out there, this is a dream come true.

Picture this: a whole chicken spinning on a rotisserie inside your air fryer, getting that even, 360-degree cook.

It comes out with this incredible crispy skin, while the inside stays as juicy as if it’s been slow-roasting for hours. And it’s not just for chicken; you can do kebabs, pork roasts, you name it. That’s why the NuWave Brio Air Fryer and Grill makes cooking meat a breeze.

Then there’s the Air Fryer Toaster Oven. Yup, as the name suggests, it’s a toaster oven with an air fry function. We’re talking pizzas with that perfect crispy crust, freshly baked bread that’s fluffy and warm, or even cakes.

And it’s so flexible with its layout; these toaster ovens come with one or two racks. So you can adjust the space inside like the Ninja Foodi Convention oven.

Now, hold onto your hats because the Air Fryer and Pressure Cooker combo is where things get really wild. It’s like someone took two of the most popular kitchen gadgets and smashed them into one.

You’ve got the speed and tenderness of pressure cooking with the crispiness of air frying. But how does it work?

Well, the magic is in the interchangeable lids and baskets. It looks like a high-tech pressure cooker, but with a quick swap, you’ve got an air fryer ready to go. Check out the Ninja Foodi Pressure Cooker.

These multifunctional air fryers are definitely on the larger side. I mean, they have to be, right?

With capacities ranging from 10 to a whopping 30 quarts (9.5 to 28.4 Liters), they’re perfect for big gatherings or meal prepping for the week. So, if you often cook for a crowd—think more than 7 people—you might want to consider one of these.

Air Fryer Capacity by Food Quantity

what size air fryer

By now, you should have a good understanding of the different air fryer sizes and their capacity. So what? That’s exactly why, in this next section, I will give you a solid benchmark of what each size air fryer can hold using food as a measurement. 

I curated these benchmarks based on reviews that I have come across and verified them through my own experience and knowledge of cooking with a few different-sized air fryers.

Note that these benchmarks are not absolute numbers for each category size. There are so many models in each category, and they can vary slightly. But it’s definitely a great starting point!

For Singles: Mini Air Fryers

I found that Mini Air Fryers can cook a decent meal size for one person and are great for quick snacks. Here’s what you can expect from them:

  • 2 frozen croissants or,
  • 2 beef burgers or,
  • 1 chicken breast or,
  • 6 chicken wings or,
  • 1 pound (0.45 kilogram) of frozen fries

For Couples: Small Air Fryers

Couples often look for a balance between convenience and a home-cooked meal. And I think that the small air fryers strike that balance pretty well. Here’s what a small air fryer can handle:

  • 10 chicken wings or,
  • 5 chicken drumsticks or,
  • 3 potatoes chopped or,
  • 2 pork chops or,
  • 2 salmon fillets

For Small and Medium Families: Medium Air Fryers

I have a small family, and I appreciate the versatility of my medium-sized air fryer. It’s the ideal size for feeding a few mouths without cooking in batches. The medium air fryer can accommodate:

  • 3 pork chops or,
  • 15 chicken wings or,
  • 4 chicken breasts or,
  • 300 grams of prawns or,
  • 400 grams of brussels sprouts

For Large Families: Large Air Fryers

Big families need an air fryer that can keep up with their demands, so here’s what you can cook in a large air fryer:

  • 18 chicken wings or,
  • 7 chicken drumsticks or,
  • A 3-pound whole chicken or,
  • 4 salmon fillets or,
  • 2 pounds of french fries or,
  • 4 beef steaks

For Entertaining and Versatility: Multifunctional Air Fryers

When you’re regularly cooking for a crowd or love to entertain, I would seriously consider the multifunctional air fryer. Not only does it have a larger capacity, but it also can replace multiple kitchen appliances. This powerhouse can take on:

  • 25 chicken wings or,
  • 10 chicken drumsticks or,
  • 6 salmon fillets or,
  • 6 beef steaks or,
  • A 4-pound whole chicken

Benefits of Choosing the Right Air Fryer Capacity

Selecting the correct air fryer size is more than just a matter of counter space—it’s about efficiency, convenience, and even the quality of your meals. Here’s why getting the right air fryer capacity matters:

1. Avoiding Food Waste

Cooking the right amount of food is easier when you use the right-sized air fryer.

I generally do not like leftovers because I prefer freshly prepared food. The air fryer is so convenient and quick that I don’t find the need to cook in big batches. That’s why my medium air fryer (the Consori 5.8 Qt) is sufficient for us.

On the other hand, singles or couples don’t need a large air fryer, which might encourage them to cook more food than necessary.

Unless you prefer to cook in big batches that last a few days, this would be a good reason to get a bigger air fryer. Just remember that certain foods, like fish, should not be kept for more than four days. Otherwise, they will go to waste.

2. Saving Time and Energy

I wouldn’t recommend getting a bigger air fryer just for the sake of it. A larger air fryer uses more power, so if you consistently cook small amounts of food, you’ll use more electricity than necessary.

Conversely, larger families with a smaller air fryer must cook in multiple batches, which totally defeats the point of using the air fryer for its convenience.

I don’t know about you, but drip feeding doesn’t work for my two hungry boys!

3. Preserving Food Quality

Air fryers work best when there’s enough room for hot air to circulate around the food, achieving that crispy texture.

I’ve learned the hard way that overcrowding the air fryer basket can lead to uneven cooking and soggy results.

Similarly, underfilling a large air fryer can cause food to cook too quickly or dry out.

4. Functionality Versatility

Apart from cooking capacity, the larger the air fryer, the more cooking function it has.

You may be tempted to buy a large air fryer, but always ask yourself how often and how likely you will use all the functions.

If I were an individual or a couple, I’d be reluctant to buy a large air fryer when I could make do with a small one.

5. Ensuring Kitchen Harmony

I am a “clutter-phobe,” meaning that clutter would make my hair stand up. So, if you are anything like me, the right air fryer size will help to create a well-organized and clutter-free kitchen.

A model that’s too large can take up valuable counter space, while one that’s too small might get lost among other appliances or not be up to the task when you need it.

It’s all about finding the balance that works for your cooking habits and kitchen space.

Final Thoughts on Air Fryer Capacity

Wrapping things up, the quest to snag the perfect air fryer really boils down to nailing the right size for your needs.

Remember, it’s not just about fitting that whole chicken in there; it’s about making sure you’re not left with a mountain of leftover fries or, worse, a shortage when your stomach’s set on a feast.

If you’re still on the fence about which size to go for, why not dive into our “Complete Air Fryer Guide“? It’s chock-full of insights that’ll help you weigh up all those other crucial factors before you make your pick.

And hey, if you’re looking for a quick tip, you can’t go wrong with a middle-of-the-road marvel like the Cosori 5.8 Qt. It’s got enough room to cater to most, and it’s packed with features that make it a standout choice. So, give our guide a read, and get the best air fryer for you.

Air Fryer Size Frequently Asked Questions

Is a 5qt air fryer big enough?

Yes, a 5-quart air fryer is big enough for individuals up to four people

How much can a 10 quart air fryer hold?

A 10-quart air fryer can hold a whole chicken, 8 chicken drumsticks, and 2 pounds of french fries.

What's the ideal air fryer size for cooking for one person?

The ideal air fryer size for one person is a compact air fryer. But, if you have a bigger appetite, then a small air fryer would be better.

How much counter space does an air fryer take?

I would say a compact or small air fryer is about the size of a kettle, while medium and large air fryers are similar to a pressure cooker. Remember to get the exact measurements before buying your air fryer.

Does cooking time vary with different air fryer sizes?

I found that the smaller air fryers heat up much faster because they have a smaller chamber for the hot air to circulate.

Air Fryer Articles

Scroll to Top