Find the Air Fryer Size That’s Best for You

Updated: Feb. 13, 2024

What size air fryer do I need? Take a closer look at the most common air fryer sizes to find one that's perfect for the air fryer recipes you'll be whipping up.

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Before investing in a shiny new kitchen appliance, make sure it’s the right fit for you—literally. You don’t want to sacrifice precious counter space in vain! When it comes to air fryers, the best way to ensure you’re going to actually use it is to choose the right size. After all, these gadgets range from small to extra-large—from 1.6 quarts all the way to up to a whopping 8.

To help make your choice easier, we called on pros Regina Chaperon and Kara Shilalie, creators of Air Fryer Addicts—an Instagram account devoted to scrumptious meals cooked in the mini oven—for guidance on finding the right air fryer size for every type of cook.

If you’re looking for recommendations on brands, check out our Test Kitchen’s air fryer review.

When Cooking for 1:

Let’s say you cook for yourself and the occasional guest. Look for a small-capacity air fryer that holds 2 quarts at most. It’s enough room to roast a few chicken tenders with a side of Brussels sprouts.

But don’t forget to consider your cooking bucket list. If you dream of making appetizers for all your friends or cooking a meal with plenty of leftovers, you might want to consider going one size up.

“We wish we went larger with our first model,” says Chaperon, who cooks everything from toast to chicken thighs in her air fryer. “We didn’t realize how much we would use it!” She even finds herself reheating leftovers, especially pizza and french fries.

We Recommend: The 2-quart Copper Chef Air Fryer

Don’t miss our best air fryer cooking tips.

When Cooking for a Family of 2:

If it’s mostly you and your beau sitting around the dinner table, the air frying aficionados recommend a 2- or 3-quart air fryer. The basket provides enough space to cook approximately six chicken wings at a time or enough vegetables for two people.

The quick-cooking ability of the air fryer allows for versatility on busy weeknights. “Some nights when I don’t feel like having the same dinner as my fiance, I can throw something in and have dinner ready in 5 to 10 minutes,” says Shilalie, who has two air fryers at home.

We Recommend: The 2.75-quart Philips TurboStar Air Fryer

When Cooking for Families Up to 6:

When you’re cooking for three or more, an air fryer with a larger basket allows you to get dinner (and dessert) on the table in record time. Chaperon, a full-time teacher, upgraded to a 6-quart air fryer to make meals for her family of three. “I love how the air fryer allows me to get dinner ready in half the time. As a working mom with a picky 6-year-old, the air fryer allows versatility and also allows me to get creative with meals,” she says.

Although Chaperon uses her 6-quart air fryer for her 3-person family, it’s also the perfect air fryer size for a family of 4—and it can even work as a great size air fryer for a family of 6 depending on what you typically like to cook. If you’re making something like Nashville hot chicken, keep in mind you may need to cook the recipe in a few batches.

We Recommend: The 5.8-quart GoWISE Air Fryer

When Cooking for Parties of 8 or More:

When you have an open-door policy and find yourself surrounded by friends and family on the weekends, go for the extra-large basket size or an oven model air fryer. That way, you can whip up party plates and quick appetizers that feed a crowd in a jiffy. “The oven model air fryers are ideal if you are looking to replace other appliances, such as your toaster oven. They fit nicely on your counter and take up less space,” Shilalie says.

An air fryer basket within the 6- to 10-quart size range will provide enough room to roast a whole chicken, a whole pizza and pounds of finger foods.

We Recommend: The 8-quart Chefman Air Fryer

Become an Air Fryer Expert with Our Guides

After you choose the right size air fryer for you and bring it home, check out our air-fryer cooking guide that will teach you everything you need to know—from how to convert your favorite recipes for the air fryer to how to clean it. Make sure you know the difference between the air fryer and the oven and keep these air-fryer accessories in mind as you work your way from air-fryer beginner to whiz.

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