Can An Air Fryer Replace A Microwave?

Over the years, a microwave as being an essential tool to have in a kitchen. Meanwhile, in recent times the innovation of a machine that can fry using a relatively small amount of oil has proved to be a life and time saver.

An air fryer uses its coil to provide hot temperatures, then uses its fan to circulate the hot air to get your crispy bacon ready. As handy as it comes, an air fryer struggles when it comes to cooking in large quantities and heating liquids which is the stronghold of a microwave.

No, an air fryer can not completely replace a microwave. An air fryer leverages on by using its fan for heat circulation, hence why it can fry to crisp with either the presence of oil or not. While a microwave works better in a condition where it will be able to drain moisture, thereby heating the food in the process.

This write shall be discussing all you need to know about an air fryer and a microwave, thereby also explaining if an air fryer is better than a microwave, and if an air fryer can replace a microwave. Read on, to find out. 

Air Fryer Vs. Microwave

What's better toaster oven or toaster oven air fryer?
Source: Country Door

Air Fryer Overview

Air fryers have a heating coil which is usually at the bottom, and a fan which will be at the top of the fryer. The heating coil generates heat at a high temperature to the basket in the fryer, while the fan blows the hot heat around to circulate the heat.

The circulation of hot air around the food allows it to go through the Maillard reaction, a chemical reaction that reduces sugar and protein in the food, resulting in the brownness and crispness of your french fries that went through an air fryer.

If set at some certain heat level, the heat generated by the machine can be enough to reheat your bread, steak, meatloaf, and food with a similar profile, but takes a long time to reheat than it will take a microwave.

Microwaves Overview

Microwaves work a bit differently aiming to drain water out of the food when exposed to the heat of a microwave, making many users prefer to use microwaves for reheating purposes.

Typically, it comes with a compartment that has a rotatory plate which helps the heat distribute evenly, and makes the microwave heats food faster than an air fryer.  In some situations, microwaves can even be used in making a dish from scratch, the heat it generates allows them to execute this task on certain foods

As microwaves perform better on moist food, it is then difficult for microwaves to be used for frying.

Image: Envato Elements

Is An Air Fryer Better Than A Microwave?

Juxtaposing the two machines, it is evident that while their functions may intertwine there are still differences that make each machine unique.

Basically, the air fryers’ strong point is for frying as reheating food with this machine will take longer than expected, because it is designed for light heating that struggles with moisture when moisture absorption is the aim of food reheating. 

This moisture absorption is what a microwave is built for and carries on this duty in a short period. Do you want to fry your seafood with the thought of low cholesterol in mind? Or do you like your chicken wings crispy and crunchy?

You might want to pay more attention to an air fryer as the functionality gives you these features.

The versatility of an air fryer is interesting, it can be employed in cooking certain vegan meals like potato nuggets, seafood recipes, and steaks. Microwaves, on the other hand, are capable of all that and more, the moisture absorption properties discussed early make it easier for microwaves to cook vegetables and whatnot.

In general, air fryers are not ideal for reheating food. But if at all you want to reheat your food with your air fryer, you have to sidestep foods that contain too much moisture as it will be the task of a microwave.

Can an air fryer replace a microwave?

No, both machines as similar but different functions. An air fryer performs best for frying purposes, while a microwave reheats better.

Can an air fryer be used for reheating food? 

Yes, an air fryer can be used to reheat some food, as food containing too much moisture can not be reheated using an air fryer. Also, it takes a longer time compared to a microwave which is faster for reheating,

Can a microwave be used for frying? 

No, a microwave can not fry efficiently because its system is designed for moisture absorption which is not necessary during frying.


An air fryer because of its use of low oil for cooking, is a much healthier option to cook your food.

But then its inability to cook food with high moisture content, slower cooking, and lack of enough space to cook in large quantities is its downside.

While a microwave handles moisture well, is also spacious enough depending on the model, and can cook many varieties, but will not fry efficiently.