Can an Air Fryer Replace a Microwave? – Microwave vs Air fryer Debate In 2023

Answer to Can an Air Fryer Replace a Microwave? is quest of many users. Both appliances have revolutionised kitchen functioning and have their own utilities. Here, we’ll explore the functionality, benefits, and limitations of both appliances to determine winner of air fryer vs microwave debate and will try to decide can air fryer replace microwave? in your kitchen.

air fryer vs microwave

Benefits of Using an Air Fryer

Healthier Cooking

One of the primary benefits of using an air fryer is that it promotes healthier cooking. As mentioned earlier, air fryers require significantly less oil compared to traditional deep frying methods. This means you can enjoy your favorite fried foods with reduced fat content and fewer calories.

Versatility in Cooking

Air fryers are incredibly versatile appliances. They can not only fry but also grill, roast, and bake various types of food. From crispy french fries to succulent chicken wings and even baked goods, an air fryer can handle a wide range of recipes, giving you more flexibility in your cooking endeavors.

Energy Efficiency

Compared to conventional ovens, air fryers are more energy-efficient. They preheat quickly and cook food faster, saving you time and reducing energy consumption. The efficient use of heat and the compact size of air fryers contribute to their energy-saving capabilities.

Faster Cooking Time

Due to the intense heat and convection cooking method, air fryers significantly reduce cooking time. This means you can prepare meals faster, making them ideal for busy individuals or families who want to enjoy quick and delicious meals without compromising on taste or texture.

Also Read: Can You Boil Water In An Air Fryer?

Can an Air Fryer Replace a Microwave?

Now, let’s address the question at hand: Can an air fryer replace a microwave? To determine this, we need to compare the cooking functions and capabilities of both appliances.

Cooking Functions of a Microwave

Microwaves excel at several cooking functions that an air fryer may not perform as efficiently. These functions include heating and reheating food, defrosting frozen items, and providing overall cooking convenience. Microwaves are especially useful when it comes to quickly warming leftovers or defrosting ingredients for immediate use.

Also Read: Why Is White Smoke Coming Out Of My Airfryer?

Air Fryer vs. Microwave

When comparing an air fryer to a microwave, several factors come into play.

Cooking Method

An air fryer uses hot air circulation to cook food, resulting in a crispy texture. On the other hand, microwaves use microwave radiation to generate heat, which primarily heats the water molecules in the food. This difference in cooking methods means that the texture and taste of food prepared in an air fryer will differ from that of a microwave.

Food Texture and Taste

Air fryers excel at producing crispy and evenly cooked food, making them ideal for dishes like french fries, chicken wings, or roasted vegetables. On the contrary, microwaves tend to soften food, which may not be suitable for recipes that require a crispy exterior or distinct texture. The taste and texture preferences of the individual will determine which appliance is more suitable for their cooking needs.

Cooking Speed

Air fryers generally require more time to cook food compared to microwaves. Microwaves offer rapid heating capabilities, allowing you to quickly warm or defrost food. If time is of the essence, a microwave might be a better option. However, for recipes that require a crispy finish or specific cooking techniques, an air fryer would be the preferred choice.

Also Read: Can You Overfill An Air Fryer?

When to Choose an Air Fryer

An air fryer is an excellent choice when you want to achieve a crispy texture, reduce oil usage, and enjoy versatile cooking options. If you enjoy the taste of fried food but want a healthier alternative, an air fryer is a great investment. Additionally, if you have the time to spare and enjoy experimenting with different recipes, an air fryer will provide you with more cooking flexibility.

When to Choose a Microwave

A microwave is an indispensable appliance for quick and convenient cooking tasks. If you primarily use your microwave for heating or reheating leftovers, defrosting frozen items, or making popcorn, then a microwave is a must-have in your kitchen. Its rapid heating capabilities and convenience make it an essential appliance for busy individuals or those with limited cooking time.

Also Read: Can You Put Sauce In An Air Fryer?

Difference between Air Fryer and Microwave

Air FryerMicrowave
Cooking methodUses hot air circulation and convection heating to cook food, similar to a small convection oven.Uses electromagnetic waves to heat food by causing water molecules to vibrate, generating heat.
Cooking speedTypically takes longer to cook compared to a microwave.Generally cooks food faster than an air fryer.
TextureCan achieve a crispy texture on certain foods, similar to deep-frying, without excessive oil.May not produce the same level of crispiness as an air fryer, although it can quickly heat and reheat various types of food.
VersatilitySuitable for a wide range of cooking methods, including frying, baking, grilling, and roasting.Primarily used for heating, defrosting, and reheating food. Limited cooking options compared to an air fryer.
Cooking capacityTypically has a smaller cooking capacity, suitable for individual or small servings.Can accommodate larger dishes and cook larger quantities of food due to its larger interior space.
Cooking techniqueRelies on dry heat and requires minimal or no added oil for cooking.Relies on the moisture content of food and may require covering with a microwave-safe lid or using steamers for certain dishes.
Food typesSuitable for a wide variety of food types, including meats, vegetables, frozen snacks, and even desserts.Suitable for reheating leftovers, heating beverages, defrosting frozen food, and cooking microwave-safe pre-packaged meals.
Energy consumptionGenerally consumes more energy compared to a microwave due to longer cooking times and higher heat requirements.Generally consumes less energy compared to an air fryer, as it cooks food faster with shorter cooking times.
Price rangeTypically falls in the mid to higher price range, depending on the brand and features.Generally more affordable and available in a wide price range, including budget-friendly options.
Learning curveMay require some experimentation and adjustment of cooking times and temperatures for optimal results.Relatively straightforward and user-friendly, with preset options for common cooking tasks.
Kitchen spaceOccupies more counter space due to its larger size and additional cooking functionalities.Compact and space-efficient, making it suitable for small kitchens or limited countertop space.

Can an air fryer replace a microwave? 

No, an air fryer cannot fully replace a microwave. While an air fryer can cook, bake, grill, and roast a variety of foods using hot air circulation, it doesn’t offer the same functionality as a microwave.

Can I use an air fryer to heat or defrost food like a microwave? 

An air fryer is not specifically designed for heating or defrosting food like a microwave. While it can reheat certain foods and ingredients, it may take longer compared to a microwave. Air fryers are primarily used for cooking with hot air circulation rather than solely heating or defrosting.

Are there any advantages to using a microwave instead of an air fryer? 

Yes, there are advantages to using a microwave over an air fryer. Microwaves excel at quickly heating and reheating food, defrosting frozen items, and cooking certain microwave-safe pre-packaged meals. They are also more space-efficient and generally more affordable compared to air fryers.

What are the advantages of an air fryer compared to a microwave? 

An air fryer offers several advantages over a microwave. It allows you to achieve a crispy texture on various foods without excessive oil, making it a healthier alternative to deep frying. Air fryers can also cook a wide range of dishes, including meats, vegetables, frozen snacks, and even desserts. They provide versatility in cooking methods such as frying, baking, grilling, and roasting.

Can I use an air fryer and a microwave together in my kitchen? 

Absolutely! Many kitchens have both an air fryer and a microwave as they serve different purposes. You can utilize the microwave for quick heating, defrosting, or reheating tasks, while the air fryer can be used for cooking or achieving a crispy texture on certain foods.

Which appliance is more energy-efficient, an air fryer or a microwave? 

In general, microwaves are more energy-efficient compared to air fryers. Microwaves cook food faster and require less time to heat or reheat, resulting in lower energy consumption. However, the specific energy efficiency of each appliance can vary depending on factors like the model, power rating, and usage patterns.

Also Read: Can You Put Paper Towels In An Air Fryer?

Can I use my air fryer as a replacement for heating beverages or liquids like a microwave? 

No, it is not recommended to use an air fryer for heating beverages or liquids. Air fryers are not designed for this purpose, and attempting to heat liquids in an air fryer can be unsafe and may cause damage to the appliance. It’s best to use a microwave or stovetop for heating beverages or liquids.


In conclusion, while an air fryer and a microwave both serve different purposes in the kitchen, it is unlikely that an air fryer can completely replace a microwave. Each appliance has its own unique features and cooking methods, making them suitable for different cooking tasks. An air fryer excels at producing crispy and healthier versions of fried food, while a microwave offers convenience and rapid heating capabilities. To fully equip your kitchen, it’s recommended to have both appliances to cover a wide range of cooking needs.

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1: Can I use an air fryer to heat leftovers?

Yes, you can use an air fryer to heat leftovers. However, it’s important to note that the heating process in an air fryer may take longer compared to a microwave.

2: Can I defrost food using an air fryer?

While some air fryers have defrosting capabilities, they might not be as efficient as a microwave for defrosting food. It’s recommended to use a microwave or follow proper defrosting methods for better results.

3: Is an air fryer suitable for baking?

Yes, air fryers can be used for baking. They are suitable for making small batches of baked goods like cookies or muffins. However, for larger baked items, such as cakes or bread, a conventional oven is usually preferred.

4: Can a microwave replace an oven?

While a microwave can handle certain cooking tasks, it cannot fully replace an oven. Ovens provide consistent and even heat distribution, making them essential for baking, roasting, or broiling.

5: Which appliance is more energy-efficient, an air fryer, or a microwave?

Both air fryers and microwaves are generally energy-efficient appliances. However, air fryers tend to have shorter cooking times, which can contribute to energy savings in the long run.

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