Skip to content

Is a Convection Oven the Same as an Air Fryer? What is the Difference?


When it comes to modern kitchen appliances, both convection ovens and air fryers have become increasingly popular for their ability to cook food faster and more evenly than traditional ovens. Many people may have the question, “Is a convection oven the same as an air fryer?” While they might seem similar at first glance, using circulating hot air to cook food, there are distinct differences between the two that can affect cooking times, textures, and overall results. In this article, we'll examine how they work and compare the differences between convection ovens and air fryers. Keep reading to discover which one is your perfect choice.

How Does a Convention Oven Work?

A convection oven works by using a fan and exhaust system to circulate hot air around and over the food, then venting it back out. This mechanism allows the hot air to surround the food, enabling it to cook more evenly and quickly than in a traditional oven. This setup not only speeds up cooking by about 25% but also ensures a more even temperature distribution, improving browning and creating a dry atmosphere that caramelizes sugars faster, making foods like meats and vegetables browner yet keeping their interiors moist.


How Does an Air Fryer Work?

An air fryer works as a compact, turbo-powered convection oven for your kitchen counter. It rapidly circulates hot air around the food, cooking it quickly without the need to submerge it in oil. This method mimics deep-frying, delivering crispy textures with minimal to no oil, making it a healthier option compared to traditional frying methods. The quick circulation of hot air also ensures food is cooked evenly, achieving a golden exterior and tender interior while significantly reducing cooking time.


Air Fryer vs Convection Oven: What is the Difference?

When comparing air fryer versus convection ovens, several key aspects highlight their differences and can guide you on which appliance might best suit your cooking needs:

  • Preheating Time: Air fryers generally heat up more quickly than convection ovens, making them convenient for quick cooking sessions.
  • Temperature: Both convection ovens and air fryers are designed to operate at temperatures roughly 20 to 25 degrees Fahrenheit cooler than traditional ovens. Air fryers often cook food with greater intensity, attributed to their compact design and direct hot air circulation method. This doesn't necessarily mean air fryers always use higher temperatures than convection ovens.
  • Cooking Time: Cooking times are generally shorter in air fryers because of their rapid air circulation technology, which cooks food efficiently and evenly. This means you can enjoy your meals faster compared to using a convection oven.
  • Size and Capacity: Convection ovens are typically larger, allowing you to cook bigger portions or multiple dishes at once. Air fryers, being more compact, are better suited for smaller quantities, making them ideal for singles or small families. However, batch cooking may be necessary when preparing meals for larger groups.
  • Presets and Controls: Many air fryers come with preset programs for cooking specific foods, which simplifies the cooking process. Convection ovens, while versatile and capable of handling a wide range of baking and roasting tasks, may require manual setting adjustments but often provide more control over the cooking environment.

How Do You Convert a Conventional Oven to an Air Fryer?

Converting traditional oven recipes to air fryer recipes typically involves reducing the cooking temperature by approximately 25°F (about 14°C) and shortening the cooking time by around 20%. This adjustment accounts for the air fryer's efficiency in cooking and its ability to distribute heat more evenly. For example, if an oven recipe suggests cooking at 425°F, you would adjust it to around 400°F for the air fryer. Additionally, it's advisable to preheat the air fryer for about 3 minutes before cooking, lightly coat food with oil for better crispiness, and avoid overcrowding the air fryer basket to ensure air can circulate freely.


Is a convection oven the same as an air fryer? While convection ovens and air fryers operate on similar principles of cooking food through the circulation of hot air, they are not exactly the same. Air fryers typically cook food faster due to their smaller size and concentrated heat, making them ideal for quick, crispy results. On the other hand, convection ovens offer more versatility with the capacity to cook larger quantities of food and are better suited for baking and roasting. Whether you choose a convection oven or air fryer depends on your cooking needs, preferences, and the specific results you're looking to achieve in your culinary endeavors.

Previous article How to Cook Chicken in Air Fryer? Beginners’ Guide
Next article What is an Air Fryer? Everything You Need to Know