Large Capacity Air Fryers Make Dinner Time Easier and Healthier
When I wanted to buy an air fryer for my family, I wanted an extra large air fryer. If there’s one thing I hate more than the oil mess from a deep fryer, it’s having to cook in batches. My air fryer is a trusted companion in the kitchen – I use it almost daily for some recipe or other. Just this morning I made crispy hashbrowns in it (one of my kiddos gobbled most of them down as soon as they were cool enough to eat … I don’t think they even made it to the plate).
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Some of my favorite vegetarian foods to cook in the air fryer are:
- Baked potatoes
- Frittatas with vegetable medley
- Garlic bread
- Roasted chickpeas
- Bruschetta with tomato basil spread
- Roasted artichoke and corn salad
- Pancake bread
- Fried tofu fingers
Air fryers come in a wide variety of sizes, typically ranging from 2 quarts to 12 quarts for home use. For a family, you will likely want at least 6 quarts, but potentially more depending on how often you plan to use it and how many people you are feeding. Don’t just go for the biggest air fryer because it’s the biggest – look at the features and choose the one that fits your cooking style.
Although I do have my favorite (which you’ll see below), I know that what’s right for my family might not be what you need for yours. So I’ve compiled a list of the best of the best when it comes to large capacity air fryers for your family.
Best Overall Large Capacity Air Fryer: GoWise 12.7 Quart
And the winner is … drum roll please … the GoWise 12.7 Quart Air Fryer. Or as it’s affectionately dubbed in my house “big red”. It’s large, reliable, quiet, and fits well on my counter. Oh, and it makes the most yummy and healthy food.
When my husband and I were playing a round of “which three kitchen appliances can you not live without?”, “big red” was one of my top three, beating out our oven, blender, toaster, rice cooker, and many other appliances. (Don’t judge us – the game sounds a lot weirder than it really is … I promise!).
Why I Love This Large Air Fryer
- It’s big.
- At 12.7 quarts, the GoWise is one of the biggest air fryers on the market. Also, its side loading feature (similar to a traditional oven) makes it really easy to use. This extra large air fryer saves me a lot of time when making dinner.
- It’s not too expensive.
- Coming in at around $115, it’s affordable, although not the least expensive option.
- It’s stylish.
- It fits well on the counter and has a stylish rounded corner shape that doesn’t stand out. It also has color options for those who don’t like the bright red as much as I do (although honestly, what’s not to like). But if you insist on another color, they also have it in black, silver, white, and black/silver combo.
- It’s easy to clean.
- The trays/baskets are all dishwasher safe and the bottom is lined with a metal insert that is easily removable and is also able to be run through the dishwasher (although we usually wash it by hand because it’s pretty easy to wash).
- It has a window.
- I’m one of those cooks who likes to check on her food often to make sure it’s not burning (probably because I’ve burned a lot of food in the past). Since this air fryer has a window, I can easily peak in without disrupting the cooking process.
Watch Out For This
- Too many accessories.
- It comes with a lot of accessories, which might sound like a good thing, because you have options. But for me, I found I tended to use just one or two most of the time and the others just got in the way. If this sounds like you, don’t let it stop you from checking this air fryer out, just be prepared to stash the extra accessories on the top cabinet shelf to keep your area clutter free. (If you do end up getting this, will share that I use the mesh tray, mesh basket, and drip pan and the rest of the accessories sit in a top cabinet out of the way.)
- It has a window.
- I know I said this was a good thing just a couple paragraphs above, and it is, except when it’s dirty. The inside of the window has a tendency to get dirty easily, so unless you’re prepared to do a quick wipe down after each use, you should be okay with a dirty window on your air fryer. (It doesn’t touch the food, it’s just kinda annoying.)
Air Fryer Specs: GoWise 12.7 Quart
Product Dimensions: 12 x 11.5 x 14 inches
Product Weight: 23.4 pounds
Best Air Fryer Under $100: The Big Boss
This large air fryer comes in at 16 quarts and only around $80. If you are on a budget, this the Big Boss Air Fryer is the one for you. With all the basic functionality, and a stylish transparent glass bowl design, this will get the job done.
Why This Big Boss Air Fryer Rocks
- The glass bowl
- You can’t beat the glass bowl for visibility of the food you are cooking. With 360 degree visibility, it’s easy to see your food and make sure it’s not over or under cooked.
- High capacity
- At 16 quarts, this is one of the biggest air fryers on the market for home cooks like us. That means you can fit a lot more food in there and not worry about running out of space.
- Dial controls
- This model uses dial controls for time and temperature instead of digital like the GoWise model above. While these work fine, it’s a more manual process with less pre-set options to choose from.
- Check your counter dimensions
- Unlike the GoWise which is small enough to stay permanently on the counter, the larger air fryer of the Big Boss Air Fryer will likely need to be pulled out to use each time unless you have a lot of extra counter space.
Air Fryer Specs: Big Boss
Product Dimensions: 16 x 12.5 x 13.5 inches
Product Weight: 14.74 pounds
Runner Up – Cuisinart TOA-65 Digital Convection Toaster Oven Airfryer, Silver
Coming in at just under 18 quarts capacity (listed as 0.6 cubic feet capacity on their website), the Cuisinart Air Fryer is by far one of the largest air fryers on the market. It’s made by Cuisinart, which is a brand I’ve loved and trusted for years.
Why This Extra Large Air Fryer Might Be Perfect for Your Family
- It’s very large
- Coming in at almost 18 quarts, this appliance is huge. While a family of 4 could probably be fine with the 12 quart GoWise air fryer, if you have a larger family, the extra capacity in the Cuisinart could be a really good thing. I would also recommend this larger version if you do a lot of meal prep in your air fryer (or if you want to in the future). You could fry large batches in here at one time and then freeze them for later.
- You can cook almost anything in this appliance
- Yes, the Cuisinart is an air fryer, but it’s also a toaster oven, food dehydrator, pizza oven, roasting oven, and more. It has a wide range of temperature settings and a large enough internal area to let it be one of your main appliances in the kitchen.
Some Concerns with the Cuisinart Air Fryer
- It is a big appliance
- With a base of 17 x 21.73 inches, it will take up a lot of counter space. I highly recommend measuring your counters before buying this and figure out where you will store it.
- It’s on the expensive side
- With a price tag in the $280 range, it’s more than twice as expensive as our winner, the GoWise air fryer. There are some good benefits that come with that price tag such as the higher capacity, but it is still an investment.
Air Fryer Specs: Cuisinart TOA-65
Product Dimensions: 17 x 21.73 x 15.75 inches
Product Weight: 20.3 pounds
What are the disadvantages of an air fryer?
While I do really love my air fryer, there are some disadvantages of using it to cook.
- Even with the large capacity models, they are still significantly smaller than a traditional oven. I still use my oven for items like frozen pizzas and roasting large sheets of vegetables.
- Cooking in an air fryer can also take some getting used to. Most packaged items and recipes are built for the conventional oven, so to modify them for an air fryer often requires adjusting the temperature and cook time a bit. I typically will reduce the temperature by about 20 degrees and will reduce the cook time by about 20 percent (just think 20/20 to remember the adjustments).
Can you toast bread in an air fryer?
Yes, you can! In my GoWise unit, I can fit 8 pieces of bread in at a single time (two racks each with four slices). I typically toast them at 400 degrees for anywhere from 2 to 4 minutes depending on how dark my kids want their toast that day. With all five of us often wanting toast at the same time for breakfast, our toaster just doesn’t keep up most days – and we have a four slice toaster too. Using the air fryer is simple and gets the job done for the large family breakfast toasting needs.
On a side note, not only can you use an air fryer for toast, but I highly encourage you to use it for bread topped with other things. I’ve been known to make a very simple tomato bruschetta in the air fryer for a quick side dish or lunch main dish. Simply open a can of Italian diced tomatoes, drain it. Start toasting the bread, then after about 2 minutes, pull them out and spread the tomatoes on top, sprinkle with some Parmesan cheese, and continue cooking until the tomatoes are hot (usually another couple minutes). Eat with a fork. Simply delicious!
What vegetarian foods can you cook in an air fryer?
The list is pretty much endless … if you can cook it in an oven, you can probably cook it in an air fryer. Some traditional favorites are things like potato wedges, french fries, roasted chickpeas, and roasted veggies, but there are so many other options as well. I’ve seen people make breads, cookies, egg dishes, and other treats as well.
If you are struggling with what to make, I’d recommend starting with a cookbook to explore the options and find your favorites. I’d recommend The Essential Vegan Air Fryer Cookbook as a good starting place. It has recipes for breakfasts, breads, sides, main dishes, desserts, and staples.
How does an air fryer work?
Air fryers don’t actually fry food in the traditional sense. There’s no added oil. Instead, they force hot air around your food, which then cooks it. If the air is hot enough (typically above 320 degrees), then it will also create those brown, crispy edges on the food that we love.
Is air fried food healthy?
It’s really as healthy as the ingredients you put into it. Similar to asking is a refrigerator healthy, it’s more about the foods you use it for. If you put healthy food into an air fryer, it will still be healthy when it comes out. The process of not adding extra oil like you would in deep frying though, is generally less calories and therefore healthier. But you can also use an air fryer to make things like chocolate chip cookies, and while delicious, they aren’t exactly healthy.
How long should I cook frozen french fries for in the air fryer?
One of the simplest recipes to cook is frozen french fries. Open the bag, pour them in, set to 400 degrees, and start. If you want to get fancy, you can add some oil spray and seasoning, but it’s not really needed. You’ll want to cook them for 20-25 minutes depending on how thick the fries are. But the real key to great air fryer french fries is to shake or rotate them half way through the cooking time. If you buy one with a rotisserie basket, this will work as well since they are always turning and therefore will be evenly crispy all around.
There really is not much you can’t make in the right, large air fryer. Try a new recipe today – I suggest roasted chick peas!
What’s your favorite vegetarian dish to cook in the air fryer? What would you like to see recipes for in the future? Leave your comments below.