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Does The Air Fryer Dry Out Food? 5 Steps To Prevent This!



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You got a new air fryer and decided to make your favorite meals, only to end up with dry food. You tried following different recipes to a T, only to end up with the same results. By then, you might just want to stop using the air fryer altogether and pack it away in a kitchen cabinet. 

But between all this, you must be wondering if you are doing something wrong or if it is just your air fryer that is drying out the food. Well, it can be both. 

The air fryer circulates hot air throughout the appliance to cook food evenly, but it can also strip away moisture and make it dry. Besides that, you might even be making a few cooking mistakes that can make the food dry. 

Keep reading to learn why your air fryer makes the food dry and how you can prevent this easily.

Can An Air Fryer Dry Out Your Food?

Yes, your air fryer can most definitely cause the food to dry out. In an air fryer, air circulates throughout the appliance, similar to a convection oven, rather than the heat rising from the bottom. 

The constant air movement in the air fryer can dry out the food. Moreover, when you add heat to water, water molecules move quickly and collide with one another, which causes bubbles. After some time, the water molecules start lifting up in the air or evaporating. 

A similar process also takes place in the air fryer. The heat from the circulated air eventually pulls the water out of the food and converts it into a mist, which makes the food dry out.

Why Does The Food Dry Out In An Air Fryer?

Besides the reasons discussed above, there are a few more that may make your food dry out while cooking in the air fryer. Some of them are:

Cooking For A Longer Time

The most common reason for your food turning out dry in the air fryer is that you are cooking it for a longer time. Leaving your food exposed to hot air for too long can dry it up. Besides that, the size of the box of your air fryer can also influence it, as a smaller box will mean more air exposure. 

Moreover, cooking your food at a lower temperature for too long will also dry out the meat. It will not only take more time, but you will most likely end up with hard and stiff meat. 

Reheating Food Too Much

While you can reheat food in your air fryer, you risk drying the food. When you use your air fryer to reheat the food, the air circulation will make it dry. But if you keep reheating the same food, it will turn out to be dry as a rock when you actually finish eating it. 

If you still want to reheat food, start by heating only a small portion of leftovers at a time to avoid reheating them again and again. It is also best to reheat food at low temperatures to help avoid drying out.

Air Frying Frozen Food

Another cause of your food coming out dry and hard from the air fryer is cooking food that has been in the freezer for a long time. Wondering why? 

It’s because every food contains water, and freezing it for too long can lead to freezer burn, the process that strips off moisture from your food.

Since your air fryer also dries out food, using it for cooking food that has been frozen for a longer time will only make it drier. 

As per the guidelines issued by the FDA, you can keep frozen meat as well as seafood in the freezer for 6-12 months. But the time for ground beef and poultry is only 3-4 months.

Cooking Skinless Or Boneless Meat

Are you cooking meat that is without skin or bones? That might be the reason why it ends up hard and dry.

Skin and bones work as a barrier for your meat and help retain moisture. But when you remove both, the meat becomes susceptible to losing moisture content and ends up dry. 

Making Food The Wrong Way

Some foods are dry themselves and contain very little moisture. Cooking them in an air fryer will further strip them of the little moisture they have and leave them extremely dry.

Boneless Meat
Boneless Meat

Cauliflower florets have little moisture and need a layer of protection, like oil marination, and ensure you don’t cook them for a long time.

How Can You Prevent Your Food From Drying Out In The Air Fryer?

While it is common for an air dryer to make foods dry, there are a few things you can do to prevent it. Here are 5 tips to keep your food moist, juicy, and fresh:

Marinate The Food

If you like to make food in your air fryer, marinating can be a savior. The process of marinating can help give moisture as well as flavor to your food. It also acts as a layer of skin that prevents moisture from getting sucked by hot air.

When cooking meat, you can take a freezer bag and then add oil and spices along with the meat to it.

Then, you can rub the bag well to massage the meat with this marinate. If not, you could also use a bowl to marinate the chicken and seal it from the top.

For air frying, you can marinate the food 1 day prior, overnight, and even 10-15 minutes before cooking, and you will get juicy food every time. 


Add Enough Oil

Using oil is a great way to add a layer of protection to your food, especially meat or chicken. It traps moisture in the meat and gives you juicy, soft, and tender results. Besides retaining moisture, using oil also gives your food a crisp texture. 

You must use an oil that has a smoking point, like extra virgin olive oil, peanut oil, or even avocado oil. Get an oil spray bottle and use it to coat your food. In case you are air frying frozen food, make sure you check the ingredients. You shouldn’t add more oil if it already contains oil.  

Use Aluminum Foil 

The ones who are keen on using an air fryer often keep aluminum foil handy. Wrapping the food in foil can ensure the air doesn’t suck up the moisture and allows even and proper cooking of the food. 

What’s more, aluminum foil can help lock both the flavors and aromas of your food. When the excess oil or fat comes out from the meat pieces, it will remain within the foil and give your food a good taste. Make sure you use only food-grade aluminum foils that are air fryer safe. 

Opt For Medium Temperature

One thing you must always follow while making baked items in your air fryer is to keep the appliance at a medium temperature only. This trick will help you avoid drying out the baked goods.  

Alternatively, when you bake too quickly, it will lead to hard exteriors but liquid interiors. But when you cook very slowly, there is a risk of drying out the baked goods. Here, you must find a middle ground and set the temperature to medium while baking.

Brine Your Meat

Lastly, you can also brine your meat before cooking it in an air fryer to prevent it from drying out. For brining, you should take a cup of lukewarm water and then add one spoonful of salt to it. Before you start cooking the meat, dip it in this salt water.

When you take out the meat from the solution, rinse it and then pat it dry. You must spritz some oil on it before you start air frying.


Making your favorite foods in an air fryer is not only fun but also convenient, but ending up with dry food can ruin the entire experience. You can follow the tips shared above to prevent food from drying out and get juicy, tender, and delicious food every time.

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