Defrosting in air fryer: Revolutionize Your Defrosting Game


Last Updated: July 5th, 2023

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Defrosting in an air fryer is a game changer. Do you hate the long wait and uneven results of traditional defrosting methods? Look no further than your air fryer! Not only can this versatile appliance cook up all your favorite fried foods to crispy perfection, it can also defrost your frozen items with speed and precision.

In this article, we’ll discuss the benefits of using an air fryer for defrosting and how to do it successfully. So why wait? Let’s get thawing!

defrosting in air fryer_featured

Do You Need to Defrost Before Using an Air Fryer?

In most cases, you do not need to defrost food before putting them in an air fryer. Whether you are cooking frozen potato skins or frozen corn dogs, you can air fry them directly instead of waiting for the food to thaw before cooking.

Some people might take the food out of the freezer, put it on the countertop, and wait several minutes or hours until it thaws. Such can be time-consuming. Hence, it defeats the purpose of an air fryer, which is to cook food quickly. Not to mention, it can also be unsafe.

If you are aware of how an air fryer works, then you will know that it circulates heat, which is also what can defrost frozen food. By using hot air convection, an air fryer will defrost food from side to side, top to bottom. The fan helps ensure that this hot air circulates evenly for even defrosting.

Please note that we are only talking about air frying solely. So if you for example have an air fryer grill combo and want to grill a frozen product that is a completely different issue because the inside of the food might remain cold depending on what type of food you are cooking.

Is Defrosting Food in an Air Fryer Safe?

Now that you know you can defrost before air fryer, your next concern is probably safety. Good thing, there’s nothing to worry about! It is one thing that many people practice, and hence, you can be confident of its safety.

It is safe to defrost food in air fryers. However, it depends on how you do it. I suggest that you follow the instructions in the next section for your peace of mind. Otherwise, you might get sick if the food is not properly cooked.

The failure to defrost food properly can make it a breeding ground for bacteria. It increases the risks of food poisoning. The most common symptoms of the latter include diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, stomach pain, cramps, weakness, headache, and fever. 

How to Defrost Food in an Air Fryer

As mentioned, not defrosting food properly can be a health risk. If you do it right, however, it should not be a concern. Follow the steps I will talk about below.

1.    Prepare Frozen Food

The first step is also the most obvious – take the food from the freezer. Ensure that there is no plastic or any type of packaging before putting it in the air fryer.

If your food is extremely frosted, such as if it has been in the freezer for weeks or even months, it is best to thaw it for a while. The best thing to do is to transfer it from the freezer to the refrigerator and wait 10 to 20 minutes before air frying.

Alternatively, you can thaw it quickly in cold water without the packaging. However, this only applies to raw frozen meat or fish. If it is pre-cooked, such as frozen karaage, do not thaw it in water. It can affect flavor.

2.    Put the Food in an Air Fryer

Next, get the food ready by putting it in an air fryer. Do not overcrowd the air fryer. Note its maximum capacity and do not go beyond such. Leave enough space between food to ensure proper heat circulation.

3.    Defrost and Cook the Food

Once it is in the air fryer, start defrosting. Set the air fryer to the temperature that the recipe requires for cooking your food. It will then defrost and cook the food. You can proceed directly to air frying instead of defrosting it first. Although, if you have an air fryer and microwave combo, you can use the defrost function of the microwave and air fry after.

Frozen Food Cooking Chart

If you want to defrost food straight in the air fryer, pay attention to the cooking duration, as well as the cooking temperature. These are important factors to ensure proper cooking, which can also help prevent food poisoning. The table below summarizes some of the most common foods you can cook in the air fryer, as well as the time and temperature requirements.

Frozen FoodCooking TimeTemperature
Chicken Breast24 minutes280 degrees Fahrenheit
Chicken Wings12 minutes360 degrees Fahrenheit
Whole Chicken70 minutes300 degrees Fahrenheit
Chicken Thighs20 minutes360 degrees Fahrenheit
Pork Chops18 minutes250 degrees Fahrenheit
Steak20 minutes320 degrees Fahrenheit
Sausage Links12 minutes320 degrees Fahrenheit
Breaded Shrimp10 minutes400 degrees Fahrenheit
Fish Sticks10 minutes360 degrees Fahrenheit
Burger Patties7 minutes360 degrees Fahrenheit
Onion Rings12 minutes370 degrees Fahrenheit
Hotdogs7 minutes360 degrees Fahrenheit
Pizza16 minutes360 degrees Fahrenheit
French Fries15 minutes360 degrees Fahrenheit
Potato Chips16 minutes360 degrees Fahrenheit
Hash Browns8 minutes360 degrees Fahrenheit

To make it even easier for you to remember we created a printable version for our air fryer frozen food chart.

Click on the picture below to open our printable version or click here.

defrosting in air fryer_cooking chart

Things To Remember When Defrosting Before Air Frying

If you are not short of time, you can defrost your food the manual way. This is best done by putting it in the fridge from the freezer or by using cold water. Nonetheless, remember some important things, including the following:

  • Do not let your food thaw or defrost on the counter top. It will be prone to bacteria accumulation, which can be a health risk. When food reaches 40 degrees Fahrenheit from a frozen state, bacteria can grow and multiply.
  • If possible, cut the food into small pieces before freezing, defrosting, or air frying. It will make it easier to cook. 
  • Use a thermometer to check the temperature of food. For turkey and chicken, the temperature should be 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Meanwhile, for pork, lamb, and veal, it should be at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Shake the basket halfway when air-frying frozen food. This will prevent them from sticking once cooked.
  • Consider adding sauces or dressing to some frozen food before air frying, especially those without breading or batter. This can help food retain moisture.
  • Do not refreeze food after defrosting or cooking in an air fryer. It is best to consume it immediately.

Tips and tricks for defrosting in an Air Fryer

  • Use the air fryer’s built-in defrost setting, if available: Many newer model air fryers come with a specific defrost setting that can be used to defrost your frozen items. This setting adjusts the cooking time and temperature to ensure an even and efficient defrost.
  • Avoid defrosting raw meat and poultry: It’s important to avoid defrosting raw meat and poultry in the air fryer to prevent the risk of bacterial growth. To be safe, it’s best to defrost these items in the refrigerator or using the microwave’s defrost setting.
  • Consider the size and thickness of the food being defrosted: Larger or thicker items may require longer cooking times to fully defrost. Be sure to check the food at regular intervals and flip if necessary to ensure an even defrost.
  • Use the basket instead of the tray: When defrosting in the air fryer, it’s best to use the basket rather than the tray to allow for better circulation of the hot air. This will help ensure that the food defrosts evenly and quickly.
  • Don’t overcrowd the basket: It’s important to give the food enough space to allow for even defrosting. Overcrowding the basket can lead to uneven results and longer cooking times.


In conclusion, using an air fryer for defrosting can be a game-changer. With its ability to defrost food faster and more evenly than traditional methods, the air fryer can save you time and frustration in the kitchen.

Plus, with the option to immediately cook the defrosted food, it’s a convenient and efficient choice. So next time you need to thaw something in a pinch, don’t hesitate to try out your air fryer. You’ll be amazed at the results!

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Thomas S.

Hey there! I've been cooking for myself and loved ones since the age of 18. In our busy world I've always looked for ways to be more time efficient when it comes to preparing food but also creating tasty and healthy dishes. That's when I came accross air fryers a few years ago and eversince I am trying to spread the word of the benefits of these wonderful machines.