An adaptation of a commercial kitchen appliance, air fryers are the hottest new item for home cooks. And with good reason: They’re an exceptionally versatile tool that can give a crisp almost as good as deep frying, but without the added calories and waste of frying in oil.
Are you considering adding an air fryer for meat to your collection of kitchen appliances? If so, you’ve come to the right place — because we’ve collected the opinions of expert reviewers and professional chefs to help point you towards the perfect air fryer for meat for your home.
Where to Buy An Air Fryer for Meat: Our Top 3 Recommendations
In this guide, we’ll explain the ins and outs of air fryers before going into detail on which air fryers are best for meat. After taking into account a few important considerations to make before buying one, we’ll give you our choices for the three best air fryers for meat that you can add to your kitchen.
Best Overall: GoWise USA GW22731
Featuring a generous basket capacity paired with some of the easiest controls to use of any air fryer we’ve seen, GoWise USA’s air fryer seems ideally suited for meats. Its vertically-oriented design saves space on countertops, and its fan is one of the quietest of any air fryer on the market today.
If a 7 quart capacity makes the GoWise a little bit too big for your countertops, they now offer models in 2 quart and 5 quart as well. All three models boast eight different cooking modes, too — air fry, roast, broil, dehydrate, grill, bake, reheat, or keep warm — making them surprisingly versatile for how affordable they are. The dehydrate method is a particularly nice touch, as it opens up the possibility for making your own beef jerky in small batches.
Perhaps the only downside of the GoWise is that its basket is just slightly more difficult to clean than we’d like. But considering the price and one-year warranty, we’re confident that this is still the best air fryer for meat.
- Compared with a 5-quart air fryer basket or smaller, GoWISE USA’s newest air fryer comes with an extra-large cooking capacity. The single basket and crisper tray give you 7 quarts of cooking space, the perfect size for feeding; The whole family or to whip up some snacks for a party. Easily cook a whole chicken or 4-5 burgers with a touch of a button without heating up the house.
- Searching for a gift? This air fryer is the perfect gift under the tree for everyone. Get this multifunctional air fryer for the moms on the go, dads who love to cook, grandparents or anyone who wants to be healthier. This air fryer allows you to cook your favorite fried foods with little to no oil and without the mess that comes with deep frying.
- Air fry, grill, and more: This extra-large air fryer is designed with 8 cooking functions, so you can save time and space. Air fry, roast, broil, dehydrate, grill, bake, reheat, or keep warm all in 1 appliance. The large control panel features a full touchscreen menu to make it easy to select a function, set a time and temp, and start cooking with a touch of a button.
- The cooking possibilities are endless with an extended cooking timer up to 60 minutes and a wide temperature range from 180°f to 400°f. The air fryer gives you more control by allowing you to set the temperature in increments of 5.
- Use your air fryer as a dehydrator tool. The built-in dehydrate function is designed with a temperature range from 90°f to 170°F and a timer from 2-24 hours. The air fryer comes with 3 stackable racks that enables you to prepare more servings of dried fruits, veggies, beef jerky, and your own dried herbs.
Best On A Budget: Farberware HF-919B
Small, simple, and affordable, Farberware’s air fryer is a tiny powerhouse of an appliance that is ideally suited for small kitchens. Its 3.2-quart capacity is nothing to marvel at, but the foolproof controls and ultra-quiet fan make it our choice for the best value air fryer for meat.
We’re also big fans of the simple push-button and dial controls for the Farberware air fryer. They’re likely to hold up very well over time, which more digitally-oriented control schemes don’t offer. It’s as close to a buy it for life option as you’re likely to find with an air fryer, seeing as they’re a quite new technology.
As with our top pick, Farberware’s air fryer basket is more difficult to clean than we’d like. If you’re looking to try out an air fryer for the first time, though, it’s an excellent choice — and the two-year warranty certainly doesn’t hurt anything, either.
Best Upgrade: NuWave BRIO 37001
For the dedicated air fryer enthusiast, upgrading to NuWave’s BRIO is an excellent investment. It has a best-in-class 6-quart fryer basket that is the easiest to clean of any air fryer we’ve seen, as well as a quiet fan that won’t disturb anyone. If you have the space and budget for this model, it can easily make enough food for entire dinners.
One touch controls, six presets, and an included meat thermometer set the NuWave apart from other air fryers when it comes to cooking meat. That includes a preset for dehydrating, giving you the option of making small batches of jerky at home.
The only downside, of course, is the NuWave’s higher price tag. Thankfully, it comes with a one-year warranty to protect your investment — making it our choice as the best upgrade for an air fryer for meat.
- THE MODERN WAY TO COOK – The Top-rated air fryers 3 years running, the Brio uses super-heated air and a specially designed cooking chamber that facilitates airflow to quickly and evenly cook all your favorite fried foods to tender, juicy perfection using little to no oil. Everything from fries to wings can be made with fewer calories without sacrificing flavor.
- COOK IT YOUR WAY – You can Air Fry, Broil, Roast, Grill, Bake, Reheat and even Dehydrate. If you’re ever unsure what to make, simply select from a menu of 100 preprogrammed recipes available at your fingertips. NuWave’s team of engineers and professional chefs designed the Brio with a vast temperature range, between 50°F and 400°F to make it easier than ever to prepare just about anything you’d ever want.
- PERFECT RESULTS EVERY TIME – Using the Brio’s integrated digital temperature probe means you never have to guess again! Insert the probe, set the temperature, and then touch and go! The Brio cooks until your food is perfect and then shuts off automatically, so you’ll never undercook or overcook meals again.
- CONSISTENT COOKING TEMPERATURE –The Brio makes sure that the temperature you set is the temperature you get by checking the temperature inside the unit 120 times per second. Other air fryers can shut off as much as 20-40 times per hour, leading to a deviation from the targeted temperature by as much as 40°F.
- CONVENIENT – The 6-quart Brio is the perfect size for cooking 2 pounds of fries, 4 chicken breasts or even a whopping 2 pounds of wings. Yet, it’s compact enough for small apartments, RVs and even dorm rooms. You can even adjust the wattage between 900, 1,500 and 1,800 watts, ensuring you can air fry virtually anywhere you have access to an electric outlet.
What Is An Air Fryer, After All?
For the kitchen savvy, the term “air fryer” might sound like a bit of an oxymoron. As a cooking method, frying tries to avoid introducing air and water, preferring the higher temperatures possible in oils and fats. So what is an air fryer, exactly?
In fact, air fryers are tiny at-home versions of an appliance found in nearly every commercial kitchen: The convection oven.
Convection ovens (and therefore air fryers) differ from your home oven in one important way: They include a small fan for circulating hot air inside of the oven. By constantly keeping the air moving, air fryers will cook food from the outside in — giving it a wonderfully crisp outside and fluffy inside that mimics the texture of deep fried foods.
Additionally, air fryers are equipped with a wire basket that makes it even easier to achieve evenly-crisped foods. Overall, they’re a wildly popular tool thanks to their ease of use, consistent results, and small space requirements in comparison to other ovens.
The Best Types of Air Fryers for Meat
Most air fryers are built to produce excellent results for America’s favorite fried food: French fries. But if you’re more inclined towards cooking wings, chicken nuggets, corn dogs, or stuffed pastries, you’ll want to choose air fryers that are better suited for larger and thicker foods.
Because of this, the best types of air fryers for meat are often those with the largest capacity basket. Within reasonable bounds, our favorite air fryers for meat are those that offer the most cooking space possible, so you can spread your meats out evenly and ensure that they are cooked fully and evenly.
Additionally, you’ll want to keep in mind that air frying meats can make for tougher cleanup than just cooking French fries. For this reason, we recommend looking for air fryers whose interiors are spacious and well-designed enough to make for easier cleanup; otherwise, you may notice off smells developing after a few weeks of frying meats.
Considerations When Buying An Air Fryer for Meat
With those types of air fryers in mind, let’s discuss the specifics of the qualities you should look for in an air fryer for meat:
If you’re lucky enough to have ample space on your kitchen countertops, then the overall size of an air fryer may not be your first concern. For most kitchens, however, it’s particularly helpful to imagine exactly where your air fryer is going to live — and measuring the dimensions of the space to compare to the dimensions of air fryers you might want to buy.
When you’re choosing a space for your air fryer in your kitchen, take into account that the space immediately around an air fryer can get very hot. Their fans do an excellent job of circulating hot air, and this means that they tend to vent a lot of heat; don’t plan to put your new appliance next to your Tupperware collection, or in the vicinity of fresh fruits and vegetables.
After the overall size, an air fryer’s basket capacity is easily its most important quality. This is especially true in air fryers for meat, where you’ll want to have as much space as possible to get the best, crispiest results.
The smallest basket capacity that we’ve seen for an air fryer was a meager 2 quarts; this may be suitable for making a single serving of an appetizer, but leaves a lot to be desired when preparing meats. In contrast, the largest basket capacity is nearly triple this size at a whopping 5.8 quarts — easily enough to air fry a dinner for two.
We recommend not choosing an air fryer with a basket capacity under 3 quarts, with 4 quarts and above being excellent for frying meat.
Ease of Use
Because air fryers are a relatively recent invention, there is no standardized model for the layout of their controls. Every manufacturer seems to have a slightly different take on their setup, with the result that some air fryers can be much easier (or more difficult) to operate than others.
We judge an air fryer’s ease of use based on the clarity of the labeling on its controls, as well as whether they include preprogrammed settings for one-touch frying. Try to avoid any air fryer that seems overly complicated to use, as this will diminish your enthusiasm for the cooking process and lead you to use the appliance less.
Ease of Cleaning
Perhaps the surest way to spoil a wonderful dinner is to find that you have hours of cleanup to deal with afterwards. To avoid this fate, we recommend seeking out only those air fryers that are designed to be easy to clean.
Look for fryer baskets that have sufficiently large holes that they can easily release food particles when scrubbed, as well as fryer basket areas that aren’t filled with small nooks and crannies for crumbs to get caught in. Non-stick coatings are especially helpful in the early stages of cleaning, but you’ll need to be careful not to scrape off the coating with metal tools.
The fans used in air fryers differ greatly in quality and construction, with high-end models running quietly and cheaper products tending to produce a lot of noise. Since you can’t examine this for yourself while shopping online, we’ve included information on noise ratings for each air fryer covered in this review.
Frequently Asked Questions About Air Fryers for Meat
And before we finish things up here, let’s take a look at the most commonly asked questions about finding the right air fryer for meats. This should clear up any lingering doubts you have about whether to invest in a quality air fryer.
Can I cook meat in an air fryer?
You absolutely can cook meat in an air fryer! Even though they’re most popular for frying vegetables like potatoes, air fryers are fully capable of handling meats to place at the center of your meals, too.
What meat is good in an air fryer?
The best types of meats to cook in an air fryer are those that are separated into bite-size pieces. Chicken nuggets and buffalo wings are great, as are meatballs and even bacon. You’ll want to avoid any large cuts of meat, though, since it’ll be hard to get the right cook all the way through.
Is cooking meat in an air fryer healthy?
Compared to frying in oil, cooking meat in an air fryer is much healthier. It’ll be lower in fat and cholesterol, and have significantly fewer calories than their fried counterparts. In short: Air frying might be one of the healthiest ways to prepare any meat you want to eat.
Air Fryers are one of the most interesting kitchen technologies to come along in a while. They require a bit of learning curve, but have a huge upside in less waste, better health, and better taste. If you’re looking for a quick and convenient way to cook meat for any meal of the day, investing in an air fryer will get you there!