How To Use Multi Layer Rack in Air Fryer?

Since getting my second air fryer – the 15 in 1 ninja air fryer Foodi, I have tried most of the functions several times, I am happy to share my experience regarding the Air fryer vs Dehydrator function(s).  

Ninja Air fryer for a yummy recipe

Dehydrator vs air fryer – My experience using both

  • Air Fryer: Primarily used for cooking and ‘frying’ foods quickly with less oil when compared to the traditional frying methods 
  • Dehydrator: Used to slowly remove moisture from foods, extending their shelf life and creating dehydrated snacks and dehydrated fruit.

Understanding these differences and considering your cooking and food preservation needs will help you decide whether an air fryer or a dehydrator is the right addition to your kitchen.

The air fryers and dehydrators are important cooking appliances that can be bought separately or in combination, like in the case of my Ninja Foodi, which has both a dehydration function and an air frying function. 

Air fryer apples - Multiple layers

Air fryers and dehydrators are both popular kitchen appliances, but they serve very different purposes and operate on distinct principles. Here’s a comparison to highlight their differences:

Air Fryer

  1. Primary Function: Designed to cook food by circulating warm air around it. This method mimics the results of frying, providing a crispy texture on the outer layer to the food.
  2. Cooking Method: Uses rapid air technology. A heating element warms the air, and a fan circulates this hot air around the food, cooking it quickly and evenly.
  3. Temperature Range: Typically operates at temperatures between 175°F and 400°F (degrees fahrenheit). This higher temperature range is crucial for cooking food and achieving a fried texture.
  4. Cooking Time: Generally cooks food quickly, often within minutes. Ideal for quick meals.
  5. Versatility: Beyond mimicking frying, many air fryers can also bake, roast, and grill. They are versatile in preparing a variety of dishes.
  6. Food Texture: Aimed at achieving a crispy, crunchy exterior and a tender interior. Perfect for foods like French fries, chicken wings, and vegetables.
  7. Oil Usage: Requires little to no oil, offering a healthier alternative to traditional deep fryer methods.
  8. Size and Capacity: Comes in various sizes, typically larger than dehydrators, suitable for cooking meals for individuals or families.
How To Use Multi Layer Rack in Air Fryer?


  1. Primary Function: Used to remove moisture content from food, extending its shelf life and creating snacks like dried fruits, beef jerky, and vegetable chips.
  2. Drying Method: Employs low heat over extended periods of time. A heating element, fans, and air vents work together to remove moisture from food.
  3. Temperature Range: Operates at lower temperatures, usually between 95°F to 165°F. The low heat ensures that food dries out without being burnt.
  4. Drying Time: Requires a long period of time – several hours to a full day to dehydrate food properly. This slow process is essential for removing moisture without burning the food.
  5. Versatility: Primarily used for drying foods. Some models may have settings for making yogurt or providing bread dough, but their primary function is dehydration.
  6. Food Texture: Produces dry, chewy, or crispy textures, depending on the food and dehydration time.
  7. Oil Usage: This does not require oil. The process relies on removing water content from food.
  8. Size and Capacity: Generally smaller and more compact than air fryers. Designed for batch processing of foods for preservation.
Air fryer Apples Multiple layers

New recipes made in the air fryer on the blog to check include apple chips, banana chips

Can an air fryer be used for dehydrated foods?

  • Some air fryers come with a dehydrate button, but they may not be as effective as a dedicated food dehydrator, especially for larger batches or more delicate tasks.

Food Texture

Air Fryer: Produces a crispy and crunchy texture, similar to fried food.

  • Dehydrator: Creates dry, chewy, or crispy textures, ideal for snacks like dried fruits or jerky.

Which is faster, an air fryer or a dehydrator?

  • Air fryers cook food rapidly at higher temperatures, usually within minutes, while dehydrators take several hours to a full day to properly dehydrate food in low temperatures.

Are air fryers and dehydrators similar in terms of energy consumption?

  • Air fryers typically consume more energy per hour but are used for shorter periods. Dehydrators use less power but run for much longer. When compared to the convection oven, air frying and dehydrating process consume less energy.

Can I use an air fryer and dehydrator for the same foods?

  • While there is some overlap (like making vegetable chips), each appliance excels with certain foods and is limited with others.

Which appliance is better for preserving food?

  • The dehydrator is specifically designed for food preservation, extending the shelf life of various foods by removing moisture.

Do air fryers require more kitchen space compared to dehydrators?

  • Generally, air fryers are bulkier than dehydrators, requiring more counter space. You can get a kitchen appliance that has both functions. 

Which appliance is more versatile?

  • Air fryers are more versatile in terms of cooking methods (frying, baking, roasting), while dehydrators are specialized for drying foods.

Are there health benefits to using one appliance over the other?

  • Air Fryer: Offers a healthier alternative to traditional frying by reducing oil usage.
  • Dehydrator: The dehydration process preserves nutrients and natural sugars in foods, providing healthy snacking options.

Can I make jerky with both an air fryer and a dehydrator?

  • While possible in some air fryers with a dehydrate function, dehydrators are generally better suited for making jerky due to their precise temperature control and extended period of time.

Is the maintenance and cleaning different for each appliance?

  • Air fryers usually have non-stick baskets that are easy to clean. Dehydrators might require more effort to clean the multiple trays and surfaces.

Air fryer vs Dehydrator Summary

The main difference lies in their primary functions and the results they produce. An air fryer is ideal for quick cooking and achieving a fried texture without much oil, while a dehydrator is designed for slowly removing moisture from food (drying process), thereby preserving it and creating snacks like dried fruits and jerky. Your choice between the two would depend on your cooking and food preservation needs.

About the Author

Get to know me more.

I am Seun, and I love to share my first-hand experience using multiple air fryers. Stick around for yummy delicacies made from the air fryer and many amazing tips on using your newfound Kitchen appliance – the air fryer!

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