Air fryers have a devoted following, thanks to the fact that they turn out super-crispy recipes in record time. If you’ve been looking for the best air fryers with a stainless steel basket, though, your options are somewhat limited. To make it easy for food to release, baskets are often coated in non-stick material. But since research has shown that non-stick surfaces can release harmful toxins when heated, stainless steel baskets are a great feature — if you can find them.
Many air fryers are marketed as stainless steel, and it can be hard to tell if manufacturers are referring to the body, cooking chamber, or basket. One easy way to determine if an air fryers’ basket is stainless steel is to look for a metallic finish. Most non-stick materials will be matte and dark in color.
The air fryer’s capacity is also something to consider. Depending on what you plan to cook and the number of servings you want to make, you can find air fryers that will make a couple of quarts of food, enough for a few sides and leftovers, and other large-capacity air fryers that can fit an entire chicken!
Picking the style of air fryer you want is a personal choice, and there are solid, upright units with pull-out basket drawers, and ones that resemble toaster ovens with glass doors.
Whichever you choose, the best air fryers with a stainless steel basket don’t sacrifice performance for safety. Here are the top three picks.
1. The Best Air Fryer With A Stainless Steel Basket: Cuisinart AFR-25 Air Fryer Oven
This compact air fryer from Cuisinart can cook up to 2.5 pounds of food in its wide, shallow basket (This translates to up to six pieces of toast or a 4-pound chicken). The benefit of a shallow versus deep basket? You can fit more food in a single layer, meaning you won’t need to turn or agitate ingredients for even cooking or browning. The adjustable temperature and time dials let you cook to temperatures up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit for 60 minutes or less. In addition to the mesh cooking basket that allows convection heat to flow easily for crisping and browning, the Cuisinart comes with an additional flat pan that can be used for baking or roasting (the trays are all dishwasher-safe). Monitoring recipes is easy through the glass door, and there is a drip tray to catch any grease, crumbs, or melted cheese from foods.
According to one reviewer: “I looked at pretty much ALL of the air fryers available before I landed on this one. I love that it's just stainless steel and not teflon. I use it at least once a week, I've made everything from chicken tenders to tortilla chips to cookies in it. It will cook a whole batch of chicken wings in 15 mins.”
2. Runner Up: Gourmia 16-in-1 Digital Stainless Steel Air Fryer Oven
If you're willing to spend a bit more, this stainless steel air fryer offers a whopping 16 different preset functions, making it far and away the most versatile option on this list. You can choose between presets that allow you to dehydrate, air-fry, bake, or toast foods, or customize using the temperature dial which reaches up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. This air fryer oven is similarly-sized to the pick above, and can fit an entire 12-inch pizza, six pieces of toast, or a 3- to 4-pound chicken. And, like others on this list, this air fryer features a glass front so you can view your food cooking. In addition to the dishwasher-safe basket, this model comes with a crumb tray, as well as an oven tray, and a baking pan that can be slid into the fryer in place of the basket. This option even comes with a recipe book that has 15 different recipes you can make with the air fryer.
One note: Though the maximum cook time isn't listed on this air fryer, users have had luck cooking everything from bread to a whole chicken easily using this air fryer.
According to one reviewer: "The non stick coating of my cheap "traditional" air flyers starting to peel off and I was looking for a new one.This time I want to have one with a glass window so that I don't have to take the tray out to check out the food... Since all the tray(s) are stainless steel, they are very easy to clean and I don't need to worry about scratching any non stick coating."
3. The Best Large-Capacity Air Fryer: Chefman Stainless Steel Air Fryer Toaster Oven
For a larger quantity of food, this versatile air fryer from Chefman has a spacious 25-liter interior and seven different cooking functions. Horizontally, this can fit six pieces of toast like the other air fryers above, but when you maximize vertical space, this large-capacity air fryer can fit up to a 5.5-pound chicken. Two separate cooking levels allow you to make more than one recipe simultaneously, so you can be air frying in the bottom stainless steel mesh basket, and cooking something above it on the included roasting rack. The time and temperature dials offer the ability to use the Chefman like a compact countertop oven, and since it’s roomier than most air fryers, you can use it to bake a small pizza, and even a whole chicken. Like others on this list, its temperature range goes up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit and operates for up to 60 minutes. In addition to its air fry capabilities, this oven can be used to warm, broil, bake, and toast a variety of foods. Conveniently, the Chefman’s broil pan, wire rack, air fry basket, and crumb tray are all dishwasher-safe.
According to one reviewer: “I received this toaster oven/air fryer 2 1/2 weeks ago and have used it everyday. I have baked biscuits, cornbread and muffins using the bake setting and convection bake setting. I have toasted bread and biscuits. I baked a Mac & cheese. I have used the warming setting to keep items warm while finishing other dishes on my range. I air fried chicken tenders, chicken cordon bleu, meat balls and the most special of all, homemade Chinese egg rolls which were actually crispy and not greasy. I never though I could cook my egg rolls without deep frying in lots of oil. I am thrilled.”