What's the difference between a convection oven and air fryer?
Are you tired of using your microwave or oven to make your meals and the time it takes to do so? Getting an air fryer or convection oven to do this is the new thing. But which product do you get, what’s the difference? There are so many questions when it comes to which appliance is best for this. We at GoWISE USA have broken down everything you need to know about each appliance.
In principle, they’re the same: hot air that is blown around in a chamber to create even heating. But first, let’s quickly talk about what convection is: the natural rise and fall of heat that’s caused by uneven temperatures. Most household ovens have heating elements, which is that coil of wire on the top and bottom of the oven chamber (and unless you’re broiling, the bottom coil is what primarily does most of the general heating purposes). An electric current flows through it, causing it to get red hot. The current is converted into slow, even, radiating heat. This heat rises, and the fan in the back of the convection oven will blow the air around for temperature consistency.
Convection ovens are known for causing some issues with soft baked goods such as souffles and certain cakes. This is because the circulated hot air is too harsh on the surfaces of these pastries, and may cause them to collapse. Theoretically, the hot air in an air fryer is circulated much faster (especially since it has a smaller chamber) than a convection oven. Air fryers are actually more gentle and suitable for baked goods. The hot air in an air fryer is not directly blown around the food. An air fryer’s heating element is above the food. The heat generated from it is pulled up with the fan, so there is no direct heat source on the food. It’s dispersed on the outside of the chamber, and then ascends from the open bottom to heat the baked goods from all around.
Hot Ham and Cheese Sandwich
A sandwich is the perfect dish to heat up in the oven or air fryer. Cooking the bacon for 6 minutes was appropriate, so that it was not too crispy. Go ahead and cook the bacon to your desired crispiness! We opted for adding toothpicks to the sandwich we made in the air fryer to ensure the top wouldn’t fall off. We cooked the sandwiches in the air fryer for 2-3 minutes, just enough time to melt the cheese and reach our desired crispiness! 10 minutes in the oven will suffice, just make sure your sandwich isn’t too thick as this oven had limited space compared to the air fryer. We opted for adding potato chips onto the sandwich to give it that extra crunch. Both sandwiches came out tasty, however it took less time for ingredients to melt in the air fryer than the oven.
4 kaiser rolls
2 tbsp mayo
2 tsp Dijon mustard
12 oz deli ham, thinly sliced
4 slices of bacon
4 slices of cheese
handful of potato chips
Place bacon in the oven or air fryer basket with perforated parchment paper (optional) and cook bacon at 400°F for 6 minutes, flipping halfway through.
While you are waiting for the bacon to cook, cut and split the rolls open. Divide the mayo among one side of each roll and the mustard among the other side of each roll. Place the sliced ham on the bottom halves of the rolls. Place 2 slices of bacon on each roll and top with 2 slices of cheese. Place the top half of the roll on top and place sandwich in desired appliance.
If using the convection oven, place sandwich on baking rack in the oven. Use the Bake preset and bake the sandwich at 350°F for 10 minutes. If using the air fryer, place the sandwich in the air fryer basket with perforated parchment paper (optional). Add toothpicks to the sandwich to ensure it stays in tack, if desired. Air fry at 350°F for 2-3 minutes.
Once they are done cooking, remove the top half of each sandwich and top with a few chips and tomato slices, if desired. Replace the top and serve immediately.
Remember, not as many fries can fit on the baking tray as in the air fryer, so be mindful of how many you are looking to cook. Shake or turn over your french fries halfway through to ensure that they are all evenly cooked. We opted for using frozen fries, as that is what was available for us to use. You can also make fresh ones by using fresh potatoes and the seasonings of your choice! The fries made in the air fryer took half the time and were crispier than the ones made in the convection oven. It was also easier to shake them/turn over in the air fryer, as the oven has limited space between the baking rack and baking tray to turn them over.
handful of french fries
If using an air fryer, place a handful of fries on perforated parchment paper (optional) in the air fryer basket. Use the Fries preset and air fry at 400°F for 15 minutes, shaking them halfway through.
If using a convection oven, place a handful of fries in a single layer on the baking tray in the oven. Use the Bake preset and bake at 425°F for 30 minutes, or until they reach your desired crispiness.
We chose to brush the tortillas with grape seed oil, because it does not break down at high temperatures. It also does not give off any unwanted flavors and is considered one of the healthier oils. You can use any oil of your choosing! We chose to crisp the tortilla in the air fryer first to give it that extra crunch and to ensure the tortilla wasn’t soggy. We air fried it after all the toppings were added to get the toppings gooey! We didn’t crisp the tortilla in the oven first, so that we could show you both ways of cooking. Both pizzas came out delicious, however the one in the air fryer did come out crispier.
½ cup pasta sauce
2 – 8”-10” flour tortillas
3 tbsp parmesan cheese, divided
½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
other toppings, if desired
Place the tortillas on a flat surface. Rub grape seed oil on each side of tortillas. If using the air fryer, place the tortilla in air fryer basket with perforated parchment paper (optional). Air fry at 350°F for 1-2 minutes to crisp the tortilla.
Spoon ¼ cup of the pasta sauce onto each tortilla and spread around evenly. Sprinkle 1 ½ tablespoons of parmesan cheese, followed by ¼ cup of shredded mozzarella cheese onto each pizza. Top with pepperoni and/or desired toppings.
If using an air fryer, place your pizza in the air fryer basket on perforated parchment paper (optional) and air fry at 350°F for 3 minutes.
If using a convection oven, preheat the oven to 425°F. Use the Bake preset and bake your pizza for 5 minutes.
Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Using butter to brush onto your bread slices will add more flavor and prevent your sandwich from burning or sticking. Also, opting for butter instead of oils or cooking sprays will help reduce fats. It is your preference of which toppings you put inside your sandwich, we just made a traditional Grilled Cheese Sandwich! Flipping your sandwich over halfway through your cooking time is crucial, so that it does not burn and both sides are evenly cooked. The sandwich took more time in the conventional oven and wasn’t as browned or crispy as the one made in the air fryer.
2 slices of bread
2 tsp butter, softened
2 slices of cheese
Spread the outside of each slice of bread with butter. Place one piece of bread buttered side down on a flat surface and top with cheese slices. Top with remaining bread slice, buttered side up.
If using an air fryer, secure the sandwich with a couple of toothpicks. Place the sandwich in the air fryer basket with perforated parchment paper (optional). Air fry at 370°F for 8 minutes, flipping halfway through.
If using a convection oven, preheat the oven to 450°F. Place the sandwich on the baking rack and using the Bake preset, cook for 12 minutes, flipping halfway through.
Honey Sriracha Chicken Wings
2 lbs. chicken wings
½ cup potato starch
Honey Sriracha Sauce:
1 tbsp butter
¼ cup honey
1 tbsp sriracha sauce
1 tsp soy sauce
2 tbsp rice vinegar
green onions, thinly sliced
Place the potato starch in a medium bowl and coat the chicken wings with the starch, until fully covered. Shake off the excess starch and place in air fryer or convection oven.
If using air fryer, place in the air fryer basket with perforated parchment paper (optional). Air fry at 380°F for 20 minutes, flipping them halfway through. Air fry for an additional 10 minutes at 400°F, flipping halfway through.
If using a convection oven, preheat the oven at 425°F and place the wings on the baking rack. Using the Bake preset, bake the wings for 80-90 minutes.
While you are waiting for the wings to cook, melt the butter in a small bowl. Stir in the honey, sriracha, soy sauce and rice vinegar. Cook until the sauce thickens, approximately 10 minutes. Set aside cause and keep warm.
When the wings are cooked through and crispy, move them to a medium bowl and mix with the desired amount of sauce. Garnish with sliced green onions and serve!
Three Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms
8 oz large Monterrey mushrooms
4 oz cream cheese
¼ cup parmesan cheese, shredded
1/8 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1/8 cup white cheddar cheese, shredded
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 garlic cloves, chopped
salt and pepper
Remove the stems of the mushrooms and use a spoon to remove excess mushroom inside to prepare them for stuffing.
Microwave cream cheese for 15 seconds to soften. Combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl and stir to combine. Stuff the mushrooms with cheese mixture.
If using an air fryer, place the mushrooms in the air fryer basket with perforated parchment paper (optional) and air fry at 370°F for 8 minutes.
If using a convection oven, place the mushrooms on the baking rack in the oven. Use the Bake preset and cook them at 350°F for 30 minutes.
So, there you have it. We have compared two great appliances to try in place of your oven or microwave. You can recreate your favorite recipes using these kitchen gadgets and they are compact enough to fit right on your kitchen counter! The air fryers have more space inside, giving you the option to cook more food or for more people. All the recipes we tried in the air fryer took WAY less time than the convection oven. And the cleanup for the air fryers is breezy- all you need is warm water, soap and a non-abrasive sponge! Less cooking and cleaning time means more time to do what you want! No matter which one you decide to go with, you’ll be able to create old and new recipes in half the time!
A big thank you to the authors of the recipes we tested out. Check out the links below to take a look at the original recipes.