15 Creative and Effective Alternatives to Air Fryer Basket

Let me tell you why you need alternatives to an air fryer basket.

I remember the second day I decided to try my hand at making crispy, golden-brown french fries in my brand new air fryer. My excitement was palpable as I sliced up the potatoes, coated them in a light drizzle of olive oil, and seasoned them with my favorite blend of spices. But just as I was about to preheat my trusty air fryer, I couldn’t find the air fryer basket anywhere!

In this blog post, I’ll provide you with the best, effective and creative alternatives to the air fryer basket.

Benefits of an Air Fryer Basket

Before we delve into creative alternatives to the air fryer basket, understand why the basket is so important in an air fryer.

Even Cooking

Air fryer baskets are designed with perforations that allow hot air to circulate around the food evenly. This ensures that your food cooks uniformly, giving you that crispy texture without the need for excessive oil.

When you use a substitute, try to replicate this even heat distribution.

Healthier Cooking

One of the main reasons people love air fryers is their ability to create crispy, delicious dishes with significantly less oil than traditional frying methods.

The basket helps excess grease drip away from your food, resulting in lower calorie content and reduced fat intake.

Reduced Mess

The air fryer basket collects any oil or drippings from your food, preventing them from spattering all over the cooking chamber. This makes cleanup much easier, and it’s especially valuable if you’re cooking items that release a lot of grease.


Most air fryer baskets come with detachable, adjustable racks or shelves, allowing you to cook multiple items at once or customize the cooking space for different foods.

This versatility is especially helpful when preparing meals for a family or hosting gatherings.

Aid in Crispiness

Air fryer baskets have a mesh-like structure that elevates the food slightly from the bottom of the cooking chamber. This elevation helps to achieve a crispier texture on the underside of your dishes, further enhancing the air frying experience.

Easy Shaking and Flipping

Many air fryer baskets are designed to be easily shaken or flipped during the cooking process. This action ensures that your food gets evenly crisped on all sides, contributing to that perfect golden brown finish.

Preventing Food Sticking

The basket’s non-stick coating or surface minimizes the chances of your food sticking to the cooking chamber’s walls, making it easier to remove your cooked items without any damage.

Best alternatives to air fryer basket

1. Oven Baking Sheet with a Wire Rack

One of the most accessible and straightforward alternatives to an air fryer basket is an oven baking sheet paired with a wire rack. To replicate the air frying effect, preheat your oven to the desired temperature, typically around 400°F (200°C).

While the oven is heating up, arrange your food on a wire rack placed inside a baking sheet. The wire rack elevates your food, allowing hot air to circulate around it just like in an air fryer.

This method works best for foods like french fries, chicken tenders, and other items that you’d typically cook in an air fryer. Make sure to flip your food halfway through the cooking time to ensure even browning. While it might not be as quick as an air fryer, it still yields deliciously crispy results.

2. Wire Mesh Grill Baskets

Wire mesh grill baskets are versatile tools that can be repurposed for air frying. They are typically used for grilling delicate items like vegetables and small cuts of meat, but they work remarkably well in an oven or even on a stovetop.

To use a wire mesh grill basket as an air fryer substitute, preheat your oven as usual and arrange your food in the basket. Ensure that your food is spread out in a single layer for even cooking. Place the grill basket on a baking sheet to catch any drips or crumbs.

This method is excellent for items like chicken wings, shrimp, or vegetables. Just remember to turn your food periodically to achieve that coveted crispiness.

3. Parchment Paper Packets

For those who prefer a low-maintenance alternative, parchment paper packets can be a lifesaver. While they won’t provide the same degree of air circulation as an air fryer, they can still deliver satisfactory results with a minimal fuss.

To create a parchment paper packet, simply cut a piece of parchment paper and fold it in half. Place your seasoned food inside and fold the edges, creating a sealed pouch. Be sure to leave some room for steam to escape.

Then, place your packets on a baking sheet and bake in the oven at the recommended temperature. This method is ideal for fish, chicken, or vegetables.

4. Cast Iron Skillet

The trusty cast iron skillet, a staple in many kitchens, can also be used as a makeshift air fryer basket. Cast iron retains heat exceptionally well and can provide that sought-after crispiness to your favorite dishes.

To use a cast iron skillet for air frying, preheat it in the oven to the desired temperature. Once it’s hot, add a thin layer of oil and arrange your food in a single layer. The hot cast iron surface will help achieve a crispy exterior, although you might need to flip your food to ensure even cooking.

This method works wonderfully for items like fried chicken, pork chops, and even homemade doughnuts.

5. Grill or Griddle Pan

If you’re in a bind, a grill or griddle pan can serve as an adequate alternative to an air fryer basket. These pans have ridges that allow excess grease to drain away, promoting a crispy texture.

To use a grill or griddle pan for air frying, preheat it on the stovetop or in the oven, depending on your recipe’s requirements. Place your food on the ridges and cook as you would on an outdoor grill.

The ridges will create grill marks and help achieve that delightful crunch. This method is excellent for items like burgers, steaks, or even grilled sandwiches.

6. Mesh Roasting Rack

A mesh roasting rack, typically used for roasting meat in an oven, can also be employed as an air fryer alternative. These racks elevate your food, allowing hot air to circulate and crisp it up.

To use a mesh roasting rack, preheat your oven and place the rack on a baking sheet. Arrange your food on the rack in a single layer and cook as usual. The hot air circulating around your food will help achieve a crispy texture. This method is particularly suitable for items like bacon, sausages, and chicken thighs.

7. Bamboo or Metal Skewers

For smaller items like kebabs, chicken wings, or even mini sliders, bamboo or metal skewers can come to the rescue. Thread your food onto the skewers, making sure not to overcrowd them, and then cook them in the oven or on the grill.

To use skewers for air frying, preheat your oven or grill and place the skewers on the cooking surface. Turn them periodically to ensure even cooking and that all sides get crispy. This method is a great option for achieving that delicious char on the outside of your food.

8. Silicone Baking Mat or Silicone Muffin Cups

Silicone baking mats or silicone muffin cups can be used to create an air fryer basket substitute for smaller items like chicken nuggets, meatballs, or even mini quiches.

To use a silicone baking mat, preheat your oven as usual and place the mat on a baking sheet. Arrange your food on the mat, ensuring that there’s enough space for air circulation. The silicone surface helps achieve a crisp bottom, while the hot air in the oven cooks the top.

9. DIY Foil Packets

When all else fails, aluminum foil can be your savior. You can create DIY foil packets to cook a wide range of dishes in the oven. This method is perfect for meals that require steam to cook, such as fish and vegetables.

To make a foil packet, tear off a piece of aluminum foil, place your seasoned food in the center, and fold the foil over the top. Seal the edges tightly, leaving some space for steam to expand.

Place the foil packets on a baking sheet and cook in the oven as directed by your recipe. The foil will trap steam, helping to cook your food evenly and keep it moist.

10. Grill Basket for Vegetables

If you’re a fan of grilled vegetables, you likely have a grill basket for them. These baskets are designed to keep small vegetables from falling through the grates while allowing them to get that delicious grilled flavor.

To use it as an air fryer substitute, preheat your oven, place the vegetables in the grill basket, and bake them until they’re tender and slightly crispy.

11. Wire Cooling Rack

A wire cooling rack, typically used for cooling baked goods, can also be repurposed as an air fryer substitute.

Place the rack on a baking sheet, arrange your food on top, and bake as usual. The hot air will circulate around your food, giving it a crispy texture. This method works well for items like chicken wings, onion rings, and fish fillets.

12. Waffle Iron

Surprisingly, a waffle iron can be an unconventional but effective way to air fry certain foods.

Preheat your waffle iron, lightly grease it, and place your seasoned food in the waffle pockets.

Close the lid and cook until your food is crispy and golden. This method is particularly suitable for foods like hash browns, tater tots, and even leftover macaroni and cheese for a delightful twist.

13. Bamboo Steamer Basket

A bamboo steamer basket, often used for steaming dumplings and vegetables, can be used to create an air frying effect. As usual, preheat your oven and place the bamboo steamer basket on a baking sheet.

Arrange your food inside the basket and cook as directed by your recipe. The bamboo material allows for steam to escape while still promoting crispiness, making it a great option for foods like potstickers, spring rolls, and more.

Conclusion: Alternatives to Air Fryer Basket.

In conclusion, while the absence of an air fryer basket can be a momentary setback, that should not stop you from achieving your longed-for crispy texture.

From using oven baking sheets with wire racks to repurposing items like cast iron skillets, skewers, and silicone baking mats, you can still enjoy delicious, air-fried-style dishes without the need for a dedicated air fryer.

So, the next time you find yourself without an air fryer basket, don’t fret—get creative and explore these alternative methods to satisfy your craving for crispy, golden-brown delights. Happy cooking!

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Edet Ubok-Obong
Edet Ubok-Obong

Edet Ubok-Obong is an experienced Writer with a deep passion for Gardening, Fishing and home improvement. He shares his knowledge of these fields through this website.