The air fryer has quickly become one of the most popular cooking appliances in recent decades. It seems like every house has one. Make them as ubiquitous as the oven or refrigerator.

Most restaurants don’t use air fryers because of the small size of the most common air fryers. Restaurants deal in volume regarding food, and air fryers would take too much time.

While air fryers are great for home use, they are just too small for most restaurant environments. Some smaller boutique restaurants may prepare food with air fryers, most don’t.

Do Restaurants Use Air Fryers? 

Air fryers are just small convection ovens that can be used almost anywhere, including dorms

Small portable ovens with intense heat and a small fan can create some truly unique food textures in half the time of an oven or fryer.

Most restaurants won’t have an air fryer in the kitchen because of the limited use and low volume of food that can be prepared using an air fryer. They also have actual fryers.

The home cook can get a lot of mileage from a popular air fryer such as the Ninja Foodi or Paula Deen. If you have an Instant Pot, you can also turn it into an air fryer.

A chef at a restaurant may find the device too limited in what it is capable of. 

Why Don’t Restaurants Like Air Fryers?

While smaller restaurants use an air fryer for a few dishes, the bulk of professional restaurants don’t have the space to dedicate to such a limited machine.

Most professional restaurant kitchens don’t require an air fryer because they typically have a professional-grade fryer and convection oven capable of the same tasks at higher volumes.

Low Volume Food Preparation

Most professional restaurant kitchens prepare as much food as they can at once to minimize ticket waiting times. 

The faster they prepare food, the better their kitchen runs.

Air fryers are designed to be used at home, so their small capacity isn’t conducive to large amounts of food necessary to prepare food ahead of time for customers.

Commercial-grade convection ovens and traditional fryers are much more equipped to handle large amounts of food, as they are designed to do.


While the food you prepare in an air fryer can be healthier and quite tasty when it mimics fried food, it doesn’t compete with actual fried food.

The likelihood of someone going to a restaurant and preferring the simulated taste of fried food over the real deal is highly unlikely.

The commercial convection oven, especially the traditional fryer, will impart a flavor that the air fryer can get close to but not completely match.


Another aspect of the cooking is the quality of the cooking with an air fryer. While it is not poor, especially when you cook in small quantities, it can’t match a professional kitchen.

The larger, commercial-grade kitchen appliances a restaurant uses to cook are capable of larger capacity cooking in a short amount of time than the same amount in an air fryer.

Commercial-grade appliances can achieve better results in a shorter time than an air fryer.

Limited Applications in the Restaurant Kitchen

Lastly, one of the biggest problems with an air fryer is it is a one-trick pony in the professional restaurant kitchen. 

Professional restaurant kitchens want their appliances to be versatile and capable of cooking many different textures and methods.

The air fryer does one thing well, but still just that one thing and in a small capacity. 

A restaurant would prefer something like a stove or traditional oven that is capable of a more diverse menu than just an air fryer would be capable of.

Pros and Cons of an Air Fryer in a Professional Restaurant Kitchen

These are only some of the most popular reasons that professional restaurant kitchens tend to avoid using air fryers.

Fast cooking timesOne-trick pony / not versatile
Healthier than a traditional fryerOnly capable of low volume cooking
Compact sizeLow capacity can be cooked at once
Simulates fried food tasteLoss of food quality/taste
Easy to purchaseDoesn’t compete with a traditional commercial fryer
Doesn’t compete with a traditional commercial convection oven
Limited menu possibilities

There are some uses for an air fryer in small kitchens but in larger kitchens, they become more of a liability than a boon.


While the air fryer is a godsend for the home cook; it doesn’t quite pack the same punch for a business with many customers at once because of its small size.

There are also many better ways a professional restaurant kitchen has to get better results than an air fryer with a larger volume made at a time.