Your air fryer is not just for French fries. Learn how to prepare the crispiest, most delicious homemade pizza in it.
Air fryers seem to be all the rage these days. And since pizza is such a popular dish, many home cooks are wondering if they can rely on them to prepare this dish without having to carry around a pizza stone or wait an hour for the oven to preheat.
So I talked to chefs, food writers, and family cooks like you and me to find out what they thought about the subject and ask them for their best tips and tricks. You’re reading the result.
You can definitely make pizza in an air fryer—and if you’re short on time or it’s a hot summer day and you don’t want to heat up your kitchen, air fryer pizza can be a crispy and delicious alternative to oven-baked pizza.
“While an air fryer has the word fry in its name, it is not a fryer,” said Jessica Randhawa, owner and head chef at The Forked Spoon. “The underlying air frying technology of high-powered convection oven cooking allows for healthier foods than deep frying or pan frying alternatives.”
At The Forked Spoon, Randhawa creates delicious, family-friendly recipes that anyone can recreate, and she tells me that more than a million readers a month visit her site.
“The high-powered circulating heated air helps the pizza dough rise quickly, which creates those big air bubbles that many have come to equate with a fantastic crust from a specialty restaurant. The dough becomes very light and airy on the inside, but it also has a nice savory outer crust,” she added.
Air Fryer Temperature for Pizza
When preparing pizza in an air fryer, the right temperature is crucial. It can make the difference between a pie that’s burnt, undercooked, and cooked to airy, crispy perfection.
“The ideal temperature is 375°F (190°C), and the time can vary from 6 to 12 minutes depending on the size of the pizza, thickness of the dough, and ingredients,” said Christen Costa, CEO of Gadget Review.
At Gadget Review, Costa and her team write unbiased reviews that, in their own words, are designed to help you never regret a purchase decision again.
To Preheat the Air-Fryer or Not?
The question of whether or not to preheat the air fryer for preparing pizza is a controversial one. Some recipes out there on the Internet claim that a preheated fryer cooks the pizza pie faster—and more evenly. Others say that it is simply not needed.
The foodies I talked to were unanimous that you don’t necessarily need to preheat the fryer to make pizza. “I don’t think air fryer pizza needs to be preheated like a pizza stone would,” Jessica Randhawa told me.
“There is no need for preheating when making pizza in the air fryer,” Petranka Atanasova, former chef and food blogger at Sunglow Kitchen, concluded.
The Best Air-Fryer Pizza Toppings
“Any toppings that can go into a regular pizza can be added,” Petranka Atanasova told me. She recommends that, the cheese aside, you should go for the classics, such as thin-sliced pepperoni, portobello mushrooms, and bell peppers.
Still, don’t be afraid to experiment: “My favorite air fryer pizza recipe is a bit unconventional: Gorgonzola Pear Pizza,” Andre Kazimierski, CEO of on-demand painting services firm Improovy, wrote to me.
“I had tried a pear pizza that was oven-baked and it wasn’t a huge hit for me,” he added. “But there is something different about the flavors when it’s prepared in the air fryer. I’m not sure what the difference is, but all I know is that it’s a must-try.”
Assembly and Topping Techniques
Things can get windy inside your air fryer, and once you turn it on, you don’t want your pizza’s toppings (especially herbs, spices, or thin slices of veg and meat) to start flying around. “One trick, Jessica Randhawa explained, “is to put lighter ingredients under the cheese, as the high-powered air circulation can blow toppings around.”
There seem to be two techniques when it comes to assembling air-fryer pizzas: One is to top the pizza pie directly in the air fryer; the other is to assemble it outside and then freeze it briefly so that it holds its shape.
“Unless your air fryer has a front opening door like a small oven, you can assemble the pizza outside your fryer,” Mary Jones, editor at Cooky Mom, said. “As for the toppings, you can use the ingredients you typically use when preparing the pizza in the oven.”
“It will be a lot easier if you assemble the toppings on your dough first and freeze it instead of doing it on the air fryer, as air fryer works best on frozen items,” said Nicolas Holand, content manager at GooseSmurfs.
How Long to Cook Pizza in the Air Fryer
Jessica Randhawa said that up to 12 minutes of cooking time worked for most pizzas, depending on the thickness of the dough and the density of toppings.
Over the years, she has found that many home cooks have a personal preference when it comes to the crispiness of the crust, so the time could be plus/minus 2 minutes depending on who is being served the air fryer pizza.
My experience, gained through much trial and error, is similar. Ultimately, you need to adjust the cooking time to the bulkiness of your pizza pie.
Rolled out, small-diameter pizzas with simple toppings take no more than 6-8 minutes when air-fried at a temperature of 375°F (190°C). Hand-shaped, wide pies with hearty toppings can take up to 12 minutes.
Telling When Your Air-Fryer Pizza Is Done
The tell-tale signs that your air fryer pizza is ready, as it turns out, are A) a golden crust and B) melty, gooey, stretchy cheese.
“To gauge when it is done,” Christen Costa recommended, “check the crust and cheese. The crust should be golden brown and the cheese should be completely melted. If the crust is starting to burn, take it out right away.”