Few cooking methods are as versatile for plant-based cooking as air frying. If you’re ready to dive into this method, the best air fryers for vegans and vegetarians are not too different than what anyone else might be looking for in an air fryer. They should have roomy baskets and intuitive settings that enable you to all but replace your oven, toaster, and dehydrator, but you can skip out on extra features like settings for meat-based recipes or rotisserie skewers that may cost more and won’t add value to you.
What To Consider When Shopping For The Best Air Fryers For Vegans & Vegetarians
When shopping for the best air fryers, you’ll find that some options have an upright body with a drawer-style air fry basket, while others resemble a toaster oven and use a pull-out tray. Here’s a closer look at both styles:
- Drawer-style: If you’re limited on space, this type of air fryer is a compact choice, with a pull-out drawer and perforated tray that allows hot air to circulate around ingredients. Typically, a single heating element is located above the drawer, so you’ll need to toss ingredients frequently to make sure they cook evenly. Though some models have windows that allow you to view your food, most require you to pull out the drawer to monitor your cooking progress.
- Tray-style: Similar in design to a toaster oven, these versatile air fryers have heating elements on the top and bottom of the cooking space, which can help create more even results. This type can be more versatile, as it usually comes with a few accessories like a perforated air frying basket and a solid sheet pan for oven roasting or baking, and you can usually fit more food in a single layer without crowding. However, some models come with extras like rotisserie chicken spits, which will only take up drawer space if you follow a plant-based diet.
Nonstick Versus Stainless Steel Materials
While nonstick surfaces can be easier to clean compared to stainless steel, keep in mind that with repeated washing, nonstick coatings have the potential degrade over time. (To prevent damage to nonstick surfaces, you’ll also want to opt for nonstick-safe cooking utensils when tossing or flipping.) While stainless steel generally offers greater durability, you will need to put in a little more effort as far as cleaning. That said, both materials will turn out great results in an air fryer.
For the most flexibility, the best air fryers on the market let you manually select the cooking time and temperature, and have a range of preloaded cooking settings. These can include bake, air fry, roast, dehydrate, broil, toast, and defrost. Keep in mind that extra settings can sometimes be overkill if they’re heavy on options for preparing meat or fish; in that case, you might be better off opting for a more straightforward model with just a few settings.
Tips For Using An Air Fryer
- Since air fryers use efficient convection heat, you should consider lowering the cooking temperature of most recipes by 25 degrees Fahrenheit (assuming the recipe is designed for a standard oven). You should also expect food to cook faster versus traditional methods; you’ll want to adjust your cooking time accordingly, so you don’t end up with burnt or dried-out food.
- Using excessive amounts of oil in an air fryer can create sticky messes and lead to smoking. For optimal results, use one of the best oil sprayers for air frying to prep the cooking surface and minimize sticking — then skip any additional oil.
- Avoid overcrowding and ideally cook items in a single layer for more even results (since food cooks much more quickly in the air fryer, it's easy to make more than one batch).
With all that in mind, here are the best air fryers to help make plant-based cooking fast, convenient, and (most of all) tasty.
Shop The Best Air Fryers For Vegans & Vegetarians
In a hurry? These are the best air fryers for vegans & vegetarians:
- A Fan-Favorite Air Fryer That’s A Breeze To Use: Ninja AF101 Air Fryer
- An Air Fryer That Doubles As A Grill Or Convection Oven: Cuisinart Convection Air Fryer Toaster Oven
- A Compact Air Fryer That’s Simple & Budget-Friendly: DASH Tasti-Crisp Digital Air Fryer
- An Air Fryer With A Genius Space-Saving Design: Ninja AP101 Air Fry Oven
- A Large-Capacity Air Fryer With 17 Preset Programs: CHEFMAN Multifunctional Digital Air Fryer+:
1. A Fan-Favorite Air Fryer That’s A Breeze To Use
- 4.8-star overall rating on Amazon after 49,000+ reviews
- Simple design, mid-range size, easy to clean
If you want something straightforward, budget-friendly, and easy to operate from start to finish, Ninja’s AF101 is one of the best air fryers on the market, having earned a stellar 4.8-star overall rating after 49,000 reviews on Amazon. It has four simple presets — air fry, roast, reheat, and dehydrate — and the 105-to-400-degree Fahrenheit heat range lets you dial in on your preferred temperature when using the manual controls.
The nonstick ceramic air fry basket releases food easily, and both that and the included crisper basket are dishwasher safe. A multi-layer cooking rack (which is also dishwasher safe) is included to help increase cooking space and allow you to whip up more than one type of food in the basket. There’s no window, though, so you won’t be able to monitor cooking progress unless you open the drawer.
This air fryer is available in two sizes — for reference, the 4-quart size can prepare up to 2 pounds of french fries at a time, while the 5.5-quart model can make up to 3 pounds. (And note that the 4-quart size is one of the smaller picks on the list, making it ideal if you’re squeezed for storage or counter space.)
A reviewer wrote: “I cannot recommend this air fryer enough!! I use this for meals almost daily (vegetarian meals so mostly veggies etc) and it’s so easy to use and works so well. The roast feature even works great! The best part is how easy it is to clean. The nonstick tray makes everything slide right off when hand washing. Great sized compartment too, you can fit a lot in it.”
Available sizes: 4 quarts, 5.5 quarts | Material: Nonstick | Number of settings: 4 | Included accessories: Air fryer basket, crisper plate, multi-layer rack | Dishwasher-safe parts? Yes
2. An Air Fryer That Doubles As A Grill Or Convection Oven
- 4.5-star overall rating after 27,000+ reviews
- Sophisticated design, combination convection oven and grill options, tricker to clean
If you prefer an all-stainless steel cooking surfaces, Cusinart’s square air fryer is a solid option that comes in two styles: one that doubles as a convection toaster oven and one that also performs as a grill. With the manual dials, you can adjust the temperature between “warm” and 450 degrees Fahrenheit, set a timer, control the browning level on the toast setting, or choose from seven presets: warm, broil, convection broil, toast, bake, convection bake, and air fry. (Note that the grilling model includes an eighth setting for grilling.) The air fryer has a large glass door as well as an internal oven light that make it easy to view cooking progress.
This pick comes with all stainless steel accessories, including a roomy mesh air fry basket, baking pan, and oven rack, which, according to Cuisinart, is wide enough to bake a 12-inch pizza or toast six slices of bread. The biggest downside? The brand recommends washing everything by hand.
A reviewer wrote: “I wanted good capacity to avoid having to cook things in batches, it needed to be easy to clean, and I wanted visibility into what was cooking. This air fryer meets all of those needs. [...] Tots and fries come out beautifully. I've used it to reheat pizza the next day and it's perfectly crispy and melty in 3 minutes. I'm vegetarian so I haven't tried it with meat, but tofu puffs out of this air fryer are a revelation.”
Available sizes: 0.6 cubic feet (internal dimensions handle about 8 quarts, according to a reviewer) | Material: Stainless steel | Number of settings: 7 (grill model has 8 settings) | Included accessories: Air fryer basket, baking pan/drip tray, oven rack | Dishwasher-safe parts? No
3. A Compact Air Fryer That’s Simple & Budget-Friendly
- 4.6-star overall rating after 2,900+ reviews
- Compact, budget-friendly, no-nonsense operation, easy to clean
For those with limited space, this 2.6-quart air fryer from DASH takes up minimal real estate on your counter or in your cupboards — and it’s also my pick for the best air fryer under $100. The air fryer’s drawer-style basket has a perforated insert for airflow, and the dishwasher-safe, nonstick surface releases food for easy cleanup. The air fryer’s digital interface has controls for setting the time as well as temperature between 200 and 400 degrees Fahrenheit. You’ll also find three preset buttons — but unlike with other models, these aren’t for specific ingredients or cooking methods; rather, they let you save your preferred temperature and timer settings for favorite recipes you frequently revisit. If you do choose to store the air fryer rather than leave it out, an integrated handle on the top makes it easy to lift and carry.
There’s no window to view cooking progress, and the basket design means you may need to toss ingredients periodically. All that said, this is a highly rated, wallet-friendly pick with a small footprint.
A reviewer wrote: “We have a small kitchen and limited cabinet space so I had been very hesitant to step into the Air Fryer World due to many of the air fryers' size and shape. This little bright red cutie fits neatly into a small space in a cabinet. [...] In the month that I have had the Dash Tasti-Crisp, I have had great successes with add on's to our regular meals such as sweet potato fries, falafel and spring rolls. I have found that if I need more food than fits in a single layer, I cook it in two batches, keeping the first batch warm in a conventional oven at about 225 degrees. Since the Dash cooks things so quickly, I have never had the first batch suffer in any way during its abbreviated stay in the oven.”
Available sizes: 2.6 quarts | Material: Nonstick | Number of settings: 3 | Included accessories: Air fryer basket, perforated insert | Dishwasher-safe parts? Yes
4. An Air Fryer With A Genius Space-Saving Design (& My Personal Pick)
- 4.6-star overall rating after 24,000+ reviews
- Space-efficient, 3 versatile design options, tricker to clean
I’ve tested dozens of air fryers throughout my career, and most recently, I’ve been impressed by this Ninja air fryer. (Full disclosure: Although I’m an omnivore, I tend to stick to a mostly plant-based diet when cooking at home.) The first thing worth pointing out is the innovative design — the low-profile oven has a hinge that essentially lets you flip the unit into a vertical position for storage, allowing it to be tucked under kitchen cabinets for considerable space-saving storage when I'm not using it. It has eight different functions (air fry, air roast, air broil, bake, bagel, toast, dehydrate, and keep warm), a setting to control the browning level of toast, and manual time and temperature controls from 250 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. (If you want more versatility, Ninja also offers a version with 13 preset cooking methods.)
This pick comes with a nonstick sheet pan for baking and roasting, as well as an extra-wide stainless steel wire rack and air fry basket that can fit an impressive amount of ingredients. (For example, an entire head of cauliflower cut into florets fits neatly without being crowded.) Since the oven itself has less headroom than most other models, care should be taken when prepping big or bulky items to prevent them from touching the upper heating element. (If that’s a concern, you can pay a bit extra for a model with an extended height.) But that aside, it’s done a great job of making crispy chickpeas, air-fried vegetables, frozen veggie burgers, and frozen cauliflower crust pizzas.
When you’re done, the oven opens up completely via the bottom for deep cleaning, and both the air fry basket and roasting pan are easy to wash by hand (but note they are not dishwasher safe).
A reviewer wrote: “It does a great job roasting vegetables and making sheet pan meals, toast is great, easy for frozen pizza, and just about everything else I’ve tried in it. I’ve baked cookies and a pie in it, which turned out great. Cleaning the basket after air frying is easy when using a scrubber brush while it’s still warm. I use a copper grill mat cut to size on the sear pan which makes cleanup a breeze. I have enough counter space so I don’t need to use the flip feature but have found it useful when I want to clean the counter.”
Available sizes: 169 cubic inches (or about 3 quarts) | Material: Stainless steel plus nonstick sheet pan | Number of settings: 8 | Included accessories: Air fryer basket, wire rack, sheet pan | Dishwasher-safe parts? No
5. A Large-Capacity Air Fryer With 17 Preset Programs
- 4.3-star overall rating after 10,000 reviews
- Huge variety of presets, large capacity, easy to clean
If large-batch air frying and dehydrating are your goals, this multifunctional air fryer from CHEFMAN is a good pick — and it won’t break the bank either. The 10-quart capacity can handle quite a bit of food, and three removable mesh stainless steel air fry trays are included, allowing you to cook layered meals or large batches of a single ingredient. You’ll also get a rotating basket, which you can use to ensure items are cooked on all sides — no flipping or tossing on your part.
This machine offers a total of 17 ways to cook, including three main functions — bake, air fry, and dehydrate — as well as ingredient-specific cooking modes for items like vegetables, fries, fruit, and even cake. (However, vegans and vegetarians will find the fish- and meat-based presets to be extraneous.) Plus, manual time and temperature controls let you set the oven heat anywhere from 200 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. The front window and internal light make it easy to monitor cooking progress, and all removable parts are dishwasher safe for simple cleanup.
This air fryer has a relatively compact footprint considering its size, but it’s also available in a smaller 6.3-quart model with eight presets — ideal if you like this pick but aren’t planning to cook in big batches.
A reviewer wrote: “I love this new all in one oven air fryer, and dehydrator. One press of a button and I can dehydrate five (regular-sized) bananas to perfection. Comes with three wire racks and parchment paper inserts. I did flip all the fruit slices after 2.5 hours to ensure even dehydration - which worked great. Can't wait to try out more things including the rotisserie basket. The outside of the device stays reasonably cool when dehydrating, [and] might get warmer when air frying.”
Available sizes: 6.3 quarts, 10 quarts | Material: Stainless steel | Number of settings: 8 (6.3-quart model) or 17 (10-quart model) | Included accessories: 3 air fryer racks, drip tray, rotisserie basket, rotisserie spit, rotisserie removal tool | Dishwasher-safe parts? Yes
About The Recommender
Vanessa Spilios has been writing about cookware and kitchen appliances for Bustle since 2019. She previously worked in culinary product development and marketing at SharkNinja and consulted for Cuisinart Grilling. With extensive experience testing and evaluating housewares, Vanessa has reviewed products and created content for publishers including Bustle, The Kitchn, Apartment Therapy, Forbes Vetted, and America’s Test Kitchen. She received her culinary training at Boston University, and enjoys developing original recipes, which she incorporates into private cooking classes for kids and families.