Do you need the bottom tray in an air fryer? (Find out!)

The air fryer has been the talk of the town for decades because of the ease in cooking it has brought.

The air fryer has made cooking easy and healthy by cooking food with less or no oil.

It is famous for making food as crispy as deep-fried food.

People who are new to this device are still exploring its options and versatility for cooking food.

Sometimes, when you’re planning to cook in a large quantity or something significant is a size that doesn’t fit perfectly in the basket, you might have thought do I need the bottom tray of the basket?

The quick answer is No; you don’t need the bottom tray in an air fryer. But, since it is there to make your food crispy, you won’t have crispy food without the tray. It also absorbs extra fat and oil from food.

If you have more questions about the air fryer tray, keep reading till the end!

Can an air fryer be used without a tray?

When cooking with an air fryer, you do not need to use the tray.

The tray, on the other hand, allows you to make your food crisper and more evenly cooked by suspending it in the air and allowing oils and fats to drip to the bottom basket.

When removing the tray or deciding that you don’t need it, there are several things you should know and how to cook without a tray properly.

What would happen if you use an air fryer without a tray?

Without a tray, you would not have the same crispiness as you were hoping to come out. This is why the tray is often referred to as a crisper tray because it helps make the food crispy.

The bottom tray also has a lot to do with air circulation as it allows food to be evenly cooked from all sides because it has huge gaps in between, which uncovers food in the hot air.

The bottom tray also helps in cutting down the fat from food as it restrains food a few inches above the air; when fat and oil start dripping from the food, it collects it below the basket.

An air fryer
An air fryer is a user-friendly invention!

However, there are many reasons for using an air fryer without a tray; here are a few of them.

When the tray is nowhere to be found

This has to be the most common reason for not using a tray. It might happen to you at a time when you misplaced the bottom tray.

You can also use a heatproof tray beneath your food or not use anything and directly place food in the basket.

It is important to note that if you use anything other than a tray or metal rack, you would not get any advantage of the air fryer, which includes fat cutting, crispiness, and even cooking.

When cooking food in large quantity

Once in a while, when you’re cooking for a more significant number of people, which doesn’t require the primary benefits of an air fryer and can quickly be cooked without a tray and metal rack, then removing the bottom tray is a good solution for you.

Still, I recommend using an air fryer liner because it is heat resistant, protects food from being in direct contact with the basket, and saves you from extra cleaning.

When cooking certain foods

Some of the foods don’t require the bottom tray. For instance, if you want to cook mashed potatoes in an air fryer.

You would place mashed potatoes in a heat-safe plate or bowl and put them in the basket with an air fryer liner to protect your food and basket.

You would not need the bottom tray because mashed potatoes are not meant to be crispy, and there would be no fat cutting and evenly cooking process which usually takes place with the bottom tray.

What are other alternatives to use than an air fryer bottom tray?

Metal Rack

A black air fryer
A metal rack can be an alternative to the bottom tray

You can use a metal rack as an alternative to a bottom tray as the rack is made to cook food horizontally or parallel to each other.

It is also used to separate food from each other, like vegetables and meat, and provides space to spread your food evenly.

The metal rack also helps make your food crispy and cut down its fats and oil. However, the oil and fat which drips down from the rack eventually end up on the lower level of the shelf.

Here’s the video to tell you more about accessories that can be used in an air fryer!

Air Fryer Accessories


Silicone liners are recommended as an alternative to the bottom tray because it protects anything placed on top of it.

Liners are heat resistant and can handle up to 450° F temperature for 20 minutes and make the food cooked evenly without burning its edges.

Do all air fryers come with the tray?

Yes, you’ll most of the time get an air fryer tray, rack, and basket when purchasing a brand new air fryer.

Or, if not a tray, you’ll surely get a single metal rack that comes with the basket.

So, if you want a bottom tray with an air fryer, always look and read about what comes in the box of the air fryer while buying it, as your cooking set will be completed if necessary accessories are included in the air fryer box.

Air fryer
Air fryer-Lifestyle of new regular cooking.

You can also get a bottom tray separately if it doesn’t come with an air fryer, but chances are it might not fit into your air fryer as it varies from air fryer to air fryer.

However, here are some of the best air fryer trays you can purchase according to the model of the air fryer.

Breville The Smart Air Fryer ProMany rack options.
Multiple cooking options.
Doesn’t consume much space.
Chefman 6.3 Quart Digital Air Fryer Extra Large Capacity.
It doesn’t require preheating.
Two racks for multiple dishes.
Ninja DT251 Foodi 10 in 1 Smart XL Air Fryer Versatile Air fryer.
No food rotation.
Double Rack ideal for larger size family.
Best Air Fryers with tray.

If you’re looking for a replacement tray for your air fryer, then I would recommend you to find the manufacturer’s website as they often have replacement parts that you can get at a premium and economical price according to the size of the air fryer basket.

What stores sell air fryer trays?

The manufacturer’s website is the best place to look for a tray replacement.

Many times, they will have replacement parts for your air fryer that will fit perfectly. Keep in mind, however, that it does come at a premium price, and that it is sometimes simply more cost-effective to purchase a completely new unit.

Unless you are very confident in the dimensions you found, we don’t recommend going to Amazon and searching for one that might fit your air fryer. If you do decide to purchase a third-party tray, make sure to compare the circumference or diameter.


The air fryer bottom tray is a must-have accessory if you love to have crispy food. However, you can still cook delicious food without a tray too.

  • The bottom tray helps to cook food evenly.
  • It also works on cutting the fat down motto by suspending food above in hot air by which oil and fats drip down to the bottom of the basket.
  • If you’re cooking food that doesn’t require to be crispy, then you can safely pull out the tray.
  • Metal racks and liners can be used as an alternative to the bottom tray.

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