Air Fryer Muffin Woes? What 3 Failed Tests Taught Us About How to Succeed

We were recently thrilled to discover that there is an air fryer out there which could impress us! (For more, read our Cosori Air Fryer Review (TurboBlaze Model). We are still happy to talk this model up as the best air fryer for our favorite treats: fries, breaded stuff and of course, our best air fryer chicken wing recipe. In short, the ‘air fry’ function works great for delivering that crispy irresistible taste that we normally only get with a stinky, messy deep fryer. So, we decided to give baking in the Cosori Air Fryer a try. Can our air fryer muffin test turn us into air fryer bakers?

Our Tried and True Moist Muffin Recipe

We embarked on this air fryer muffin adventure by using our well-tested moist muffin recipe, this time made as an orange muffin. This moist chocolate muffin recipe (and its non chocolate variations) always delivers in our oven, where we typically use a nonstick metal muffin pan to do the job. Our muffin pan is somewhere between a ‘mini’ and ‘standard’ muffin size: the form for a single muffin is 1″ high and 3″ in diameter at the top.

We bake in a pre-heated oven at 425°F for 5 minutes to give the tops a nice push, then drop the temperature to 350° and bake for 15-16 minutes. Perfect every time!

our favorite muffin recipe (baked in the oven)

Air Fryer Muffin Test #1: Manufacturer Recommended Time and Temperature

Because we did not have a metal muffin pan small enough to fit in the air fryer drawer, we used this muffin recipe with a large silicone muffin form. It’s the same form we use to make tiny chocolate lava cakes in the oven.

The recipe book that comes with the Cosori Air Fryer does not include a recipe for muffins. So, we followed the recommended timing/temperature/preset for making muffins indicated in the chart. We used the ‘bake’ setting (preheated of course) and set the temperature to 320°F (160°C) and set the temperature to the max suggested in the chart: 13 minutes.

Since we were using a larger muffin pan and the chart did not specify the size of muffins that time/temp could handle—only that it allegedly was for baking 9 muffins—we decided to start with the maximum time recommended.


We expected the muffins to require more time. However, we did not expect them to take about 25 minutes—more time than Cosori estimates for baking an 8″ (20 cm) cake. This surprised us as, for air frying, we’ve consistently seen the air fryer cook the same food in 1/2 the time it would take in an oven.

Ok, so air fryer muffins are not more efficient than baking them in the oven—plus we’d have to run the machine several times to produce the same number of muffins that we could make in 20 minutes in the oven. So, no real energy savings. However, we live in Italy where it gets really hot for many months of the year. And as we discuss in our Cosori Air Fryer review, we would still be inclined to use the air fryer during these hot months just to avoid heating our house with an oven. However, that’ assuming we were pleased with the air fryer muffin results.

Air Fryer Muffin Test #1

Unfortunately, the muffins we made with this test utterly failed to produce a muffin top. The muffins were very deformed in shape. We did not open the air fryer before the maximum time recommended by the manufacturer recipe book had passed.

Test #1 Summary:

  • Took same time (or longer) to make air fryer muffins than to make them in the oven: 25 minutes
  • at the Cosori recommended 320°F (160°C)
  • no muffin ‘tops’
  • deformed shape

Air Fryer Muffin Test #2: Our Time and Temperature

Next, we tried to troubleshoot by adapting our approach to oven-baked moist muffins to making air fryer muffins. We continued to use our large silicone muffin form.

We started at a higher temp (420°F / 215°C) and baked the muffins for 3 minutes at the higher temp, then lowered the temperature to our usual  350°F (180°C). Once again, the muffins took around 20 minutes. Once again, the tops were flat and deformed.

Test #2 Summary:

  • 20 minutes
  • at our adapted oven strategy—3 minutes at (420°F / 215°C) and about 17 minutes at 350°F (180°C).
  • no muffin ‘tops’
  • deformed shape
Air Fryer Muffin Test #2

Air Fryer Muffin Test #3: Standard, Individual Muffin Forms

At this point, we started thinking that perhaps we might have more success with standard-size muffin moulds—both in terms of cook time and achieving a normal muffin top.

We only had a bit of muffin batter left, but we filled 2 individual silicone muffin forms (medium size). Once again, we followed the Cosori time and temperature recommendations: 320°F (160°C) for a minimum of 10 minutes.

The results? Definitely better! The muffins were not done in 10 minutes (the batter was visibly uncooked in parts), however 13 minutes was enough to bake these air fryer muffins completely. And yes, finally they had muffin tops! At the smaller size, the temperature was enough to push the tops without using a higher temperature at the beginning of the cook time.

However… they were still deformed. At this point, we realized that perhaps the silicone muffin moulds were simply too light to be stable on the crisper plate during the initial bake—stable enough to create an even muffin top. The tops were already deformed at the 10 minute mark —when we first opened the air fryer basket during the cook time.

Test #3 Summary:

  • Ready in 13 minutes
  • ‘standard’ muffin moulds (individual silicone)
  • at the Cosori recommended 320°F (160°C)
  • muffin tops were there, but…
  • deformed tops
Best of the 3 tests

So.. What Have We Learned about Baking Air Fryer Muffins?

Though we would not consider any of these air fryer muffins a perfect success, we do think we’re on the right track. Here’s what we learned:

  • ‘standard’ size muffins can be ready in 13 minutes
  • using the ‘bake’ setting at 320°F (160°C)
  • .. and muffin tops will be achieved!
  • it’s best to use a small metal muffin pan, or set silicon muffin moulds inside a heavier (perfectly flat) tray, mould or even a cake pan. This might prevent deformed muffin tops.

In terms of taste and texture, the air fryer muffins were comparable to our favorite moist muffin recipe baked in the oven.

Nice texture

We were a touch disappointed by this initial experiment ‘baking’ with our air fryer, however we are willing to try more recipes. What do you think? Have any suggestions for adapting baking and dessert recipes for an air fryer? Let us know in the comments!

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