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Fallout 76: Map locations of Wood Piles

Posted in advice, howto, video game by commorancy on January 18, 2023

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Many players are wondering where to find Wood Resource Piles (aka Wood Piles) throughout Fallout 76. While there are websites showing map locations leading the way to gold, concrete, steel, lead, waste oil and acid deposits, none yet show where to find wood resource piles for your camp. Yes, there are a number of these wood piles in Appalachia. Let’s explore.

Wood Pile Sites

Starter List
Wood Pile Update #1
Wood Pile Update #2
Wood Pile Update #3
Wood Pile Update #4
Legacy Removals and Wood Piles Update #5

The links above lead to the list of wood piles that have been found. Unfortunately, as many others have found, there are no maps to find these resources easily via Google. Well, now there is. The research for this article is time consuming as it requires searching all over the map for these wood piles. That’s where this article comes in. I’ve done this work for you and now the article is closed.

For ease of writing this article, I will abbreviate C.A.M.P. to simply the word ‘camp’ except when I’m referring to the device itself. There are a number of workshops that have wood resource piles. This article does not include wood resource piles located in workshops. If you wish to know which workshops have wood piles… then from the Fallout 76 map, hover over the workshop icon and the game will display resources available at each workshop.

Wood Resource Deposits

What are these deposits and why are they special? Like iron deposits that produce steel scrap and crystal deposits that produce crystal scrap, wood deposits produce wood scrap when equipped with a proper resource extractor in your camp. Some of these deposits exist inside of workshops, but you cannot build a camp in a workshop. Many players want to build their camp on top of a wood resource deposit so they can extract wood scraps at their camp.

Yes, these deposits do exist separately throughout the Forest and even into the Cranberry Bog. Wherever there are forests and wood, these wood pile deposits exist. That I’ve also discovered while scouting, these wood deposits seem to exist near, but outside of workshops and usually aren’t far off of a road. Though, they don’t always appear near workshops and they are not always near a road. These wood piles can be claimed using your C.A.M.P. device and used within your own camp with a wood resource extractor.

Wood resource piles have a distinctive look and shape from regular logs of wood in the landscape. Here’s an example:

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Note that the cones on this pile are only for this specific pile. All other wood piles I’ve found do not have these orange cones. Additionally, note the four posts that constrain the wood pile. These wood resource piles always look like this (with the exception of the cones).

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If you see one of these wood piles in the wild AND which is not located in a workshop, you can use it in your camp to extract wood by placing down a wood resource extractor. The extractor will produce wood scraps for you. The above is how a wood pile looks when a resource extractor is placed down. Resource extractors require power to operate, hence the reason for the two solar panels to power it. While you can use any generator of sufficient power, I prefer using two solar panels which can be placed right on top.

Settlers and Wood

Since the introduction of Wastelanders, the game now offers random NPC settlers living in the wasteland. These settlers can sometimes point the way to finding such wood pile resources. For example, if you hear the sound of wood being chopped, there’s a high probability that locating the sound will lead you to a settler and a wood pile. Settlers don’t spawn all of the time, but they do occur the vast majority of the time. This means that some wood piles must be found by stumbling onto them. By following the sound of wood being chopped, it is likely to lead you to a wood pile.

Again, these wood pile deposits are available to use as resources in your camp, just like ground copper, silver or iron deposits.

Wood Resource Deposit Locations

Let’s get right to the heart of this article and the reason why you are here. These are all of the wood pile resources I’ve found. Every single resource I’ve scouted is available for use in a camp, allowing for a wood extractor resource to be placed. The vast majority of these piles are located in The Forest. However, a few do exist in the Cranberry Bog and other locations around the map. As I find more, this article will be updated.

I’ve also tested all of these locations to ensure that a C.A.M.P. device can be placed which will include the wood pile. Though, placement on some may not work if placed directly in front of the pile. These piles may require you to walk around a little to find a suitable location where the device turns green and allows placement while still including the wood pile.

Let’s start with this first set of wood pile locations …

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Location #1 — Gilman Lumber Mill (Forest)

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This wood resource deposit is located near the Gilman Lumber Mill just below Vault 76. The arrow marker points to the spot. This location actually contains two wood deposits. Unfortunately, the deposit closest to Gilman (next to a fence) cannot be claimed for use in a camp. This second one which is farther away and not sitting against a fence (see the arrow marker) is usable in your camp. It looks like so…

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This wood pile below, unfortunately, is NOT usable in a camp. It is shown to prevent confusion from the above pile, which can be used in a camp. Again, this pile just below placed next to the chain link fence cannot be used as a camp resource, but it can be harvested for wood by your character. Yes, it would be nice to have two wood extractors in the same camp, but alas it’s not to be. Thanks Bethesda.

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Location #2 — Back end of Wixon Homestead (Forest)

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This wood deposit exists not far from the Wayward, but sits at the very back end of the Wixon Homestead’s farmland, not far off the nearby road leading to the Wayward.

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Location #3 — Hunter’s Ridge (Forest)

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This wood deposit is near Hunter’s ridge along the road where the marker shows. This pile has two orange cones.

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Location #4 — Pylon V13 & Drop Site C2 (Cranberry Bog)

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This wood deposit is somewhat near the Abandoned Bog Town workshop, but is not part of it. It’s fairly far off of the road and you can hear a settler chopping wood all the way from the road if they are there.

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Location #5 — North of Twin Pines Cabin (Forest)

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Near where the road forks into two, you’ll find a wood deposit which is not far from Twin Pines Cabin (the Blood Eagle symbol on the map).

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Location #6 — Deathclaw Island (Forest)

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Slightly off of and north, just up the road from the spawn point for Deathclaw Island (pine tree marker on the map), here’s another wood resource which can be used at your camp. See the arrow marker. The wood pile looks like this.

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Note that the building seen in the background is the small red shed which is part of the Tyler County Dirt Track workshop. However, this wood pile is not part of that workshop and can be used in your camp.

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Location #7 —  Point Pleasant (Forest)

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This wood pile is very close to Point Pleasant. However, the spawn point for Point Pleasant leads you to the south entrance. This pile is near the north entrance of the city with no fast travel point close. You’ll want to fast travel to Black Mountain Ordnance Works and walk down the road towards the north entrance of Point Pleasant. Immediately after you pass a red colored large hauler truck, it’ll be on your left. Careful of a possible Blood Eagle camp nearby.

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Location #8 — Silva Homestead (Forest)

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This wood pile is located a little bit south of Silva Homestead and is also a little bit off of the road near and sorta behind a red tractor. This location is a little bit tricky to place the C.A.M.P. device. However, if you are creative with your C.A.M.P. device placement, you might be able to include both water and wood as resources in your camp. Note that you only need to cover about half of a ground resource with the green perimeter circle for that resource to be usable. Placement of water resources are a bit more finicky.

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Location #9 — Billings Homestead (Forest)

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This wood pile is located just up the road a little from the Silva Homestead pile. This pile is close to, but not part of the workshop. Like Silva Homestead, this one also requires creative placement of the C.A.M.P. device to be able to use this pile as a resource.

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See the placement of the C.A.M.P. device below. Any closer to the pile and it turns red due to the workshop proximity.

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Location #10 — Grafton Steel (Toxic Valley)

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This wood pile is near Grafton Steel, but is on the north side. Similar to Point Pleasant, the fast travel point for Grafton Steel is on the south side. You’ll need to trek up the road to the point where the marker is. It’s just a little bit off the road, but you can still see the pile from the road.

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Location #11 — Near Black Mountain Ordnance Works (Forest)

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From the fast travel point at Black Mountain, travel down the road to the point you see. There’s a small gravel road that leads into an unmarked junkyard which looks like this…

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At the back of this makeshift and unmarked junkyard resides a wood pile…

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I didn’t scout this area carefully to see if there were any other resources present, such as a junk resource. You’ll need to visit to determine this. It looks like there might be a junk resource available off to the right as shown in the wider picture of this makeshift junkyard.

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Location #12 — Alpine River Cabins (Forest)

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Just above Alpine River Cabins there’s another wood pile. Seems like there’s a lot of these in the Forest area. Makes sense, though. It looks like this…

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New Piles Update #1

Location #13 — Mosstown (Mire)

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Very near Mosstown, but just outside of it is a wood resource pile. This resource pile is usable in your camp even though it’s very close to Mosstown.

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Location #14 — WV Lumber Co. (Forest)

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This wood pile so close to the water line, you can likely claim both water and this wood pile in your camp.

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Location #15 — Groves Family Cabin (Forest)

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This one is closer to Groves Family Cabin than Darling Sister’s Lab. The trouble with this map image is that when the Groves marker is selected, the text obscures the arrow. I selected the Darling Sister’s Lab marker to give you a better idea of the map location.

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Location #16 — Miner’s Monument (Forest)

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This wood pile is just across from Miner’s Monument.

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Location #17 — Southern Belle Motel (Mire)

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Next to the Southern Belle Motel is, you guessed it, a wood pile ripe for claiming in a camp. This one is directly next to water. With this one, you can definitely claim both water and the wood pile in your camp. You can probably even put up a bunch of water purifiers along side your wood extractor.

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New Piles Update #2 — Cranberry Bog

There are apparently a number of wood piles strewn around the Cranberry Bog, but not close to roads Some of these wood piles reside fairly close to various Firebase sites, but not always. Here are the four newest wood piles I’ve found. Thanks go to a game friend who knew about two of these piles and helped me locate them with markers near the sites. That also spurred me to traipse around the Cranberry Bog looking for the two others included.

This player also told me he was unable to place a wood extractor at the wood pile located near Drop Site V9 when he had his base there. I have tested this location by placing an extractor and have experienced no difficulties (see below). Please let me know in the comments if you experience any problems with any of these sites listed.

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Location #18 — The Thorn (Cranberry Bog)

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Not far from The Thorn (see marker) is another wood pile. Sometimes a settler is not there.

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Location #19 — Bootlegger’s Shack (Cranberry Bog)

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And another near a grove of Sundew Trees.

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Location #20 — Drop Site V9 (Cranberry Bog)

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A small trek north of Drop Site V9, you’ll find another wood pile. This one is far enough north that it shouldn’t be inside of a blast zone very often, if ever… unless it’s a newbie player who doesn’t know exactly where to nuke.

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This is the wood pile I was told wouldn’t place an extractor by someone who had a camp here previously. I have tested this site and I was able to place down a wood resource extractor without any difficulties, like so…

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Location #21 — Firebase LT (Cranberry Bog)

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Halfway between Firebase LT and that fissure site, you’ll find another wood pile. It looks like so…

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New Piles Update #3

Location #22 — Sunrise Field #1 (Cranberry Bog)

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This wood pile is the first in three wood piles located near Sunrise Field. You’ll need to take a close look at each marker location and correlate that with each image. Note that one of the locations that would seem natural to have a wood pile instead has a uranium deposit (see below). The third wood pile is farther away and in a different area than one might expect.

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Location #23 — Sunrise Field #2 (Cranberry Bog)

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This is the second wood pile located near Sunrise Field. It exists next to this small red shack.

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Location #24 — Sunrise Field #3 (Cranberry Bog)

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This third wood pile is located halfway between Sunrise Field and Sparse Sundew Grove. I’m connecting this one to Sunrise Field due to its close proximity.

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Sunrise Field — Uranium Deposit (Cranberry Bog)

For completeness, I roamed to an area near Sunrise Field (to the right and below) where I thought another wood pile might be located. Instead of a wood pile, I see a uranium deposit. Here’s the location of this uranium deposit in case you’re curious.

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The reason this uranium deposit is included here to keep you from wasting time roaming over to this area thinking there might be another wood pile there. There isn’t. It’s a uranium deposit.

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New Pile Update #4

For this update, I’ve finally found the location that I remember seeing months back and it’s actually in the Savage Divide! I originally thought this wood pile site was much closer to The Whitespring than it is. It’s actually very close to the Garrahan area of the Savage Divide right where it meets the Ash Heap. These wood piles, though, are considered in the Savage Divide.

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Location #25 — Bastion Park (Savage Divide)

From Bastion Park, travel down the road and you’ll find this wood pile just off of the road near a semi truck with logs on the back.

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At this location, you’ll see this semi truck with logs on the back right next to the wood pile.

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Location #26 — Monongah Power SS MZ-03 (Savage Divide)

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From site #25, trek just a little ways down the road and you’ll find this wood pile which is close to the substation fast travel point. This wood pile is the pile I thought was very close to The Whitespring. Instead, it’s much farther down near Monongah Power Substation MZ-03 and not far from the Garrahan Mining HQ. I was also surprised to find that there are actually a number of wood piles in close proximity in this area.

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Location #27 — Garrahan Mining HQ (Savage Divide)

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Even further down this same road near the Garrahan Mining Headquarters, you’ll find another wood pile to use. It looks like so…

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This wood pile is located near a small unmarked village of houses.

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Location #28 — Braxson’s Quality Medical Supplies (Mire)

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This one is in The Mire. From Braxson’s Quality Medical Supplies (the icon looks like a factory), trek to the below location and you’ll find this wood pile…

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Location #29 — Crimson Prospect (Cranberry Bog)

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We’re back in the Cranberry Bog for yet another wood pile. Halfway between Crimson Prospect and the Ranger District Office, you’ll find another wood pile ready and waiting for a camp to be placed.

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Legacy Removals and Wood Piles

As a result of Tuesday January 24th’s removal of Legacy weapons (aka Black Tuesday), I have made the decision to no longer search for any more wood piles. There are now 29 Wood Piles in this list, well enough to satisfy anyone who wishes to base their camp around one. While I was unable to find any of these wood piles in the Ash Heap, Toxic Valley or the vast majority of the Savage Divide, you’ll need to search in these areas yourself if you want your camp in a specific area not listed near a wood pile.

If you’re simply wanting a wood pile to base your camp around, there are plenty of sites listed in this article from which to choose. If you’re specifically wanting one in a region where none is listed above, I’ll leave it to you to go find one close.

My reasoning for closing this article at this time is that Fallout 76’s player base is actively under siege by Bethesda, which I further foresee many players leaving this game over the course of the next 30-90 days as a result. Without Legacy weapons, the game is likely to become “boring” and “no longer fun to play” by many. That reduction in players leaves fewer and fewer players playing Fallout 76 on all platforms. That further means that information articles like this one will see fewer and fewer searches from a dwindling set of players who need this information.

With the 29 sites already discovered above in combination with the likely significant reduction in player base, there’s no reason to continue searching. If Bethesda changes their stance on legacies or finds a way to entice a whole lot more players back into the game, then I may revive this article and continue to update it. As of now, this article is officially closed with the 29 sites listed. I am no longer actively searching out any more wood piles.

Ending Notes…

I haven’t tested placing extractors down on each of these wood piles in this list. Some of these locations may or may not allow for placement of an extractor. You’ll need to test this. The only test I have performed is to see whether it’s possible to place a C.A.M.P. device at or near the wood pile. Every wood pile in this list turns green when testing a C.A.M.P. device placement, but that test doesn’t guarantee that a wood extractor will place once a camp is established.

For map reference, the arrow marker not only denotes the location of the wood pile, the arrow’s direction also points directly towards that wood pile.

If you happen to locate a wood pile not listed or find that one of these wood piles above doesn’t work to extract, please leave a comment below. If you find a pile that is missing from this list, please tell me where it is located is in a comment below and I’ll credit you for having found it. Even though this article is closed for updates, I am still actively accepting comments from people who may find a wood pile not in the above list. You will be duly credited for having found any wood pile not in this list.

Enjoy and happy camping!

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Tips: Cooking with an Air Fryer

Posted in air fryer, baking, cooking, tips by commorancy on January 18, 2023

air-fryer-2You recently got a new air fryer as a holiday gift and now you’re wondering, “What can I do with this?” Or, maybe you have one sitting on a shelf that’s been there for months? Wonder no more. Let’s explore various cooking tips for that air fryer.

What Exactly is an Air Fryer?

Simply put, it’s a forced air broiler. It’s like a convection oven, but the forced air is much, much stronger. Not all air fryers are necessarily the same. While many offer touch controls, some offer only simple timer knobs (see Bella air fryer just below). Some also heat from the top, while some heat from the side. All cook pretty much in the same way. How does it work?

These small cooking appliances are designed with a fan which forces high speed air through heated coils vertically down onto the food. Some may force it across the food horizontally. That’s pretty much it in a nutshell. Even though the concept is simple, the speed of it is fairly amazing for cooking. However, there are some cautions to go with that cooking speed.air-fryer-knobs

Cooking times are dramatically reduced as a result of this forced air cooking method. Because of the high speed air flow, many foods can be cooked in about the same time as using a microwave. Unlike a microwave, an air fryer makes and keeps foods crispy and brown rather than mushy or rubbery.

Here are some cautions. Because the velocity of the air fryer is quite high, an air fryer is also quite drying for all food. This can make certain foods dry out if cooking precautions aren’t taken, such as wrapping the food in foil to keep the moisture in. Wrapping with foil doesn’t allow for crisping up the food. This means you’ll want to wrap the food for long duration cooking times and then unwrap for the last 8-10 minutes at the end of the cooking time to crisp the food.

Cooking Times

Air fryer cooking times are dramatically reduced from a standard oven. It’s way faster than even a convection oven. A pizza might cook in 18 minutes in a regular oven, but may be done in 8-10 minutes in an air fryer. Speaking of…

Pizza

Cooking Pizza in an air fryer might seem natural, but it’s not. If you intend to cook pizza in an air fryer, you’ll need to know how to do it correctly or it’ll burn and get overly dry.

When cooking pizza in a conventional oven, 400ºF / 204ºC temperature is exactly that. However, in an air fryer, that same temperature is actually quite a bit hotter because of the forced air. This means you have to reduce the heat level when cooking in an air fryer by at least 50ºF / 10ºC to compensate, maybe more. Otherwise, your food will become blackened and hard.

Pizza is no exception. When cooking pizza in an air fryer, you’ll want to cook no higher than 280-300ºF / 138-149ºC and monitor it closely. Cheese easily burns in an air fryer and, yes, it’ll also burn quickly, within 6-8 minutes. Pizza can be tricky to cook in an air fryer. If you’re really wanting the best pizza, I always suggest using a real oven. For reheating pizza, an air fryer is perfect when set to 200ºF to 250ºF / 93ºC to 121ºC.

If you like and prefer a charred, blackened taste on pizza, then an air fryer is perfect for getting that result. I prefer my pizza cheese melted, a tiny bit crispy, but mostly still stringy and fresh. Getting the latter result in an air fryer requires careful lower temperature cooking.

Veggies

Vegetables can be cooked in an air fryer, but I’d suggest wrapping them in foil, adding a tablespoon of water in the foil to keep them moist and steamy. If you want more of a grilled texture to your vegetables, then steam them in foil for about 8-10 minutes, then unwrap the foil and cook for the remaining 3-5 minutes on 380-400ºF / 193-204ºC to crisp them up.

Hamburgers

A hamburger patty is easily cooked in an air fryer. However, air fryers are messy beasts and need cleaning frequently. With foods that tend to produce spatter, like beef, poultry and pork, you’ll want to be sure to clean the interior of your air fryer after cooking such foods.

Hamburger patties cook in about 8-10 minutes at 400ºF / 204ºC. Though, you’ll need to flip the food if you cook without foil. If you’re cooking in foil, there’s no need to flip as the steam will cook both sides evenly. I recommend steaming the hamburger patty for half of the cooking time, then unwrap and cook the remaining time open, being sure to flip it half way through the open cooking time.

Hamburger patties can be placed into the air fryer completely frozen and will still be cooked in that 8 to 10 minutes. Fresh, thawed hamburger patties will cook slightly faster, so check them more frequently.

Hot Dogs

You don’t really need to cook hot dogs in an air fryer. Instead, you’ll simply want to reheat them. Many air fryers offer a reheat setting. Use only the reheat setting for hot dogs. In about 5 minutes, you’ll have hot dogs cooked to perfection. For air fryers with knob settings, reheat is 6 minutes at 200-250ºF / 93-121ºC.

Choosing the air fry option, which typically runs at 400ºF / 204ºC for about 15 minutes, you’re sure to burn the hot dogs, and most anything else except french fries and other potato side dishes. If choosing the 400ºF / 204ºC option, be sure to check your food often and shake the basket about every 3-5 minutes.

Hot dogs cooked at 400ºF / 204ºC will begin to blacken within about 2-3 minutes. If you like your hot dogs blackened, then this is the option to choose. If you prefer your hot dogs warmed with a slightly crispy bite, then reheat is the choice for cooking.

Cooking Side by Side

It’s easy to cook foods side by side in an air fryer basket. For example, you can place hot dogs and fries into the basket together and have a full meal ready go to at the end of the cooking time. However, note that fries take longer to cook than hot dogs. A soon as the hot dogs are warmed, remove the dogs, then raise the temperature to cook the fries at 400ºF / 204ºC for the remainder of the time, around 6-8 minutes.

Alternatively, cook the fries until there’s about 3 minutes left, then lower the temperature to 200-250ºF / 93-121ºC to reheat the hot dogs for 5 minutes, which will also keep the fries hot.

Tortilla Chips / Dehydrating

Many air fryers offer a dehydrate setting. This cooking method cuts the fan speed down dramatically and runs at a temperature around 100-150º / 38-66ºC . This is perfect for drying foods, such as making your own baked corn tortilla chips.

For baked tortilla chips, cut fresh corn tortillas into quarters. Place the quarters flat into the basket. The chips can be overlapping without issues. I typically cut up about 4-5 tortillas and layer them on the bottom of the cooking tray. Then, set the cooking method to dehydrate for 1 hour and 30 minutes.

These chips come out quite crispy, but not the same as you can buy at the store. If you’re wanting to make nachos, it’s a reasonably quick way to make chips without running to the store.

One trick here to soften the chips a bit is to place the chips in a paper bag and let them sit overnight. The next day, the chips will have a softer crunch and be more like chips you can buy in the store.

However, don’t be fooled into thinking that air frying these tortillas at 400ºF / 204ºC will do you any favors. It won’t. The chips will blacken and taste burnt. You don’t want this for tortilla chips. If you want to heat the chips, use the dehydrate method described above to keep them crispy, yet looking and tasting like tortilla chips. You can use reheat on the chips for 1-3 minutes to warm them up, too.

Frozen Fried Foods

Here’s where the air fryer shines. For frozen foods like Totinos Pizza Rolls, corn dogs, mini tacos, taquitos or even simply fried chicken (fresh or frozen) or french fries, the air fryer setting works perfect to reheat and cook these.

All of the above foods cook using the air fry option. The air fry option typically runs 380-400ºF / 193-204ºC for about 12 minutes, shaking the basket several times while cooking to even out the cooking. No need to thaw, just place them straight into the basket frozen and 12 minutes later you’ll have piping hot and crispy foods. Some of the above foods may cook in around 8 minutes. Always begin checking your foods for doneness around 8 minutes while shaking the basket.

The air fry setting is perfect to cook fried chicken or other fried and battered foods to perfection. That’s why they call it an air fryer.

Cookies and Cakes

While it is possible to use an air fryer to bake such foods, I don’t recommend it. These baked food types don’t bake well in an air fryer. There are three reasons for this:

  1. The forced air ensures the top of the baked good is overcooked and dry
  2. The forced air will flatten cookies out and make them too flat
  3. The forced heat will overcook the top of cookies, but leave the underside undercooked (same for cake)

Instead, for a more even bake, I recommend using a regular or toaster oven for baking cookies, cakes and brownies. If you want your cookies a little more crispy, you can throw them into the air fryer for 1-3 minutes at around 350ºF / 177ºC after they’ve been baked in a regular oven.

Baked Pasta

If you’ve ever bought a baked personal pan pasta from Pizza Hut or any other Italian restaurant, then you may be wondering how to get that crispy cheese texture on the top of hot steaming pasta. The air fryer is perfect for making this. However, you’ll need to invest in some cooking pans that fit into your air fryer.

Up until now, I’ve not discussed the size of the baskets on an air fryer. Here’s where you’ll need to get your tape measure out and determine the dimensions of your air fryer basket. Mine is about 8″ across. With that sizing in hand, head over to Amazon and search for air fryer accessories that will fit inside your basket. It’s possible your air fryer came with small pans that fit inside of your basket. Mine did not. You’ll want to obtain either a square or round baking pan that fits inside your air fryer basket.

For baked pasta:

  • Layer your cooked pasta on the bottom of a round or square pan (not in the basket directly)
  • Layer mozzarella on top of the pasta
  • Layer cooked pasta sauce on top of the cheese
  • Place various toppings like beef, pork, veggies and pepperoni
  • Top with a layer of cheese

Cook in the air fryer at 350ºF / 177ºC for about 6-8 minutes, checking for cheese browning at around the 5 minute mark.

Note that if you’re using a basket type fryer, be sure sure to buy a pan accessory kit which also includes a pan grabber. This grabber grabs hold of the lip of the pan which allows you to easily lift and extract the pan from the basket without using your hands and without spilling. Though, you can use oven mitts if you prefer… a pan grabber is much easier to prevent food spillage.

Cooking Other Foods?

There are plenty of other foods you can try cooking in an air fryer. For example, if you buy a frozen food from the store and there are not air fryer cooking instructions on the package, subtract 50% of the cooking time from regular oven cooking and that is usually what’s needed for an air fryer. You may also want to reduce the cooking temperature by at least 30-50ºF / 8-20ºC to avoid overcooking or burning.

As I said above, if it’s cookies, cakes or other baked goods, you should opt for baking in a regular or toaster oven. Even such foods as pot pies or sweet pies may cook better in a conventional oven. Some foods are easy to over bake in an air fryer.

When cooking meats, many cooks want to save the drippings to make gravy. If you’re wanting to make gravy, don’t use an air fryer. Air fryers force evaporate almost all liquids produced by foods. This means, no gravy. If you’re wanting to make gravy, then you’ll want to braise your chicken, pork and beef in a regular oven to retain those juices. Don’t use an air fryer.

If you don’t care about gravy, then cooking your food in an air fryer is an option. Just don’t be fooled into thinking you can make gravy from cooking meats in an air fryer. It doesn’t work.

Pre-heating an Air Fryer

Some air fryers have a preheat setting. However, it’s really unnecessary. You can throw your food straight into the basket and begin the cooking instantly. It might add 1 extra minute to the cook time, but it’s faster than waiting 2 minutes for a preheat. To be fair, it only takes about 1 minute for an air fryer to preheat… which is why it’s mostly unnecessary to preheat your air fryer unless you want the grill surface to be hot so it will add grill marks to your food.

Basket vs Trays vs Cleaning

Some air fryers are more like toaster ovens with trays. If you have this kind of air fryer, you’ll need to use an oven mitt to pull out the trays to shake them. If you have the basket type fryer with a handle, these are more convenient because the handle stays completely cool on the basket. I recommend the basket variety because it’s much easier to clean and the handle remains cool.

If you have the basket variety of air fryer, there are lots of “keep it clean” options, including basket inserts made of paper, parchment and even silicone. These inserts allow for cooking and removal to keep your basket clean. There are also pans, as mentioned above, which can be used to help bake foods while keeping the interior clean.

Still, spatter from foods can get into the heating elements and surrounding areas. You’ll need to periodically wipe and clean the interior of the air fryer after it has completely cooled. You may need to use a little Easy Off oven cleaner to fully clean this spatter. Be sure to clean your basket every so often to make sure you’ve cleaned off food smells from previous uses.

ninja-air-fryerFinal note. Some air fryer images show a basket filled to capacity, like this Ninja to the left. Don’t do this. The maximum you should ever fill your basket is about half to 3/4 full. Never fill your basket entirely to the top with food. The reason? The top most food is too close to the heating element and will burn. You want to keep your food far enough away from that heating element to keep it from burning. Such images are strictly for marketing purposes, not for functionality. Do not replicate these marketing images when cooking.

Happy Air Frying!

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