Many people enjoy cooking turkey in an air fryer for holidays like Thanksgiving or Christmas since it can help make the cooking process easier and faster. When using an air fryer to cook a whole turkey, one of the most important factors to consider is what size turkey will actually fit inside the appliance. The Ninja air fryers come in different sizes and models, each with varying capacity to hold turkeys of different weights. Knowing what size turkey will fit in your particular Ninja air fryer model is crucial for meal planning.
What Are the Different Ninja Air Fryer Models and Their Capacities?
Ninja currently offers three main air fryer models for consumers:
- Ninja Air Fryer AF100
- Ninja Air Fryer AF101
- Ninja Air Fryer Max XL
Each model has a different capacity and is designed to hold turkeys of varying maximum weights. Here is a quick overview:
|Ninja Air Fryer Model||Turkey Capacity|
|Ninja Air Fryer AF100||Up to a 5 lb turkey|
|Ninja Air Fryer AF101||Up to a 7 lb turkey|
|Ninja Air Fryer Max XL||Up to a 13 lb turkey|
As you can see, the larger Max XL model can accommodate the biggest turkey, while the smaller AF100 model can only hold a 5 lb turkey at most. The mid-sized AF101 sits in between at up to 7 lbs turkey capacity.
Factors That Determine Turkey Capacity
While the above maximum turkey sizes give a general guideline per model, there are a few other factors that can affect just how big of a turkey can fit in your Ninja air fryer:
Turkeys come in different shapes – some are short and stout while others are taller and narrower. Acompact, rounded turkey may weighs less but actually takes up more interior space, meaning a smaller turkey size would be required. A slimmer turkey can possibly go up to the maximum weight for the model.
A turkey that is stuffed will have more girth and interior volume than an unstuffed turkey even at the same weight. An unstuffed 13 lb turkey may fit in a Max XL, while a stuffed 13 lb turkey might be too snug due to the extra interior bulk.
With or Without Giblets
Whole turkeys are generally sold with giblets, which are the internal organs like neck, heart, gizzard and liver. Removing the giblets allows more cavity space for the turkey to fit into, letting you potentially go for a larger size turkey.
Other Interior Contents
Any other ingredients placed inside the turkey cavity like aromatics, vegetables, broth etc. will take up space and reduce the maximum turkey size that will fit. Keeping the cavity empty gives you the full interior volume to work with.
Tips for Fitting Larger Turkeys in Your Ninja Air Fryer
Here are some tips to allow you to possibly fit a larger turkey size in your particular Ninja air fryer model:
- Buy a slimmer, narrower turkey rather than short and stout
- Do not stuff the turkey, keep the cavity empty
- Remove the giblets and neck before cooking
- Truss the turkey cavity with kitchen twine to tighten the interior
- Place turkey breast side up to maximize interior height
- Fold wing tips under to make turkey narrower
- Rest turkey on a rack in basket to allow air flow underneath
Using one or more of these methods can gain you some extra interior capacity to possibly fit a turkey 1-2 lbs larger than the recommended maximum for your air fryer.
Turkey Cooking Times by Weight
Once you know what size turkey will fit in your Ninja air fryer, the next important factor is cook times. Here are some general guidelines for whole turkey cooking times by weight in a Ninja air fryer:
|Turkey Weight||Cook Time (at 400°F)|
|4 – 6 lbs||45 – 60 minutes|
|6 – 8 lbs||60 – 75 minutes|
|8 – 10 lbs||75 – 90 minutes|
|10 – 12 lbs||90 – 105 minutes|
|12 – 15 lbs||105 – 120 minutes|
Keep in mind cook times can vary based on the shape and dimensions of your particular turkey. Always use a meat thermometer and check that the deepest part of the breast and thigh reaches 165°F. Let the turkey rest for 15-20 minutes before carving for juicy and tender meat after air frying.
Turkey Portion Sizes to Consider
For larger gatherings, cooking a whole large turkey in an air fryer may not be possible. In that case, consider smaller turkey portions:
- Turkey breast roast (can yield white meat for 6-8 people)
- Turkey drumsticks or thighs (great for snacking, sandwiches)
- Boneless turkey cutlets (quick weeknight meals)
- Ground turkey (for burgers, tacos, pasta sauce)
Turkey pieces like these give you flexibility to feed a crowd without having to fit an enormous whole turkey in the air fryer. You can prepare different turkey dishes and sides to please all your guests.
Sample Turkey Meal Plan for a Ninja Air Fryer
Here is a sample menu plan for a small 4-person Thanksgiving meal using a Ninja air fryer:
- 6 lb turkey breast roast
- Air fry at 400°F for approximately 60-70 minutes
- 2 lb potato wedges (air fry at 400°F for 15-20 min)
- 1 bag green beans
- Cranberry sauce
- Dinner rolls
- Pumpkin pie
- Apple pie
The turkey breast provides white meat for carving and is a reasonable size to fit in most standard Ninja air fryer models. The side vegetable and potatoes can cook right in the air fryer alongside the turkey for easy cooking. Enjoy!
Determining what size turkey will actually fit and cook properly in your Ninja air fryer comes down to the model you own and a few key factors like the turkey’s shape and whether it is stuffed. While whole large turkeys likely won’t fit, smaller turkeys up to about 13 lbs can work for most gatherings. Consider cooking turkey parts rather than a whole bird if feeding a large group. Refer to our cooking time chart for estimated times based on turkey weight. With some planning, the Ninja air fryer can be a convenient way to enjoy juicy and delicious turkey on holidays and special occasions.