You may have heard of air fryers and been wowed by marketers' claims that they make crispy foods with less fat than deep frying and cook them faster than a conventional oven. For starters, air fryers do not actually cook.
Instead, the dish is put in a perforated basket and cooked by the machine blowing hot air around it.
The air force causes a convection effect, which cooks and browns the food on the basket's outside. If the air temperature increases over 320 degrees Fahrenheit, breaded meals, such as frozen chicken tenders, and unbreaded starchy foods, such as french fries or tater tots, will turn brown.
One downside of the air fryer is that it cannot cook foods that are covered in liquid batters, such as onion rings or fried chicken.
Doughy meals like doughnuts and beignets can't be cooked since the batter would seep through the perforations in the basket, causing a huge mess. As a result, you're limited to dishes that are breaded or dry-seasoned.
You're also limited in terms of portion amounts, which we'll go over in more detail later. At the end of this article, we'll go over one specific duty that air fryers excel at. But first, consider the purported health benefits of air fryers.
What are the health benefits of an air fryer?
One of the main selling points of air fryers is that they use less oil than deep fryers, hence the food cooked in them is healthier than food fried in a deep fryer.
To begin with, we know that all cooking oils are beneficial to our health. As long as you're not frying your food in vegetable shortening or lard, the oil used in a deep-fryer isn't particularly dangerous.
Of course, the oil contains calories, and although calories aren't detrimental in and of itself, using less oil may be a good idea if you're attempting to lose weight.
Deep-fried meals absorb very little oil when cooked at the right temperature (between 350 and 375 Fahrenheit). In fact, depending on the type of oil used and whether or not the fries were seasoned, comparative research indicated that french fries cooked in oil contained between 14 and 40 more calories per 4-ounce serving than baked fries.
Not only that but the uncooked fries should be tossed in 1 to 1 ½ teaspoons of oil before cooking, according to the air fryer's recommendations.
In terms of calories, that's an additional 120 to 180 calories in oil. Your air fryer french fries contain the same quantity of oil as deep-fried french fries, even when divided into two parts, which is the usual batch size for an air fryer.
In any case, no one can honestly argue that french fries are a nutritious food, regardless of how they're made. So touting the health benefits of a gadget designed to cook french fries (or chicken wings or tater tots) may seem a little silly.
Still the simplicity of this cooking method leaves one very important take away. I can easily prepare and air fry healthy dishes like asparagus and salmon instead of eating out.
Are air fryers easy to use?
The capacity of air fryers is one of its drawbacks. Because they work on the concept of convection, there must be adequate distance between the individual items for the hot air to flow evenly.
As a result, you won't be able to put well-browned food in the basket. Cooking in little bits at a time is required.
This isn't an issue until you need to feed more than two individuals at the same time.
Furthermore, depending on the meal, each batch's cooking time may be as long as 30 minutes, with occasional shaking of the basket to guarantee even cooking, so hopefully, those two people aren't hungry or have something else to eat while they wait.
Air fryers tend to be particularly good at reheating previously fried foods. The heated, convection effect of an air fryer is great for reheating crispy meals while keeping them crispy, unlike the oven or microwave, which would render them mushy. Is it enough to persuade you to buy one? It's all up to you.
Even if the air fryer's real cooking capabilities don't wow you, it's reassuring to know that it shines in at least one area.
What matters most is whether or whether the food prepared in an air fryer tastes delicious. What is the solution? It is debatable.
Foods like french fries, chicken wings, and tater tots, on the other hand, are easy to make, taste amazing, and are healthier than deep frying. And air frying is far easier than boiling oil to deep fry or even using the oven.
While deep-frying is the finest technique to make traditional fried meals, messing with oil isn't always practical. Air frying is definitely one of the easiest cooking methods for any skill level.
What can you cook in an air fryer?
While many of the best air-fryer recipes are for deep-fried foods, you can also use them to roast vegetables, cook meat, and bake cookies. The air fryer shines when it comes to creating frozen foods with a deep-fried flavor.
You can make frozen air-fried french fries, mozzarella sticks, and chicken nuggets, among other things.
If you want to make your own finger foods from scratch, try Air-Fryer Sweet Potato Fries, Air-Fryer Pickles, or Air-Fryer Papas Rellenas. Fresh mozzarella melts into a gooey mess, but frozen mozzarella sticks that have been air-fried are fantastic.
Air fryer chicken may be tender and juicy. Air-fried chicken meals, such as Air-Fryer Nashville Hot Chicken, are deserving of your attention.
Meatballs cooked in the air fryer are a great way to eat a healthy diet. One of our favorite fish and seafood dishes is this Air-Fryer Crumb-Topped Sole.
Because air fryers are essentially little regular ovens, they're great for roasting vegetables and side dishes—especially if you're just cooking for one or two people.
Lemon and Herb Air-Fryer Cauliflower and Garlic-Rosemary Air-Fryer Brussels Sprouts and broccoli are two of our favorite air-fryer vegetables.
Frequently Asked Questions
What sizes do air fryers come in?
Air fryers range in size from 1.6 quart (mini or compact) to 10 quarts (large capacity or XXL). We choose to focus on air fryers and excluded multi-function toaster ovens.
1.6 - 2.2 quarts are known as Mini or Compact for 1 person
2.3 - 3.7 quarts are ideal for couples
3.8 - 5.8 quarts are ideal for a family of 3
5.9+ quarts are ideal for a family of 4+
I personally own a Gourmia 7 quart air fryer from Costco that is 1500 watts and love it. I can easily prepare sides and mains for 4 people.
What are the most wished for air fryer models?
Do air fryers use oil?
Naturally air fryers do not use oil to cook food. Although most recipes, including many of my recipes, use small amounts of oil to reduce sticking.
Easy Air Fryer Recipes
Try one of these delicious and easy air fryer recipes as your next appetizer, side-dish or snack.
Air fryers make it simple to reheat frozen foods in a technique that is somewhat better than deep-frying. The results are significantly superior to those achieved by oven frying, and your kitchen stays cool during the process.
Because even the largest air fryers have a limited capacity, you'll have to cook in batches, especially if you're feeding a large group. Air fryers are bigger than toaster ovens and take up a lot of counter space. Finally, the price may vary depending on the model.
The cost of this popular appliance has fallen in recent years as a result of brand competition. Even yet, buying an air fryer is usually only beneficial if you cook fried foods regularly (frozen or handmade).
Try one of my easy recipes for your next family meal! And if you have any questions, I'm here to help!