Air fryers, brilliantly named kitchen counter appliances take craving foods and put a spin on them so you can indulge that need for a satisfying crunch in a healthier way, without any oily frying at all. The key to perfection is in superheated air that encircles your food allowing it to cook thoroughly and evenly.
An air fryer will become a kitchen appliance you will use regularly, once a week for certain. It cooks food much faster than the regular oven and is particularly useful in any kitchen in the summer when you want to avoid heating up the whole kitchen unnecessarily. Another major convenience to air fryers is that there is very little cleaning up as no actual frying is done in an open frying pan.
French fries, veggies like broccoli and asparagus, chicken parts, hamburgers, steak, breaded or non-breaded, all these foods can be cooked in an air fryer, yielding excellent results. Air fryers come in varying capacities, some will even cook a whole chicken easily. Most air fryers include a cookbook of some kind, so learning how to use the appliance is easy.
If you are thinking of buying an air fryer, be sure you buy one that can cook to high temperatures, 400F or more. The lower cooking temperature models are really meant for reheating foods, rather than cooking them. Also, consider purchasing a fryer with about 3.5 quart capacity as anything smaller will limit the amount of food you can cook at one session.
Though it is called a fryer, there is no oil involved in the frying. Two potatoes cut as fries use about half a tsp of oil. No oil at all is added when cooking meats.
Some PRO’s and CON’s
- Pro: Air fryers produce crisp, moist food without the need for deep frying or the use of large amounts of oil.
- Pro: Air fryers are much easier to clean and maintain than traditional deep fryers. There is no large container of hot cooking oil to filter and store. The air fryer’s cooking basket can be washed by hand or in a dishwasher.
- Con: The constant flow of dry, superheated air around many foods may strip them of moisture, especially on the surface. Some people may find the resulting cooked foods a bit dry and/or they may not be as flavorful as food cooked in more traditional ways such as deep frying or regular oven baking.
- Con: Cooking times can be considerably longer in an air fryer than a traditional deep fryer.
The essential considerations to keep in mind are finding an air fryer that is large enough for your needs and has intuitive controls that allow the unit to be flexible in its cooking tasks. Additionally, you will want a model that is easy to clean and offers the option of cooking multiple foods via a replaceable divider in the cooking compartment.
The bottom line
An air fryer is more than just an alternate and convenient way of cooking. It is a healthier way of preparing food as it is cooks by heated air rather than hot oil. An air fryer will become a stalwart in your kitchen and a supportive supplement to your stove’s oven in no time.