Everything You Need to Know About An Air Fryer

Are you a fried food lover? If so, you must read and learn about the air fryer. It is no secret that I love fried foods. It is one of my guilty pleasures that I don't get to indulge often enough. If I had to pick just one thing to eat for the rest of my life, it would be chicken fingers – no question about it. But like you, I don't know much about an air fryer. Is it better for you? Is the food still satisfying? What can you put in it? I put together everything you need to know about an air fryer guide below that will address all the questions going through your head.

What is an air fryer?

Air fryers is a kitchen appliance that cooks by circulating hot air around the food at high speed. A countertop convention-oven like that cooks the food and producing each crispy layer via the Maillard effect.

Air Fryer Pros:

Low-Fat cooking
- Compared to other fryers, air fryers function without fattening oils and produce food with up to 80% less fat than other fryers.

Faster cooking time (compared to an Oven)
- Compared to lots of other cooking methods, Air Frying is so much faster. Just pop your food into the Air Fryer for 10 to 20 minutes, and you are done.

Easy cleanup

- You can easily pull apart into smaller pieces and clean. Most parts are machine washable as well.

Safe to use
- Unlike deep frying or hot plates, the air fryer doesn't have any of the hazards.

Environmentally friendly and use less electricity
- Air fryers use considerably less power than most electric ovens, which saves money and reduces carbon emissions.

Versatility
- You can roast, grill "fry," broil, steam, or just heating cooked food.

Less mess and waste
- Unlike deep or pan-fried, which is hard to dispose leftover oil and generally wasteful, air fryer parts are coated with oven-safe, non-stick coating and are dishwasher safe.

Hand Free Cooking
- The air fryer contains a timer, and it will stop on its own when it is done so that you can do other things. This is a convenient feature for people with a busy schedule.

Convenient to use
- The air fryer is ready to cook whenever you are. Some models require pre-heating (less than 5 minutes), but you can start cooking almost immediately with an air fryer.

Air Fryer Cons:

Longer cooking time (compared to traditional fryer)
- Compared to normal frying, which takes approximately 5-10 minutes, an air fryer will take at least 15-25 minutes. Still faster than any oven though!

Small capacity
- If you are cooking for a large group of people, you will need to air frying in several batches. If you have a large family, make sure you look for extra-large capacity size because no one wants to cook foods in batches to serve to their family.

Higher risk of burning your food

- Air fryers cook your foods between 300-400 degrees. If you don’t pull your food out at just the right time, you are at a high risk of scorching your meal!

Your food can dry out quickly
- An air fryer can dry out the foods quickly if you don’t keep a close eye on it. When you are cooking food in an oil fryer, you don’t run this risk because your foods can develop that outer crispness while staying moist on the inside.

Build up potential carcinogens
- When you start roasting or cooking meat in your fryer, you may notice a buildup of a blackened crust on the outside of your food. That black crust is known as acrylamide, a fairly common compound that can potentially cause cancer. If you see this on your fried foods, you should remove it and not eat it.

Is air fryer healthier?

When comparing side by side with conventional frying, the answer is yes. If you eat a lot of fried foods, then a fryer is a healthier alternative in term of oil consumption

Here are some nutritional examples:

However, if you are looking at the bigger picture, it is better to move away from "fried" food, even if they are not dredged in oil. Whether you are cooking fries or chicken nuggets, they are not the most nutritious foods. When food is cooked at high temperature, certain vitamins and minerals are reduced during the cooking process, including:

  • Fat-soluble vitamins
  • Minerals
  • Water-soluble vitamins

There have been many pieces of research that have demonstrated raw foods are more nutritious than cooked. But, I understand it is unrealistic to go cut fried food out of your diet completely. If you are looking to cut down on fried food, you should have an action plan and do the right way. And if you are looking for "healthier" alternatives, then air frying is a healthier choice than deep-fried that is filled with oil. 

Tips: What to look for when buying an air fryer?

  • Basket capacity – What size air fryer do I need? Choose a basket capacity that suits your cooking needs. A family should consider an XL basket capacity.
  • Removable drawer – A removable drawer makes it a lot easier to clean your air fryer after use.
  • Wattage – Higher wattage means a more powerful appliance
  • Brand name – A recognizable brand name does stand for something in the air fryer business. Larger companies like Philips have put a lot of R&D into making their hot air fryers the best on the market.
  • Price – As with any purchase, the price is a huge contributing factor.

Where can I buy one and what brand?

There are many air fryers with prices ranging between $60-$200. They are available on Amazon and many major retail stores. 

Simple Chef

Simple Chef air frye

PROS:

  • 3.5-qt capacity
  • Simple and intuitive design
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Overheat protection
  • Automatic shut-off
  • Non-stick cooking basket 
  • 100% BPA FREE plastic

CONS:

  • Made from plastic (may smell like plastic when high heat is used)
  • No transparent lid
  • No pre-set options
  • Only 4 temperature values
  • Only 30 minutes for the timer

Avalon Bay

Avalon Bay air fryer

 PROS:

  • Has a baking dish included
  • Has a timer and auto shutoff option
  • Available in four different finishes
  • Has a 30 minutes timer
  • Has a broad range of temperature between 200 to 400 degrees
  • Comes with a 52-page recipe book
  • Includes durable and multi-use 2 piece baking set
  • Has detachable metallic rack for easier cooking and service

CONS:

  • The timer mechanism is not satisfactory
  • The non-stick coating peels off

Philips

As featured on Forbes as "Best Air Fryers"; Epicurious Best Air Fryer you can buy on Amazon

philips air fryer

PROS:

  • The certified refurbished option is available and cheaper
  • Simplicity of use
  • Even cooking thanks to the patented starfish design
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Many free and exclusive cooking recipes

CONS:

  • Small capacity so don’t expect to feed a crowd using this convention oven
  • Size and weight
Philips XL Airfryer HD9240/94

PROS:

  • Extra-large frying basket (Family friendly)
  • 60 minutes timer
  • Different types of cooking
  • Quick and easy to clean

CONS:

  • Color is likely to fade after some time
  • Accessories need to be purchased separately
  • The lid is not transparent
  • Quite heavy

T Fal

As featured on Forbes as “Best Air Fryers”; Epicurious Best Air Fryer you can buy on Amazon

T Fal air fryer

PROS:

  • Produces healthy minimal oil food
  • Easy to clean
  • Safe and easy to use
  • Can cook different meals
  • Easily portable
  • Has a time that ticks up to 99 minutes
  • Comes with a one-year warranty

CONS:

  • Power does not switch off when the timer goes off. As a result, there is a possibility of overcooking
  • The temperature in the cooker cannot be adjusted

GoWISE

As featured on Forbes as “Best Air Fryers”; Epicurious Best Air Fryer you can buy on Amazon

GoWISE USA 8-in-1 GW22611

PROS:

  • Available at an affordable price
  • Easy to operate and clean
  • Excellent features
  • Has 8 preset cooking options
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Has the auto shutoff functionality to prevent overcooking

CONS:

  • Takes up large storage space due to its large size
  • The basket doesn’t slide in without some finesse
  • The baking pan is bought separately thus increasing the total cost
  • No viewing window to check on the cooking food
GoWise USA GW22622 2nd Generation Air Fryer

PROS:

  • Does not stick and is very easy to wash
  • Easier to use than many comparable models
  • Fantastic distribution of air and quick cooking
  • Incredibly reasonable in price, and works well with less effort
  • More secure and less demanding

CONS:

  • No pre-programmed cooking settings
  • No transparent lid

Black and Decker

As featured on Forbes as “Best Air Fryers”; Epicurious Best Air Fryer you can buy on Amazon

Black and Decker air fryer

PROS:

  • Available in two colors: white (slightly bigger) or black (less expensive)
  • Nonstick, Removable Parts – The nonstick pan, basket, and separator make cleanup quick and easy
  • 60-Minute Timer
  • Dual Convection Cooking technology
  • It has the auto shut-off functionality, to prevent overcooking
  • Features a stay-cool handle to prevent burning

CONS:

  • You can check the food only by opening the lid
  • Capacity is small. Good for two people. Not family friendly. 
  • It has no digital display for time and temperature
  • The numbers on the variable temperature control dial are microscopically small

Cuisinart TOA-60 Air Fryer

As featured on Forbes as “Best Air Fryers”; Epicurious Best Air Fryer you can buy on Amazon

Cuisinart TOA-60 Air Fryer

PROS:

  • Choose from 7 functions: Air Fry, Convection Bake, Convection Broil, Bake, Broil, Warm, Toast
  • Capacity: 0.6 Cubic Foot Interior With Light.
  • Large enough to AirFry up to 3lbs, toast 6 slices of bread, bake a 4lb chicken or 12″ pizza
  • Glassdoor allows you to monitor food as it cooks.
  • 60-minute timer.
  • Adjustable temperature.
  • Toast shade selector.
  • Included accessories: Oven Rack, Baking Pan, Air Fryer Basket
  • Easy to clean, non-stick interior.

CONS:

  • Controlling the temperature is difficult.

Looking for recipe ideas?

What Can You Cook in an Air Fryer

You can put pretty much anything in an air fryer from vegetables to your protein. All, without oil. You can also use an air fryer to heat your frozen pre-made food like dumplings, egg rolls, pizza bites, quiche, etc.

Some of my favorite things that I enjoy making with my air fryer include kale chips, french fries, chicken fingers, toothpick lamb with cumin, steak, and salmon.

Does Air Fried Food Taste Good?

Air fried food does not taste the same a deep-fried. It is less greasy, slightly drier, but still does have a crunch. In most cases, the taste difference does not deter people from using an air fryer. 

Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links. This means I make a few dollars if you purchase/sign up after clicking my link. This costs you nothing, but it helps keep this blog running!

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