There are two things about fried food that nobody can argue with. The first is that it's super-tasty and the second is the other unfortunate fact that it can add some inches to waistline, not to mention the mess and cleaning you have to do after.
Until air fryers came along, enjoying these crispy goodies without the downside of gaining weight was something that you could just dream about.
Being able to fry food in a much healthier and cleaner way than traditional deep frying makes these air fryers as convenient as it gets. If you're a fried food lover and you don't have one of these in your kitchen already you're definitely missing out.
Making fries with as little as a single tablespoon of cooking oil does sound like some kind of supernatural power. Air fryers, however, are much more simple than that. Unlike what the name implies, an air fryer isn't really a “fryer”.
You can think of these air fryers as tabletop convection ovens. When you're using an air fryer, the food is cooked by hot air that's circulated around using a fan. The result of this cooking technique is food that has that crunchy texture and taste of fried food, without the extra fat.
Thanks to the Maillard reaction taking place, you get the same super-tasty fried food flavor you love.
Since little oil is being used in this process, the food is also much healthier compared to something that's cooked with traditional deep frying.
We've already mentioned that air fryers are healthier as they cook food with less oil and therefore, the food has less fat. To be specific about how much “less fat” exactly is, it's up to 75% less than that in deep-fried foods.
Since deep-fried recipes that typically need around three cups of oil can be prepared with a single tablespoon of oil when using an air fryer, this isn't really a surprise.
Having that much less fat isn't just good for keeping your waistline in check, it's also good for your overall cardiovascular health and lowers your risk of inflammation.
Asides from the lower fat content of air-fried food, the process itself is much healthier. The high-heat that's associated with deep frying food results in the formation of a material called Acrylamide.
Recent studies show that Acrylamide is carcinogenic and increases the probability of developing cancer (specifically in the kidneys and the ovaries). In addition to the Acrylamide, other harmful materials like polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon, aldehydes, and heterocyclic amines can be formed with high-heat cooking.
Since air fryers result in food that's much lower in fat and harmful cooking byproducts, they are pretty much the logical choice when it comes to frying food.
Now that you know what an air fryer is and what makes it that much healthier than traditional frying methods, you're left with the big question, how do I pick an air fryer that's right for me?
With so many options to choose from, this is a question that you should definitely be asking. With many different models to choose from, making the right choice can be difficult. And that's why we've put this guide together.
Asides from the best air fryers that are currently available on the market, you'll find everything you need to know about air fryers and how to choose one that's perfect for your specific needs. Let's dive in!
This is an important thing to consider when buying a new air fryer. Despite significantly affecting your experience with your air fryer, capacity is something that's often overlooked - which is a huge mistake.
What we mean by “capacity” here is how much food can the fryer handle in a single time. The right capacity for you depends mainly on the size of your family and the food portions that you prepare. If you have a family of more than four people, larger fryers are your best bet.
If you pick an air fryer with a small capacity, you'll have to use it multiple times to cook enough food for all those people. What would normally take you around 15 minutes to cook can take up to 45 minutes, which is anything but convenient.
The vast majority of air fryers have a capacity that's anything between two litres to five litres. If you have a small family, a five litre air fryer will be too much. Before you buy a model, make sure it has the capacity that's just right for your needs.
You might think that durability isn't really that important in an air fryer. After all, what kind of harsh treatment does an air fryer have to endure? If you plan on getting an air fryer that'll last, durability is something that should strongly influence your purchase decision. Being opened and closed so many times and used on almost a daily basis in some homes makes a durable air fryer a more sound investment.
It might be tempting to save a few bucks by buying a cheaper model. Premium models - which are usually more expensive - are more durable and can last longer than cheaper ones. You might pay more now but you're actually saving money by not having to replace your new fryer anytime soon.
Things that might affect the durability of an air fryer include the materials and the overall build quality. Some materials are capable of withstanding harsher treatment and give the air fryer a longer lifespan. Have these boxes checked off the quality list and you'll get a model that's worth every dollar you pay for it.
All air fryers will cook your food. How fast and how well though, is where the power to size ratio comes into play. The power of an air fryer is represented by watts. The general rule of thumb here is that the more watts a fryer has the more powerful it is.
The power range of air fryers is anything between 1400 - 2100 watts. More power means being able to cook larger quantities of food faster, but it also means more electricity consumption and higher bills.
When the power is right for the size though, this is rarely the case. You just put your food in the air fryer and it's cooked properly without the cooking process costing you more money than it should.
Oil and rapid air can result in one greasy mess. As a result, you'll find yourself cleaning your air fryer more often than you think. This is where ease of cleaning comes into play. If the model you buy isn't easy to clean, you might just stop using it completely.
One of the things that make an air fryer easier to clean is being made from a non-stick material. This makes cleaning it after each use a simple task that you won't have to worry about. Another thing that makes a huge difference in cleaning an air fryer is having dishwasher-safe parts.
If you get a model that's dishwasher-safe, you can just take the removable parts and place them in the dishwasher, so you don't have to manually wash them. If you have a dishwasher, this is something that's simply a must-have.
Also, having parts that are easy to remove make the cleaning process easier. If you have to struggle with removing every piece of your fryer and putting it back again, cleaning it will become much more daunting than it needs to be.
Like anything else in life, air fryers come with different price tags. Also, like everything else in life, you usually get what you pay for. It's true that some models provide a great value for money - which is something that we'll cover here - but this is pretty much the general rule.
The prices of most air fryers are usually between $75 to $299, which is a wide price range. The reason for this is the different specs of different fryers. Things like power, capacity and the overall build quality have a direct impact on the price.
Additionally some of the high-end models can be used to cook food in ways other than frying if you know what you're doing!
Choosing between analog and digital control is something that you'll have to do when buying a new air fryer. In most cases, high-end models come with digital controls. This is mainly because they are more accurate and easier to work with.
Whether you're choosing the program or setting the timer, digital controls make the process easier. If you're looking for a basic air fryer without much to adjust and want to save some money, analog controls can be the right choice for you. Other than that, we highly recommend getting a model with digital controls.
If you're a person who is picky about their fried food, this feature is an absolute must. Air fryers that lack a way of controlling temperature come with just an on/off button. You just set the time, press the button and the fryer starts working.
You don't have any control on the temperature and the only way to control the crispiness of your food is by making the cooking period longer or shorter, which is a process that's anything but accurate.
On the other hand, air fryers that let you control the temperature allow you to control the exact air temperature that you want. What you get is fried food that's cooked the way you like every time. Of course, this is something that comes at an extra cost but if you really like fried food and looking for a healthy and tasty alternative, it's money well-spent.
An air fryer is a machine that fries food using less oil than a conventional deep fat fryer.
It depends on the type of food that you want to cook and the size of your fryer. If you want to cook things like fries and chicken wings together, you can easily do so with most fryers.
You can cook lots of things. Chicken, fish, meat, frozen vegetables. You name it.
You can. Fried chicken nuggets, wings, fries and other types of frozen food can be cooked in an air fryer.
You can use different types of oils, depending on your preference. Almond, avocado, olive or even sesame oil can be used. Many types of oils that aren't suitable for deep-frying can be used with an air fryer.
You should avoid any kind of wet batter or food that the hot air can blow around the fryer.