You have probably seen ads for air fryers or maybe one of your friends has one and can’t stop talking about it. What is all the fuss about? We’re here to show you how your life can get even better with the addition of an air fryer. In this guide, we will discuss whether the hype is true and what makes this kitchen gadget so special. Is it really a healthier cooking option? Will it save time in the kitchen? What about the price? How easy is this thing to use anyway? We have got all those answers and more below.
Why Should You Air-Fry Food?
Well, for one, it’s delicious! Air-fried food has that familiar crispness and crunchiness that some of your favorite comfort foods have. It is a great way to get some of the best-tasting French fries, veggie chips, and shrimp tempura right in your own home. Your favorite dishes, such as crispy fish tacos and popcorn chicken, no longer need to be occasional foods that you can only find at your favorite restaurant. Now, you can whip them up at home in less time and with less mess. What could be better?
We know! Air-fried food is a healthier alternative to the junky deep-fried foods you would get at a fast-food restaurant. In the past, if you wanted fried chicken at home, you had to use a deep fryer and several cups of oil to get the same crunchy crispness. Either that, or you shelled out your hard-earned cash on overpriced, greasy fried chicken from the drive-thru.
Not only will an air fryer be good to your wallet but it will help your waistline as well. There is no reason why you should give up the foods that bring you and your family joy. An air fryer allows you to lighten up those recipes a bit so that there is less oil as well as less overall fat and fewer calories. That means that you can still maintain a healthy figure while indulging in some of your ultimate comfort classics.
There are many air fryer recipes that don’t even require oil, although adding just a touch of it will really bring out that deep-fried flavor and crunch that you crave. Considering that a traditional deep fryer would require several cups of oil, we think it’s okay to use a teaspoon or so in your air fryer. In addition, less oil usually means less mess to clean up afterward. Deep fryers, as well as frying in a stovetop skillet, typically results in hot oil splatters all over your backsplash, stovetop, and counter. Say goodbye to that greasy mess with your air fryer!
Cooking with this device is convenient; you set it and forget it. An air fryer works similarly to a convection oven, only it tends to be smaller in size. That being said, there are different makes and models of air fryers with varying shapes and sizes. An air fryer can sit conveniently on your countertop or you may place it in a kitchen cabinet or on top of the fridge. A lot of people end up keeping theirs on the kitchen counter since they use it so much!
Practically anything that you can cook in an oven, deep fryer, or toaster oven, you can cook in an air fryer. It is incredible how many diverse dishes this small but mighty appliance can create! Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even desserts are all possible with a quality air fryer. Is it any wonder that this kitchen gadget has seen a spike in popularity recently? We didn’t think so!
An air fryer takes a lot of the work out of cooking. You place whatever you’re air-frying in the fryer basket and let the appliance do the rest. It uses hot air around the sides of the basket and above it to get a nice crisp on the outside of the food. The device essentially converts moisture in the fryer basket to mist; then, the dry heat is what gives the food that crispy outer layer and well-cooked inside.
You are not confined to only traditionally fried foods either. While chicken nuggets and zucchini fries are absolutely scrumptious, you can also make salmon fillets and grill-style veggies. Try banana chips or baked apples and incorporate some more fruit into your diet. Your taste buds and waistline will thank you.
Not only that, but people tend to save money when they own air fryers. Sure, it is an initial investment, but there are a lot of decently priced air fryers on the market these days. It is no longer a specialty kitchen gadget reserved only for foodies. In fact, you can get an air fryer for as little as $50, although there are higher-end models that run for up to $300.
Still, even if you go for, say, a $150 air fryer, you are going to save so much money by making your own delicious meals, appetizers, and snacks. From mozzarella sticks to fried tofu and everything in between, you can say goodbye to pricey take-out and hello to nourishing home-cooked meals.
What Are the Benefits of Airfrying?
One of the coolest benefits of cooking in an air fryer is that it is super versatile. You can cook almost anything in one of these devices and the convenience is out of this world. From simple things such as roasted veggies and sweet potato fries to delectable fried chicken and even desserts, you could really use an air fryer for every meal of the day. So, benefit number one has got to be the convenience of this gadget.
Secondly, the versatility of an air fryer means that you can cook just about anything in it. Air fryers are just what the name says: devices that fry food using hot air. This eliminates the need for copious amounts of oil, leading us to our next benefit. Air fryers make it easier for you to eat delicious comfort foods without the added oils. This makes your meals more nutritious and heart-healthy.
Some air fryer recipes are oil-free while others only call for a small sprinkling of oil. Either way, you still get that satisfying crunch that you would get with more traditional oil-frying methods. Thanks to the Internet, home chefs are sharing their air fryer creations, many of which are tweaks on classic comfort foods. Think fried chicken, French fries, and battered and fried broccoli bites, only this time they’re healthified and won’t clog your arteries with excess oil and fat.
The third benefit of air fryers is that it takes less time and makes less mess than traditional frying methods. Deep-drying in vats of oil is not only messy but it can also pose a burn risk. Splatters of hot oil are a thing of the past now that we have air fryers. These machines make it so simple; plus, cleanup is a breeze. Most air fryers have non-stick interiors so grease and residue come right off with a quick soak or wipe-down.
Benefit number four is that air fryers do not heat up your kitchen as a stove or oven does. This is a godsend in the warmer months. You can enjoy a home-cooked meal without slaving over the stove or turning your kitchen into a convection oven.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Airfrying?
If you are on the fence about whether or not to invest in a new air fryer, take a look at some of the pros and cons of this device.
One of the advantages of having an air fryer is that it can do a lot of the things that your oven, grill, and toaster oven can do but in less time. The overwhelming majority of air fryer recipes are done in 30 minutes or less; plus, an air fryer is much better to use on a hot summer’s day than a blazing oven. Whether you want roasted veggies, grilled salmon, or fried broccoli, you’ve got it in less time than it would take to preheat your oven or kick-start your grill. When you think about it this way, an air fryer is multiple appliances in one.
Another awesome benefit to using an air fryer is that it makes it so easy — and fun– to eat your veggies. This is especially helpful for parents who are trying to get fussy kids to eat more vegetables. Some popular air-fried veggie recipes are not only delicious but they are also beginner-friendly. Avocado fries, kale chips, and fried veggie balls are a few awesome ways to enjoy your greens.
Here is an advantage that adults will appreciate: air fryers require very little oil and you can choose to go oil-free for most recipes. Whether you are trying to lose weight or just eat a bit healthier, an air fryer can help you smash that goal while still enjoying yummy food.
Now, there are a few potential downsides that you should take into account. First of all, you usually have to give the fryer basket a shake halfway through cooking to ensure that the food does not stick to the basket. So, maybe air fryers aren’t 100% set-it-and-forget-it but they’re close. It might be a bit of a learning curve for first-time users but it’s easy to get the hang of using an air fryer. Considering how quickly they fry food, it is not a huge deal to check on it halfway through cooking.
Yes, an air fryer is another cooking gadget on your kitchen counter and, yes, there is an initial investment in purchasing a good air fryer. However, if you think about how much you would spend on a typical take-out order, you would meet the cost of the air fryer after only a few visits to a fast-food place.
Overall, the pros definitely outweigh the cons. Here is a quick recap of the pros and cons for your reference.
- Creates healthier fried dishes
- Makes kid-friendly recipes
- Is multiple devices in one
- Saves time
- Initial cost investment
- Learning curve for using it properly
Where Do I Start Airfrying?
If you are feeling inundated with information and you aren’t sure where to begin, do not worry. Most beginners get used to their air fryers very quickly and the airfrying method is quite simple. Essentially, you are just adding whatever you’re frying up into your air fryer. If it’s meat, then oil isn’t necessary but adding a teaspoon or so of oil will get that truly crispy texture. You can place both battered and non-battered food in your air fryer.
If you are looking to get the best experience and use out of your air fryer, then be sure to keep these tips in mind the next time that you fire up your appliance.
First of all, as with most cooking units, you should preheat your air fryer. Just turning it on and setting it to the appropriate temperature a few minutes before you start frying is good enough. It takes significantly less time to preheat than a conventional oven would. Even if you forget to preheat, your food will probably turn out just fine.
Take it from those who have tried it and do not use aerosol spray cans to oil your fryer basket. These oil sprays have harsh chemical agents in them that can end up damaging your air fryer pan and fryer basket. If you want to grease the pan or basket prior to cooking, you can rub on a bit of oil or use a trusty oil mister.
Another pro tip is to avoid overcrowding the fryer basket. While different air fryer models will have varying basket capacities, you should not overfill them. Overcrowding will prevent the food from getting nice and crispy, which will disrupt the quality of the flavor too. If you have to, cook in smaller batches or invest in a larger-capacity air fryer, such as one of the devices mentioned below.
On a similar note, you will want to give the fryer basket a good shake about halfway through cooking. This will not only prevent the food from sticking to the pan but it will allow for more even cooking so you do not get any burned bits while other pieces are undercooked. You might even want to add another spray of oil halfway through cooking, particularly if you are frying something that does not have a lot of fat. Meats tend to be okay without the added oil since they already contain fat.
What’s the Best Airfryer to Use?
You bet that foodies and professional chefs around the country have tried their fair share of air fryers and the jury is out on which ones come out on top. Critics looked at things such as cooking time, even cooking throughout the food, ease of use, price, and, of course, the ability to get that sought-after crunchy texture.
The Gourmia GAF520 Electric Air fryer is one of the most talked-about air fryers on the market. At $140, it is not the cheapest air fryer out there but it is worth every penny. The sleek design and touchscreen settings are user-friendly and intuitive. It’s lightweight, which makes it easy to transport from the kitchen counter to a shelf or even to a friend’s house. Reviewers of this air fryer report that it consistently performs well in providing all-over texture and compelling flavor in a short period of time. The LED temperature displays are large and easy to read; plus, there are preset options for things such as chicken, fish, and potatoes. Its 4.5-quart fryer basket is roomy enough for a batch of French fries or an eight-ounce cut of meat and a bonus cookbook is included in your purchase.
Next up is the GoWISE USA Digital Air fryer. Choose from the 3.7-quart or 5.8-quart sizes and get ready for easy, breezy airfrying. This 1400-watt air fryer has a temperature range between 175 and 400 degrees Fahrenheit and includes a number of preset programs for chicken, fish, pizza, potatoes, shrimp, and more. The touch screen makes it easy to choose a program or set the time and temperature that you want. The appliance is designed to automatically turn off when you take out the fryer basket, making it a safe and reliable option. One really cool feature is that users can change the cooking time and heat setting in the middle of a cooking cycle, which is something that some other air fryers can’t do. Finally, this air fryer is equipped with a non-stick pan and basket as well as a cool-touch handle. The 3.7-quart unit goes for around $60 while the 5.8-quart fryer is about $70.
Another great air fryer is the Philips Viva Collection Air Fryer. It retails for $200 so it is a big-ticket item but it has also sold over eight million units. The makers behind this appliance pride themselves on the air fryer’s starfish design, which allows for optimal heat distribution to cook your food perfectly each time. Its patented Rapid Air Technology means that you will get to enjoy your meal in less time. This is a larger-capacity air fryer as well and the fryer basket can hold up to one pound of French fries. As a matter of fact, critics regularly rate this particular air fryer as number-one in terms of producing the crispiest, most delicious air-fried French fries. Plus, the removable pan and fryer basket are both dishwasher-safe, making for seamless cleanup.
How Much Weight Will I Lose Airfrying?
It is impossible to say how much weight you’ll lose if you start airfrying your food, since every body is different. That being said, you will be cutting more fat and calories out of your diet if you opt to air-fry your food in lieu of deep-frying it or ordering fast food. Since you will be using less oil in your food, you can expect to see a slimmer physique as long as you’re adopting other healthy habits such as exercise and adequate sleep. Nutrition is just one — albeit important — piece of the puzzle!
It is true that lots of health-conscious people opt for air fryers because it allows them to enjoy their favorite foods without depriving themselves. There are also air fryer enthusiasts who have trimmed their waistlines just by switching out the fast food and take-out for home-cooked meals in their air fryers. Consider that a medium serving of French fries at a fast food joint has 370 calories, 170 of those calories coming from fat. In addition, they have 19 grams of fat, trans fats included.
On the other hand, if you made the French fries yourself in an air fryer, you would significantly cut down on the total fat and calories. the average air fryer French fry recipe has around 275 calories per serving and about 12 grams of fat, with only one of those grams coming from saturated fat. This is just one example of a healthy air fryer swap, so while this appliance is not a prescription for weight loss, it could definitely help!
Can I Lower My Cholesterol Air-Frying?
This is interesting because with an air fryer, you’re consuming way less oil, which means that you’re eating way less fat. As most of us know by now, excess fat, especially saturated and trans fats, can contribute to heart disease, obesity, and high cholesterol. The definition of high cholesterol is basically too much fat in the blood so cutting down on your oil intake is certainly good for your cholesterol levels.
Of course, if you are continuing other bad habits such as living a sedentary lifestyle and smoking, then you might not see the shift in your cholesterol levels. As we said, it is a balancing act and what you eat is just one aspect of your overall health.
Hopefully, this guide gave you some more insight into what exactly and air fryer is and why it is sweeping social media and kitchens everywhere.