What is an air fryer? An air fryer cooks food using convection with dry heat using air circulation that gives food a crispy fried texture without the excessive use of oil.
As a chef, the last thing I wanted was another kitchen appliance to take up space on my kitchen counter. I tried to avoid buying an air fryer for so long until I kept hearing everyone sing it’s praises and then I caved. I asked for an air fryer as a gift so that I could feel less guilty about not using it if I didn’t like it. However, I absolutely love it and think that everyone should purchase one for quick, fast healthy meals.
What is an Air Fryer and How Does it work?
An air fryer is an electric kitchen appliance that has contains a basket that holds food to be cooked. A fan inside the air fryer circulates heat as a convection method to keep the food dry while it is cooking. In other words, the food gets a crispy fried texture with little or no oil involved in the cooking process making it suitable for those trying to eliminate excess calories or fats from their diet.
What are the Benefits to Cooking with an Air Fryer?
- Cooking is FAST. For instance, it takes half the time to air fry potatoes in an air fryer than it does in the oven because the fan inside keeps the food dry as it cooks.
- It great for reheating leftovers. Since the heat is coming from all directions because of the fan inside, your leftover food will become hot and crispy in a short amount of time which is more enjoyable than reheating leftovers in the microwave.
- Since it is a small kitchen appliance, it uses a lot less electricity than turning on the oven which will save on energy costs.
- Traditionally, frying means that your food is submerged in oil to be cooked. With an air fryer only a small amount of oil is needed to generate a similar texture saving you unnecessary calories and fat in your diet.
- Cooking for 2: it is easier to cook for 1 or 2 in the air fryer because you can fit just enough food in the basket without having to make large portions.
Air Fryer vs Instant Pot
The air fryer and instant pot cook food using 2 completely different methods. The air fryer uses dry heat with circulating air. The instant pot uses high pressure built up with heat and moisture. As a result, food has a different texture with each appliance used.
However, there is one appliance by Ninja that acts as a both called the Ninja Foodi which is 6.5 quarts (1.5 gallons) that retails for just under $200 which would be the same as purchasing both appliances.
Can I Cook Frozen Food?
Yes! The it can cook your food from frozen and still produce a crispy texture that saves a lot of time and makes food more enjoyable.
- Frozen Chicken Nuggets
- Paleo Keto Chicken Nuggets
- Frozen Chicken Tenders
- Frozen Burger Patties
- Frozen Vegetables
- Frozen French Fries
- Chicken Wings
- Fish Sticks
- Onion Rings
- Frozen Cookie Dough
How Much Does an Air Fryer Cost?
Air fryers can range from $50-$300 depending on the size and it’s functionality. Typically, the best are the ones that will fit on your kitchen counter and are easy to clean so that you can continue to use it with ease.
Where Can I Buy?
- Best Buy
- JC Penney
What are the Top Air Fryers under $100?
- GoWISE USA 5.8-Quarts 8-in-1 Electric XL
- BLACK+DECKER Purify 2-Liter Black/Stainless Steel, HF110SBD
- XL by Cozyna (5.8QT) with a cookbook and a basket divider
- Avalon Bay, For Healthy Fried Food, 3.7 Quart Capacity
What is the Top Rated and Reviewed Air Fryer in 2018?
The Philips XL is the top rated and reviewed for 2018.
Top Cooking Tips:
- Preheat your appliance for 5 minutes to cut down your cooking time as much as possible
- Use cooking oil spray at the bottom of your basket to keep food from sticking to the bottom
- Similarly, use cooking oil spray halfway through the cooking process to make food extra crispy
- Remove the basket and shake it to make sure pieces are cooking even
- Do not over crowd your basket to make sure you can let air through so your food gets crispy
- Use a thermometer when cooking thicker cuts of meat. The air fryer will sometimes crisp the outside before the inside get cooked which is important to check if you are cooking something thick.
- Make sure that anything you chop or cut to put in the is uniform size. This will help make sure that everything cooks even and is finished cooking at the same time.
What Are The Best Air Fryer Recipes?
I am working hard to come up with some of the best recipes, in the meantime check out these cookbooks.
Valerie Skinner is a Whole30 approved personal chef & recipe developer that bridges the gap between healthy eating and busy lives by providing simple healthy meals and recipes for you and your family.