Deep-fried food is delicious, but it’s not the healthiest option when you’re hungry for a snack or meal. Because deep frying involves dipping your food in oil, it can add calories and fat to everything you make. Thankfully, there is a healthier way to get that deep-fried flavour and crispy coating. All you need is an air fryer. It will take everything from chicken strips to wings or French fries and make it crispy and delicious, and it uses nothing more than hot air to do so.
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How do air fryers work?
An air fryer is a small, self-enclosed countertop appliance. You can also find air fryers built into ranges. An air fryer uses convection fans to rapidly circulate hot air all around food that’s placed in a fryer basket. The rapid air flow surrounds the food, cooks it quickly, and makes it crisp in the process.
Air frying will cook your food so it’s crispy, but it’s not the same as deep frying. With deep-frying, your food is submerged in a vat of oil, while air fryers use little to no oil and the fry basket to cook your food.
It’s important to note that an air fry small appliance or range with air fry is not just a convection oven with a fry basket either. Air fry does use convection fans to rapidly circulate hot air, but the process happens in a smaller environment and it’s much faster than baking in an oven.
Air fryer benefits
There are many benefits to having an air fryer in your kitchen, and they are different sizes of air fryers so you can find the perfect fit for your family.
Health benefits of an air fryer
When you use an air fryer to cook your food instead of a deep fryer, you lose the fat and calories you would gain from all the oil you would dip your food in. Everything from chicken strips to French fries or battered vegetables will cook in an air fryer, and because you use little to no oil, the food you make in an air fryer is healthier for you than deep-fried food.
Air fryers are easy to use
Whether you’re making appetizers for the family or you’d just like to test out a few new recipes for air fryers, you’ll always find your air fryer is easy to use. The compact countertop design means it can sit neatly in a corner of your counter or store in your cabinet, and most air fryers have easy-to-use one-touch menus that take the guesswork out of everything you cook.
Air fryers are also safer to use than traditional deep fryers. Because a deep fryer heats a vat of oil to boiling, you may splatter oil when submerging your food. With an air fryer, your food slides into the appliance and the lid stays closed, so any heat stays inside the fryer. Because you don’t need to use hot oil, you don’t get oil splatter.
If you’d like to know how easy it is to use an air fryer, take a look at a few reviews of the latest models.
You’ll be proud to have an air fryer in your kitchen
An air fryer is a small appliance you’ll be proud to have in your kitchen. With their modern style, sleek LCDs, and compact size, your air fryer will look great on your counter no matter what type of decor you love in your kitchen.
Air fryers are fast and fun
If you need a plate of chicken strips for a crowd, you’ll love having an air fryer in your kitchen. The best air fryers will have your food on the table in 15 minutes or less, and because they cook so quickly and efficiently, you can make multiple dishes in no time.
You won’t have to hover over your air fryer when it’s cooking either. You can set a timer, walk away, and come back to crispy, delicious food.
What to cook in an air fryer
Most people think of chicken strips and French fries when they think of frying food, but when you have an air fryer, the sky is the limit to what you can cook.
Baked potatoes, pork chops, fried chicken, and calzones will cook perfectly in an air fryer, both from fresh or frozen. If you like crispy bacon, an air fryer will ensure it is done to perfection. You can make standard pub-style appetizers including mozzarella sticks, potato skins, and jalapeno poppers, or whip up a batch of deep-fried pickles for friends. Air fryers can also be great for reheating fried food leftovers.
Non-battered foods like salmon and vegetables also cook well in an air fryer, and you can even make dessert in an air fryer. Chocolate chip cookies can be whipped up for a quick snack, and you can also make churro bites, donuts, and more.
What features to look for in an air fryer
Purchasing an air fryer is exciting because you’ll have a small appliance that can make delicious, crispy food in no time at all. There are a few things you will want to take into consideration when purchasing your own air fryer.
Sizes of air fryers
A countertop air fryer is available in different shapes and sizes, and you can choose between a 6-quart air fryer, 8-quart air fryer, or a 10-quart air fryer. You’ll find standalone air fryers that are compact, dome, or cube-shaped, and will make meals for one, two, or the entire family.
Multi-function air fryers
If you have limited space in your kitchen or you love small appliances that can perform multiple functions, you’ll love having a multi-function air fryer. A multi-function air fryer is an appliance with the air fry feature built-in. Often these appliances will also let you grill, roast, and bake as well
An example of a multi-function air fryer is a toaster oven with air fryer or microwave with air fryer. Some microwaves and toaster ovens have an air fryer as well as a convection oven, so your appliance can take on the work of three appliances in one.
Do you need a 10-quart air fryer?
The capacity of your air fryer will be important, especially if you make large meals for a family or party-sized plates of appetizers. Many of the best air fryers have less than 0.20 cu.ft. capacity and can cook approximately 2 to 5 lbs of food. A 10-quart air fryer like the Instant Pot Vortex Plus air fryer oven has a larger food capacity and can cook 1.4kg of food at one time. That works out to two bags of French fries or an entire chicken, all at once. This model also combines an oven and an air fryer which offers more versatility.
Settings on your air fryer
An air fryer is easy to use because most models have settings or programs you can use to cook your food perfectly. If you look at air fryer reviews, you’ll see that top-rated air fryers have visual pre-sets for foods you’ll most often cook, lights that indicate when your food is ready, and easy-to-use dials to adjust the temperature up and down as needed.
Some models of air fryer have touchscreens. The Instant Pot air fryer has 7 pre-programmed settings for one-touch cooking of french fries, chicken, and bacon, as well as 14 simple controls on the touchscreen.
Other features you may choose for your air fryer
The basket is the most important part of your new appliance, so you’ll want to ensure that it is dishwasher safe or easy to wash in the sink. Some models have baskets that sit on two levels so you can make two types of food at once.
Dehydrator air fryers
If you love to dehydrate foods for snacks and storage, you can choose an air fryer with a dehydrate function. With a dehydrating air fryer, you can use your small appliance to dehydrate fruit slices or make jerky.
Take the next step
An air fryer gives you the versatility to cook all types of foods that taste deep-fried, but you can skip the fat and extra calories added by oil for healthy cooking alternatives. You’ll find all types of air fryers including budget-friendly air fryers or family-size air fryers. Whichever you choose, your first meal in your air fryer will make you wonder how you ever managed without one.
You’ll find all types of air fryers on Best Buy.