If you haven’t yet invested in an air fryer, what are you waiting for? I grabbed one last year and have never looked back. Air fryers are versatile and useful small appliances for so many reasons, making them a worthwhile investment for your kitchen. The best air fryer is a perfect gift for a friend or family member, especially those who are often strapped for time.
What can you cook in an air fryer?
Air fryers really can do just about anything in the kitchen. You can cook, reheat, and crisp up a variety of foods in an air fryer, including right from frozen, whether it’s frozen chicken nuggets, wings, pizza, or French fries, as well as fish, marinated or dry-rubbed pork chops, chicken breasts, and more. The value in using an air fryer is that, unlike with deep frying, you don’t have to use loads of oil, and can even get away without using any. Yet you still get the same crispy results. This means meals are healthier with less fat and grease.
Many air fryers aren’t just for frying foods: they are also ideal for baking as well as reheating leftovers as an alternative to the microwave or oven. There’s no preheat time and you use less energy and electricity, plus generate less heat since you aren’t turning the oven on just to reheat last night’s spring rolls and dumplings.
There are also dual-function air fryers that serve as two small appliances in one, ideal if you’re looking to save space. These include air fryer microwave ovens, a great upgrade to your old, outdated, and inefficient microwave, air fryer smart ovens, and air fryer toaster ovens.
How do you use an air fryer?
Air fryers are super easy to use, comparable to a microwave or toaster oven. Place your items on or in the tray, spraying a bit of cooking oil first if desired to prevent sticking. Press a few buttons and you’re off to the races.
Some come with preset buttons for the most commonly cooked/fried items, so you can get a frozen pizza or fresh spice-rubbed chicken wings done in a flash, literally at the push of a single button.
Clean-up typically involves wiping down the tray or washing a drip tray if there is one, and you’re done!
What should you look for in an air fryer?
The biggest consideration with an air fryer is size. While I love my air fryer, it’s small which means if I want to make fried chicken legs for dinner, I can only make 4-5 at a time, which can be time-consuming when cooking for my hungry family. You want to ensure that not only will the air fryer fit nicely on the countertop (this is an appliance that needs a permanent home on the counter) but also that the interior space is large enough to accommodate your family’s needs.
Check the capacity for food, don’t just judge by the exterior size as some air fryers are smaller inside than you might think. Consider what you might want to make and if it has room for multiple servings to feed the whole family. Having multiple racks so you can cook two types of foods separately, like chicken nuggets and French fries or roast chicken and crisp veggies is useful if you think you’d often be making full meals in the fryer. And a dual function model that can air fry and replace your microwave or toaster oven, for example, could be the perfect match for your needs.
Another consideration is power. The more powerful the air fryer, the more efficiently and quickly it will be able to cook a wide variety of food. If you plan to use it a lot, and for homemade dishes beyond just frozen and reheating, consider looking for one that has a higher wattage and can handle any task you throw at it.
Which are the best air fryers of the year?
There are air fryers of all shapes and sizes from brands like Ninja, Instant Pot, Insignia, Philips, and T-fal. For a single individual, couple, or small family with minimal space in your kitchen, a model like the Instant Pot air fryer lid might be a great option since it works with an Instant Pot you already have and sits neatly atop the appliance when not in use. Just keep in mind it can only make small batches at once. If you’re a fan of Instant Brands products, the company also makes a full-sized air fryer that is well-reviewed and popular among home cooks.
Philips is one of the leaders in this space with its air fryers consistently ranking tops in reviews, but there are plenty of other options, like the Bella Pro touchscreen air fryer we reviewed earlier this year, and the Cuisinart 3-in-1 microwave air fryer oven I had the pleasure of testing at the beginning of the summer. If you’re looking for a microwave replacement, it’s a great option to consider.
The best air fryer for your family or home will be a perfect size, have simple controls with preset buttons you’d use, be easy to clean, and come in at an affordable price. And there are tons of models that fit the bill, and many air fryers on sale, that are worth checking out for you or a special someone.
Check out a wide selection of air fryers and more online at Bestbuy.ca.