One of the things I always looked forward to when eating out is fried food. If you don’t have a deep fryer at home and you bake your chicken fingers, fries, or wings in an oven, you don’t get the same crunch and flavour as you would in a pub or restaurant. Thankfully, I’ve discovered that an air fryer is the best way to cook pub-style food at home, and it’s healthier because it cooks without added oil.
I’ve been testing the Insignia Air Fryer Oven for a week and I’ve loved using it. Here’s how it works and what I cooked up this week.
Appearance and features of Insignia Air Fryer Oven
- Grill, roast, bake, toast, dehydrate and fry with little to no oil
- The interior is aluminum plated steel plate
- Uses high-speed hot air circulation technology to ensure everything you cook is crispy and delicious
- Three rack positions to cook multiple dishes at the same time
- Has rotisserie to cook whole chicken quickly and evenly
- Window and light lets you see inside while your food cooks
- Presets give you one-touch access to the best temps for cooking pizza, french fries, and more
- Touch controls easily change temperature, time, and other oven functions
How does an air fryer work?
An air fryer cooks your food until it’s crispy with little to no added oil. It does so because it uses high-speed hot air circulation in a small space, and it pushes hot air all around your food as it sits on the perforated rack. Unlike deep frying where you fully submerge your food in oil, an air fryer uses the force of the hot air to cook your food and makes it crispy and brown.
Air frying is healthier than deep-frying. I’ve never added oil to anything I’ve cooked in an air fryer and it’s always come out perfect. It’s the best way to get crispy, pub-style food at home, and you’d be really surprised at how many different dishes you can make in an air fryer.
What’s the difference between an air fryer and an air fryer oven?
The Insignia Air Fryer Oven isn’t an air fryer; it’s an air fryer oven. The biggest difference between the two is size. An air fryer oven is larger and has more capacity than an air fryer. Another difference is that air fryers have a basket you put food in, but an air fryer oven has a door that opens and functions like a toaster oven. Air fryer ovens are also made of materials like stainless steel, but air fryers are generally made of plastic.
Testing Insignia Air Fryer Oven
I have my own air fryer, but it only has a single air fryer basket and one level. It’s definitely more of an air fryer fit to cook for one or two people. That’s one of the first things I liked about the Insignia Air Fryer; it has three rack positions so you can cook different dishes or large quantities of one dish at the same time.
If you are going to cook something greasy like meat, be sure to insert the bottom plate. It catches any drips for easy cleanup.
Making french fries in Insignia Air Fryer
The true test of an air fryer, in my opinion, is how well it makes french fries. I almost never made fries at home because they never turn out in the oven. They came out fairly flat and occasionally mushy, even if I flipped them halfway in the cooking process.
I used the two racks to cook french fries in the Insignia Air Fryer and I could fit more than enough fries to feed my kids. There is a french fry preset you can tap to cook your fries, so all you have to do is tap the french fry button and the oven turns on at the exact temp and time you should cook your fries.
The oven will preheat before it starts counting down the time, so you don’t have to put your racks in right away. I usually do though, because the heat up time doesn’t hurt the food at all.
The Insignia Air Fryer set the time for fries at 400 degrees and 15 minutes. In my own air fryer, I found 400 degrees was a bit too hot so I turned the Insignia Air Fryer down to 375 just in case. After 15 minutes the fries were cooked, but they weren’t completely crispy. I put them back in for 5 minutes and they came out great.
The lesson for me was to trust the presets. I put another batch of french fries in the Insignia Air Fryer, tapped the preset, and let the oven do the work. At the end of 15 minutes, the fries on both levels were golden brown and delicious.
Pizza bread in the air fryer
When I was testing the Insignia Air Fryer I had a big pot of bolognese sauce I had just made. We were all craving pizza bread and dip so I thought I’d put pizza bread in the air fryer and see how it turned out.
After laying the pizza bread on the tray I put it in, tapped the pizza preset, and it started cooking. At the end of the time, I flipped the pizza bread up and checked the bottom. The crust was perfect. There were no uncooked spots and it was evenly brown. Everyone loved it. It definitely filled the void when we were missing some of our favourite restaurant food.
We tried a thin crust pizza in the air fryer too and the pizza was so good. Just like the pizza bread, the crust was perfectly cooked. We did think it would have been good to remove the pizza a few minutes before the timer went as the cheese was a bit too brown.
There is so much you can cook in an air fryer
The Insignia Air Fryer Oven also comes with parts to create a rotisserie inside the oven. You put your chicken on the rotisserie and it rotates it until it’s cooked. There is a preset for the rotisserie so you don’t have to guess what the best temperature is. I just used the rotisserie this week and my chicken came out great. It was a little larger than might have been optimal so it touched the top of the oven a few times, but overall it turned the way it was supposed to and it was done in 30 minutes.
Chickens strips, spring rolls, mozzarella sticks, and wings all come out great in the air fryer. I put in a batch of battered fish and it was so good. It was just as crispy as when we buy it at our local fish and chips spot, and there was no need to add oil. There is also a preset on the air fryer for cakes and cupcakes. I’ve read that you can make amazing brownies in an air fryer, so I can’t wait to try. Read my article about what you can make in an air fryer to find out how they turned out.
Reheat your fast food leftovers
It’s always disappointing when you’ve ordered from a delivery service and had your food delivered cold. Fast food is not great when the fries are cold, and the same goes for tempura or spring rolls. It’s also a waste of money because you tend to toss what you don’t eat.
You can use your air fryer to reheat fast food, and it comes out so great you’ll feel like you’re eating it at the restaurant. I used the Insignia Air Fryer to reheat french fries from Wendys and tempura and spring rolls from our local Sushi take-out. Instead of using the french fry preset, I tapped the reheat preset.
The result is fries that are ‘like new’ and I thought the spring rolls and tempura were even better than when I’ve had them hot in the restaurant.
Cleaning up the Insignia Air Fryer
The racks on the Insignia Air Fryer are easy to handle and easy to clean. After cooking I just wiped off excess crumbs with a paper towel and put the racks back inside. If you cook something greasy like a hamburger or steak you can remove the tray and give it a wash in the sink.
Should you choose the Insignia Air Fry Oven?
The Insignia Air Fryer is the perfect size for family dinners, and an air fryer is a great addition to your kitchen. You can cook so many dishes in it, and if you miss the taste of deep-fried food but don’t want healthier than deep-fried, an air fryer is a perfect alternative.
Air frying is so efficient, if you put two dishes in front of me I honestly couldn’t tell you what the difference was between deep-fried and air fried food. The deep-fried version might have the lingering taste of the oil, but if you just judged on how crispy and brown both dishes are, it would be hard to tell. It’s nice you can have a healthier alternative without losing the taste.
The Insignia Air Fryer is easy to use with its presets and touchscreen controls. It beeps when it’s done so you always know when it’s time to take the food out, and everything I cooked came out great.
You can find the Insignia Air Fryer Oven on Best Buy right now.