After a long day at work, chores, errands, and more, the last thing you want to do on a weeknight is spend hours in the kitchen preparing a meal. Who has the time? This is precisely why so many families opt for quick and easy meals they can just reheat, or just order take-out on those especially busy evenings. If you’re looking to ease the burden for busy parents, consider giving them an air fryer as the perfect holiday gift this season. Why would an air fryer be a perfect gift? Here are some reasons they’re worth considering.
Make healthier versions of comfort foods
The initial appeal for many when it comes to an air fryer is their ability to make food we’d traditionally deep fry in large amounts of oil in a much healthier way, using very little oil or sometimes even none at all. This eliminates lots of calories, fat, and cholesterol. Some air fryers even have technology that further removes excess fat. It’s this promise of being able to chow down on greasy (or not so greasy) French fries, chicken nuggets, and fried fish that has everyone salivating at the idea of an air fryer. And that is a worthwhile advantage.
Rather than parents feeling tempted to drive through a fast food restaurant to grab dinner, they can rest easy knowing they can cut up fresh potatoes, toss them with a bit of oil and salt, pop them into the air fryer, then have dinner or snacks on the table by the time they’re done helping the kids with homework. Meanwhile, parents can also use the weekends to whip up big batches of things like homemade (and healthier) chicken nuggets that older kids can pop into the air fryer themselves if they need a quick dinner on nights you’re running late.
Allows for faster cooking
Air fryers work by using convection fans to quickly circulate hot air around the food, cooking it quickly while also keeping it nice and crisp. Just like you can cook or re-heat food more quickly in an oven using the convection setting, an air fryer works on the same principles of even heat coming from every angle versus just the top or bottom to provide heat. And because air fryers are much smaller than ovens with large cubic-foot capacities, the foods cooks even faster. So even if you can’t cook as much food at a time, since food cooks quickly, you can easily have a variety of appetizers set out for guests, or dinner on the table for the family, in a half hour or less.
Make a variety of dishes
Air fryers might seem like they’re just for making the most obvious fried foods, like chicken wings, fish sticks, nuggets, and fries. But they can actually be used to cook a variety of foods, giving dishes a nice, crispy texture. I have made salmon cakes, pork chops, and even donuts in my air fryer. You could also cook things like baked potatoes, vegetables, and more. And some of the bigger models have multiple levels for cooking two dishes at once, not only allowing you to make things quicker but also different items at the same time. Many air fryers come with recipe books that contain ideas on what you can cook. In some cases, you can get accessories like a rotisserie rod or skewer to make specific things as well.
They are easy to clean
Many air fryers come with baskets that you can pop right into the dishwasher or that are at least easy to remove and wash in the sink. Most of them have easily removable parts that can be washed in the top rack of the dishwasher or by hand. The exterior, meanwhile, can be wiped down with a damp cloth to keep it shining on your counter.
Give the oven a break
Whether it’s to save electricity in the home or avoid adding extra heat on a humid summer day by opening and closing the oven door or frying foods on the stovetop, using an air fryer means you can give the oven a break from time to time. Keep in mind that air fryers don’t just fry food – many of them have other modes for baking, grilling, and roasting, so you can give the oven a break from time to time, or have a pie baking in the oven while the air fryer takes care of dinner.
You can ‘set and forget’
For the same reason I love my Instant Pot, an air fryer is a “set and forget” small appliance you can pop food into then go about getting other things down, whether it’s chores, helping kids with homework, or changing into your comfortable sweatpants for the evening. It’s not a pot you have to watch on the stove or a timer you have to listen for in the oven. When the cook is done, it’s done. And you can grab it when you’re ready.
Get crispier food when reheating
Interestingly, one of the things I love most about my air fryer is its ability to reheat food much more quickly than the oven, and with much crispier results than in the microwave. When we ordered Chinese take-out for the first time after getting the air fryer, then reheated leftover chicken balls in it the next day for lunch, we were floored by how crispy they were. They tasted even better the second day! Not only can you reheat leftovers super quickly, without having to worry about preheat times or using an excessive amount of electricity, you’ll also get a nice, crispy exterior.
Quick and easy for frozen foods
For those nights when you don’t have any gas left in the tank and dinner is just going to be frozen chicken nuggets and mozzarella sticks (don’t feel guilty – we’ve all been there!), an air fryer still manages to make the job easier. You don’t have to heat up the oven, wait for it to preheat, lay the items on a baking tray (that you’ll later need to clean), then cook for the specified time. You can just pop what you want into the air fryer, set it, and pour yourself that glass of wine or enjoy a relaxing board game night while waiting for the food to cook quickly and efficiently.
They are easy to use
Air fryers don’t take up a lot of room on the counter and they are super easy to use, so even someone who isn’t a great cook can confidently make something in it without having to deal with the seemingly complex knobs and buttons of an oven. Many have one-touch menus that are pretty self-explanatory, along with pre-set modes for cooking different types of food. A light goes on when cooking begins and turns off when it’s done. Use the dial, buttons, or touchscreen to adjust the temperature. They are also much safer than a traditional deep fryer since you won’t get oil splattering up by your face as the food sizzles.
Any busy parent would appreciate having an air fryer at home. While they might not initially think they need, or could even use one, once they get familiar with how an air fryer works and realize all of the time and effort they can save, they’ll be thanking you and recommending one to everyone they know. An air fryer is a perfect holiday gift that, quite literally, keeps giving all year long.
Find a wide selection of air fryers at Best Buy Online.