Air frying is an interesting concept. Before I knew how it really works, I kept wondering how a kitchen appliance can use very little oil to come up with the same results as deep frying.
I finally learned that air frying is not really frying. For you to fry anything, you have to dip it in oil. You can’t use a tablespoon of oil and claim that you have fried whatever it is you were making.
However, an air fryer gives you the crispy crunch taste that you would get from deep frying. I particularly love making chicken and fries in the air fryer. I get to enjoy the amazing taste without feeling guilty about the calories I have consumed.
The texture and taste of food made in the air fryer are pretty much the same as the one that is deep fried.
How an air fryer works
Air fryers are quite similar to countertop ovens. Air fryers have a fan and a heating element. The fan blows air around in a cooking chamber thus transmitting hot air around the food. The air fryer’s cooking chamber radiates heat from the heating element.
The air fryer has an opening at the top that takes in air. It also has an exhaust at the back which removes undesired hot air from the air fryer and generally controls its temperature. Different air fryers can handle different temperatures. However, most can go up to 445 degrees Fahrenheit.
They also have timers and temperature adjustments. The temperature adjustments allow you to cook error-free. You can easily adjust the temperature while preparing different meals.
Air fryers have a cooking basket. This is where all the food is cooked. The cooking basket is usually placed on top of a dip tray. Excess oil usually drips onto the tray and may sometimes cause the air fryer to smoke if you used excess oil.
While cooking, you have to shake the contents of the cooking basket every few minutes to ensure that the food cooks evenly. Some air fryers a food agitator to do this for you, but if yours doesn’t, you’ll have to do it manually.
Air fryers don’t really have a big capacity. The biggest I have seen so far can only handle a capacity of 6 liters and the smallest has a capacity of 2 liters. Their prices vary depending on their models.
Air fryers emit less heat compared to countertop ovens. I prefer using it so if I am preparing anything that can be cooked in the air fryer, I don’t use the oven.
Are all air fryers the same?
Air fryers are different. Different brands of air fryers in the market come with different features and designs. However, they use the same technique to cook food.
Some air fryers are better than others because they cook food evenly while others don’t. The more expensive the air fryer, the better it cooks.
I suggest that you invest in a good air fryer to get the best possible results of air frying.
Must I use oil while air frying?
Most recipes require that you use oil while air frying. However, there are a few that you may not need to use any oil.
Using oil while air frying is totally dependent on the recipe that you are using. If your recipe does not mention any use of oil, don’t panic.
Your food will still taste as good as it should. However, if it is cooked and you still feel it could use some oil, you can add some olive oil to it.
Can I use an air fryer for anything else other than frying?
Air fryers have a few other uses that are usually ignored. If you can make it in the oven, you can probably make it in the air fryer too.
Most people don’t know that you can use the air fryer for baking and roasting as well. However, the end result might not be the same as the ones you get while using an oven. The taste will still be good though.
I have used my air fryer to bake muffins several times. They don’t rise the same way they would in an oven but the taste is still amazing.
Corndogs also cook pretty well in the air fryer, especially when dipped in a thick batter. Same to Oreos.
I like making roasted veggies in the air fryer because it gives them that crunchy crispy taste that I always want. I’d choose to make roasted veggies in the air fryer over making them in the oven any day.
Pros of air fryers
Air fryers have multiple benefits as long as they are used correctly. Listed are a few benefits of using an air fryer.
- Promotes weight loss
If you want to lose weight but you have a problem letting go of fried foods, an air fryer is just what you need.
Research shows that by swapping deep fried foods with air fried foods, one can lose weight. Air fried foods do not contain as many calories as deep fried foods.
- They are safer compared to deep fryers
Air fryers do not require you to heat so much oil before frying your food. In fact, most of the time you will only use one tablespoon of oil. You will not spill, splash or accidentally touch any hot oil. This makes air fryers quite safe.
- Using an air fryer helps cut the fat content
If you use an air fryer, you will substantially cut the fat content in your food. Considering the fact that you only use one tablespoon of oil while air frying, you use 50 times that amount of oil while deep frying.
Your food still has the same texture and taste that it would have when deep fried.
- Air fryers reduce the risk of formation of toxic acrylamide
Acrylamide is a toxic chemical substance that forms when you cook food at very high temperatures especially while deep frying, baking, or roasting. It causes certain cancers to develop. Using an air fryer reduces the risk of the formation of acrylamide.
- Using air fryers reduces the risk of contracting certain diseases.
For the longest time, obesity has been linked to eating deep-fried foods. Substituting them with air fried foods reduces the risk of contracting obesity.
- You get to cook healthier meals that still taste fantastic
Air fried foods have a very low calorie content. This makes them healthier. The results of air frying are quite similar to those of deep frying so you still enjoy the tasty meal that is healthy.
- Cooking in an air fryer is more efficient.
Air fryers cook food in just a few minutes. They do not use too much electricity and they also do not waste any energy during the cooking process.
Air fryers don’t heat up the kitchen as much as ovens do and you put in very little effort to prepare wholesome meals. This makes cooking in an air fryer quite efficient.
- Air fryers are versatile
Other than air frying, you can use an air fryer for baking, steaming, and roasting. It is a worthy investment in any kitchen because of its versatility.
- Air fryers do not take up a lot of kitchen space
An air fryer is a small kitchen appliance. Its size is the same as that of a coffee-maker. Some are even way smaller in size so they do not take up so much space on your kitchen counter.
- They are relatively easy to use.
Most air fryer models are designed in a way that makes them very easy to use. Anyone can use an air fryer.
All you have to do is set the temperature, time, and place the food in the basket. You may have to periodically shake the contents of the basket so that everything cooks evenly, but that’s just about it.
Your kids can even learn to make snacks in the air fryer.
Cons of an air fryer
- Air fryers that produce the best results are expensive
The quality of your air fryer greatly depends on how much you are willing to pay. Investing in a good brand is what will give you the best possible results.
Cheap brands tend to wear out quickly and also don’t produce the best results. They are not made from the best material
- They are not ideal for a large family
Air fryers are limited in terms of capacity. The largest air fryers have a capacity of 6 liters. They are best suited for small families. Most food needs to be cooked in batches because of it is quite small.
Do you need an air fryer?
An air fryer is not a necessary kitchen appliance. However, if your household has extra kitchen space and disposable income, there is absolutely no harm in purchasing one.
In fact, it is quite efficient. You would spend way less time cooking compared to when you use an oven. Some people argue that cooking with an air fryer gives you better flavor and texture.