Air fryers were launched on to the market in 2010 and have been slowly becoming popular in in home kitchens. In this post we are going to explain what an air fryer is, and what you can cook in one. We are also going to answer the question of, What’re the best air fryers?
What is an Air Fryer?
Released by Philips, an air fryer is a small convection oven designed to mimic the results of deep frying with hot air and a tiny amount of oil. The great thing about this, is that you get the taste and texture of deep fried foods, but without all the fat and the extra calories.
How does an Air Fryer Work?
An air fryer works using superheated air flowing around the food to convert tiny amounts of moisture into mist. It has an extra-hot cooking chamber, that lets dry heat penetrate the food from the outside in. This process results in a chemical reaction known as the Maillard effect, which occurs between an amino acid and a reduction of sugar in the presence of heat. This gives it the familiar crispy texture food you get with a normal deep fat fryer.
Most air fryers don’t need oil to work. However, a couple of teaspoons of oil improves the texture and flavour of air-fried food. Oil isn’t completely necessary, but the advantage of the air fryer is that it only needs a small amount when you do use it.
Any oil you do add, helps everything to brown, caramelise and go extra crispy. Compared to the amount of oil used in deep frying the amount you’ll use in an air fryer is practically nothing.
What can you cook in an Air Fryer?
In an air fryer, you can cook just about anything you would prepare in an oven or deep fryer. The most common foods to cook in an air fryer are, frozen fries, breaded chicken or fish, and frozen onion rings. Have a look at the tabs below for examples of tasty things to cook in your air fryer.
Thinly sliced vegetables fry nice and crispy in an air fryer. These homemade crisps use much less oil than when they are deep fried, cutting calories and fat.
Simply thinly slice a sweet potato, beetroot and parsnip.
- Place the vegetable slices in a large bowl of cold water; soak for 20 minutes. Drain and pat dry with paper towels.
- Return the vegetable slices to the dried bowl. Add oil, salt and pepper; toss gently to coat.
- Lightly coat air-fryer basket with cooking spray. Place just enough of the vegetable slices in the basket to form a single layer. Cook at 350°F until cooked through and crispy, about 15 minutes, flipping and rearranging into a single layer every 5 minutes. Using tongs, carefully remove the crisps from the air fryer to a plate. Repeat with the remaining veggies.
- Let the crisps cool for 5 minutes; serve immediately or cool completely and store in an airtight plastic container for up to 3 days.
Roasting a turkey breast in the air fryer yields perfectly cooked, moist and juicy meat on the inside with a beautiful deep golden brown skin.
- Turkey breast, on the bone with skin
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 teaspoons kosher
- 1/2 tablespoon dry turkey or poultry seasoning
- Rub 1/2 tablespoon of oil all over the turkey breast. Season both sides with salt and turkey seasoning then rub in the remaining half tablespoon of oil over the skin side.
- Preheat the air fryer 350F and cook skin side down 20 minutes, turn over and cook until the internal temperature is 160F using an instant-read thermometer about 30 to 40 minutes more depending on the size of your breast. Let is rest 10 minutes before carving.
Air Fried Sweet Potato Dessert Fries! This healthier, refined sugar free dessert recipe is made with sweet potatoes that have a sweet cinnamon coating. Gluten free with vegan, dairy free, and low carb options.
- 2 medium sweet potatoes and/or yams peeled (see notes for low carb option)
- Half a tablespoon of coconut oil.
- 1 tablespoon arrowroot starch or cornstarch
- Optional 2 tsp melted butter (for coating)
- 1/4 cup coconut sugar or raw sugar
- 1 to 2 tablespoons cinnamon
- Optional powdered sugar for dusting
Peel your sweet potatoes and wash them with clean water, then dry.
Slice peeled sweet potatoes lengthwise, 1/2 inch thick.
Toss your sweet potato slices in 1/2 tbsp coconut oil and arrowroot starch (or cornstarch)
Place in air fryer for 18 minutes at 370F. Shake halfway at 8-9 minutes.
Remove the fries from the air fryer and place in large bowl. Drizzle 2 tsp optional butter on top of fries. Then mix in cinnamon and sugar and toss fries together again.
Place on plate to serve, sprinkle with powdered sugar.
Serve fries with dipping sauce of choice (see notes). To store, keep fries wrapped in foil and in fridge. Then reheat in oven again to warm before serving. Should keep for 2-3 days.
Click here to see loads more Air Fryer recipes from Cookinglight.com
What CAN'T you cook in an Air Fryer?
You can’t make anything with a liquid batter (unless you freeze it first). Also, you also can’t make anything in large quantities, so if you’re feeding a family, you will need to cook in batches.
Benefits of using an Air Fryer?
Air Fryers Reduce Fat Content
Deep-frying food results in it having a higher fat content than foods prepared using other cooking methods.
For example, a fried chicken breast has roughly 30% more fat than the same amount of roasted chicken.
Some air fryer manufacturers claim that their machines cut the fat content of fried food by up to 75%, thanks to the reduced amount of oil used.
This reduction in fat can have a major positive impact on your health. High intake of vegetable oil fat has been associated with an increased risk heart disease.
An Air Fryer Can Help With Weight Loss
Deep-fried foods aren’t just higher in fat, but they’re also higher in calories and may contribute to weight gain.
If you’re looking to lose weight, swapping your deep-fried foods for air-fried foods can be a good place to start.
Air-fried foods are lower in fat than deep-fried products, switching to an air fryer may be an easy way to cut calories and promote weight loss.
Cooking with an Air Fryer can reduce your intake of harmful compounds
Frying food can create potentially dangerous compounds
One example is Acrylamide, which is a compound formed in carbohydrate-rich foods during high-heat cooking. This is a probable carcinogen, which means it is linked to the development of cancer.
Air-frying your food instead of using a deep fryer may help lower the acrylamide content of your fried foods. However, it is possible for other harmful compounds to still be formed during air-frying.
Are Air Fryers Worth Buying?
An air fryer is a pretty cool kitchen gadget. To cook up things like french fries or chicken nuggets, you can’t beat an air fryer. This is because the results are much better than cooking them in oven. While it does a reasonably good job of cooking other meats and vegetables, it really shines at mock deep frying.
What to look for in an Air Fryer?
Before you buy your new air fryer, there are three main things to consider.
The size and capacity of an air fryer is the first thing to consider. This is because some models are so big, you will struggle to fit it on your kitchen work or to store.
An air fryer’s capacity is also important, because some are designed for preparing smaller snacks, while some are designed for preparing large amounts of food.
2. Air Fryer Settings
The important settings you need on an air fryer are temperature settings. This is so you can have full control and cook lots of different dishes.
It is also important to see what mode settings it has. This is because some dishes are best cooked dry and some need a little oil. Therefore, you need to make sure your air fryer can do both.
4. Additional Features
Check out the fryer’s features. For example, some air fryers can make multiple dishes at a time, while others just one. Also, some air fryers are best for cooking fish and meat, while others are best for cooking other meals.
We recommend the Tefal Actifry, as we believe it to be the best on the market. Click here to see our review.
Do you fancy buying an air fryer? Let us know your thoughts and questions in the comments section below.
Tips for using an Air Fryer
We have found some great tips for using an air fryer from Buzzfeed.
- Preheat your air fryer before adding your food.
- Grease your air fryer with oil so nothing sticks.
- But don’t use non-stick aerosol spray, as it can damage your air fryer.
- Add water to the air fryer drawer when cooking fatty foods to stop it smoking.
- Use the drippings for gravy.
- Shake the basket a few times while cooking, to make sure the food cooks evenly.
- Don’t over fill
- Don’t stack large items, such as pork chops, or they won’t cook properly.
- For messy foods, such as chicken wings. Lay them on foil, to make cleaning up easier.
- Give your air fryer at least five inches of space. This is because it needs good air flow to work properly.
- Use your air fryer to toast nuts.
- Mix your seasoning with il before adding it to your food. This stops your salt and pepper blowing around inside the air fryer.
- Clean your air fryer after every use.
- Use your air fryer for desserts too. Cakes, brownies and doughnuts are really easy to make in an air fryer.