Air fryer recipes are being developed on a daily basis, but what exactly is an air fryer and most importantly is it worthwhile to have one in your house? An air fryer uses the convection mechanism to circulate hot air around food so that it gets heated. It also uses a tiny amount of oil in the process and some people say it is simply a smaller version of the customary convection oven.
What is an Air Fryer & Why is it popular so much?
An air fryer basically works through the convention. Think of it like convection oven which has been amped up for greater efficiency. Moreover, since it has a compact space, it can cook even faster. At the top of the air fryer, we have a heating mechanism and a fan.
You then place your food in the compact space where hot air rushes down and circulates around the food which is normally placed in a type of basket that is unique to air fryers. This rapid circulation of hot air makes the food placed in the fryer-style basket crispy similar to what you get when you deep fry food.
Knowing that you understand what an air fryer is and what it does, it is also essential to learn about the benefits and potential downfalls of having an air fryer. One can also choose to compare them to deep fat fryers to gauge which one is better. Fortunately, we will do this for you in the section below so that you can have a better understanding of the merits and demerits of air fryers so that when you decide to invest in one, you will know what to expect.
Advantages of Air Fryer
1. Easy to clean
An air fryer is easy to clean up since it has dishwasher-safe parts. These parts are the basket, the tray and the pan which are washed similar to how you do to other dishes: with soap and hot water. Apart from this, you may need to use a comfortable bristle brush to keep your air fryer sparkling all the time. You can also choose to use a dishwasher although you will first have to check the instruction manual of your model for safety purposes. Then proceed by drying each part completely before assembling the air fryer again.
Furthermore, since air fryers do not use a lot of oil, the process of cleaning is made simpler. In most cases, one only needs to use hot water, washing soap and some elbow grease to get the job done. Apart from As compared to deep fat fryers which get extremely messy when cooking thus making the cooking process more complicated since one uses a lot of oil, air fryers are very easy to clean.
2. Safer to use
As compared to other cooking devices, air fryers are safer since they are self-contained cooking appliances that ensure that the user is protected from the heating element and any form of oil that may splatter when cooking. As compared to the customary deep fryers which splatter and burn anything in their immediate vicinity, air fryers ensure that the immediate space is safe and no one gets burned. Considering that they use hot oil that is more than three hundred degrees Fahrenheit, this is very good.
feature to consider when investing in a cooking appliance. Moreover, apart from mitigating the risk of personal injury, air fryers have little chance of starting fires which can lead to damage of property and sometimes even death.
The main reason for their safety is that they come with auto-shutdown safety features so that when the timer is done, they immediately turn off. This ensures that the food does not get burnt or dried out but also that when the timer hits, the air fryer will turn off. This is a huge plus as compared to convection ovens and grills which do not have such a safety feature.
Also Read: Best Air Fryers in India (2020)
3. Air fryers are economical to use
Cooking oil is an expensive commodity especially in the instance when you need to use a gallon or more to cook either for a friend, guests or even colleagues from work.
To cook food with a countertop deep fryer, you will need to purchase a gallon or so of cooking oils which can be a tad bit expensive and this is where an air fryer comes in since it uses a very little amount of oil.
Sure, some of you might argue that cooking oil is reusable but you can only use it for a couple of times before it goes rancid. Once this happens, you will have no option but to get rid of it and buy new cooking oil for your deep fryer.
Another point to consider on the economic front is the amount of power used. Deep fryers need a significant amount of power so that they can operate. Contrastingly, air fryers are economical since they do not take a long time to get the heated meaning that they will require less power to operate. All in all, air fryers are inexpensive and more convenient to use as compared to other kitchen appliances used for cooking.
4. Use less oil for cooking
As established earlier, traditional deep fryers can utilize up to a gallon of cooking oil when operating at full capacity. Contrastingly, air fryers can use even as little oil as a tablespoon depending on the food you are cooking or the recipe you are using.
The advantages of using less oil are numerous. First and foremost, it is economical and cheap meaning that you will not have to spend large sums of money purchasing cooking oil. Secondly, it makes the job of cleaning the air fryer much easy. Too much oil makes deep fryers messier and thus very difficult to clean. Thirdly, cooking with less oil means that you will eat fewer calories which makes it all the healthier to cook using an air fryer.
However, it is advisable to use an oil sprayer or mister when cooking using an air fryer so that you can coat the food with oil properly.
5. Food cooked with an air fryer has fewer calories and fats
When cooking with an air fryer, you will need to factor in that one tablespoon of commonly used cooking oil only has about one twenty calories and ten to fourteen grams of fat. Depending on the type of oil you are using, this translates to fewer calories when using an air fryer.
When cooking with an air fryer, you only need to use a tablespoon or so of cooking oil. We can then safely say that one’s intake of calories will be lower when using an air fryer are compared to food prepared using a deep fryer. It also means that you will get fried, tasty, textured and crunchy food all without having to intake large amounts of calories.
When cooking using a deep fryer, the food is fully submerged in cooking oil which means that it will absorb a lot of oil, which approximately adds up to two hundred and forty calories or twenty-five grams of fat. This extra fat may make the food tastier but it comes at a huge cost to your overall health.
6. They do not take up much space in your kitchen
Typical air fryers are 1 foot cubed which is a relatively small size for a cooking appliance in your kitchen. To put this into perspective, they are only a little bit bigger than a typical coffee maker but in essence smaller than a toaster oven.
Their small sizes come with several advantages. For one, they are small enough to be tucked away in a pantry when they are not in use and if you decide to leave it at the countertop, they will not take up much space.
The main difference with a countertop deep fryer is that it has a basket for cooking that sticks out at the front. This takes away their aesthetic features and so most people prefer to always keep their deep fryers in the pantry every time they are not in use.
Drawbacks of Air Fryer
1. Food cooked in an air fryer tastes different as compared to food that is deep-fried.
You may have noticed that healthier foods taste different from food that is less healthy. This concept, unfortunately, is also applicable when it comes to air fryers. Food prepared by air fryers tastes different as compared to food that has been deep-fried.
There is a simple explanation for all this. By now you know that air fryers use less oil as compared to deep fryers. The implication is that when cooking, the food will absorb less oil and the lack of fat makes the food taste different and in most instances, less tasty.
It is also common for the food to be drier especially in cases when preparing food, you choose not to use cooking oil.
2. It is almost impossible to make crunchy food when using an air fryer.
When one is using a deep fryer, the food is fully dipped and submerged in oil which ensures that every part of the food is in contact with the oil. This ends up producing well-cooked and crunchy food.
Air fryers may be innovative, economical and all that but for people who have grown up with crunchy and deep-fried food, the use of air fryers may not bond well with their palates. This is because they already have an expectation of what “real food” looks and tastes like and adding a new regime of air fryer foods may not be a piece of cake.
The thing is that air fried foods don’t always have the crunchy feel and taste of deep-fried food. Even when you decide to use more oil or cook for longer periods, it does not change anything. This is something that most people don’t appreciate and one has to compromise on the many merits of cooking with an air fryer and decide whether they need to buy one.
3. They take longer to cook as compared to other traditional cooking appliances.
Air fryers on average take a little bit more time to make your meal. As compared to a deep fryer, some may take two to three-time longer to make your meal. This is because their cooking mechanism relies on convection currents of hot air flowing in and around the food.
The circulation of hot air cannot compare to boiling cooking oil. It is not as efficient in transferring heat in and around the food as compared to steaming, boiling cooking oil which is used in deep fryers. So you will find that when using an air fryer and another person is using a deep fryer, you will have to wait longer for your food to be ready.
On the other hand, it is important to consider the safe and hands-off cooking mechanism of your air fryer. You do not need to turn your food and you can even turn on the timer which lets you know when the food is ready.
4. Air Fryers are a bit expensive.
Whether the price is high is a matter of perspective and it is debatable but to buy some of the high functioning air fryers, you will need to part with a significant amount of your money. Although some deep fryers may also incur you huge sums, since air fryers are new to the market, they can be a little bit more expensive.
We hope that this review of the merits and demerits of air fryers has been helpful and interesting. Air fryers are innovative and easy to use cooking appliances for your daily use. As compared to conventional ovens and deep fryers, they are more efficient, easy to use and present the user with myriad advantages in comparison to this traditional cooking appliance. Sure some may argue that the food does not taste and feel crunchy but this point is outweighed by the health benefits you get from using an air fryer.