Question: How many times have you had something fried within the past 30 days? Most people will have something fried once, maybe twice a week. When you put it into perspective, that’s a lot of fat that you’re ingesting. All that fat equals empty calories and who knows how many pounds added to your waistline.
There’s no denying that fried food is absolutely delicious. There’s something incredibly comforting about enjoying a fresh bunch of French fries, a piece of fried chicken, or gooey mozzarella sticks. Sadly, these foods aren’t part of a healthy diet and if you consume too much fried foods, it could cause some serious health issues for you.
Before you start panicking and thinking that you can never have fried food again, you’ll be happy to know that it is possible to enjoy those foods without deep frying. When you use an appliance called an air fryer, you can enjoy your favorites without the excess fat and calories.
In this guide, we are going to break the lid off of the mystical world of air fryers. By the time you’re finished reading, we hope that you’ll have a better understanding of what air fryers are, how they work and the benefits of using one of these units instead of deep frying. We have a lot of ground to cover, so grab yourself a snack and get comfortable!
An air fryer is a small appliance that can be used to created dishes that are crispy on the outside and tender on the inside—much like your typical deep fat fried foods. The fryer is roughly the size of a juicer and while the devices have been around for some time, they are really becoming popular among those who are living a healthier lifestyle.
When you want to make cook something that is normally fried, you will place the food inside the air basket that is included with your device. The fryer uses a technology called “Rapid Air Technology.” What this technology does is it circulates superhot air around your food.
This technology is responsible for giving food like fish, fries, chicken, and so much more that desirable crispy texture and that golden brown color indicative of perfectly fried foods. When you use one of these fryers, you’re going to have about 75% less fat with your food than if you were to fry it the traditional way.
Maybe you’re still on the fence about which type of fryer you should go for: deep fryer or air fryer. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of choosing an air fryer:
Instead of using several cups of oil to cook with, you are only using a couple table spoons instead—sometimes you don’t even need that much!
Cooking with an air fryer is relatively simple. You don’t really have to keep a close eye on the unit while it cooks, unlike the deep fryers. To use these fryers, you can just press a few buttons and that’s it. Plus, if you choose a paddle type fryer, you don’t even have to check on the food or shake it as it cooks.
Not only is the cooking process automated with an air fryer, but it is as easy as pressing two buttons—the timer button and the temperature control button. Heck, there are some fryers where you can use a preset, making it only one button to press!
When you’re cooking with one of these units, you can cook the food in a fraction of the time as if you were to cook it on the stove, oven, or even a deep fryer. This is because the unit doesn’t need to be pre-heated and you can even put frozen food (fries, nuggets, and the like) right into the unit. A short time later, your food is done!
Unlike with deep frying where the oil can pop and seriously hurt you, an air fryer offers splatter free cooking. Also, there are safety measures on these units that will prevent them from becoming a hazard. For example, many models have an auto shutoff feature so your food doesn’t burn, but so the unit doesn’t over heat and become a fire hazard.
Also, these units tend to have non-slip feet, which ensures the machine isn’t going to slip and slide across the counter.
It goes without saying that when you cook with an air fryer, you are greatly reducing the amount of empty calories and unnecessary fat. By using one of these units, you can enjoy great fried food without the negative health effects.
As you do a bit of browsing on the internet for an air fryer, you will notice that there are two types of fryers:
Paddle-type air fryers give you the ability to “set it and forget it.” While we don’t recommend that you really just let the fryer run without checking on it from time to time, this type of fryer does give you the ability to tend to other things while the food is cooking. With these types of fryers, the food is going to be turned by the machine so you don’t have to do anything.
It’s worth noting that these units are versatile because they can also make saucy dishes like a curry or a risotto very easily.
With this type of air fryer, your food is going to be cooked in a basket that comes with your unit. The basket typically will have a handle so you can toss the food in intervals during the cooking process.
There are a few differences between a paddle-type and a basket type:
You’ll notice that when you are looking at the air fryers, there are three different ways the air circulates in the machine.
In the world of small kitchen appliances, you are going to find familiar brands putting their own spin on the air fryer. Here’s a look at some of our favorites:
Farberware has been a staple in the small kitchen appliance arena for more than 100 years. The company is known for creating durable products that are functional, affordable, and most importantly, durable. There are a few different models of the Farberware air fryer available, that range in price from as little as $80 to as much as $135.
The Power Air Fryer is a unit that you’ll typically see on infomercials at 2am and you can’t sleep. The fryer is endorsed by culinary expert, Eric Theiss. Theiss once was a chef and owns a fine dining establishment in West Chester, Pa. called Meritage. These fryers are often sold anywhere from $115 to as much as $255.
The NuWave Air Fryer is another unit that you may have seen advertised in a late night infomercial or o QVC. The Nuwave company doesn’t just focus on air fryers, as they offer countertop ovens, induction cooktops, and nonstick cookware as well.
The NuWave air fryer can set you back anywhere from $100 to $200, depending if you want accessory packages with your unit.
Philips is a very well-known and respected name in the industry. Not only does Philips make appliances for the kitchen, but they have sound and vision products, personal care, mother and child care products, and so much more. If ever there was a company that was a jack of all trades, it might be Philips.
The Philips air fryers range as little as $90 for a certified refurbished product, to as much as $300 for the largest option.
GoWise is a budget friendly company that creates products like the air fryer for those who are looking for all the features of more expensive brands without the high price tag. The GoWave company doesn’t just specialize in air fryers, as they also make accessories for the GoWave Air Fryer, scales, pressure cookers, flashlights, and so much more.
The air fryers that GoWise offers range from $100 to as much as $250.
Keeping your machine in good condition is important, especially if you’ve come to love using the machine and don’t want to spend a lot of money on a new one. Fortunately, caring for one of these handy gadgets is incredibly simple.
After each use, follow these steps to clean your fryer:
To maintain the life of your fryer, it is going to require that you do some regular maintenance, which includes:
Now that you know a lot about air fryers, let’s take a look at just a few recipes that you can make with these gadgets.
An air fryer very well may be the answer to your prayers if you’re trying to live healthier but you can’t seem to reconcile the fact that fried foods aren’t the best for you. With an air fryer, you can sate your fried food cravings without packing on the pounds. Not only can you make fried foods, but you can make a variety of other dishes too.
If ever you’re wondering what exactly you can make, most fryers come with a recipe book, but even if you choose one that doesn’t, there are countless free resources online that will give you some ideas.
With everything that we covered today, you might be interested in jumping onto the air fryer bandwagon. If that’s the case, welcome aboard! There are many different types of fryers out there and it can be a little daunting trying to choose which is the best air fryer for your needs.
Fortunately for you, we anticipated this and to help you out, we’ve created an air fryer buying guide that will help you figure out what to look for. We’ve also included a few mini-reviews of great options for your consideration!
Let us know in the comments below what made you want to ditch the deep fryer and opt for an air fryer!