Air fryers have taken the culinary world as a healthier alternative to a conventional oven when cooking deep-fried food. Does it live up to the hype, or is it just another gadget collecting dust in your kitchen?
We will cover these factors to consider when purchasing an air fryer:
- Whether or not is it worth it to get an air fryer.
- Weigh the pros and cons of an air fryer.
- Consider what foods air fryers can and can't cook.
- 20 air-fried recipe ideas.
- Some important factors that impact a decision on what air fryer to choose.
Read further to know if an air fryer is worth the investment and how to choose the right one for you.
Are Air Fryers Worth It
Air fryers are worth it to have in your kitchen for many reasons.
- They offer a healthier and quicker alternative to traditional deep frying methods.
- These appliance uses rapid air technology to produce the crispiness of fried foods without the need for a massive amount of oil, and at a higher speed.
- Air fryers deliver a crispy outer layer while keeping the inside tender and juicy.
- While originally used to make chicken wings and crispy French fries, air fryers have become versatile and can cook various foods, including meat, fish, vegetables, and even desserts.
Let's look at some pros and cons of owning an air fryer to determine if it's worth the investment.
Air Fryers: Pros & Cons
Pros Of Air Fryers
- Healthier Option – Air fryers can cook food with a minimum amount of oil, reducing the fat content without compromising the taste and texture of the food. As a result, the food cooked in an air fryer tends to be healthier and less fatty.
- Faster Cooking Time – Air fryers work by circulating hot air around the food, which cooks faster (about half the time) compared to traditional methods, saving both time and energy. This makes meal preparation quick and easy.
- Versatility – Not only can air fryers cook traditional fried foods, but they can also roast, bake, grill and reheat food.
- Easy To Clean – Most air fryers are low maintenance, they come with dishwasher safe components, to make cleaning a breeze.
Cons Of Air Fryers
- Limited Capacity – Air fryers are generally small and have a limited cooking capacity with small baskets. This makes it difficult to feed a large family or a cook a large amount of food at once. You may have to cook in batches, or consider a larger size air fryer or a double basket appliance.
- Can't Cook Everything: Although air fryers are versatile, they can't cook everything. Foods that require breading or a batter may not turn out as crispy or crunchy as they would in a deep fryer.
- Noisy Operation – Air fryers operate with a fan that can be noisy and disruptive.
- Inferior Results – Air fryers may not provide the same texture and flavor of deep-frying, although the difference in taste is subjective.
20 Air Fryer Recipe Ideas
If you're looking to try out new recipes in your air fryer, here are our suggestions to get you started:
- French fries
- Crispy chicken wings
- BBQ chicken drumsticks
- Air-fried chicken nuggets
- Baked chicken breasts
- Air-fried salmon
- Air-fried shrimps
- Crispy air-fried potatoes
- Roasted brussels sprouts
- Roasted asparagus
- Air-fried cauliflower
- Air-fried meatball stuffed tofu
- Air-fried burgers
- Air-fried pork chops
- Air-fried meatballs
- Air-fried steaks
- Air-fried pizza
- Air-fried chips
- Air-fried donuts
- Air-fried Mozzarella sticks
What Air Fryers Can Do
What You Can Cook In An Air Fryer
While air fryers can cook various foods, certain dishes are better suited to the appliance than others.
- Food to be fried - Cooking food to be fried requires a small amount of oil, and air fry will result in a crispy texture. Chicken wings, (frozen) French fries, and fish, all fit easily in the air fryer basket and air frying them will produce delicious results.
- Vegetables & Small Non-Liquid Meals also turn out great in an air fryer.
What You Can't Cook In An Air Fryer
However, dishes with a significant amount of liquid, such as soups and casseroles, are not ideal for an air fryer.
- Wet Batters – Air fryers can't cook food submerged in a wet batter. It's better to bake these in a regular oven.
- Liquid-Based Foods – Foods with a high liquid content, such as soups and stews, can't be cooked in an air fryer. It's best to cook these on the stovetop.
- Large Pieces Of Meat/ Whole Chicken – Unless you have a supersized air fryer, it may not be able to cook evenly large cuts of meat, like whole chicken or turkey. It's better to cook these in a large toaster oven or in a conventional oven.
- Delicate Foods – Foods that are delicate or need to be stirred while cooking may not be suitable for an air fryer. It's best to cook these on the stovetop.
- Large Cakes - Air fryers have limited space, making it challenging to cook a large cake. It's better to bake cakes in a toaster oven or in a regular oven.
- Toasted Breads - Air fryers can crisp up bread, but they may not toast it evenly, even burn it easily. It's better to toast in breads in a toaster or in a toaster oven.
Factors To Consider When Purchasing An Air Fryer
When considering to buy an air fryer, it's essential to look into the following factors:
- Consider the size of your kitchen, the available space on your countertop, and your usual serving size when choosing an air fryer.
- Larger families may want to invest in a larger capacity or a double basket air fryer, while individuals or small families can opt for a small one.
- Consider your cooking needs and select a model that offers the right capacity for your needs.
- Air fryers come with various features, such as programmable settings, temperature control, and automatic shut-off.
- Some models offer multiple cooking functions, such as an air fryer toaster oven combo, air fryer convection oven combo with possibilities to bake, grill, and rotisserie.
- The more functions one has, the higher price it is. Consider which features are necessary for your cooking needs before making a purchase.
- Air fryers can range from $80 to $300-$500, some are over $1,000. So it's essential to consider your budget before making a purchase.
- While more expensive models may offer additional features and larger capacities, they may not be necessary for your cooking needs.
- However, higher price models are often designed with quality stainless steel materials and tend to last longer.
4. Power & Wattage
- Air fryers with higher wattage have more power and cook faster than lower wattage models.
- Latest models and higher price tag items often have higher power and use less energy, therefore save your energy bills in a long run.
5. Brands & Customer Reviews
- Research the brand and read customer reviews to determine the quality and reliability of the product.
- Check on different brands to ensure you purchase one with a good reputation and a good warranty.
Is An Air Fryer Worth It?
Here are some commonly asked questions about whether or not investing in an air fryer:
Are air fryers worth it for vegetarians?
Air fryers can be a great investment for vegetarians as they offer a healthier option for cooking vegetables and also allow for creativity with different recipes.
Is it worth buying an air fryer for a single person?
For single individuals, a mini or small capacity air fryer (2-3 quart) may be more suitable and cost-effective than larger ones.
It also offers the convenience of quick cooking without using too much energy. In any case, for a single person air fryers cost less than regular ovens.
Are air fryers worth it for families?
For larger families, investing in a larger capacity or double basket air fryer may be more cost-effective than cooking multiple batches in smaller capacity ones. It also offers healthier options for family meals.
Is it cheaper to use an air fryer or an air fryer toaster oven?
The cost may vary depending on the specific models and brands being compared.
Overall, a toaster oven with air frying capabilities may be more expensive than a standalone air fryer, but it also offers additional cooking functions such as baking and toasting.
An air fryer toaster oven combo is also larger than a standalone air fryer. Consider your cooking needs, your available space and budget when making this decision.
Do air fryers use a lot of electricity?
Air fryers use less electricity compared to traditional ovens. The power consumption depends on the wattage and usage time, but air fryers generally use around 1,200 watts per hour. This is significantly less than traditional ovens that can use up to 3,000 watts per hour.
Air fryers can be a great addition to your kitchen if you prioritize healthy and quick cooking. While there are some cons to consider, the versatility, efficiency in quick cooking, and low-fat cooking benefits make it a valuable purchase for many households.
IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Need a trust air fryer? Check out our picks of top-rated air fryers from various brands and find the best one for your cooking needs!5 BEST STAINLESS STEEL AIR FRYERS