There is something about fried foods that are drenched in oiled.
Of course, it's bad for you, but at that very moment when it meet with your taste buds, it just feels so right.
From french fries to onion rings and chicken tenders, there are just some dishes that are hard to give up. But what if you could find a way to eat those foods with less fat and to top it off, in the convenience of your own home?
You can with an air fryer. With little to no oil, temperature control and fast heating, you can indulge in your favorite fried foods with the same look, feel and taste to satisfy those taste buds.
What is an air fryer?
An air fryer is just that... a fryer. But instead of using frying oil, it uses hot air to fry, bake and grill food.
Why an air fryer?
- Air fryers offer your food a crispy look and delicious taste.
- Designed with a sturdy plastic and metal material, some air fryers can go up to 400°F.
- Unlike other fryers, the air fryer produces food without using unhealthy oil and leaving those unwanted grease puddles on your plate.
That is how an air fryer differs tremendously from other fryers such as deep fryers. You never have to go through the hassle of dumping oil after every use with an air fryer.
Food cooked in an air fryer can contain up to 80 percent less fat than food cooked with other fryers.
Air fryers are typically used by individuals who:
- Are always on the go
- Seek new ways to approach their diet
- Have limited access to a full kitchen, like college students in dorms
- Are parents with hectic schedules
How does an air fryer work?
With simple instructions and a recipe booklet, there are multiple, yet simple ways to use an air fryer.
It all begins with a hot-air circulation.
- After inserting your ingredients into the air fryer basket, set your temperature to the appropriate temperature.
- The hot-air then induces a rapid flow around the food in the basket, which allows the air fryer to produce a cooked inside and crunchy outer layer to your food.
- Some air fryers are constructed with integrated air filters that prevents odors from roaming around your home. You no longer have to smell like what you are frying!
Healthy and Quick
Unlike other fryers, where oil is needed to fry foods, the air fryer relies solely on circulating hot air to fry its foods.
This eliminates most of the excess oils and fat that you would normally find in foods such as french fries and chicken nuggets. Not many fryers can pull off producing fried foods with little to no oil.
Within a matter of minutes, you can have your favorite food dishes prepared. A single serving of french fries can be made within 10-12 minutes.
Air fryers are equipped with an adjustable timer. Once your pre-set time is up, the fryer will automatically turn off to prevent your food from overcooking.
Parts of an air fryer
Most air fryers consist of three main parts:
- Air Fryer Appliance: This is the main part of the fryer.
- Pan: This piece fits perfectly in the appliance.
- Basket: The basket is to be placed in the pan. It has a handle attached, that allows you to shake your ingredients during the cooking process.
Along with these parts are other materials that allow the fryer to function properly, depending on the brand and model, such as:
- The divider
- Baking tin
- Double grill layer
The divider allows you to cook two ingredients at the same time.
However, if both foods require different temperature settings, it is recommended to not cook them at the same time.
The baking tin enables you to bake sweets and goods with your fryer such as muffins and cookies.
All ingredients that you wish to fry should be put in the basket, which fits into the pan, and altogether positions perfectly inside the fryer. All ingredients that you wish to fry should be put in the basket, which fits into the pan, and altogether positions perfectly inside the fryer. When removing the basket from the pan, first make sure the pan is sitting on a horizontal surface.
Allow 30 minutes for the parts to cool off, after using the fryer. All of the parts that accompany the air fryer have a non-stick surface and are dishwasher friendly. This allows for an easy clean up and re-use.
Can I put oil in an air fryer?
If you just have to have oil in your food and still want to put your air fryer to use, then you can use oil with your air fryer. However, you cannot put oil in the air fryer pan. It has to be added to the ingredients before you put it in the basket.
It is recommended to only use air frying oil with homemade ingredients that have not been pretreated or processed.
Adding cooking oil before air-frying, will add an extra crunchy layer to your food. Most oils can be used with an air fryer. Some common oils are:
- Sunflower Oil
- Olive Oil
- Canola Oil
- Peanut Oil
- Grape Seed Oil
If you want to add a little flavor, try using flavored oil!
Shake air fryer basket halfway
When making more than one layer of ingredients in your air fryer, you should shake the fryer basket halfway through completion to evenly cook the food.
Not shaking your basket, can result in portions of your ingredients being stuck together, and not receiving hot air. Even though those areas will still be cooked, they may be less crispy.
To shake the basket:
- Using the basket handle, slowly pull the pan out of the air fryer appliance
- Shake well, ensuring all ingredients are mixed
Common troubleshooting tips for an air fryer
Air fryer not switching on
When the air fryer is turned on- you should see a green light. A red light indicates when the fryer is heating up. If the fryer is not turning on you should try:
- Turning the timer knob
- You can set it to a time of 3 minutes or more to let preheat, or simply add 3 minutes to normal cook time
- Ensure the plug is inserted correctly
- Check to see if the power in the socket is working properly
Outside of the fryer is hot while it is in use
Because the heat that forms inside the fryer extends to the outer layers, it is recommended to only touch the handles and buttons while the fryer is in use.
It is important to keep the fryer in a location that can only be reached by adults, as the appliance can get extremely hot and can be a dangerous hazard for children.
White smoke coming from air fryer
Ingredients that contain high-fat percentages can cause white smoke to arise from the appliance. This happens when a glut of oil is caught in the air fryer pan and once heated, it will produce a white smoke.
White smoke can be prevented by avoiding high- fatty foods. If you are in the process of using your fryer and the white smoke develops, simply:
- Turn off the fryer
- Remove the pan
- Remove the basket from the pan
- Soak up the oil from the pan with a cloth or heavy-duty paper towel
- Once cleaned, assemble the fryer back together and resume the cooking process
Assembling the pan in the fryer
When inserting the pan into the air fryer appliance, you should hear a click once it is slid completely inside. If there is difficulty inserting the pan, make sure the basket is sitting properly in the pan and that the ingredients are not overflowing the basket.
Will all foods turn out crispy?
All foods that are cooked with an air fryer will not turn out crispy.
- For example, vegetables will not produce a crunchy outer layer.
- However, most foods such as meats, potatoes and breads will have a crispy exterior.
- It is suggested to add bread crumbs to any home-made snacks or ingredients to give it an extra crunch.
Overall, air fryers are a great alternative for deep fryers, ovens and stovetops. Anyone looking for a healthier outlet or quicker meals can benefit from this fryer.
The investment in an air fryer could be well worth it. Should you have a kick in your cravings for a fried dish, you have the tools and appliances needed to create a tasteful and healthy meal.
This could mean a bright future for air fryers. There is a new air fryer being released every few months or so. But if the robotic health fryers continue to focus on producing healthier, yet delicious foods, then this is just the beginning of its steady releases.