If you’re like many of us, your may have purchased an air fryer after hearing about its ability to cook low fat food without compromising on taste, and with little to no oil. The idea of cooking and eating with less oil, coupled with a reduction in calories from less fat, has made air fryers a popular and affordable small kitchen appliance. But now that you have this sleek looking food fryer in your kitchen, you may be wondering how to use it and harness its full potential. And although most air fryers are relatively safe and simple to use, there are a several things to keep in mind if you want those food-fan compliments from friends and family to continue at meal time. We’ll take you through a brief overview of how you can cook chicken wings, French fries, and other foods in an air fryer with total confidence. We’ll also include a few air fryer recipes to get you started.
Air fryer basics: How air fryers work
Before getting into safe and simple operation, let’s take a quick look at how air fryers work and why they are such a unique kitchen appliance. First, the name air fryer itself doesn’t fully address the versatility this appliance has to offer. Air fryers do more than just fry. They can also grill, roast, and even bake. By circulating hot air around food rather than submerging the food in oil, many air frying prepared foods are extra crispy, juicy, golden brown, and flavorful. In more technical terms, when you cook with an air fryer, the Maillard reaction, a scientific principle which refers to what we usually call “browning”, occurs. A Maillard reaction occurs when the surface of a food item forms a crust due to dehydration, and the intense heat breaks down proteins, starches, and fibers. This is what usually gives fried, roasted, and baked foods their delicious, complex flavors.
Getting started with your air fryer
Essentially, there are four stages involved in using an air fryer. These are:
1. Preparing the Food
- To prevent the food from sticking to the fryer basket, use the minimum amount of oil possible.
- Allow enough space between the food so hot air can circulate and pass through, and cook from all sides. You may want to use aluminum foil as a separator.
- If you are using marinated or oily ingredients it’s a good idea to pat them dry with a paper towel. This helps avoid splattering or excess smoke during the cooking process. Also, remove any oil or fat from the bottom of the air fryer basket.
2. Preparing your air fryer
- Plug in the fryer and pre heat it for about 5 minutes.
- Ensure that your air fryer is hot enough. A droplet of oil should sizzle slightly.
- Place your food items inside and avoid overloading. The air needs to be able to circulate through all the sides of each food item to properly cook and fry it.
- When cooking pre-made foods, change the initial oven temperature by 70 degrees and reduce the cooking time in half.
3. Cooking in the air fryer
- When cooking smaller foods such as onion rings or mozzarella sticks, try to shake the fryer basket a few times. Also, it’s a good idea to rotate the food items every four to five minutes to ensure uniformed frying.
- If you’re cooking high fat content food, you will find it releases most of the fat in the base of the fryer. Be sure to remove this fat after cooking.
4. Cleaning the air fryer after use
- After removing the food from the fryer, you should clean the fryer properly to ensure it’s maintained and ready for your next recipe.
- Simply clean the air fryer basket and the pan after each use. Most air fryers feature dish washer safe parts, making clean-up fast and easy.
- If you need to manually clean parts, then let them soak in hot sudsy water. After about 10 minutes, clean them with a non-abrasive sponge and rinse with warm water.
- Following these cleaning tips will ensure your fryer does not retain any food particles that could be lodged inside, and your just-cooked food’s smell is not trapped in it.
- For cleaning the outside and inside of the fryer, use a soft moist cloth and dish washer soap to spot clean.
Now that you know how an air fryer works and how to use it, it’s easier than ever to make delicious home cooked meals that not only taste great, but are healthy alternatives to traditional deep fried foods. You’ll also love the fact that many recipes can take 20 to 50 percent less time in an air fryer compared to traditional oven or deep frying. So now is the time to get started and explore the wide variety of tasty recipes available and taste what’s possible!