Key Points:

  • Air fryers are small appliances that use hot circulating air to fry and cook a variety of foods.
  • Cooking with an air fryer is a healthy alternative to deep frying.
  • Cleaning an air fryer is fast and easy and ensures your air fryer is always ready for the next meal.

Air fryers have continued to gain in popularity as a low cost, healthy alternative to deep frying delicious foods. Their sleek, compact size and safe operation make them an ideal small kitchen appliance that provides several fun cooking options for those who enjoy the great taste of deep-fried foods without the high fat content. With all the hype on the advantages of air frying, and before setting out to purchase one, it’s wise to first know more about what an air fryer is and how it works. In simple terms, an air fryer is a small countertop cooking appliance convection oven that circulates hot air around food. Although air frying doesn’t fully replace deep frying when it comes to cooking up crispy textured foods, in most cases, you’ll be pleased with the results. You’ll likely find the best results with frozen, ready-made breaded appetizers, such as zucchini sticks, jalapeno poppers, crispy onion blooms, and other similar snack foods. It’s also a cooking time-saver when compared to the time it takes to make hot oil for deep frying. And since it doesn’t require any time to preheat, it’s faster than your oven!

Types of air fryers

One of the more popular air fryer designs today is the basket type air fryer. Their applications and convenient features make them a great choice for everyday cooking at home. Basket type air fryers usually come in two designs, round egg-shaped or square. Many include a digital display coupled with plus and minus buttons for setting cook time and temperature. If you’re looking for a relatively new design in an air fryer you may want to consider an air fryer oven. Like typical air fryers, the air fryer oven circulates heated air by an element, however the main difference is in the design of the cooking surface. Instead of using a small capacity basket or pan like most other fryers, oven style air fryers have a number of horizontal racks, similar to a traditional oven. The advantage of this design is that it allows you to cook different types of food simultaneously on the various racks. For example, you can cook chicken strips on one rack, onion rings on another, and roast corn on still another. You can also use several accessories with this type of air fryer, such as small baking dishes and kabob skewers. Some air fryer ovens even have a rotisserie spit available to cook small chickens or other carved meats. With their increased popularity, several designs and hybrids of air fryers are available, giving you a wide selection of convenient features to choose from.

How to clean your air fryer

Since you’re likely to cook up a variety of fun and delicious air fryer foods, it’s worth noting you should take care to clean your air fryer. That’s because air fryers collect oil and fat from foods, and if not cleaned regularly these can build up over time and create smoke or strong odors. This leads to your next meal being infused with a foul-tasting flavor, instead of the delicious air frying flavor you’re ready to savor. Cleaning your air fryer is pretty simple. You’ll need the following to keep it in top shape:

  • Soft sponge
  • Dish soap
  • A small, flexible cleaning brush
  • Soft cloth or paper towels

Unplug the air fryer and let it cool for approximately 30 minutes. In most cases the pan and basket can be washed in the dishwasher, but you may also need to lightly hand wash these as well. If the pan has any crusty food stuck to it just fill the pan with hot water and a small amount of soap and let soak for about 20 minutes, then finish cleaning. If your pan or basket has a non-stick coated surface be sure to avoid using metal utensils or abrasive cleaners on it, since this could damage the non-stick coating.

To clean the inside of your air fryer, follow these steps:

  1. Unplug the fryer and let it cool for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Remove the basket and place the air fryer upside down.
  3. Use a soft sponge soaked with warm water and soap to clean the inside.
  4. Remove any of the sticky food particles with the soft or medium bristle brush. Avoid using a steel wire or hard bristle brush since these could damage the coating of the heating element.
  5. Carefully scrub and wash the area behind the heating element with a soft brush.
  6. Dry the air fryer with a soft cloth or paper towels.

Now that you’ve mastered cleaning your air fryer, you can return to enjoying some delicious foods, such as parmesan fried tortellini, air fryer hotdogs, or air fryer roasted corn. Before long you will have perfected the art of air frying food and enjoy the full flavor of fried food with less guilt and fewer calories from fat. It’s no wonder air frying is fast becoming one of the most popular cooking methods for today’s kitchens!

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