Air Frying is gaining so much popularity. But there’s still a lot of confusion as to how it differs from pressure cookers and conventional oven cooking. We talk about it all here! If you’re ready to buy, then the next read is our–> BEST AIR FRYER Reviews here.
What is an Air Frying? How does an air fryer work?
The #1 point you should know about air fryers is that if you can cook a recipe in a regular conventional oven, then you can cook it in an air fryer. Air fryers generate heat and a fan circulates the hot air to help the food cook evenly and crispy. Air fryers are mini counter top convection ovens with a heating element on top of the food. That’s how they’re different from pressure cooking and microwaves. When compared to regular deep fried foods, most air fried food textures have a very similar crunch without having to use a ton of oil or fat. Also, you barely have to use any oil and the food still comes out crispy and delicious.
Does Air Frying Foods Come Out Crispy?
Most food also comes out like it’s perfectly roasted in a convection oven with wonderful roasted flavors and textures. When breaded and sprayed with oil, food becomes crunchy and very similar to what you would cook in a deep fryer. For some dishes like chicken wings, they cook amazingly crisp without any oil. Overall, food is crispy roasted and crunchy without all the fat. The benefit to all this is that you can still get crispy crunch without using a ton of oil. But the more oil you use, the more it will taste like it was truly deep fried.
Can You Cook Healthy Food in the Air Fryer?
Air Fryers can help you eat fresh and healthy! Air Frying isn’t just about cooking frozen fries, chicken nuggets or convenience foods. It’s easy to cook healthy air fried foods because you don’t need as much oil. The hot circulating heat crisps and roasts food wonderfully without the need for a lot of oil. So overall, yes air fried food can be healthier. Portion control is another important factor and if you eat more than one recommended serving, you’ve just blown the “healthy” out of air frying. Air frying is just one method to cook healthier food. How much you eat is obviously important too!
- Craving deep fried foods without all the fat and calories? Food crisps wonderfully without deep frying. Like we mentioned, a light spray of oil is enough and will give a wonderful crisp outside without the greasy results that deep frying does.
- In order for breaded foods to have extra crunch, just bread like you normally would. Then spray with oil and the results are fantastic. Sure, it’s not like deep fried food but it sure is very close and you don’t get all that oil fat.
- For even lower carb options, you can bread with almond flour, almond meal or coconut flour.
- If you want super low to no carb breading options, use crushed pork rinds.
Pros of Air Frying :
- It’s a healthier way to cooking fried or crispy foods. Overall, you can use much less oil to achieve crunchy and crispy textured foods.
- The flavor of the food is wonderful because the heat gives a nice crisp and “char”.
- There’s little clean up and less splattering of oil while cooking
- Food cooks crisp because of the smaller cooking area and the heating element is closer to the food.
- Because of smaller baskets, the food cooked quicker when compared to ovens and no pre-heating is necessary
- You don’t have to heat up your house in Summer when you’re craving something warm, roasted or deep fried
- Great for cooking frozen foods without oil and great for re-heating foods.
Cons of Air Frying :
- You can’t cook soupy, broth or saucy foods in it. Pressure cookers are for those types of foods. Air fryers are for foods you normally can cook in a conventional oven.
- You really can’t cook big servings of food unless you buy the larger air fryers or cook in multiple batches.
- You can’t really bake desserts in large servings. If you want to bake a dozen cupcakes, just cook it in your regular oven. If you just want to bake a small portion of cupcakes like 2-6, then an air fryer can achieve that. Or if you have a larger oven style air fryer, you can bake a dozen cupcakes. Again here’s another problem, you’ll most likely have to air fry the cupcakes on two separate racks, which means uneven cooking for the cupcakes because the hottest part is at the top of the air fryer. You’ll have to rotate the racks to ensure even cooking.
- They aren’t cheap and some can be more hassle to clean, depending on the design and model.
- If you already have a little countertop convection oven and love it, you might want to stick to that, unless you’re into convection cooking.
Easy Tips for Air Frying:
- Don’t over crowd the baskets with food. Cook in batches if you need to (2 small-medium batches cook better than 1 large batch).
- Don’t forget to shake while cooking, but sometimes shaking the basket during cooking isn’t enough. Gently toss the food with a rubber spatula so food doesn’t break or tear.
- The bottom of the air fryers can get hot while cooking. Make sure to place on a heat-safe surface or wooded cutting board.
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What are the Best Air Fryers? Here’s our full discussion on–> What’s The Best Air Fryer You?
There’s so many on the market now. You just need to research and find the ones that fits your needs, capacity and style. We group the basket style air fryers into 2 main size groups: 3-4 qt range & the 5-6 qt. range. Here’s our favorites:
Cosori 3.7 qt. Digital Air Fryer – “That’s a stylish Air Fryer” was said as we unboxed the Cosori. Beyond being stylish, it has cooked great. The basket is not as tall and wider than most in its size group, which is perfect. You’ll have a lot better results in an air fryer with single layered, spread out foods, then with ones piled high and thick.
The non-stick basket style (non-wire base) & smoothness of the basket tray is also great for clean up.
Ninja 4 qt. Digital Air Fryer – Has a great ceramic coated basket, one of the longest lasting we’ve used. Super powerful fan that will often cook recipes even faster than other air fryers. We initially returned our first one because we thought we wouldn’t like the basket style. After reconsidering, we bought another and are super glad we did. We love it’s basket and just a platform insert. One less bulky thing to wash. This is a great air fryer.
Good Larger Air Fryers
We like that this Tiluxury 5.8 qt has the non-stick basket (non-wire base). Makes for less sticking for delicate meals (ie baked fish fillets). And we like the digital interface (easier cleaning).