Are Air Fryers Worth It? Here Are The Pros and Cons
Cook in no time, and eat healthier — those are two main requests most people have when it comes to kitchen appliances and recipes. Hence, it is no wonder air fryers took their place on kitchen counters in many households. This compact yet powerful and versatile appliance promises to produce crispy meats and vegetables without using an excessive amount of oil typically used during deep-frying. (However, keep in mind that an air fryer is not a replica of a deep fryer. The former won’t deliver those oily, McDonald’s like fries, or crispy chicken as much as a deep fryer could. Yet, if that is a compromise you have to make for your health, it is worth the price.)
Although reducing calorie intake, and substituting microwave and deep fryer with one convenient appliance is convincing enough to purchase one, air fryers are not always an ideal choice for everyone. Surrounded by various opinions of home cooks, an air fryer has its advantages and disadvantages alike.
Before we look closely at both sides of this appliance, a quick note on how air fryers work might help to establish a general idea of how to get the best out of cooking with an air fryer.
As a mini convection oven, air fryers work by circulating hot air that gives food a crispy finish, yet without using any oil. Although the process might sound similar to a deep fryer’s, it does not use any oil to achieve a crunchy, delicious coating. Instead, dry heat allows your food to turn crispy, yet lighters and fresher than deep-fried chicken, fries and vegetables. Read more about air fryers and which one to buy at The Best Air Fryers in Canada.
As to using an air fryer, it is easier than a deep fryer, due to the absence of oil. Simply place food into the air fryer basket, turn the timer on, (shake or turn a few times if necessary), and remove when ready.
Why Trust Us
We have been researching the best air fryers almost since Rank-it.ca was established. We are aware of how many people decided to purchase them, and how many were left satisfied. That is why we continue our research to provide more valuable information on air fryers.
We made sure to cover the most often addressed issues that users have with their appliances and discussed more advantages than just healthier alternatives to deep frying.
Advantages of an Air Fryer
1. The air fryer uses less or no oil compared to a deep fryer
Whoever came up with a marketing campaign for air fryers used a clever approach, addressing a common issue with unhealthy eating. Described as an alternative to deep-frying that delivers tasty food, yet keeps the calories count low, this appliance quickly earned favor among consumers.
As per some estimates, air-fried food has up to 70% fewer calories than a deep-fried version of the same chicken nuggets or French fries. Considering that food prepared in an air fryer does not get as crispy as deep fried, yet fewer calories end up in your body, the absence of oil can only do good to your overall health. To bring a comparison, when you cook with an air fryer you would either need no oil at all or one tablespoon of cooking oil depending on the dish. (That tablespoon contains about 124 calories.) At the same time using a deep fryer requires food to submerge in cooking oil, absorb a lot of it, and come out with at least 200 hundred calories more.
2. Air fryers are not as messy as deep fryers
Continue with comparing air fryers and deep fryers, the former is definitely easier to clean, and the overall cooking process is neat. Overall, many users of deep fryers say that they abstain from frequent use of the appliance simply because of the mess and smell it creates. A deep fryer requires constant replacement of oil which can be a messy process. While food is cooking in a deep fryer it emanates oil into the air, turning your place into an overwhelmingly smelly fast-food restaurant.
As for the air fryer, while it requires regular cleaning, it is not as greasy and time-consuming as a deep fryer. Most air fryers on the market have dishwasher-safe components. As long as you clean it after every use, grease won’t build up in the base and your air fryer will remain in top shape for years to come. Otherwise, you are in danger to end up with food residue that is difficult to remove if built up. Parts that are not dishwasher-safe can be wiped with a damp cloth.
Another suggestion is to pour in some warm water with a bit of soap into the base and let the basket soak for a while. Then clean the residue with a sponge.
3. Air fryers are faster than conventional ovens
Surely, you won’t be able to bake an apple pie or cook a turkey in an air fryer, however, when it comes to preheating an oven to warm up pizza, crispening leftover chicken, or quickly prepare spring rolls, nothing beats an air fryer.
An air fryer does not require preheating like an oven, and works much faster because of a compound space (compare to a spacious conventional oven).
Another advantage here is that an air fryer uses less electricity than a conventional oven. Surely, for a large family, it might make more sense to use a pan sheet in an oven, however, if you are cooking or reheating food for one or two people, you will save more energy by using an air fryer.
4. An air fryer can be used as a microwave
A microwave can be left for defrosting meat or heating up a cup of coffee. But when you want to restore the crispy texture of leftovers, instead of ending up with soggy food, place them in an air fryer. You can reheat taco fillings, chicken thighs, and vegetables, and some people even manage to warm up soups in their air fryers (just use oven-safe containers.)
The only thing to keep in mind when reheating your food in an air fryer is to stay away from high temperatures. Even at low or medium temperatures, your food will be hot in a few minutes, while cooking on lower temperatures ensures soup or pieces of pizza warm up evenly without burning.
5. An air fryer is more versatile than a deep fryer
While a deep fryer allows you only a few cooking options, plus limits your movements around the kitchen because you have to constantly control the frying process, an air fryer does exactly the opposite. If you are trying to multitask preparing a salad and BBQ meat outside, but need French fries ready for dinner as well, simply throw them into the basket and turn the timer on. With an air fryer, you do not have to constantly stir, regulate frying level and stand beside it to get crispy strips at the end.
The same applies to how many ingredients you could cook in an air fryer compared to a deep fryer. Not everything can or should be deep fried, and especially foods like Brussel sprouts, baby potatoes, cauliflower and others are better when made in an air fryer.
6. Air fryers are safer to use than other cooking devices
An air fryer is a self-contained appliance. That factor, compared to other cooking devices, ensures that a cook is protected from the heating element and any oil splatter. Meanwhile, deep fryers are known for easy splatter that can cause burned face or hands.
Considering that air fryers use no oil, and all ingredients are tucked safely in a basket, the danger of splatter is lower than when deep frying.
The second major safety difference is built-in auto-shutdown. You can leave an air fryer without any supervision and do not worry about food burning because the set timer will turn the appliance off when the food is ready. Such a feature is not available with a deep fryer or a conventional oven.
7. Cooking with an air fryer saves you money
We have already mentioned how using an air fryer instead of a conventional oven saves energy. But another way it can save you some money is by decreasing oil usage. Cooking oil can get fairly expensive if deep-fried dishes are main on your table. If you are preparing a family dinner or hosting guests and want to serve deep-fried fried potato strips or chicken wings you would need to use at least a gallon of oil. On the contrary, using an air fryer can spare you extra spending and save time and energy during cooking.
Disadvantages of an Air Fryer
1. Limited capacity
If you have a large family or plan to cook for more than four people, an air fryer might not be the right choice for you. Typically, an air fryer’s basket can fit a small chicken or a bag of fries, not two at once. That means cooking for a crowd of guests would not be possible with just one air fryer. (However, there are some large models on the market that are ideal for cooking side dishes such as vegetables or fries.)
Surely, the compact size of an air fryer is not the biggest disadvantage, because many families say they still find those devices useful to make fries while the rest of the dinner is cooking on a stovetop.
2. It might be tricky to cook vegetables in an air fryer
While vegetables cooked in an air fryer turn out crispy and delicious, it might be tricky to find the right time and temperature to achieve the perfect texture. Broccoli and Brussels sprouts are easy to burn, while potatoes might not turn out tender enough inside.
In that case, you can always try pre-cooking those hard vegetables, then toss them with salt, pepper and some olive oil and finish frying in an air fryer. In that case, you get soft inside and crunchy outside pieces of greens, carrots and potatoes.
3. Although compact inside, an air fryer has a fairly large exterior
If you have enough space on the counter or in the pantry to keep an air fryer, this might not be a concern. However, if you have limited kitchen space, look for a smaller model, and consider how much counter space you can spare for this appliance.
Another factor to consider is how often you would use an air fryer. If you would use it at least two-three times a day then keeping it on a counter would make more sense. However, if you would use an air fryer only occasionally to heat up leftovers or make chicken wings, you could store it in a pantry.
4. Air fryers are loud
An air fryer uses a ventilator that sucks in air. The air circulates inside the pan and causes continuous noise. The volume of the noise depends on the model, but typically it sounds like a hair dryer or a vacuum cleaner. Surely, it is not the most annoying sound you will hear; however, it is noticeable and you will be aware of it while it is working. But because you cannot get rid of this disadvantage, simply keep it in mind if you are having a connected kitchen to a living room, or having a conversation with someone in the same room. If, however, the noise gets too much on your nerves, you can always try to move an air fryer to a more closed-off area.
5. Air fryers can produce smoke and excessive smell
Keep in mind that cooking with an air fryer is like cooking on a hot pan, hence smoke and odour are inevitable especially if food gets burned or overcooked. However, smoking does not happen a lot. Make sure to clean the base and the basket after every use so grease would not pile up to avoid smoke.
Another case when an air fryer can start smoking is while cooking burgers or bacon. Meat fat melts, gets splattered inside the frying basket against the heating element, and causes smoke.
To summarize, an air fryer displays more advantages than disadvantages. Its convenience, safety measures and healthy factors outweigh any negative parts.
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