Air fryers are quickly becoming a must-have in any modern kitchen.
This easy-to-use appliance will save you time and money and maybe even a few extra calories! Looking to eat healthier? An air fryer can reduce up to 50% of calories while still making your food crispy and delicious!
How Does an Air Fryer Work?
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How Does an Air Fryer Work?
Microwaves cook food from the inside out and aren’t ideal for crisping foods, but air fryers circulate hot air around the food cooking it from the outside in. Giving everything a crispy exterior with less fat and less time. Some foods can even be cooked without added fats or oils!
Air fryers allow you to toast bread and pastries in minutes. An air fryer uses the convection method to circulate hot air around food placed in a tray or a basket. The outside of the food becomes brown and crispy when it’s cooked with high heat and air circulation.
This process works similarly to submerging food into hot oil.
How to Cook With an Air Fryer
- The air fryer works best when the food is coated or sprayed with a thin layer of oil. Not everyone can have a full convection oven in their kitchen, but everyone has space for an air fryer. With so many models and price points to choose from, it’s no wonder they are a favorite with so many home cooks! With a little know-how, you can enjoy your favorite food using your air fryer!
- Air fryers cook hotter than ovens, so a quick rule of thumb is to reduce the temperature on your air fryer by 20°- 50° and the cooking time by 20% from conventional oven cooking temperatures.
- For packaged or frozen foods, the same rule applies. Just be sure to shake or turn the food halfway through the cooking process to be sure it’s cooked thoroughly on the inside and evenly browned on the outside!
What Oil is Best to Use
- While many air fryer recipes don’t need any oil at all, it’s still a good idea to apply a quick shot of pan release spray on the fryer basket.
- For traditional deep-frying, oils like canola oil are preferable because they have a higher smoke point. But an air fryer cooks fast and high so healthier oils like extra light olive oil, grapeseed, sesame oil, and avocado oil work perfectly!
The BEST Air Fryer to Buy
To be honest, the best air fryer will vary based on what is important to you (spoiler alert, my top pick is this one here).
Things to Consider
- Capacity – How many will you be cooking for? (5.8QT is good for a family of 4)
- Overall Size – Where will you store it? Will it stay on the counter?
- Noise – Is your model relatively quiet?
- Cleaning – Is it easy to clean? Can parts go in the dishwasher?
- Other – Other features and additions that you might want to consider include:
- Is it digital?
- Does it have accessories?
- Does it have programmed items?
I have purchased and tried 3 different air fryers (and will continue to update this list).
My Top Pick
I am currently using the Cosori Air Fryer 5.8QT size which I bought online here. I chose this air fryer based on price and reviews and overall I would purchase it again (in fact, after 3 weeks of using it, I bought the exact same one as a gift for my mom).
- Heats up quickly, cooks evenly and perfectly.
- Reasonable price compared to similar machines in the market.
- Easy to clean.
- Large capacity, great for a family (I cook a whole chicken in this air fryer).
- A bit noisier than the other styles I’ve used.
- The recipes in the book didn’t match the photos.
There are different types of Air Fryers, I have also tried both of the following:
- Breville Smart Oven Air is pricey but cooks a lot at once and can be used as a toaster oven, oven (even holds a 9×13 pan), slow cooker, and… you guessed it… an air fryer.
- T-Fal Actifry 2-in-1 works great for things like wings and fries but is not ideal for more delicate foods in the main part of the air fryer. If you use the top level, you can cook things like burgers or chicken breasts easily. I don’t find the top-level gets as nice and crisp as things do in the Cosori though.
That being said, I find the air fryer I am using above (Cosori Air Fryer 5.8QT) cooks quicker and crispier than the Breville. If you are looking for air frying capabilities only, and not concerned about the other functions, I prefer the Cosori style for air frying.
You can find tons of other great Air Fryers on Amazon with great reviews (and lower prices).
- Consumer Reports gave the NuWave 6-Qt 37001 Air Fryer the highest rating and while I haven’t tried it, it does have high reviews.
- Ninja Air Fryers have good reviews and people who I personally have spoken to that have one are happy with the performance.
- Instant Pot Air Fryer – while I haven’t tried this product yet, I definitely love my Instant Pot. They sell an air fryer lid so you can crisp up your favorite IP recipes once they’ve cooked.
What Can You Cook in an Air Fryer?
More like… what CAN’T you cook in an air fryer!?! I have lots of great air fryer recipes coming but you can cook/fry/roast pretty much anything! The only things that don’t work well in an air fryer are things with a really wet batter.
Other: Did you know you can make perfect hard-boiled eggs in an air fryer? Or even donuts!
More Air Fryer Favorites
- Air Fryer Zucchini Fries – breaded with panko
- Air Fryer Jalapeno Poppers – the best appetizer
- Air Fryer Grilled Ham and Cheese – golden & crispy
- Air Fryer Frozen Taquitos – so easy to make
- Spicy Air Fryer Dill Pickles – a crowd fave