What Is An Air Fryer and How Does It Work?
Air fryers are compact countertop ovens which use rapidly circulated heat to cook foods with almost zero oil in a short amount of time. The internal part of the air fryers has interior heating elements and high-powered fans to circulate the hot air at high speed inside the machine to have evenly cooked crispy foods without drying them out.
Are Air Fryers the Same as Convection Ovens?
Most people simply describe air fryers as compact countertop convection ovens. However, there are differences between an air fryer and a convection oven. Even though their cooking method is very similar, air fryers have heating elements only at the top and a very powerful fan to rapidly circulate the air inside. This speedy air circulation makes foods evenly cook and have a crispy texture outside while keeping the tenderness inside.
Air fryers require far less time than the convection ovens to prepare a meal as detailed below. This means not only saving on time but also saving on electric bills which will also contribute to environmental protection.
- Air fryers cook the foods in a 25-50% shorter time than convection ovens.
- Preheating time of air fryers takes 50-75% less time.
- Air fryers consume 50% less energy.
Do Air Fryers Use Oil?
A traditional oven or deep fryer recipe usually requires a great amount of oil for cooking foods compared to air fryers. Air fryers require very small amounts of oil if any, just a tablespoon at most.
Hot air circulation in air fryers ensures the food is fully and evenly cooked without using much oil. Heating the food from all sides by hot steam allows foods to have a crispy outer layer and stay moist inside. It will look appetizing and taste delicious. No need to mention how easy it is to clean it after all because of the scarce amount of oil it uses.
Are Air Fryers Healthy?
Air frying is a healthy alternative to deep frying because air fryers use a very small amount of oil for cooking crispy foods. Air fryers use a teaspoon of oil to fry and crisp up a large amount of foods, which allows them to use less oil than the traditional frying methods thus reducing our calorie intake.
The heated air in the air fryer reduces the moisture on the food and allows a small amount of oil to brown the food lightly. Because it needs very little oil to brown the food, the air frying method is healthier than deep frying. Of course, air fryers can not guarantee an overall healthy diet which also depends on the recipe and our other eating habits. However, the fact that air fryers need less time to cook can be a motivation to cook healthy recipes more!
Does Air Frying Add Extra Calories?
Traditional deep frying methods add extra calories to inherent calories of ingredients. However, cooking in an air fryer reduces oil consumption considerably to a minimum of 1 tablespoon so hardly adds any extra calories to the food. Moreover, it provides a healthy food preparation practice as opposed to deep frying without losing taste and nutrients, thus improving our health.
Do Air Fryers Cause Cancer?
Having less risk to produce acrylamide, a chemical that can be produced by high-temperature cooking methods, air fryer cooking is more favorable than deep frying, roasting, and baking. Acrylamide formation in the food is important because some studies show that acrylamide may be linked to the development of cancer even though it is not certain yet. Using an air fryer can be an excellent alternative to minimize acrylamide formation considering the fact that food is exposed to heat less and cooked with a minimum amount of oil.
In addition, consuming heated cooking oils in the same kitchen appliances without cleaning them properly increases the risk of carcinogenic substances which are also harmful to our health. However, cooking foods in air fryers, which use a scarce amount of oil if any, prevents the development of carcinogenic substances. It is still essential to clean air fryers after each use, of course.
By the way, although air fryer cooking is a healthy alternative, we should make sure that the air fryer to buy is free from BPA, PTFE, PFOA, and PFAS to avoid unhealthy consequences.
Do Air Fryers Give Off Radiation?
Unlike the other ovens such as microwaves which use electromagnetic radiation, air fryers do not give off radiation and work by circulating the hot air around the food. There is no risk of being exposed to radiation from the foods cooked in an air fryer because the cooking principle of the air fryer is completely different from the ovens which use electromagnetic radiation. In this sense, air fryers are more similar to convection ovens.
Are Air Fryers Worth the Cost?
Air fryers can be pricey and take up space on your countertop which is probably already full of appliances. So, are they worth the money we will pay and the space they will occupy? Let’s look at the benefits below to decide.
Air Fryers Cook Faster
The most significant benefit of air fryers is cooking large amounts of various foods in less than 30 minutes even if it is a steak, chicken breast, salmon, pork chops and some kind of frozen food. An air fryer with rotisserie function can cook a whole chicken in just under an hour. Air fryers’ hot air circulation technology reduces cooking and preheating times considerably which will of course reduce monthly electric bills while still cooking crispy, evenly cooked delicious meals. Moreover, being more energy efficient than kitchen ovens, air fryers also offer a more environmentally friendly cooking option.
Air Fryers Make the Crispiest Food
Air fryers cook the crispiest chicken, steak, bacon, vegetables, and fries without drying them out. The cooking method of air fryers keeps the moist inside the food while creating a crispy layer outside which tastes just delicious.
Overall, it is worth investing in a quality air fryer to cook our favorite dishes in a healthy way using less oil, less energy and less time. Air fryers are convenient in use and mostly dishwasher safe. They can even cook a whole chicken and skewers, and even bake cakes and desserts with the accessories. Therefore, if it is time to cook healthy, practical, and delicious meals more efficiently, it is absolutely worth the cost to buy an air fryer.
Do I Need an Air Fryer?
Air fryers can benefit us in the kitchen if we use them efficiently. Let’s first make a mini test to determine if you need to buy an air fryer.
- Does it take so long to preheat your kitchen oven?
- Do you enjoy cooking in your kitchen oven but hate cleaning it?
- Do you like crispy food but do not want extra calories?
- Do you want to cook healthy food but do not have time for it?
- Do you often need to heat frozen food or leftovers without drying them out?
- Do you prefer crispy food without dealing with the mess of deep frying?
- Do you like experimenting with new smart kitchen appliances?
If most of your answers are yes, you should plan to get an air fryer!