Are Air Fryers the Next Big Thing—or Just Full of Hot Air?

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By: , SparkPeople Blogger
  :  66 comments   :  16,121 Views

Most of us never met a fried food we didn’t like. Whether it’s chicken, donuts, potatoes or something more inventive (fried cookie dough, anyone?), there's just something about that crispy, greasy deliciousness that epitomizes comfort on a plate. Unfortunately, all of that tantalizing taste comes with a fat and calorie trade-off, meaning it doesn't have much of a place in most weight loss and nutrition plans.
 
Enter the air fryer. This latest trend in healthy kitchen gadgets is taking the internet by storm, promising to fry food with up to 75 percent less fat than conventional fryers. Registered dietitian and nutrition consultant Dana White describes air fryers as a "turbo version" of countertop convection ovens. The machine uses the power of hot, circulating air—with little to no oil—to make crispy food in a short amount of time.
 
Do air fryers live up to the hype—or are they simply full of hot air?


What's So Great About Air Fryers?


The biggest and most obvious, selling point of air fryers is that they can make all of the standard fried favorites with little or no added oil, which results in a lower fat content than traditional frying methods.
 
Although White says an air fryer can help to cut unwanted fat and calories from your diet, the device shouldn't be regarded as a license to eat chicken wings day in and day out. As an added bonus, air fryers can often prepare meals faster than regular ovens.
 
Another benefit is that air fryers are compact and easily portable, plugging into any electrical outlet. White points out that they're ideal for camping, vacations, apartments, dorms or anywhere you need to cook in a small or sans-kitchen space.

What Can You Cook in an Air Fryer?


Almost any foods you enjoy in their fried state can be prepared in an air fryer—but there’s no need to stop at French fries and chicken fingers. As White points out, the machine can also cook non-fried, non-breaded foods, such as baked goods, egg dishes and veggies.
 
"As long as you know the proper cooking temperature and how to place the food in the fryer basket, you can cook just about anything in an air fryer," she said in an interview with The Food Network.
 
In fact, White is such a big advocate of the air fryer's versatility that she created an entire cookbook around it. Her “Healthy Air Fryer Cookbook” includes more than 100 recipes for healthier versions of traditionally high-calorie recipes, all of which are 500 calories or less per serving.

6 Tips for Using an Air Fryer

  1. Practice patience. Like most any appliance, there's a bit of a learning curve when using an air fryer as a beginner—but not a terribly steep one. "I had been known to occasionally overcook things when I first started using mine, but with a little practice, air fryers are very easy to use," White says.
  2. Always preheat. Use the built-in temperature dial to preheat the machine in seconds. This will help to ensure quick, even and precise cooking.
  3. Add oil to the breading. Moistening the breaded coating with a small amount of oil will help them stick evenly to the surface of the food for consistent crispiness.
  4. Be open to batches. White points out that the fryer basket in most standard models is a little on the small side, so if you're cooking for a crowd, you might need to prep in batches. "It’s tempting to crowd the air fryer basket with food, but it’s better to let the air circulate and hit the food on all sides for the best texture," she says.
  5. Keep it clean. Wipe out the inside of the machine between uses to prevent any residue build-up, which can potentially cause some smokiness.
  6. Invest in a pan. To expand your cooking options, White recommends getting a pan that fits inside the fryer basket.

Choosing the Right Air Fryer


One quick Amazon search will reveal an abundance of machines, with a range of bells, whistles and price points. Are all air fryers created equal, or should you splurge for a pricier model?
 
"There are many models out there, but I really love the Phillips Original Airfryer," says White. "It's a higher price point compared to some other brands, but well worth it."

Easy Air Fryer Recipes


Raspberry Yogurt Cake: The subtle sweetness of antioxidant-rich raspberries mixes beautifully with the tang of vanilla yogurt in this breakfast cake.

Image courtesy of Dana White Nutrition
 
Cauliflower and Cheddar Potato Skins: Pile on the cauliflower, sprinkle with a sensible amount of flavorful cheese and get the skin nice and crispy skin in the air fryer for a healthy alternative to this popular pub food.

 
Image courtesy of Dana White Nutrition
 

Sweet Potato and Jalapeno Potato Hash: Made with nutrient-rich sweet potatoes and some heat from fresh jalapeno pepper, this is sure to become a go-to snack or side dish.

Image courtesy of Dana White Nutrition
 
 
BBQ Wontons: Skip the high-calorie takeout version and prepare these healthier bite-sized snacks with chicken and veggies instead.

 
Image courtesy of Dana White Nutrition
 
Zeppole with Cannoli Dip: White recommends cooking the zeppole just before dessert, then serving with espresso and fresh fruit.
 
Image courtesy of Dana White Nutrition
 
Have you tried air frying, or would you like to?

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Comments

  • KHALIA2
    66
    I would be willing to try this one. I don't eat fried chicken today, because all of the oil made me sick. - 2/21/2018   7:39:15 AM
  • 65
    Cry. Forgive. Learn. Move on. Let your tears water the seeds of your future happiness. - Steve Maraboli ~ 2/14/18 - 2/14/2018   7:21:19 PM
  • 64
    Cry. Forgive. Learn. Move on. Let your tears water the seeds of your future happiness. - Steve Maraboli ~ 2/14/18 - 2/14/2018   7:21:12 PM
  • 63
    My daughter just got one. It is a remarkably handy device. She made the best tofu and vegetable dish to show me how it works. It was delicious and without the fat of the same dish done in a wok. - 2/14/2018   7:01:53 PM
  • 62
    Love my air fryer - best appliance purchase last year. Even my husband uses it without my help! - 2/14/2018   11:41:09 AM
  • 61
    Impressive... - 2/13/2018   11:55:37 PM
  • 60
    We use ours almost every day. The food cooks quicker and more evenly than anything else. And crispy, too. Plus, when you remove the basket, you see all that unhealthy fat and grease at the bottom of the pan. That would've been on the food that you just ate. It took us a few tries to learn how best to use it, but we are loving this thing! - 2/13/2018   8:47:04 PM
  • 59
    Not sure if I would like it plus I don't have counter space. - 2/13/2018   7:22:59 PM
  • 58
    I love my air fryer. Fish comes out perfect every time. It’s perfect for roasting vegetables. If you think of air frying as just a substitute for traditional oil frying, you’ll limit yourself to what an air fryer can do. - 2/13/2018   5:52:47 PM
  • 57
    You do not even have to use any oil in it. Google air fryer recipes with no oil. - 2/13/2018   4:46:20 PM
  • 56
    I love my air fryer and use it almost daily. It really does so much more than just frying. I love making healthy ricotta cheesecakes in it and many other things. I use that and my Instant Pot constantly, more even than my range. It is really perfect for two and well worth the space it takes up. - 2/13/2018   4:45:20 PM
  • 55
    Everyone seems to "like" it but I cannot tell from the comments online within other websites if people like the flavor and the health benefits; or just the perceived health benefits. - 2/13/2018   2:32:07 PM
  • 54
    Since only good things are said in the article, I feel it is more of an advertisement than a exposition. - 2/13/2018   2:25:43 PM
  • 53
    The fries I made with my air fryer were very tasty, but the real MVP is hard-boiled eggs. 16 min at 250 degrees, and then dunk them in ice water when they're done. Perfect eggs, slide right out of the shell, and no ugly green yolk. So easy! - 2/13/2018   2:14:54 PM
  • 52
    Buy one! I'm an admitted utility bill miser so I love that I'm not heating up a big oven for a small dish for two, especially in the summer! I've never used a cooking appliance like I do this one. Stays out on the counter 24/7. - 2/13/2018   2:09:26 PM
  • 51
    Anyone considering one of these units for a college-bound person should check the relevant dorm regulations first. Most colleges have limits on power draw and/or rules about cooking in dorm rooms. - 2/13/2018   2:04:59 PM
  • 50
    had bought an air fryer just before I joined WW and came back to SP. There are some things that are just okay, but by and large it IS the next best thing to a deep fat fryer. Husband eats what he wants and fries in this are the best I've ever made. after he has his fries, will throw in some sliced zuchinni sticks or carrots for me. Did him a chicken breast with miracle whip and then sprinkled it with parmesan cheese and some bread crumbs, while I went without the miracle whip or bread crumbs. Both were tasty and he LOVED his. I make my morning eggbeaters in a little casserole dish with some veggies and chopped meat - mini quiche. while its cooking, fried eggs for DH. It is definitely not a "gadget" but a useful kitchen tool! - 2/13/2018   1:53:52 PM
  • 49
    I am in the learning curve with my air fryer, but I love cooking fried chicken in it. I will use these recipes. Great for meals for just my hubby and me! - 2/13/2018   11:53:35 AM
  • 48
    When I fry I use oil. Not a lot of oil is absorbed if you are really careful about keeping the oil HOT. - 2/13/2018   10:49:44 AM
  • 47
    I may just have to give these recipes a try, I was given one for my birthday and was less than impressed. I figured it would be great if you cooked a lot of frozen chicken tenders or fries. - 2/13/2018   10:30:49 AM
  • 46
    I have Paula Deen's air fryer and I love it. I love to fix potatoes and add all kinds of spices to them. It's great to reheat food taste better than microwaveing. - 2/13/2018   10:02:53 AM
  • 45
    Thanks for the info, thinking about buying one - 2/13/2018   9:59:06 AM
  • 44
    I have never seen one or even tried one, but I think I know what I'm going to get my hubby for Father's Day. He loves to cook and experiment with foods and seasonings, so this will be something for him to play with. - 2/13/2018   9:42:34 AM
  • 43
    Great article! - 2/13/2018   9:23:08 AM
  • 42
    I will wait and see:They are grossly over-priced right now. They are merely a heating element with a fan. Some Sparkers have bought them and they do not even come up to temp. Foreign-made, over-priced and one more thing to fill the cabinets and counter tops. If I see one at a garage sale and plug it in first, I may do it. I use my toaster oven that is a slow cooker, toaster, oven and broiler in one. It is 40 years old and works great! - 2/13/2018   9:21:35 AM
  • 41
    Interesting! I had not heard of an air fryer before reading this article. - 2/13/2018   8:43:55 AM
  • 40
    Found a recipe online for flourless chicken drumsticks coated with oats and cauliflower to be cooked in an air-fryer. Sounds good! Thanks for the article. - 2/13/2018   8:17:29 AM
  • 39
    I don’t have one, and provably won’t get one. I’ve weaned myself off fried foods, and prefer non-fried treats now. - 2/13/2018   8:02:57 AM
  • 38
    thanks - 2/13/2018   7:30:10 AM
  • AZMOMXTWO
    37
    I got one and I live it it is perfect for just 1 or 2 people thank you for the recipes I will have to try some of them - 2/13/2018   6:47:30 AM
  • RO2BENT
    36
    I have no problem with baked or steamed - 2/13/2018   6:32:55 AM
  • RO2BENT
    35
    I have no problem with baked or Steen - 2/13/2018   6:32:36 AM
  • 34
    great - 2/13/2018   6:28:52 AM
  • 33
    I got one for Christmas and I'm loving it. I love fried chicken and hated giving it up. I cooked chicken breast using cooking spray instead of oil. It turned out good - not exactly like fried chicken but it was very close to the taste and satisfied my craving. - 2/13/2018   6:20:04 AM
  • KATHRYNGC
    32
    My sister raves about hers. Now it's about the pressure cooking thing. Still article is very helpful. - 2/13/2018   5:30:17 AM
  • 31
    I don't normally fry if I can help it.
    I will bake - 2/13/2018   3:56:06 AM
  • RAPUNZEL53
    30
    I have one and it is great. - 2/13/2018   3:30:17 AM
  • 29
    I love doing my ‘roasted’ Brussels sprouts and ‘fries’ in my air fryer. Both cook really well and taste delicious. I have also done shrimp and chicken. You only need a little oil to get a crispy texture to the food. I have to try the potato skins listed here. They look delicious. - 2/13/2018   3:26:33 AM
  • 28
    I was considering buying one later this year & try to use it for many things other then then frying, one that comes with various racks might be a good idea. I would buy one new & keep my eye out on the internet for one on sale. I am single so it looks like something that would be the correct size and could use often. - 2/13/2018   2:24:11 AM
  • 27
    I got one for Christmas and I love it. There are tons of recipes on Pinterest but it's super easy to convert recipes you already make. - 2/13/2018   12:16:54 AM
  • 26
    Very interesting! - 2/13/2018   12:14:22 AM
  • 25
    Thanks for the information. - 2/11/2018   10:42:11 PM
  • 24
    I have been wondering whether they were worth the cost - 2/11/2018   12:25:46 AM
  • 23
    Con--it takes up lots of space and I hate a crowded counter.

    Pro-- mine also has a drying setting that I use when I harvest my herb garden.
    - 2/10/2018   11:26:52 PM
  • 22
    I have been thinking of one so thanks for the review. - 2/10/2018   11:46:10 AM
  • 21
    They are perfect for one or two people. If you are cooking for more you would need to make several batches - they don't hold much if you want the food to cook properly! - 2/10/2018   11:19:19 AM
  • 20
    I plan on buying one soon. - 2/8/2018   8:08:03 PM
  • 19
    Going to get my airfryer out and start using it. - 2/8/2018   3:20:16 PM
  • 18
    Just wait until they are cheap at this summers yard sales! - 2/8/2018   3:05:31 PM
  • 17
    I love using my air fryer!! - 2/8/2018   11:33:47 AM

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