Air fryers were introduced in the market only in recent years, in an attempt to promote healthy cooking. People who spend most of their time in the kitchen understand the need for quicker cooking methods and are always looking for tools to help them out. This has given rise to many appliances that help in cooking faster like blenders, mixers, microwaves, and more recently, air fryers. But what surprised the market pundits was its rapid popularity that spread like wildfire.
These appliances are gaining quick popularity for cooking various delectable recipes without oil. It is due to their healthy cooking techniques and compact size, that they have found their place in most kitchens. Air fryers, in a nutshell, are offering us a way to gorge on our favorite finger foods guilt-free.
What are Air Fryers?
An air fryer is new-age cooking appliances that use the principle of convection to cook the food. It uses a hot air circulation method to creating a crispy and tender effect on the food placed inside. Thus, this compact appliance cooks the food to perfection by cutting down on the oil content, resulting in healthy dishes.
Is it Healthy to Cook Using Air Fryers?
The answer to this is Yes! Air fryers are a great alternative to cut down on your oil intake levels. They offer you a healthy alternative against deep-fried foods like French fries, finger chips, empanadas, meat crisps, chicken wings, etc.
However, we do understand that a sudden shift from traditional cooking to air frying will need more convincing than just the facts. Therefore, let’s take a look into the working mechanism of an air fryer.
How Do Air Fryers Work?
The air fryers follow the 'Maillard Effect' that initiates a reaction of hot air with amino acid and the reducing sugar. The presence of a heating element near the food basket radiates this hot air, and speed up the cooking process. This results in a crunchy exterior and fully-cooked soft interior, allowing you to relish each bite.
How Different are Air fryers from Microwave Convection Oven
There is a grave difference between microwaves and air fryers. Air fryers use rapid hot air technology that radiates heat faster than convection over. But when it comes to microwaves it uses electromagnetic radiation to cook the food. Since these appliances are compact, there is less room for the air to circulate, producing a perfectly cooked dish in less time. Therefore, between air frying and baking, the former takes the score.
What Can you Make in an Air Fryer?
Any deep-fried food that you can think of, is best to cook in an air fryer. Recipes like frozen meals, chicken wings, empanadas, French fries, meat, steak, and even popcorns are some common recipes that can be made easier with a tinge of oil in an air fryer.
What Can You Not Make in an Air Fryer?
Any semi-liquid or batter-filled foods are not suitable for air fryers. This is because any drip or leakage from the batter may cause your air fryer to malfunction. It is also advisable to use healthy oil to brush the food in case of french fries or kitchen breast recipes. Since healthy oils have a low heat point they tend to keep your cholesterol levels in check.
Best Air Fryers
Air fryers that are durable, efficient, and quick are considered as good ones. However, Ninja Air Fryer and Cosori Air Fryer are the most recommended ones that are currently trending the market along with many others.
Things to Consider While Buying an Air Fryer
Air fryers range between 2L to 16 L with various capacity baskets for cooking. Therefore, understanding your requirement and then choosing the size will help you buy a suitable one for yourself. While Insky Air Fryer 10.6 quarts is an ideal gadget for cooking food in large batches, Ninja AF101 Air Fryer is the best to cook food in smaller portions. Therefore, identifying your requirement before investing is crucial.
Wattage and Voltage
This is a very crucial factor to consider. As air fryers work on the rapid air technology mechanism they get hot rapidly. However, the more the wattage, the higher the level of temperature the air fryer will reach. However, it is essential to go for the one that comes with the star ratings like Bagotte Programmable Hot Air fryer as they are energy efficient as compared to others.
Ease of Use
Always ensure that you understand the controls of the air fryer before you use it. Many of these come with preset cooking controls that integral to efficient cooking. Cosori Max XL comes with many preset buttons that are easy to operate and understand. It is also convenient to clean as it comes with detachable parts and is dishwasher safe. Thus, keep the usage and maintenance in mind before investing.
Air fryers are expensive as compared to a standard convection oven. While microwave oven ranges between USD 65 to USD 270, air fryers range from USD 70 to USD 400 depending on the size and features. While Ninja AF101 costs you only $99 owing to its small size and limited features, Ninja AF161 Max XL costs around $129.99 owing to its large capacity and many features. Thus keep the cost factor in mind before investing.
An air fryer should have a well-insulated body, otherwise checking on the food might become a difficult task. It should also come with an auto shut off feature, as well as a run-time indicator. Thus, the built, material, and body of the fryer should be checked carefully before investing.
Appliances like Air fryers or Gas Grills often come with an annual warranty with some brands offering even extended warranty. Warranty is a very important aspect of any product as it not only tells a lot about the quality of the product but saves you too from unnecessary hassle.
Are Air Fryers Worth it?
The answer to this question completely and honestly depends on your need. An air fryer is an excellent investment for those who love gorging on fried finger-foods but, worried about the ill-effects of consuming oil regularly. However, if you are someone who occasionally loves to indulge in oily, greasy food, but otherwise depends on your convection oven to sort out your kitchen matters, then this appliance is probably not for you. However, experimenting with foods has never been outdated, and owning an air fryer might just give you another reason to whisk and experiment with your culinary creativity.
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