Last Updated: Dec 28, 2022
Air fryer is a new modern appliance that uses hot air to cook food . It is similar to a convection oven, but uses less energy and produces less heat. The reason people prefer air fryers is that deep-fried items are unhealthy. The use of excess oil increases cholesterol levels which in turn increases heart problems. On the other side, an air fryer uses very little oil and cooks’ healthy food. Air fryers have become popular in recent years as an alternative to deep frying, which is considered to be unhealthy.
If we talk about the history of air fryers, originally the concept was introduced by William Maxson during the mid-19th century. His idea was to cook food faster and different than traditional methods. He introduced a device and named it “Maxon Whirlwind Oven”, a large multi-layered oven that used a fan to blow hot air into his equipment to cook food. Although his invention was not that popular in that period.
The idea was later improvised by Fred Van Der Weij, a renowned researcher. On the other hand, Philips, the popular electronic company, was already working to develop a fryer that makes the frying process healthier. But Philips was struggling to convert their idea into a consumer product that would ensure simplicity, ease of use, and cost-effectiveness as well. Fred Van Der Weij started working with Philips on this project in 2005 and took him 3 years to develop a prototype which was an egg-shaped fryer. Then, the air fryer was introduced by Philips company in 2010 at “Internationale Funkausstellung”, a larger consumer electronics fair in Berlin that attracted a large number of consumers. Now Philips owns the patents for Fred Van Der Weij’s air-frying technology. And this invention resulted in enormous great success.
How does an air fryer work?
Working & Functionality
Air fryer does not fry the food just like we do deep frying in oil. Instead, it blows hot air on food placed in it so that it gets cooked. The basic principle is that it uses hot air to cook food.
In the top section of the air fryer a fan is placed that blows hot air, then there is a perforated basket in which food is placed just like chicken, fries, and when you turn on your air fryer hot air rushes down and around the food and the food starts to get crispy. The hot air creates a convection effect that cooks the food and changes its color to brown. Most air fryers are portable, and their parts consist of a heating element, a fan on top, and a basket that you can pull out to place items to be cooked. Now let’s discuss the functionality of different parts of the air fryer:
- Cooking Chamber
The cooking chamber is bowl-shaped area where food is cooked. It has small holes in it just like a net which allows hot air to pass in and out. The hot air surrounds the food from all sides, and the food gets fried and does not become soggy.
- Heater and Fan
In most air fryers heating element and the fan is placed on top . The heating element starts to raise heat and the fan throws air so with raising temperature air gets hot and passes inside out and food starts to cook.
- Temperature and Timer Control
With air fryers comes a timer and temperature control system by which you can adjust time and temperature accordingly with your own need and convenience. Normally air fryers cook food more quickly than conventional methods of cooking.
An exhaust is also placed in air fryers to manage air temperature inside so that the inner parts get cooled down and the air fryer keeps running. It also drives the smell of cooking food away.
Characteristics and Features of air fryer
- Oil Free Cooking
One of the best features of air fryers is that it helps to cook our food without the use of oil. For instance, just think how much oil would be needed to deep fry chicken, nuggets, or fries, well for a meal of two, at least two cups of oil will be required. On the other hand, the same quantity can be cooked in an air fryer which will reduce oil usage by 95% to 100%. Either you can use no oil or use a spoon or two of oil.
- Cooks Healthy Food
Health is becoming a trending subject day by day. For quality life, good health is essential and good health is not possible without quality food. Ideal food should provide good taste as well along with health benefits that is why fried dishes are always on the trending side. Normally fried stuff is cooked in oil, but excess oil is highly discouraged as it causes multiple health problems. Air fryer comes to resolve this problem by fulfilling both requirements by proving the taste of fried and crispy food with no or minimal use of oil.
- Reduced Cooking time
Time is precious and in today’s busy life, everyone is in a hurry. This is another advantage of the air fryer that it reduces cooking time and makes your food quicker. Normally it cooks faster than a microwave oven. This is because the heat in the air fryer is more intense and hotter than in the standard oven. A lot of recipes can be cooked in air fryers 50% quicker than in a microwave oven. But it still depends on what you are cooking.
- Easy to Clean
It is easy to clean air fryers. Simply remove the cooking tray from air fryer and wash it with warm water ad soap. Some air fryers are also dish washer safe and can be cleaned quickly.
It is preferred to clean your air fryer after every use especially if you are trying some meat, fish, or a recipe that needs marination.
- Convenient Price
Air fryers come in a range of convenient price tags. The increasing competition from different brands of air fryers has made them even cheaper. Normally the price of a standard air fryer with decent features starts from as low as $50 and goes on increasing with the latest features and improved versions. So, it is not that expensive to afford an air fryer.
- Easy to use
Air fryers are user-friendly. They are portable and easy to use. The first step is whether you want to preheat it or not. Well, this is optional and depends upon your choice and it is not compulsory to preheat the air fryer and even if you want to preheat it, it will be done in just a few mins only. Air fryers are ideal for cooking food that is often deep-fried. The process is simple, just pull the drawer out, use a spoon of oil on your food, place it in the tray inside the drawer, and then push the drawer in and then just the set timer, and your food will start cooking.
- Versatility & Multiple Usage
Today people prefer kitchen appliances with versatility that can perform multiple functions. Air fryers are not behind and are coming with multi functionality options. One of such type is air fryer microwave combo with combination of air fryer and microwave features such as air frying, grilling, baking and roasting.
What to consider while choosing an air fryer
There are certain aspects to consider before making a purchase of an air fryer. Below is the list:
1-Size & Capacity
The first thing to consider is the size of an air fryer. Obviously different families have different needs. So, it is important to consider the cooking capacity of an air fryer. Let’s categorize air fryers in terms of capacity
Small size air fryers have a capacity from 2 QZ – 3 QZ. And they are good enough to cook food for a family of 1-2 persons.
Medium-size air fryers have a capacity from 4QZ – 6 QZ. These types of air fryers are good for cooking large items and can feed 2-4 persons.
Extra-large-size air fryers have a capacity above 7 QZ. These air fryers can be used for cooking meals for large families or gathering. They can cook large items such as whole chicken, turkeys, and pizzas.
Second thing to consider is the controls section of an air fryer. With the rapid increase in evolving technology, new brands and models are introduced in the market. Different air fryers have different patterns of control mainly regarding temperature and timer. For more precise and accurate controls it is better to go with digital air fryers that have digital controls, as they show the information over LED that displays time and temperature. Nowadays there are the latest versions of Air fryers in the market that have a Wi-Fi connection and you can even set the controls of your air fryer from your mobile phone.
3-Ease of Cleaning
The most convenient accessories are those that are easy to clean after their usage. Normally the tray and basket are easily removable and can be washed but it is better to ensure before purchasing that the tray and basket are dish washable.
Air fryers come with a variety of features. Choose a model that has the features you need. Some air fryers have special features like a timer or automatic shut-off. Others come with accessories like a racks or skewers. Choose an air fryer that has the features you need. There are many different brands of air fryers on the market some popular ones are Cosori , Ninja, Chefman, Ultrean, Gowise etc. You can choose by comparing different features and factors as stated above.
Air fryer also features portability. Due to its compact size, you can take it with you if you are going outdoor for camping, hunting, or hiking.
It is also a good option for weight loss as it reduces weight content. Si if you want to lose your weight, along with other exercises like biking, gym and outdoor activities. Prefer using an air fryer to help reduce the extra calories and fat content.
Overall having an air fryer is a valuable investment. It is a great tool and a must-have appliance in your kitchen. If you want to get rid of excess oil, then an air fryer is the best appliance for you. You can cook healthier food for yourself and your family. It is often recommended to cook frozen food in the air fryer to have a crunchy munch. Food when cooked in an air fryer may sometimes become dry, this can be avoided by simply applying a thin oil layer to your food, it will give you a crunchy feel. The vitamins are also preserved with the use of air fryers, and it cooks food faster than a microwave oven. Based on user reviews below are some of the pros and cons of air fryers:
- It provides crispy and crunchy food with no or very less oil.
- Cooks quicker than an oven and saves time.
- Versatile use. It can cook a variety of foods, especially frozen food.
- It provides safe cooking.
- Food remains crispy even if reheated.
- Portable and easy to use.
- It cooks healthier food.
- Sometimes it makes the food dry.
- Makes noise during cooking.
- Limited cooking capacity.
- It can’t cook everything.
- The quality of the air fryer depends upon what you are willing to pay.
- It takes up space on the countertop.
Whether to preheat the air fryer or not?
Generally, people prefer to preheating air fryer. But this is not compulsory and there is no hard and fast rule for preheating an air fryer. It basically depends upon what you are cooking. For crispy food recipes, it is recommended to preheat your air fryer. But at the end it is a personal choice and varies with individual preferences. Some people prefer preheating the air fryer while some cook directly without preheating. Even if there are some recipes that require preheating the air fryer, this can simply be avoided by cooking the dish for a few more minutes.
Whether to use oil in the air fryer or not?
No one likes oil because it is unhealthy. But at the same time, no one can deny the fact that the taste and crisp oil provides to food is very prominent. It depends upon personal preference whether to use oil or not but rubbing or coating a thin layer of oil adds taste and makes the food crunchier and browner. So, you can prefer using a small portion of oil for premium taste.
Can you put foil in an air fryer?
Yes, you can use aluminum foil in the air fryer but prefer placing it is basket only and make sure to firmly tight the foil, so it is not loose. The air fryer does not use electromagnetic waves for cooking food but uses hot air instead so you can use it but don’t use foil while cooking acidic food as aluminum foil may react with food. For acidic foods you can use parchment paper as it does not react with food and is safe to use.
Is air frying healthier than deep-frying?
As compared to deep frying air frying is much better. Deep frying requires use of oil to cook food and for that you will drop the food pieces in boiling hot oil and food will be dipped in oil completely. During deep frying, the food inside it absorbs a lot of oil and gets almost filled with oil. Deep frying uses 95% more oil as compared to air frying. Excess oil results in excess calories and will cause many health problems. On the other hand, an air fryer uses hot air to cook food and does not raise issues for health. It is better to use an air fryer for better health.
Does the food cooked in the air fryer is as crispy as deep-fried?
The crispiness and taste generated by deep frying your food are noncomparable. If you prefer taste over your health, then the oil is best for you. But you can also balance your taste and health with the use of an air fryer. You can use a small portion of oil for adding additional crunch and delight to your food. The air fryer does obviously reduce the use of oil by 95%.
How do I prevent my food from sticking to the surface of the air fryer?
Food sometimes does stick with the bottom or sides of the basket in the air fryer. You can simply avoid it by applying a thin layer of oil on your food or applying oil on the basket, so it won’t stick. Prefer using oil with a high smoke point because oil with low smoke changes its properties when heated above its smoke point and becomes unhealthier.
What to do if I feel a smell of smoke from the air fryer?
There can be various reasons for the smell of smoke that may emit from the air fryer. One of the obvious reasons can be if food is overcooked, you will feel the smell of it. Another reason might be dirty air filters, this can be sorted by replacing air filters. The most probable reason that it may emit smoke or smell is if it is uncleaned. If the air fryer is not properly cleaned after every use and used again without cleaning, then cooking oil may leave residue, and food remains will leave an odor, which will smell nasty. So, prefer cleaning the air fryer after every use.
How to clean an air fryer?
First, warm up some soapy water. Then take out the drawer and separate the cooking basket. Clean the basket with wet tissue to clean out any oil on it. Then wash the basket in warm soapy water. You can use a soft brush to scrub away any dry food spots on the frying basket. After washing clean these with a dry microfiber cloth and let the parts dry. Then clean the interior of the air fryer with a dry microfiber cloth.