What is an Air Fryer? Ask any diet conscious person and I bet they’ll enthusiastically explain you all details about this virtuous kitchen appliance. Undoubtedly, an Air fryer is the only kitchen appliance that lets you binge on your favorite snacks while still keeping your overall calorie intake considerably down.
An air fryer is a kitchen appliance that cooks food by circulating super-hot air around the food giving it that beautiful crunch without actually using oil for frying. The crunchy layer which we just mentioned that adheres the surface of any deep fried food, is due to the ‘Maillard effect‘. General methods of cooking induce the Maillard effect by completely or partially submerging the food in hot oil. Contrasting to which, an air fryer induces the same effect by circulating very hot air (up to 200°C) around the food with the help of a mechanical fan. Very little to mere spraying of oil can still be used to get the traditional essence of any food. Moreover all the cooking units of an air fryer are lined with a non-stick coating. So, even without oil, everything is just fine.
Air fryers have seen some major improvements in terms of design and user interface through the years after being perceived as a rather complicated appliance. These compact gizmos have two variables that you need to manipulate to get that desired ‘fried’ effect. These are the time and temperature settings. Standard models feature calibrated knobs to program the device while a select few in the higher-end of the price range feature digital controls. As a general rule, you’d find air fryers that can be programmed to up to 400°F while the temperature can be set for up to an hour. With such wide range of settings, air fryers provide endless possibilities for creative minds while still staying accountable to their health and fitness goals.
For instance, who doesn’t like French Fries but everyone knows the amount of oil it has. Also health conscious people tend to keep a distance from any oily food. But if I tell you that you can have all the Fried food yet keep your oil meter in check – sounds fishy? Not in the 21st century, Behold the power of Air Fryer. The Air fryer can reduce oil usage by more than 75%. You can also use no oil if you want to and yet the food tastes great. So, have your fries, chips, chicken wings and still stay well within your daily calorie goals.
Components of an Air fryer
Any air fryer has the following detachable parts:
- Cover (main body).
- Basket holder.
The base of the appliance is the cover or the main body which has the actual functioning unit. Above which there’s the basket holder which holds the cooking basket. It has the mechanical fan installed beneath it ( this may vary with brands).
Up furthermore, there is the cooking basket where the food is supposed to be kept for cooking. The cooking basket has a base in the form of a wire mesh which allows proper circulation of hot air around the food. Adding to the benefits, the device also has a divider which enables you to cook different varieties of food in the same slot at the exact same time.
Advantages of Air Fryer
In a nutshell, traditional deep fried cooking imparts the food with excessive unnecessary calories by oil absorption during the cooking process. Alternatively, an Air fryer avoids all those extra calories in the form of absorbed oil and produces healthier versions of the same food keeping all the flavours intact. This is the single-most important virtue of air fryers that has got them the eminence they boast today.
If you are a food lover, and cannot compromise on the taste and that satisfying deep fried crunch but also want to keep a check on your calorie intake, you should definitely invest in a good air fryer. An air fryer will bless your life with the perfect balance of binge and health. Below are some of the most prominent benefits of air fryers.
- Low caloric content food due to very low oil content
- Easy and simple to use
- Easy to clean
- No mess
Disadvantages of Air Fryer
Air fryers have invaded the kitchen appliance industry with a storm owing to the promising claims associated with them. Although air fryers add a great deal of convenience, there are a few limitations to them as well.
1. Not for Big Families
Air fryers are known be compact appliances meant to be used on the kitchen counter. Limited by this virtue, manufacturers can use only go so far with the capacity of their models. Moreover, the body of the air fryer also incorporates hardware responsible for producing the immense temperatures. The actual usable capacity of an air fryer is related to the removable food basket. You may find air fryers that are as less as 2 quart in size to larger models that are 6 quarts. The models on the lower end of this range are fairly compact and can be conveniently sued over small counters; but again, aren’t meant for large portion sizes. Meanwhile, bigger air fryers (4-6 quarts) accommodate more food (some can be used to fry a whole chicken) but occupy more counter space. The sweet spot for most people is the middle ground. Regardless of what model you choose, there’s always a chance that you’d find your air fryer to lack in case of large family-sized meals.
2. Longer Cooking Durations
There’s no denying to the fact that air fryers replicate far healthier versions of deep fried foods. But, these can’t beat the short time frames taken by deep fryers. Air fryers exhibit considerably longer cooking times as compared to traditional deep frying methods. To be precise, an Air fryer can take as much as two times the duration when compared to deep fryers. This can be a con for you if you find yourself rushing for meals at a set time. However, for times like Sunday binge or other weekend gatherings, this limitation shouldn’t really bother you.
3. Rather Expensive
Owing to the health benefits associated with Air fryers, some models are priced way more than regular deep fryers. For context, you can get a deep fryer for as less as $50 while an Air fryer averages at around $100. These models however offer basic functionality and aren’t loaded with contemporary features. If you opt for add-ons like a touch control panel or programmable settings for that matter, the budget range for the corresponding models might as well climb past the $250 mark.
4. Bulky Design
Juggling between adequate cooking capacity and a fairly compact footprint; most models stray out of the favorable union where both aspects are compromised aptly. Recent models of air fryers have been showing an inclination towards increased basket size which by extension, means an increased overall size. Such bulky air fryers are only advisable for kitchens that can afford the corresponding counter space to store the appliance. Such bulky models eat way too much of counter space which can be an issue for small kitchens.
5. Ill-fitting Substitute for Ovens
Contrary to the popular belief of air fryers being able to substitute standard convection ovens; these are not exactly the same! Air fryers function as mini-ovens with amplified air circulation often times at a higher temperature setting. These provisions give the fried effect to the food in the basket. However, in the case of an oven, the cooking cavity is spacious and the heat is transferred at a slower rate originating from the heating coils through convection as compared to that of an air fryer. In simple terms, air fryers are amplified ovens; too thorough for certain foods. As a rule of thumb, you could associate an air fryer to be apt for frying while and a conventional oven to be ideal for low heat baking and broiling.
Well the disadvantages are being reduced with new iterations and new menus being added to the advantages, it is one of most preferred Home or Kitchen appliances.
Now that You know Air Fryers and its advantages for health. You would be wondering where can You get one and also how to decide which one is suited for You. Fret not, we’re here to help You with Your queries and tell You the best 10 in every price range with features. So just sit back and relax for we’ve got you covered.