The 10 Best Air Fryers
How Air Fryers Work
Air fryers are relatively simple yet innovative cooking devices that work in a similar manner to convection ovens. They use a mechanical fan to circulate hot air at high speeds to cook foods faster and give them a crispy texture akin to what you can accomplish with deep frying.
In addition to using forced hot air, most air fryers also make use of a grill plate for additional heating. This cooks food evenly, from every direction at once. There is no need to flip the food, as is the case in a regular oven, and there is no worry of food sticking together during cooking, as is the case with battered foods in deep fryers.
Because the heating element in an air fryer is so close to the food, and the fan is circulating extremely hot air all around it, the Maillard reaction makes the exterior crispy and flavorful.
All air fryers contain some type of intake and exhaust system. Most of the time, the intake is located underneath the unit, allowing fresh air to travel into the system during cooking. Once the air enters the unit, it is heated to the optimal cooking temperature and dispersed over the food. This creates a consistent flow of fresh, clean air passing over the food during cooking. To maintain the correct amount of pressure inside the cooking unit, the used air is then emitted through a vent, often located at the top or rear of the air fryer. Before being released, the air is filtered and cooled to make the unit suitable for indoor use.
Benefits Of An Air Fryer
There is no arguing that fried food is delicious, this is most likely why it has persisted for generations. In fact, the traditional method of frying food is thought to date all the back to the Old Kingdom of Ancient Egypt in 2500 BCE. Unfortunately, the traditional method of frying food, while tasty, is also extremely unhealthy.
When fried, food absorbs large quantities of fatty oils, which results in increased caloric intake during meals. If done improperly or at too low of a temperature, the food will absorb even more oil. The consumption of high levels of fatty oils, trans fats, and calories can lead to obesity, clogged arteries, high cholesterol and more.
Air frying food reduces the amount of oil food is exposed to during cooking. An air fryer uses 70% to 80% less oil than deep frying, yet can accomplish very similar results. French fries and fried chicken can be cooked with just a tablespoon of oil, while raw meats can be cooked with virtually no oil at all. This makes air frying a piece of meat even healthy than sautéing or pan frying.
In addition to health benefits, those who use an air fryer will notice a number of other advantages including saving time and money. Air fryers take less time to heat up than a traditional oven and cook food quicker. What may take thirty to forty minutes in a traditional oven, can often be accomplished in under twenty when using an air fryer. Air fryers also make for quick clean up. The basket which contains the food during cooking is removable and most of the components are dishwasher safe.
Air fryers are also safer than traditional deep fat fryers. There is less chance of splattering oneself with hot oils and no large containers of hot oil which can potentially be spilled. In addition, there is no chance of overheated oil catching fire as the heat is controlled to a precise temperature by the unit. They also eliminate the hassle of trying to find an environmentally friendly way to discard used frying oil.
How To Choose The Right Air Fryer
There are a number of factors that should influence one's decision when considering which air fryer to purchase. Size plays an important role in how useful a particular model will be for your lifestyle. If you have a large family with kids, buying a larger model that can accommodate enough food to feed multiple people is a must. On the other hand, a bachelor living alone who is just looking for a quick and healthy way to prepare meals can go with a smaller unit. Most air fryers have a capacity ranging from 1.8 to 2.5 gallons.
Temperature range is another important consideration. It is beneficial to pick a model that allows for a wide range of temperature settings as different foods will require different cooking temperatures. Not only should one look for one with a wide range, it is also a good idea to find a model that has a high maximum temperature. Some models may only get to 360 degrees Fahrenheit, while other models may reach upwards of 400 degrees.
Alert notification volume should be factored into the buying decision as well. Audible alerts for when a fryer is preheated and when the cooking time has elapsed can be so quiet that they can only be heard when standing in the same room, while others have overly loud alarms that can be heard when watching TV in another room. Your needs will dictate which is better for you.
Other considerations to take into account include how intuitive the controls are as well as any budgetary constraints one has. After that, one might want to consider the design to ensure it has a similar style and color as their other cooking appliances.