A basket of fries “to share” arrives at your table at the restaurant. Suddenly, it turns into a feeding frenzy. You dive in first, determined to get your fair share (and part of someone else’s). It’s survival of the piggiest.
Manners be damned!
Okay, maybe that was a bit dramatic. But if you like fried food as much as most people do, an air fryer will enable you to make your very own fries at home. Minus the grease. Minus the post-meal guilt.
But healthier fried food isn’t the only reason buying an air fryer is a great idea. As it turns out, this nifty little machine has a lot to offer. So here’s our complete air fryer review and nine of the best options on the market right now.
So What Is This Mystical, Magical Machine?
An air fryer generates superheated air, which circulates above and around your food for more even cooking. You can think of it as the mini-version of a convection oven. This method is far more efficient than conventional ranges and leaves food crispy on the outside and moist on the inside.
And because with an air fryer you usually use only a thin coating of oil (sometimes none at all), it’s a far healthier alternative to foods fried in a vat of grease. In fact, using an air fryer should cut fats by around 70 to 80 percent.
So not only will you save calories, but you’ll also save money on cooking oil.
You can think of it as finger-licking good lite.
Grease Is So Not The Word
Is the texture precisely what you get at your favorite diner? Opinions differ, but the consensus seems to be that it does deliver a crispy texture that’s close to, if not the same, as the fried foods we know and love.
It also saves you the giant mess that a deep fryer leaves. Another big plus? It eliminates the risk of having to work with a big pot of boiling oil. No safety goggles necessary.
Sounds good, right? But there are also plenty of other reasons you’ll love using an air fryer.
Fried Chicken and Beyooooond!
Sure, you can use an air fryer for cooking healthier versions of your fried favorites. But did you know you can also use it to prepare almost anything that you would cook in a conventional oven? Vegetables, fish and other roasted meats are all on the air fryer menu.
With some of the larger models, you can roast an entire chicken or chicken wings.
You can even bake cookies, muffins and small pizzas. In other words, you can throw basically anything at this multi-tasking appliance and expect delicious results.
And for those nights when you’re not feeling so creative, you can use the air fryer to heat leftovers or cook frozen foods. This thing is like your best friend. Always there for you.
Fast Food. The Good Kind.
In this hectic, fast-paced blur that is modern life, we’re all looking to save time.
Air fryers heat up faster and cook faster than conventional ovens. In fact, your cook times could drop as far as 50% or more.
Not to mention the time you’ll save not having to hover over your food the entire time. With its handy timer and temperature controls, the air fryer falls into the genre of “set it and forget it” appliances.
So go ahead and use that time to helicopter over your kids. Or significant other. Or a pet.
Whatever. Just enjoy the respite.
An air fryer will also save you time after your meal is through and you’re ready to clean the dishes — most models are pretty simple to clean. Many brands even have non-stick coatings and frying baskets that are dishwasher safe.
And because you’ll be using only small amounts of oil, you won’t have to worry about disposing of all that grease as you would with a conventional deep fryer. Instead, you’ll slide right into downtime. Or at least be able to move on to the next thing on your checklist.
It’s not only Leaner. It’s Greener.
This super-efficient appliance heats up and cooks far faster than a conventional oven. And that means energy savings.
It also won’t heat your kitchen as a standard range does. So no more slaving over a hot stove to cook a few tater tots. Something you’ll appreciate in the summer months. When the temperature climbs, it’s hot air technology to the rescue!
More Ways To Expand Your Horizons With An Air Fryer
To make this little machine even more versatile, you can pick up an accessory kit. They typically come with cake pans, pizza pans, cooking racks and kabob skewers that were made to fit an air fryer.
You’ll also want to put some spray oils on your shopping list. It will make it easier to give your food a light coating of oil without going overboard.
9 Air Fryer Options For Your Home
So you’ve decided you want to start your air frying adventure. Here are a few things to think about before you purchase one. Air fryers come in various shapes and sizes, usually ranging from 2 to 6 quarts.
With a little bit of shopping around, you’ll be sure to find the best air fryer for your home. Here are our nine favorites on the market right now.
The Instant Pot Vortex 4-in-1 Air Fryer has the latest technology available, with smart preset programs named Air Fry, Roast, Bake and Reheat. This all-digital air fryer has a 6-quart basket — which can fit a two-pound bag of french fries for reference — and the square design allows it to be stored on your countertop or in a cabinet more efficiently than other, bulkier options.
Consider the Vortex if you are looking for an air fryer with the simplest-to-use features with the most cooking potential possible in an air fryer-only design.
The Philips TurboStar Technology Air Fryer is a luxury model when it comes to air fryers, and it has a price tag to match it. Two major features that have helped this model stand out are the keep-warm function — allowing you to keep food warm and ready to eat 30 minutes after cooking — and the baskets inside the device. The baskets have a mesh bottom, which allows for more airflow inside the air fryer to craft a crispier, more enjoyable flavor with any food you throw in your machine (yes, even your veggies can taste better).
The product comes with a one-year warranty through Philips.
Available on Amazon, the Cuisinart AFR-25 Air Fryer brings a new look to the air fryer game. This device has been optimized to provide powerful airflow and high heat at the quietest level possible. Just because it’s quiet doesn’t mean it can’t cook tons of food, though. The basket can hold up to two and a half pounds of food.
One feature that some individuals may enjoy that many air fryer models don’t offer is the viewing window. This will allow you to check on your food without having to open the machine door, conserving the already-heated airflow and speeding up the cooking process.
The stainless steel exterior also creates an easy-to-clean device that will match well with other appliances on your counter.
Looking for a device that can help you cook specific meals, so there is no need to look up how long to cook certain foods? The Cosori Air Fryer Max XL is your best bet, with 13 one-touch cooking functions (11 preset meal buttons plus Preheat and Keep Warm functions) on the device that ranges from fish meals and meats to breaded meals and fries.
The basket holds about six quarts of food and can comfortably cook a meal that feeds three to five individuals.
If you want to use the preset buttons with a recipe, this gadget also comes with 100 original, Cosori chef-created recipes written for use with this specific device.
One of the best toaster oven and air fryer combo options, the Digital Countertop Oven With Air Fry from KitchenAid offers nine different cooking presets, ranging from proofing and dehydration to toasting and air frying.
One tremendous benefit to having an air fryer toaster oven in your home compared to a standard air fryer is the No-Flip Air Fry Basket and 360° Air Fry System. These features allow you to place your food in the machine and let it sit until it’s fully cooked — no need to check on your food and rotate it constantly. To expand even further on this benefit, the top and bottom heating element designs provide cooking at the same temperature for all sides.
The large capacity of this gadget can fit up to two full-sized rotisserie chickens and a 12-inch pizza.
If you want to combine your kitchen appliances to save space, check out this Ninja Foodi 8-qt. 9-in-1 Deluxe XL Pressure Cooker & Air Fryer.
One incredibly delicious feature that this eigh quart pot and five-quart fryer basket machine offers is the TenderCrisp Technology. This combines the pressure cooker and air fryer by quickly pressure cooking ingredients to lock in juices, then give them a crispy, golden air-fryer finish.
It offers the basic air fryer machine settings — such as Air Fry, Roast and Dehydrate — while also providing Steam, Slow Cook, Yogurt, Sauté and Broil presets to widen your recipe options.
Ninja recommends that you allow all of their air fryer products to preheat for about three minutes before beginning use.
Overall, if you want to save on countertop space, shorten your cooking process and cook delicious and nutritious meals for a small group, this is the gadget we recommend checking out. Plus, it’s an affordable device considering you get two functions for the price of one.
The Ninja AF101 Air Fryer is an incredible $100 option on the market right now, available on Amazon.
Temperatures can range from 105 degrees Fahrenheit to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, and the machine offers four settings — Air fry, Reheat, Roast and Dehydrate.
This electric air fryer is one of the best for dehydrating foods, with its low fan speed and low-temperature settings that enable thorough and crisp dehydration. The Ninja Foodi has a four-quart capacity, is dishwasher safe plus comes with 20 air fryer recipes and a quick start guide.
The heavy duty PowerXL Air Fryer Oven has the largest cooking potential on this list with its 10 quart basket. This machine can hold six rotisserie kebabs, a six-pound roast chicken, eight pound pork loin, nine-inch pizza and one and a half pounds of french fries. One of our favorite features from this model is the rotating air fryer basket, which moves your food around, requiring no stirring or shaking during the cooking process.
There are eight preset options for whatever meal you decide you want to cook. Along with the air fryer itself, you get a three piece crisper tray set, an entire rotisserie set, 10 kebab skewers, a rotating air fry basket with fetch tool and an oil drip tray.
Affordable and effective. The Dash Compact Air Fryer is the cheapest option on this list while still offering similar features as its high-end competitors.
This two-quart air fryer has the smallest basket (can make about one pound of fries at a time) on the list, making it perfect for someone living alone or with a limited number of individuals who will be using the machine. It doesn’t offer presets such as Dehydrate and Roast like the Ninja products, but the auto shut-off function prevents overcooking and adds an extra layer of safety to your cooking process.
No matter if you’re cooking your favorite chicken nuggets or a complicated, gourmet meal, you can rest assured that you’ll create the best food in the safest way possible. Additionally, the minimalist design and trendy color options will help accent any kitchen space.
To Fry Or Not To Fry
If you love fried food but are looking for a healthier version, an air fryer is a great way to go.
But even if you don’t air fry food every day or even every week, you may want to consider one anyway. These compact little convection ovens are so quick and versatile that they make everyday cooking a cinch. Plus, air fryer recipes take little cooking time and effort to cook food thoroughly and make it just as delicious as deep frying.
And for those days when you are really craving your favorite french fry, your air fryer will be at the ready.
So long, fast-food drive-thrus!
You might also be interested in: The 35 Best Kitchen Gadgets For Your Home [Buyer’s Guide]
The 9 Best Air Fryers On The Market:
- Instant Pot Vortex 4-in-1 Air Fryer
- Philips TurboStar Technology Air Fryer
- Cuisinart AFR-25 Air Fryer
- Cosori Air Fryer Max XL
- KitchenAid Digital Countertop Oven With Air Fry
- Ninja Foodi 8-qt. 9-in-1 Deluxe XL Pressure Cooker & Air Fryer
- Ninja AF101 Air Fryer
- PowerXL Air Fryer Oven
- Dash Compact Air Fryer
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Sherry De Alba
Sherry is a freelance writer who worked as an actor before transitioning to an award-winner career in advertising. During a vacation to Mexico, she fell in love and never left. Sherry (aka Cherita) now spends her time bouncing between the US and Mexico writing, running, cooking, meditating and exploring lots of cool stuff on the other side of the wall.view post