Air fryers are all the rage right now. They are a great way to cook food without having to use a lot of oil, and they come in a variety of sizes so you can find one that is perfect for your needs. In this blog post, we will discuss how to use an air fryer, how to preheat it, how to clean it, and even how to cook pizza in your air fryer. We will also provide our top recommendations for air fryers so you can find the perfect one for you!
The COSORI Air Fryer is our favorite air fryer model because it is large enough for a whole chicken, has an amazing sensor to guarantee the perfect temperature, and has a detachable basket that makes cleaning up as easy as tossing the air fryer basket in the dishwasher.
This is just our favorite which we’ll use as an example throughout the post. You can find our other top recommendations you may want to consider down below.
An air fryer is a small appliance that cooks food by circulating hot air around the food using a fan. This allows you to cook food without having to use a lot of oil, which makes it a healthier option as compared to deep frying.
The crispy, perfectly golden brown texture is produced by the Maillard Reaction. While it does depend on the cook since using an air fryer only requires a thin layer of oil around the food it can be done with 1/5th to 1/4th the amount of oil that deep-frying requires.
The first air fryer was introduced in Berlin in 2010 by Phillips, but they didn’t really catch on until late 2016. They first became popular in Europe and Australia, and they have only recently become more popular in the United States.
Air fryers work a lot like regular ovens. However, air fryers use a heating element combined with a special fan to heat up air and circulate it around the food. The air is hot and dry, which means that it can quickly cook your food. Because the air fryer doesn’t use any oil, it’s a healthier option than frying your food in oil.
They come in numerous shapes and sizes ranging from 2 quarts used for sides, like fries, or up to more than 6 quarts, which can be used to cook entire chickens! Older models were specially shaped to help airflow, however, modern advances in fan technology have made this design characteristic less necessary, so many are shaped just like regular toaster ovens and will be a perfect accessory for any kitchen.
The difference between cooking with an air fryer and regular convection baking is the speed of the fan used to circulate the hot air around the food. Quality air fryers use specialty fans that push the air around the food quickly. The rapid introduction of hot air produces the familiar crunch of regular deep-fried food without saturating the food with unhealthy oil.
Deep frying induces the Maillard Reaction, which causes the fried crispness which tastes so good, by submerging food in hot oil. The downsides to this method are
- Deep frying foods is unhealthy. The large quantities of oil used are known for causing numerous chronic health issues. (WebMD)
- Frying requires large quantities of cooking oil; which creates a massive mess and is also quite hazardous if you aren’t extremely careful and well-versed in how to handle oil fires and other cooking hazards associated with hot oil.
The air fryer doesn’t use nearly as much oil as the deep fryer, so it is a healthier option. A quality air fryer will also cook the food more evenly than the deep fryer will be able to, so your food will come out crispy all over instead of just on the outside.
Learn everything you need to know about using an air fryer.
The COSORI Air Fryer has a special button for preheating, which makes it super simple to set up since you don’t need any preheating instructions. All you have to do is coat your food in a thin layer of oil, season it, pick one of the 13 built-in functions, and add food and let it cook for you so you can enjoy appetizers while you wait.
If you’re not using an air fryer with a built-in preheat function, you should turn the air fryer on approximately 15 minutes before you want to cook and let the air fryer come up to cooking temperature before you place the food in the basket. Allowing time to preheat the air fryer ensures that the food will be cooked quickly with the correct cooking time, instead of slowly, which causes the outside of the food to be crisp and delicious instead of soggy.
Cooking pizza rolls, fries, cheese sticks, and other appetizer-type dishes requires shaking in the basket to ensure that all sides are cooked evenly. The best way to do this is by agitating the food about every 5 minutes. If you don’t have a kitchen timer, the COSORI Air Fryer and a few others have shake reminders built-in and will alert you when it’s time to shake things up.
The best temperature to use for all of these dishes is usually around 400 Fahrenheit so the pizza rolls, fries, or whatever you’re making cook quickly, and all of your foods will be crispy foods. No matter what you cook the thickness matters – use a mandoline to get the right thickness every time!
The detachable baskets for many models are dishwasher safe so unless directed otherwise by your manufacturer this should be fine in most cases. If the air fryer basket isn’t dishwasher safe, allow the basket to cool, wipe any excess oil away, and clean with soap and warm water. After the basket is clean, allow it to sit and dry fully before storing the air fryer in your kitchen cabinets or on your kitchen counter.
If you’re looking to cut down on deep-fried foods but find yourself craving golden brown chicken or sweet potato french fries, or more variety in your vegetable selection, then I’d highly recommend getting one if you have the space in your kitchen. An air fryer, won’t help you make a dipping sauce for sweet potato fries but it is a great way to cook them so if you crave homemade fries it’s worth considering. You can also use an air fryer as a better alternative to the microwave for quickly heating up leftovers, like reheating leftover Indian naan or french fries.
Air fryers are easy to use, clean, and healthier than fast food alternatives. The only limit on cooking new recipes is the size you get (can fit in your cabinets or on your countertop). You can make everything from frozen french fries, and chicken wings, to brussels sprouts and asparagus.
Top Air Fryer – COSORI 5.8 Qt Air Fryer Oven Combo
- 13 cooking modes for everything you could ever want to do in the kitchen; reheat pizza, make delicious pizza rolls, or vegetables too!
- Basket style air fryer with an easy preheat button
- The basket is dishwasher safe
- Comes with over 100 air fryer recipes
- Several alternative sizes to choose from with similar functionality
Runner Up Air Fryer – Ninja Air Fryer (4 Qt or 5.5 Qt)
- Quick Preheat time of 3 minutes, but no easy preheat function
- Only 4 cooking modes; Air Fry, Roast, Reheat, and Dehydrate
- The basket is dishwasher safe
Alternative Air Fryer – Instant Vortex Plus 6 with ClearCook
- Clear window to visualize food as it cooks; internal light allows you to monitor cooking progress without opening the basket
- Touchscreen with 6 cooking modes
- The basket is dishwasher safe but may fog the clear window
I hope this post taught you a little something about air fryers. If you have any questions or recipes of your own to share, please feel free to leave them in the comments below! Especially if you have any awesome recipes I should try!