Air fryers have gained immense popularity since their introduction in 2010. If you haven't already acquired one, now might be the perfect opportunity to invest in this versatile kitchen appliance. Notably, air fryers are not only for those who wish to enjoy healthier versions of their favourite dishes, such as fries, but they have also found a permanent place in the kitchens of many families, including nutritionists!
There are numerous compelling reasons to consider adding an air fryer to your culinary arsenal, which I will discuss in more detail below. In summary, air fryers are compact and fit seamlessly into your kitchen, heating up more swiftly than conventional ovens, thereby conserving energy and allowing you to enjoy your meals sooner.
It's important to clarify that despite its name, an air fryer functions more like a small convection oven than a traditional fryer. However, it enables you to prepare many fried foods with little to no oil, resulting in the same crispy texture. Additionally, air fryers use significantly less energy, as they heat up quickly and distribute heat evenly, ensuring that your dishes are perfectly browned.
When it comes to the health aspect, the outcome largely depends on what you are cooking. If your culinary repertoire includes pizza, chips, chicken nuggets, or other breaded or battered items, using an air fryer may not significantly enhance their nutritional profile compared to using an oven. While an air fryer reduces the oil content, these items are still not health foods.
Here are my top five reasons for considering an air fryer investment, supplemented with some valuable insights:
Cost Savings: Using an air fryer is not only an investment in your health but also in your wallet. According to the Citizens Advice Bureau, if you use the air fryer for just 30 minutes a day, it will cost you £1.86 a week, compared to £2.06 for your oven. Furthermore, the reduced cooking time means you spend less on electricity, making your favourite dishes more affordable.
Less Mess: If you're a fan of meat and frequently grill it, you're well aware of the mess it can create inside your oven. Air fryers, however, contain the splatter from the fat, making cleanup a breeze. No additional oil is necessary, and the interior can be easily wiped clean.
Effortless Cleaning: Cleaning an air fryer is notably easier than dealing with a traditional grill pan. It takes just a few minutes, and some models have dishwasher-safe components, further simplifying the cleaning process.
Healthier Cooking: Air fryers promote healthier cooking by reducing the amount of oil required. The design of the air fryer basket allows excess fat to drain into a tray below, ensuring that your meals are lower in fat and calories.
Crispier Results: When it comes to preparing dishes like chips or wedges, air fryers excel in creating a delightful crispiness that surpasses what a regular oven can achieve. This is due to the even circulation of hot air around the food, which ensures that everything is cooked to perfection. Particularly for sweet potato fries, which can often turn out limp or burnt in a conventional oven, an air fryer is a game-changer.
In conclusion, whether you're looking to enhance the quality of your meals, simplify your cooking process, or save on energy costs, investing in an air fryer is a decision that can benefit both your health and your overall culinary experience.
What can you cook in an air fryer?
In short, pretty much anything if you’ve the space to fit it in! I’ve been known to cook:
Toasted nuts and seeds
Stuffed mushrooms/ peppers
Whole roasted garlic bulb
Heating up leftovers!
NOTE: you can’t cook cheesy foods (apart from coated mozzarella sticks) or anything with a wet batter.
Any time is a great time to buy but you’re likely to find some really fantastic deals around Black Friday (24th November 2023), so, if you’ve been thinking of taking the plunge, now might be your best excuse yet.
Here are my top picks:
Instant Brands Vortex 6-in-1 Air Fryer
Tefal EasyFry Classic 2-in-1 Air Fryer and Grill
Philips Airfryer Essential XL Connected – this even connects to your Alexa
Ninja AF150AMZ Air Fryer XL