How Does An Air Fryer Work?

How does an air fryer work? Is this device suitable for your kitchen? 

Of course, a lot of you have heard about this cooking utility. Based on the pitches being thrown around, an air fryer can fry food faster than standard ovens. Furthermore, it is said that this item can help you cook food with less fat as compared to deep-frying. 

But are these claims true? Can we really rely on the performance of air fryers? 

Well, to know the answer to these questions, we just have to look and understand the mechanisms of an air fryer. In this way, you’ll be able to decide whether or not acquiring it is a wise decision.

How Does An Air Fryer Work?

The first thing that you need to know is that an air fryer doesn’t actually fry (technically). Specifically, the food that you put into its holed basket is cooked through hot air blowing around. 

In short, you can compare an air fryer performance to a convection oven. Its primary components are a fan and a heating element–both of which are operated through electricity. However, unlike countertop convection ovens, an air fryer is designed to swirl the air in a circular motion. And it does this job very fast. 

Because of this mechanism, an air fryer is capable of reaching all of the parts of the food. No parts are missed. It can cook quickly and evenly, enabling you to attain a crusty texture to your ingredients in no time.

Since the food is placed on a perforated platform or basket, there’s a minimal hindrance between the delicacy and the hot air. The utilization of hot air of this device enables the convection effect, which, in turn, allows the exterior of the food to be brown and crisp. In fact, as long as the temperature of the air reaches more than 320 degrees Fahrenheit, ingredients like tater tots and french fries will get brown.

By the way, one of the notable designs of an air fryer is the minimal space between their cooking baskets and walls. Hence, it is easier for heat to increase and intensify. 

Are Air Fryers A Healthy Alternative?

One of the prevalent inquiries that you can see right now about air fryers is their viability toward health-conscious cooking. 

This particular notion is derived from the idea (or the fact) that air fryers do not use too much oil, as compared to standard deep-fryers. But let’s explore this particular matter first.

Allow me to emphasize that most cooking oils are not that unhealthy. If you just don’t fry your ingredients in lard or vegetable shorteners, there’s nothing that you should worry about. Therefore, a “safe” oil that you use in a fryer should not also cause you any concern. 

But at the same time, I have to underline that oil contains extensive contents of calories. Too many calories are considered to be unhealthy, especially to your weight. So if you are trying to minimize your calorie intake, is it logical to use less oil?

The answer to that question is not that straightforward. When the food is deep-fried between 350 and 375 degrees Fahrenheit, it will not absorb oil too much. However, this is no assurance that you will not get any more calories. As long as the ingredient is deep-fried properly, oil is a matter that should be taken out of the picture. Instead, you need to focus on the food that you are cooking. Does it contain high calories? If so, then an air fryer will not be able to reduce the calorie that you will get from eating it.

With little oil needed, many would assume that air fryers pose a healthier alternative than deep fryers. But if you want an honest answer, it has minimal impact. It still boils down to the food you cook. Always keep in mind that air fryers are not miracle workers. They will not be able to remove the unwanted contents of your ingredients. 

Can I Use An Air Fryer For Other Cooking Techniques?

Interestingly, you are free to use these air fryers for baking and roasting. This capability makes them a versatile cooking utility. 

You can use air fryers for baking and roasting. These cooking methods are pretty doable in this device. However, just do not expect that you will get the same quality and satisfaction that you usually get from using a conventional oven. The mechanism of the air fryer is designed for frying, after all. Hence, it might not meet your expectations when it comes to non-frying needs. 

But you can always use this tool for roasting and baking if you don’t have the appropriate appliances for them at your disposal. You can use air fryers to make muffins, but keep in mind that the muffins will not rise or brown properly. 

How To Choose An Air Fryer

  • Size – One of the essential aspects that you need to factor in when choosing an air fryer is size. In the market today, the standard size ranges from 3.5 liters to 4 liters. These sizes are already enough to cater to four people at most. But if you are required to do large servings all the time, you might need bigger air fryers. 

Of course, you need to determine if there’s enough space on your countertop for an air fryer. After all, this particular appliance can get bulky, especially if you are going to opt for those large units.

  • Pre-programmed settings – Air fryers are innovative cooking utilities. Hence, there’s nothing wrong if you are going to expect that they have smart features like cooking presets. These added functionalities will allow users (especially the first-timers) to use the device with ease. Some air fryers do have more than ten presets for various meat, veggies, and dessert. 
  • Safety features – It would also be beneficial if the air fryer you get has safety features embedded in it. For instance, an automatic shutdown feature is crucial for this type of cooking appliance. It prevents unwanted incidents from happening. It will also be ideal if the air fryer has a cool-touch exterior and handles. 
  • Temperature and control – As much as possible, know the temperature range that an air fryer can generate. In this way, you’ll be able to know what kind of cooking the device can do. It would also be best if the one you will get has a timer. Moreover, it gives you control over the food you fry. 

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