Ask any healthy eating enthusiast what is one of their must-haves in the kitchen, and I bet most will say an air fryer. There are so many benefits to having one, so continue reading to find out more about this versatile piece of kit. Could an air fryer be perfect for you?
What is an air fryer?
Essentially, an air fryer is similar to a deep fat fryer except it utilises hot air to cook and crisp the food rather than oil. Of course, this means that they are way healthier.
To me, an air fryer sounds as though it should be something that produces bland food… or is it just me who thinks that? The use of the word air always makes me think of a lack of flavour. Having said that, the items you can produce with this appliance are far from that description.
Why should I get an air fryer?
No oil needed
You need to use little to no oil when you are cooking, which can save a lot of fat and calories, making it easier to stick to a healthier diet.
Quick to cook
The appliances generally take little time to heat up and can cook your food fairly quickly. I get frustrated by how long my oven takes to get to temperature, sometimes.
Good value for money
You can also save yourself money using one of these. For one, you use hardly any oil, which can be expensive if you opt for something like extra virgin olive oil.
Secondly, the shorter cooking time means you are using the appliance for less time and as such saving money. Vicki talks about that here, it hadn’t really occurred to me!
Finally, when you use an oven unless you are using the whole space, like my Sunday lunch game of Tetris, you expend a lot of energy for just a small amount of food.
What can I cook in an air fryer?
An air fryer is a versatile piece of kit (much more so than a traditional deep fat fryer) and can be used for many tasty foods including jacket potatoes. However, my ultimate favourites are:
It did take me a little while to perfect my chips in the air fryer, but once I got the hang of them, I haven’t really looked back. Once cooked, they are crispy but fluffy on the inside.
To finish, I always add a liberal sprinkling of American chip spice. If you’ve not heard of it, you are missing out – it’s incredibly popular in Hull! Give it a try and let me know what you think.
Have you ever been preparing the Sunday lunch but run out of space in the oven? This tends to happen to me. The air fryer is great for healthy roast potatoes.
I’ll have the nut roast on one shelf, a tray of parsnips on another, some stuffing on the final one, and then I panic about where on earth my potatoes will go, not to mention the Yorkshire puddings.
Well, roast potatoes can be made in the air fryer too, which can really help, avoiding shoving trays into the oven precariously and risking burning myself.
As a vegetarian, I can’t vouch for the flavour of the salmon that has been cooked in my air fryer. However, everyone who’s tried it has said it’s beautiful.
I put a teaspoon of oil onto the salmon and then sprinkle over a little Cajun seasoning. It’s so easy to make your own – 1tbsp paprika, 1tbsp garlic powder, ½tbsp onion powder, ½tbsp salt, 1tsp black pepper and 1tsp cayenne pepper all mixed together.
Of course, you can buy it in a jar ready to go, but I feel it lacks something. The outside of the salmon has a slight crisp to it, and the inside is still juicy (I’m assured). Serve with a salad and some new potatoes.
Chicken wings or drumsticks
Again, another one that is a huge hit for others. This dish requires no oil whatsoever, just your chosen seasoning – I usually plump for a simple mix of baking powder, salt and pepper. Then, once cooked, I add some hot sauce.
What is the best air fryer to buy?
You have probably realised that you’ve been missing out and are wondering which air fryer to invest in. Well, here are some of the best:
The Tower T17005 is an Amazon bestseller. This 3.2l model allows you to adjust the temperature between 80 and 200°C and features a 30-minute timer. With a three-year warranty, even those of us who have problems with electrical equipment (that’s me – I’m not sure why I have such bad luck with appliances!) can be assured that it won’t be a waste of money. With an RRP of £69.99, you won’t have an enormous outlay to start your air frying journey if you choose this one.
Air Fryer VPCOK XL
The Air Fryer VPCOK XL is recommended by Vicki who says it heats up quickly, ready to cook in no time. The small appearance but large capacity makes it ideal for feeding a family (2 adults and 2 children). One of my favourite things about this is that it is easy to clean. Furthermore, it comes with a recipe book for air fryers – result! Reasonably priced at around £70, this is another Amazon favourite.
VonHaus 1.5L Air fryer
Blogger, Mother geek recommends the VonHaus 1.5l air fryer saying she finds it extremely easy to clean and uses it for a lot of meals but her favourites are chips, hash browns, onion rings and even cheese toasties. Read her full review here.
Proscenic T21 Air fryer 5.5L
The Proscenic T21 air fryer is highly recommended by Monica who says “With 2 little kids and 2 start-up businesses I am very low on time for cooking, especially healthy cooking. With the air fryer, I can throw together a variety of ingredients and get them cooking whilst I am free to do the other million and one things around the house. And the cherry on top is that there is no need for any saturated fats or oils to be added. So I can roast/ fry/ cook anything from jacket potatoes, homemade fries, chicken, roasts and more in my little magic box. Bonus – it cleans fairly simply so less mess and more fun!”
The larger size of this air fryer is perfect for larger families. Is it the one for you?
Tefal Actifry Genius XL
The Tefal Actifry Genius XL is the air fryer that I use regularly. I love the size of this model as it comfortably makes enough for a family and the turning paddle means you don’t have to worry about turning or tossing the food for an even cook.
It is more expensive than a lot of the air fryers but I love it and do find it easy to use and perfect for our needs. Since I bought a Ninja Foodi (mentioned in more detail below) that has an air fryer feature I will probably not replace the Actifry when it breaks, but time will tell!
Another blogger, Jenni, also loves the Actifry, her thoughts are “I’ve used my ActiFry every day for two years and I would highly recommend it. I love how the paddle turns the food so that you don’t need to do anything until it’s ready. After a LOT of use, the paddle did break, but replacement parts are very cheap so I just popped a new one in and it was as good as new!” this reminded me that our old Actifry after a few years had similar issues but I easily replaced the handle and paddle. Sadly another 6 months later the whole thing stopped working so I bought new (the genius XL)!
Ninja Foodi multicooker
I bought my Ninja Foodi Multicooker on a bit of a whim, excited that it could cook so many things and had so many functions. I don’t use it as often as I imagined I would but to be honest, that is probably just because I have so many gadgets rather than because I don’t have a use for it!
The Ninja Foodi multicooker is available in a few different models. I have the 7 in 1 option. It can slow cook, saute, pressure cook, air fry, steam, bake and grill. There are so many things you can cook in it that you will use your main oven less. I find that instead of putting the whole oven on for a couple of chicken breasts I just pop them in the Ninja!
Nicola also recommends the Ninja Foodi and says “I love how I can use my Ninja Foodi not only for these three functions but can also sauté in it too – plus other functions which I am yet to explore. I rarely use my oven and hob now in favour of the Ninja which is great because they are a pain to clean whereas I can put the Ninja Foodi parts in the dishwasher – so easy. One of the best things is that instead of an overflowing cupboard of kitchen gadgets I now have just one unit which is easy to put away when out of use… which is quite rare as I use it for one if not two meals every day!”
Have you seen the roundup I shared of 20 summer air fryer recipes?
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