Curious About Air Fryers? Here’s What You Need To Know

Air Fryer

When I recently read online that the air fryer is the new Instant Pot (at least in terms of viral popularity), I was initially skeptical. I was also slightly confused, because I wasn’t actually sure what an air fryer even was! But at least I wasn’t alone in my confusion, because when the topic of air fryers came up at a recent OGT planning meeting, it seemed like everyone had a different idea of what they were and how they worked!

I ended up deciding that if the air fryer really was the hot new thing in kitchen appliances, I’d better check it out. I’ve also received several comments and emails from readers asking me for my opinion on air fryers, and I couldn’t just leave them hanging!

So I did some research, bought one, and gave it a few test runs. Today I’m ready to share my air fryer findings with you, and explain what it is, how to choose one, and what you can make with it. My hope is that by the end of this post, you’ll have answers to all the questions you might be asking about this intriguing new cooker.

Air Fryer

What Is An Air Fryer?

An air fryer is essentially a small countertop convection oven. It cooks foods by pumping hot air throughout the unit, resulting in quick cook times and crispy exteriors.

I personally think the term “air fryer” is a bit misleading, because it implies that it can produce the same results as an actual fryer without the need for any oil. The hot air inside the air fryer does make food crispy, but you can’t truly replicate the same flavors or textures of frying without oil. It’s just not possible!

Air Fryer

So even though the air fryer isn’t necessarily the healthy eating miracle device I imagined it to be, there are still a lot of reasons why you might want one. The first is that you can use an air fryer to cook all kinds of foods without needing to turn on your oven, and at this point in the summer, no one needs a hot oven heating up their house!

Another benefit of air fryers is that most have dishwasher safe components, so you don’t have to worry about hand-washing any special parts. Finally, many foods cook quite quickly in an air fryer. We cooked frozen sweet potato fries just to give it a try, and they came out deliciously crispy in about 12 minutes!

Air Fryer

Choosing The Right Air Fryer

If you’re interested in getting an air fryer for your kitchen, the good news is that they’re actually pretty affordable! Most run right around $100, though you could easily spend up to $300 on a really fancy model. Here are a few of the air fryers that are popular on Amazon right now, just to give you an idea of what’s out there.

air fryer

Best On A BudgetDASH Compact Air Fryer – 2 Qt.
Price: $49.99

In terms of price, this compact model is hard to beat at just $50. And since it’s on the smaller side, it’ll take up less room on your counter and be easier to clean. It comes in cute colors too!

air fryer

Best For Extra CrunchBLACK+DECKER Purify 2L Air Fryer
Price: $65.56

This model has two convection fans circulating hot air, so this is your best bet if you’re a fan of extra-crunchy foods.

air fryer

Easiest To UseGoWISE 5.5L Air Fryer
Price: $90.93

This model has a sleek touchscreen menu of options to choose from. It also has some really handy built-in cooking programs, including ones for fries, chicken, shrimp, and more!

air fryer

Best For FamiliesBig Boss 15L Air Fryer
Price: $79.28

Not only is this air fryer certifiably HUGE, but I also like the look of the clear glass bowl! I think it would be fun to see my food cooking through the glass, but maybe I’m just weird like that. It also comes in 5 different colors.

air fryer

Best If You Have An Instant PotInstant Pot Air Fryer Lid
Price: $89.95

If you already have a 6 qt. Instant Pot, the new Instant Pot Air Fryer Lid is a great option for you. It’s handy because you can pressure cook something first, then remove the pressure cooker lid and pop on the air fryer lid to get the top nice and crispy.

air fryer

Best OverallNinja Max XL 5.5 Qt. Air Fryer
Price: $139.99

The interior of the basket and the removable tray are ceramic, which makes them nonstick, and they’re dishwasher safe too. This one also has some useful extra cooking modes like dehydrate and reheat.

Air Fryer

What Can I Make In An Air Fryer?

Now that we’ve covered what an air fryer is and how to choose the right one, let’s talk about what you can cook in one! I put together a list of delicious recipes from around the web to share with you. For even more inspiration, a search for “air fryer recipes” on Google or Pinterest should keep you busy for a while! ;-)

11 Delicious Air Fryer Recipes

Click on the title of each recipe to view the full recipe and instructions.

Air Fryer

1. Bacon Burger

from Blue Jean Chef

Air Fryer

2. Cinnamon Rolls

from Blue Jean Chef

Air Fryer

3. Baked Potato

from Courtney’s Sweets

Air Fryer

4. Avocado Fries with Lime Dipping Sauce

from Skinnytaste

Air Fryer

5. Blackberry Hand Pies

from Kitchen Fun With My 3 Sons

Air Fryer

6. Sriracha-Honey Chicken Wings

from Karen’s Kitchen Stories

Air Fryer

7. Healthy Fish Finger Sandwich

from My Fussy Eater

Air Fryer

8. French Fries

from A Pinch Of Healthy

Air Fryer

9. Crispy Brussels Sprouts

from Glue & Glitter

Air Fryer

10. “Truly Crispy” Flourless Southern Fried Chicken

from Recipe This

Air Fryer

11. Buffalo Cauliflower

from Glue & Glitter

Do you have an air fryer, or are you thinking about buying one?

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Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee

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  • I was looking forward to seeing the cheat sheet, though it did occur to me that it might be in Fahrenheit and unfortunately, I was right :-(
    I can use google to convert, but it’s not as pretty if I have to Tippex and correct.
    Thanks all the same though.
    Yetta

  • Jill, I’d get your sprouts haters to try them crispy, one of my sons in law hates them with a passion, he’s my son’s sugar daddy and we come from a generation where sprouts were boiled to within an inch of their lives!! (on 1st October, one of our national radio dj’s used to remark that we’d better get the sprouts on if we wanted them ready for Christmas dinner ) he really enjoys them roasted, they are definitely a much more delicious (and I believe different) flavour.

  • I checked other comments before asking my question. My hubby fishes alot and we wondered if the air fryer would work on fresh fish. WE normally coat with light flour or fryin magic and pan fry.

  • I was one of those postings asking you about the air fryer just last week! I’ve been researching out the fryers and finally now decided on the GoWISE 5.5L Air Fryer yesterday and now looking at the attachments and liners. Am wondering if the extra accessories are universal? Thanks for sharing the information!

  • I would still argue it’s a healthier choice over a deep fryer. Spreading a small amount of olive oil on potatoes vs saturating them is a world of difference. Same with fried chicken vs air fryer. Of course they aren’t exactly the same, but I find them close enough to satisfy cravings.

    • I agree with you, Jared. They are truly the healthiest way I have found to cook. Actually, the amount of oil you need is so small it nearly cooks away. It only helps to brown the food or keep it from drying out but it is never soaked or greasy when you eat it. When I think of the amount of oil I would use to fry chicken compared to air fry chicken, air fry is hands down a healthier choice!! Also able to use a healthier oil, like olive.

  • I don’t have an air fryer yet,but I plan on buying one.I have an induction cooktop,my crockpot,& bought an electric skillet this year to avoid turning on an oven.
    The skillet let’s you fry,roast,stew,and bake.I love it.I go by reviews and Consumer Reports for all my purchases. I love that I get them from Jillee also.
    Keep all the hints,shortcuts,and reviews coming!

  • Hubby brought me one for my birthday – initially thought what the heck is THIS – but now I LOVE it.
    My teenagers make home made pizza subs/chicken nuggets in it all the time.
    They love to watch the cheese bubbling & browning through the window.

  • I’ve had a 5.1 Cook Essentials AF for about 8 months and love it. I’ve made some of the foods mentioned above with great success. It makes quick and easy stuffed breakfast rolls (stuff with whatever you want…cinnamon and sugar, berries, chocolate chips, our favorite, poppyseed) made with a tin of biscuits and great kolaches made with crescent rolls. And for a quick dessert I make a delicious cheesecake baked in 30 minutes and chilled for an hour or more

    • It’s me again, Mary…forgot to mention makes fantastic bacon with so grease spitting on you range. And super easy to clean. But clean each time you use it or spatters will just bake on and be harder to clean. Only needs a quick swish with dishwater and wipe dry.

  • I love my air fryer! I use mine all the time because my family loves fried foods & this works for us because less to no oil is needed to enjoy our food. I highly recommend air fryers!

  • Was thinking of getting an air fryer but the reviews are putting me off. I would be the one that gets the dud. I have looked at all the different brands and reviews are either very good or very bad. I have a very good oven and gas outdoor grill and would rather heat either of them up for a short time to get a better meal and I can do it all at once. Jillee that is funny that you put your things in the garage when cooking. I really must be weird because I live in Phoenix and don’t mind the heat outside or the short time the stove is on inside.

  • I have a Big Boss Oil-Less Fryer and I’m having problems finding recipes. Are Oil Fryers the same as Oil- Less Fryers and can I use the same recipes?

    • I’m so glad Maribel! I’ve been absolutely loving mine. You can click the pink underlined name of the Air Fryer you’re interested in to buy it on Amazon :-)

  • I have heard that Paula Deen’s air fryer is not only the best, but the largest-I do not work for her nor do I own any air fryer. The one thing that I didn’t realize was the large footprint an air fryer takes up in your kitchen. I did have an air fryer for about a week before returning it because of its’ size. If you are considering ordering one from a shopping channel or other venues,I would suggest that you check out any air fryer in a store near you to get an idea of how much room it will take up in your kitchen. Some are quite tall and may not store under your cabinets, too.

    • You can buy air fryers for 1-2 people, I wouldn’t be without mine, it saves so much money, and this from someone who steadfastly resisted buying one for a good few years!

  • Hi, I am from Denmark :-) Love your site…. I just wanted to tell you, that I fry bacon in my air fryer, and it ia also really good to bake/ reheat a ” dull” bun in. Have even made burgers in mine….. and saved last year money on the electricity bill :-)….. it is just a great gadget in a one- person- household

  • I rolled my eyes when Husband brought this gimmick kitchen gadget in our home.
    Nearly 2 years later we actually use it MORE than the stove/oven/microwave/fire pit combined!

  • We love our air fryer! I think it’s important to know that depending on which one you buy, you may have to purchase extra accessories. We have a Philips air fryer and had to buy the grill pan separately. It was worth it though, we use it to cook steaks in the air fryer and they come out great! Thinking about getting the baking pan accessory next.

  • I have a convection oven. Can I simply use it and get the same results as an air fryer? I’ve been curious about them but I don’t have a lot of counter space available and a larege family. So, I’ve wondered if I could use my convection oven instead.

    • Not exactly. While it is a similar cooking method, the air fryer’s smaller cooking chamber allows it to make foods extra crispy! So you could make any Air Fryer recipe in your convection oven, it just won’t turn out quite the same. :-)

    • I had this same question, Michelle. I have a counter top convection oven and bought the Copper Chef Copper Crisper. I made frozen tater tots with it, and they did come out crispier than usual. I’m just wondering if I can accomplish the same thing. Unless Amazon has the model I’ve got my eye on (GoWise USA 5.8 qt) as a Prime Day deal, I may see if I can make do. :)

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