As you probably already know, I’ve been all-aboard the Instant Pot train for over a year now. So 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. When the topic of air fryers came up at a recent OGT planning meeting, it seemed like everyone had a different idea of what it was and how it worked!
But ultimately, I made the decision that if the air fryer really is the hot new thing in kitchen appliances, I’d better check it out. I’ve received several comments and emails from readers asking me for my opinion on air fryers. I couldn’t just leave them hanging! So I did some research, bought one, and gave it a few test runs. And today I’m ready to share my air fryer findings with you! I’ll tell you what it is, how to choose the right model, 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!
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 to an extent, but you can’t replicate the same flavors or textures without oil or some other fat. It’s just not possible!
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. Firstly, 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! (On a related note, it’s been so hot lately that I’ve been running even my small cooking appliances in the garage instead of in my kitchen. It sounds strange, but I’m willing to go to pretty extreme lengths to keep my house cool these days!)
Another benefit of air fryers is that most are really easy to clean. Most models have dishwasher safe components, so you don’t have to worry about hand-washing any special parts. And thirdly, many foods cook 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!
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.
Best On A Budget – BELLA 2.5L Air Fryer
In terms of price, this model is hard to beat at under $60.
Best For Families – Cozyna 5.5L Air Fryer
This model holds TWICE as much food as the budget model above. If you have an army of mouths to feed, this air fryer is sure to help!
Best For Extra Crunch – BLACK+DECKER Purify 2L Air Fryer
This model has two convection fans circulating hot air, so this is your best bet if you’re a fan of extra-crunchy foods.
Easiest To Use – GoWISE 5.5L Air Fryer
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!
Best Looking – Big Boss 15L Air Fryer
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 7 different colors!
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! Since we just got our air fryer a few days ago, I haven’t had a chance to cook all that much in it. But in the meantime, I put together a list of delicious recipes 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.
1. Bacon Burger
from Blue Jean Chef
from Blue Jean Chef
3. Baked Potato
from Courtney’s Sweets
from Kitchen Fun With My 3 Sons
from Karen’s Kitchen Stories
from My Fussy Eater
8. French Fries
from A Pinch Of Healthy
from Glue & Glitter
from Recipe This
from Glue & Glitter
Do you have an air fryer, or are you thinking about buying one?