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We’ve been in love with air frying for a while now and our collection of air fryer recipe is obvious. With 10 air fryers in our test kitchens working non-stop, we wanted to take a moment to really talk about what is air frying all about?
What is an Air Fryer and Air Frying?
Air fryers are mini counter top convection ovens with a heating element on top of the food. As it generates heat, a fan circulates the hot air to help the food cook evenly and crispy. When compared to regular deep fried foods, most air fried food textures have a very similar crunch without having to use a ton of oil or fat. In fact, we barely have to use any oil and the food still comes out crispy and delicious. Most food also comes out like it’s perfectly roasted in a convection oven with wonderful roasted flavors and textures. When breaded and sprayed with oil, food becomes crunchy and very similar to what you would cook in a deep fryer. For some dishes like chicken wings, they cook amazingly crisp without any oil. Overall, food is crispy roasted and crunchy without all the fat.
How to Cook Healthy Food in Air Fryer?
Air Frying isn’t just about cooking frozen fries or chicken nuggets. It’s about eating fresh and healthy! It’s easy to cook healthy air fried foods because you don’t need as much oil. The hot circulating heat crisps and roasts food wonderfully without the need for a lot of oil. So overall, yes air fried food can be healthier. Portion control is another important factor and if you eat more than one recommended serving, you’ve just blown the “healthy” out of air frying. Air frying is just one method to cook healthier food. How much you eat is obviously important too!
- Craving deep fried foods without all the fat and calories? Food crisps wonderfully without deep frying. Like we mentioned, a light spray of oil is enough and will give a wonderful crisp outside without the greasy results that deep frying does.
- For breaded foods to have extra crunch, just bread like you normally would. Then spray with oil and the results are fantastic. Sure, it’s not like deep fried food but it sure is very close and you don’t get all that oil fat.
- For even lower carb options, you can bread with almond flour, almond meal or coconut flour.
- For super low to no carb breading options, use crushed pork rinds.
Pros of Air Fryer:
- It’s a healthier way to cooking fried or crispy foods. Overall, you can use much less oil to achieve crunchy and crispy textured foods.
- The flavor of the food is wonderful because the heat gives a nice crisp and “char”.
- There’s little clean up and less splattering of oil while cooking
- Food cooks crisp because of the smaller cooking area and the heating element is closer to the food.
- Because of smaller baskets, the food cooked quicker when compared to ovens and no pre-heating is necessary
- You don’t have to heat up your house in Summer when you’re craving something warm, roasted or deep fried
- Great for cooking frozen foods without oil and great for re-heating foods.
Cons of Air Fryer:
- You really can’t cook big servings of food unless you buy the larger air fryers or cook in multiple batches.
- They aren’t cheap and some can be more hassle to clean, depending on the design and model.
- If you already have a little countertop convection oven and love it, you might want to stick to that, unless you’re into really low oil cooking.
Some Tips when cooking with Air Fryer:
- Don’t over crowd the baskets with food. Cook in batches if you need to (2 small-medium batches cook better than 1 large batch).
- Don’t forget to shake while cooking, but sometimes shaking the basket during cooking isn’t enough. Gently toss the food with a rubber spatula so food doesn’t break or tear.
- The bottom of the air fryers can get hot while cooking. Make sure to place on a heat-safe surface or wooded cutting board.
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What is the Best Air Fryer?
We have ten different air fryers, all different brands and we definitely have our favorites.
- Size matters, especially if you’re needing to feed a family of four to six hungry people.
- We’re mostly cooking for two during the busy weeknights and the 3 qt size fryers is great for us.
- If you’re wondering what size of air fryer to get our recommendation is the 3-4 qt sizes for 2-3 people (or if you don’t mind cooking multiple batches) and the 5-6 qt for families of 4-6 (you’ll still cook somethings in batches, but not as much as the smaller air fryers).
Cosori 3.7 qt. Digital Air Fryer – “That’s a stylish Air Fryer” was said as we unboxed the Cosori. Beyond being stylish, it has cooked great. The basket is not as tall and wider than most in its size group, which is perfect. You’ll have a lot better results in an air fryer with single layered, spread out foods, then with ones piled high and thick.
The non-stick basket style (non-wire base) & smoothness of the basket tray is also great for clean up.
Tidylife 4.2 qt. Digital Air Fryer – We have been super pleased with the TidyLife Air Fryer. Texture for several dishes came out noticeably better than many other brands. This one tends to cook a little hotter and quicker.
The non-stick basket style (non-wire base) & smoothness of the basket tray is great for cleaning up.
Good Larger Air Fryers
We like that this Tiluxury 5.8 qt has the non-stick basket (non-wire base). Makes for less sticking for delicate meals (ie baked fish fillets). And we like the digital interface (easier cleaning).
GoWise 5.8 qt. Digital Air Fryer – Another good larger air fryer. All the things we loved about the Tiluxury 5.8 qt, we love about this one too. Great size for families. Non-stick basket. Has a nice cooking range (180°F-400°F).
We’re super pleased with both this one and the Tiluxury. Choosing between the two is mostly up to which you like the look better.