Despite its name, air fryers don’t actually fry your food. No matter which brand you buy, they all work in the same way. Whereas a normal convection oven uses a fan to force hot air around, air fryers circulates this air much more rapidly. Foods are placed in a small basket and a powerful fan circulates the hot air around the food, which speeds up the cooking time. Because the air fryer is smaller than the conventional oven, they are able to heat up very quickly, which makes for a speedier dinner. Clean up is also a breeze. Most of the air fryers racks are dishwasher safe, which means no sticky roasting tins to scrub afterwards.
Basic things you should know
While both the deep fryer and the air fryer will make foods crispy, they won’t taste the same. Deep-fried foods are often coated in a batter, which then absorbs a lot of oil during the cooking process.
It’s important to never overfill your basket. Air fryers work by circulating hot air around the food, so if your food is packed to tightly, you’ll end up with steamed food.
If your food is too moist, it won’t brown as easily (again, you will end up with steamed food). Make sure to pat the foods dry with a paper towel. If you’re after crispy foods, you will have to use oil, even if it’s just a small amount. Drying foods properly and adding a little bit of oil will go a long way to get foods to taste as if it were deep-fried. If you’re cooking battered foods in your air fryer, spray it with cooking oil beforehand – this will ensure even browning and crispiness.
Cooking chicken breasts in the air fryer makes for a super speedy dinner. Simply brush the chicken breasts with oil and air fry at 400°F/200°C for 10 to 15 min, turning halfway through cooking. Chicken thighs can be cooked the same way. Simply season and place them in the basket skin-side up (no turning necessary). They might need an extra 5 min in the air fryer. Chicken wings are just as easy to cook. Toss with seasoning and air fry at 400°F/200°C for about 25 min.
With an air fryer, you will have moist pork chops or beef steak, every time. Simply season the meat (cuts of about 1 inch thick), and air fry at 400°F/200°C for about 10 to 15 min (turn halfway).
Most vegetables (Brussels sprouts, chopped butternut squash, or fries) can be cooked in the same manner. At 400°F/200°C, they will take about 15 min. Toss the veggies with oil, season generously, and remember to shake the basket a few times during cooking. Why not try our recipes for Baked Potatoes or Zucchini?
How to reheat foods
You can reheat most food items in your air fryer. Place them in the air fryer basket and heat at 300°F/150°C for 5 to 8 min.
Final useful tips to remember
- When it comes to moisture, less is better. So always pat the foods dry with a paper towel and use dry seasonings. If you want to use a sauce, leave until the last few minutes of cooking before adding it.
- Because of the high temperature reached in the air fryer, don’t use oils with a low smoking point (like olive oil). Rather opt for vegetable or canola oil. Use only a small amount of oil – a little goes a long way!
- Flour-based and wet batters don’t work as well in an air fryer, so these are best left for the traditional deep fryer.
Air fryers are not just for “frying”, you can bake desserts in it too!