An air fryer is a kitchen appliance that cooks by circulating hot air around the food using the convection mechanism. It is a downsized version of the convection oven. A mechanical fan circulates the hot air around the food at high speed, cooking the food and producing a crispy layer via browning reactions of two kinds. Caramelization and the Maillard reaction.
Traditional frying methods induce the Maillard effect by completely submerging foods in hot oil, which attains considerably higher temperatures than boiling water. The air fryer works by coating the desired food in a thin layer of oil while circulating air heated up to 200 °C to apply heat and initiate the reaction. By doing this, the appliance is able to brown foods using 70% to 80% less oil than traditional deep-frying.
Is air fried food healthy?
The taste and texture of air fried food is comparable to the results of a deep fryer: Crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside. However, you only need to use a tiny amount of oil, if any at all (depending on what you’re cooking).
So yes, compared to
deep-frying, air drying is definitely a healthier alternative if you commit to
using just 1-2 tablespoons oil with seasoning, and you stick to air-frying veggies
more than anything else. Any appliance that helps you and your family up your
veggie game is key to weight management, reduced risk of chronic disease, and
improved long-term health as we age.
What can you cook in an air fryer?
Air fryers are fast, and once you understand how they work, they can be used to heat frozen foods or cook all sorts of fresh food like chicken, steak, seafood and veggies. Most meats require no added oil because they’re already so juicy: just season them with salt and your favorite herbs and spices. Make sure you stick to dry seasonings — less moisture leads to crispier results. If you want to baste meats with barbecue sauce or honey, wait until the last couple minutes of cooking.
Lean cuts of meat, or foods with little or no fat, require oil to brown and crisp up. Brush boneless chicken breasts with a bit of oil before seasoning.
Vegetables also need to be
tossed in oil before air frying. We recommend sprinkling them with salt before
air frying, but use a little less than you’re used to: The crispy, air fried
bits pack a lot of flavor. We love air frying broccoli florets and brussels
sprouts. They come out so crispy!
Are air fryers worth it?
If you do decide to spring for an air fryer, consider how many people you’re cooking for: The smallest air fryers (1.2 liters) are good for 1-2 people, while the medium sizes (3-4 liters) are good for 2-3 people, and the largest (6 liters or more) are good for 4-6. We prefer air fryers with baskets instead of shelves because they cook more evenly.
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