I used to hate on air fryers. Big time. I thought they were all hype and no substance. Well, that was until I actually used one. Little did I know how useful this kitchen appliance would become.
There are many benefits to owning an air fryer, but also a few disadvantages. All of which I am going to share with you!
If you’d like to discover my favourite models to buy, check out my round-up of the best air fryers.
The benefits of an air fryer
There are a multitude of awesome benefits you can enjoy when cooking with an air fryer.
They are easy to use
All of the air fryers I have tested have been really easy to use. The majority of them have a few different preset cooking functions to choose from depending on the food that you are cooking. For example, most will have a preset function for cooking chips as well as for frying larger protein-based foods.
You bung your food in and let the machine do its thing. They usually make a buzzing noise if you need to turn anything over or shake the food about. A final timer will go off once your food is cooked. It takes a lot of the guesswork out of your cooking.
My favourite air fryer model that is really easy to use, thanks to its 12 presets and WiFi connectivity, is the Cosori Dual Blaze Air Fryer.
You can save money
On average, cooking with an air fryer will cost about 50% less than cooking with a conventional oven or stovetop. The money you save will depend a lot on what you are cooking and how long for, but it pretty much always works out cheaper.
This is because air fryers don’t use as much electricity to run and they are able to cook food a lot quicker (more on that below).
According to The Eco Experts, “This means if you buy a £150 air fryer and use it everyday instead of your oven, you’ll break even in around half a year“. Making the initial investment worthwhile in the long term.
They cook food faster
Most of the food that I cooked in the air fryer took about half the time than what it would have in the oven or frying pan. This is due to the high-powered fan that distributes heat around a more compact cooking chamber.
Here is how cooking times compared in my air fryer versus in the oven:
- Air fryer: 10 minutes
- Oven: 20 minutes
- Frying pan: 15 minutes
- Air fryer: 40 minutes
- Oven: 1 hour 20 minutes
They use a lot less oil
One of the biggest draws to using an air fryer is the fact that you can cook the same food as you would in an oven or frying pan using a lot less oil.
That’s not to say that it will taste exactly the same as if you were to deep fry it, but you will still obtain crispy results with a significant reduction in oil. If you were to reduce oil when cooking in a frying pan or in the oven, then you would risk burning your food.
The air fryer evenly distributes heat and creates an even crisp on your food, with little to no oil and no burning (unless you keep your food in there for too long). This has allowed me to cut my oil usage down by about 75%, and sometimes I even use no oil on food that already has moisture to it, like tofu.
They are easy to clean
An air fryer is a lot easier to clean than an oven. The main basket can usually be placed in the dishwasher, along with the trays and other accessories. Make sure to check your air fryer model before doing this. If it can’t be placed in the dishwasher, then the components easily fit in your sink and take a matter of minutes to clean.
On the flip side, cleaning an oven is a real faff. This is probably why so many ovens are left to get really dirty.
Some are multi-functional
If air frying isn’t enough for you, then you’ll be happy to know that many air fryer models are multi-functional. Meaning they can air fry, as well as bake, roast and reheat food.
This is particularly useful for anyone with limited kitchen counter space. You can ditch your microwave and replace it with your multi-functional air fryer instead.
One of my favourite multi-functional models is the Ninja Air Fryer, it can dehydrate, roast, bake and air fry food.
Looking for ideas on what to cook in your air fryer? Discover all my favourite vegan air fryer recipes.
Reasons to not get an air fryer
There are a few reasons why I think it isn’t worth getting an air fryer.
If you don’t have enough counterspace
A lot of air fryers are bulky. Plus they can be pretty tall. This is because they house quite a large fan system that distributes heat into the air fryer basket. So, if your worktop space is limited and you already struggle to find space to prep food, then you may struggle to slot in your air fryer.
For example, the single basket Ninja Air Fryer measures up to 14 inches in length x 11 inches in width x 14.75 inches in height.
That being said, if you have a microwave then you can replace it with a multifunctional air fryer that reheats food. The air fryer may be taller but it isn’t as wide, so you may end up even saving some space.
If you think it will make unhealthy food healthy
I see a lot of misinformation being spread about air fryers online. Particularly when you see statements saying that air fryers will cook you healthier meals, without sharing information on how they do this.
Because, yes they can help you to cook with less oil, but they won’t make your already unhealthy food healthier. For example, if you are going to use it to cook processed foods like burgers that you would normally just bung straight into the oven without oil, cooking it in the air fryer also without oil won’t make that burger any healthier. It may save you energy costs, but it won’t save you any calories. Sorry!
If you want it to cook wet food
If you are looking to air fry wet food then you are going to have a really tough time. Anything wet will simply melt onto the bottom of the tray. For example, if you are using a wet batter then this will just drip off the food. Just like it would if you tried to cook it in the oven.
Essentially, you can’t use an air fryer just like a deep fat fryer. If you want battered food, then maybe try swapping it for a breadcrumb coating instead which will cook just fine in the air fryer.
However, if you buy a multifunctional air fryer that bakes food, then you can use it to cook wet cake batters. But this will be done in a cake tray, rather than on the air frying tray (which has loads of holes in it).
Where can you buy an air fryer?
If you’ve decided to make the investment into an air fryer, then check out the following outlets: