I just got an air fryer for Christmas and I’m in love. Seriously, I can’t believe I didn’t get one way sooner than this!
Today we’re going to go over all the things you need to know to start using an air fryer!
Choosing an Air Fryer
There are a million different air fryers available. They come in different shapes and sizes. Some have additional functions (that you may or may not need).
What things should you consider when buying an air fryer?
Air fryers come in a variety of sizes. This will affect how much counter space it takes AND how much you can cook at once.
Ideally, you want an air fryer that fits the amount of food you’ll regularly cook. A half-empty or overfull air fryer won’t cook as well.
Air fryers can have a ton of additional features. Of course, additional features usually mean additional cost so evaluate what features you NEED and only pay for those!
- Basket shape & style
- Non-stick coating
- Dishwasher safe
- Easily replaceable parts
- Preset cooking options
- Built-in timer
- Shake reminder
- Temperature control
- Preheat ability
There are attachments you can get for your air fryer, such as shelves and cake pans. However, the availability depends on the size and style of your air fryer.
If you think you might want to bake or grill in your air fryer, be sure to check out what attachments are available before you buy one.
Four Great Air Fryers
Let’s check out four great air fryer options.
#1 – T-fal Actifry
The T-fal Actifry is the air fryer that I own. It’s one of the original air fryers. It has a pretty simple system compared to a lot of air fryers on the market today.
Size: 2.2lbs (1kg) of food
Features: on/off switch, digital timer, circular basket, mixing paddle, oil spoon, dishwasher safe
#2 – Philips Premium Airfryer XXL
The Philips Premium Airfryer XXL is a popular large air fryer. It’s large enough to fit a whole chicken or cook a whole meal for six people.
Size: 3lb / 4qt
Features: heats up in seconds, air fry, bake, grill, roast, reheat, dehydrate, toast, dishwasher-safe, timer, temperature dial, and more.
Attachments: easy to find any attachments to fit
#3 – COSORI Air Fryer
The COSORI Air Fryer is a well-reviewed and inexpensive large air fryer.
Size: 5.8 QT
Features: square basket, dishwasher safe, non-stick, auto shutoff, preset buttons, shake reminder, keep warm setting, LED panel, and more
Attachments: easy to find any attachments to fit
#4 – Ninja Air Fryer
The Ninja Air Fryer is another popular air fryer. It comes with a roasting shelf.
Size: 4 QT (up to 2lbs of food)
Features: nonstick, dishwasher safe, dehydrate, digital controls (including temperature adjustment)
Attachments: comes with a shelf. Easy to find additional attachments to fit.
Air Fryer FAQs
But how does it work? what can you cook? Let’s answer your most common FAQs.
How does an air fryer work?
An air fryer circulates extremely hot air around to cook food quickly.
This is just like a convection oven. However, because air fryers are smaller they cook much quicker (and leave food much moister) than a standard convection oven.
What can you cook in an air fryer?
There really aren’t any limits to what you can cook in an air fryer.
Anything you would cook in an oven can be cooked in an air fryer. Most things you’d cook in a skillet can be cooked in an air fryer. Anything you’d deep fry you can cook in an air fryer. Plus so, so much more.
However, if you’re using a recipe designed for another cooking method, you’ll need to make some adjustments. Some example adjustments:
- Most air fryers will need a special attachment to cook anything saucy.
- They also cook at different speeds than other methods so you’ll need to adjust timings.
- If you want to grill, you’ll need a shelf.
Are Air Fryers Healthier?
Air fryers are often sold as a healthier alternative, but is this true?
Yes and no. The truth is, it’s complicated. It depends on the food and on what the original cooking method would have been.
Is an air fryer healthier than a deep fryer? Yes, always.
Are french fries cooking the air fryer healthier than ones cooked in the oven? Unlikely. In fact, when I cook french fries in the air fryer I add a touch of oil. When I cook them in the oven I don’t add any oil. So in my house, air fryer french fries are LESS HEALTHY than oven-baked ones.
Are chicken wings healthier in the air fryer or the oven? I think they’re healthier in the air fryer because a lot of the fat in them will drain away whereas in the oven, they just kind of sit in their own fat and absorb it back in.
So ultimately, the healthiness of air fryer foods depends on the food. If you’re adding oil you wouldn’t otherwise add then you probably aren’t making a healthier dish. If fat and oil is being removed during cooking, it’s probably a healthier dish.
4 Air Fryer Tips
Master using your air fryer with these four tips.
Pre-Heat Your Air Fryer
If you don’t pre-heat your air fryer, you risk having under-cooked, under-crispy food. Preheating heats up all the internal elements (like the basket) so that your food will cook evenly!
If your air fryer doesn’t have a pre-heat function, just turn it on early. Most air fryers need about 3 minutes to pre-heat.
Try Non-Fried Foods!
Air frying is great for more than just traditionally fried foods.
You can cook vegetables, meats, baked goods, and so so much more in your air fryer!
Don’t Over-Fill or Over-Crowd
If you put too much food into your air fryer at once, it’s not going to cook as well.
It’s called an AIR fryer because it uses the air movement to cook your food. If your food is overfull or overcrowded, that air won’t circulate as well.
Your air fryer will have a maximum fill line in it. Don’t go above that, you’ll be sacrificing the quality of your food.
Bonus tip: shake your air fryer once or twice during cooking to help redistribute and improve the cooking of your food.
How Much Oil: Just Right!
Most recipes require you to add oil – but WAY less than other methods of cooking. The average amount of oil used is 1 to 2 tbsp.
However, some recipes specifically say NO oil. If it’s your first time cooking something, follow the directions.
Too much or too little oil can have a negative impact on your meal (too dry or too soggy).
Bonus tip: I’ve found that using a spray bottle of oil gives much better oil distribution.
How to Use an Air Fryer 101
11+ Easy Air Fryer Recipes
These are not fancy, difficult, or complicated recipes. I’m going to give you a bunch of easy recipes that you can make in your air fryer. Once you’re comfortable, then you can search out some more complex recipes!
Turkey Sliders by Gordon Ramsay
Master Your Air Fryer!