Food Life Hacks

How Does an Air Fryer Work?

COSORI Air Fryer

There’s no doubt about the vast popularity of air fryers. As a fitness specialist, I have been using an air fryer for a long time.

The model of air fryer I own is reliable and easy to use. Acquiring this kitchen appliance is one of the most remarkable decisions I have made. I will use my personal experience to guide you on what an air fryer is and how it works. 

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Endeavor not to miss a single paragraph because all information shared are vital and straightforward to understand, even if it is your first time using or an air fryer. Let’s dive into it!

What Is an Air Fryer?

Air fryers are modern kitchen appliances you can use to cut down your oil intake. They are easy to use and come with pre-installed and programmed cooking options. It is essentially an amped-up tabletop convection oven used to cook different types of dishes with nothing more than hot air with no or less oil. It occupies a minimal countertop area in the kitchen. 

According to research conducted by NPD Group, air fryers have surged over the last few years – almost 40% of U.S homes have one. This must-have home appliances can be used to prepare a variety of meals, such as:

  • Homemade French fries
  • Frozen chicken wings 
  • Fresh baked cookies
  • Roasted vegetables and more.

The Parts of An Air Fryer 

Air fryers are of different sizes, price points, and brands. But there have a few identical parts to expect, namely:

  • Fan 
  • Drawer
  • Basket
  • Racks
  • Heating element
  • Control buttons and nobs

Understanding these parts will assist you in knowing how an air fryer works, no matter the brand, size, or customization.

How Does an Air Fryer Work Science? 

If you are naive and curious about how air fryers work, you are not alone; just read on. All you need to do is toss your delicious food or meat into the air fryer baskets, turn your machine on, set your timer, and come back once your timer is complete to a fully cooked meal. That’s how an air fryer works.

However, you probably want to know the technicalities of how and why that happens. Here is how and why:

Air Fryer Work Compared to An Oven

Ninja DZ201 Foodi

Air fryers are similar to ovens because it roasts and bakes. The heating mechanism is located at the top along with a powerful fan. When in use, it makes food super crispy and crunchy in no time -because it heats up fast and cook food quickly.

How To Use the Air Fryer?

The air fryer cooking process is like a convection oven. The heating mechanism in the upper section generates hot air, which is then circulated swiftly all over the meal drawer by the fan.

With the meal raised inside the grate or basket, the hot circulated air will touch all meal sides; with very little or no oil, your meat or food will turn brown and crispy. The step-by-step process is as follows:

Place Your Meal in the Basket

Depending on the size of your air fryer, the basket could be between 1 – 10 quarts. You may need to add 1 or 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil in some cases.  

Set the Temperature and Timer

Air fryer cooking temperature and timer are ranged between 5 – 25 minutes at 350 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on the meal you’re cooking.

Allow the Meal to Cook

In some cases, you may need to turn the food halfway between cooking time to help crisp up evenly. 

Do You Need Oil to Cook in an Air Fryer?

Not necessarily. Let me explain; no oil is needed when cooking your food in an air fryer. Most people take advantage of not using oil with an air fryer, but you can if you prefer using oil.

However, you must add your required quantity of oil to your ingredients before loading them in your air fryer, not inside the fryer’s basket or rack. 

Based on individual preference, adding a slight vegetable oil into food such as meats, potatoes, or baked meals before air frying them will add a crunchy and crispy layer to your cooking once you are done. However, you can opt not to use oil and still get a crisp and crunchy outcome after cooking your food. 

How To Preheat the Air Fryer, Cooking Times?

happy woman with rolling pin cooking at home
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

To preheat your air fryer: most air fryers have a preheat setting, and few don’t. Some food recipes require preheating your air fryer before cooking. 

Here’s how to preheat your air fryer:

  • Make sure removable parts, such as baskets and racks are dry, clean, and correctly inserted into their units.
  • Once you are done, select the preheat setting programmed on your air fryer or follow the user manual’s instructions.
  • Allow your appliance to preheat.

We recommend a three minutes window for most air fryer models. But for bigger oven-style air fryers, five minutes would be fine.

How To Clean the Air Fryer?

  • Step 1: Unplug your air fryer and allow it to cool down for a minimum of 15 minutes to prevent shock or accidental burns.
  • Step 2: Remove parts and wash with warm soapy water. If the removable parts have charred or greased food on them, soak in hot water for 10 – 15 minutes before scrubbing them with a non-abrasive brush or sponge.
  • Step 3: Clean the heating element at the upper section of your air fryer with a dried cloth.
  • Step 4: Clean the interior of the air fryer with a non-abrasive sponge or a damp microfiber material with a dishwashing soap splashed on it. Once you are done, use a clean cloth to wipe off any soap residue on the air fryer.
  • Step 5 –check every nook and cranny of your fryer is ensure it is scorched. Voila! Reassemble your removable air fryer parts into their unit.

Is Air Fryer Foods Healthy? – Cancer

Air fryers are innovative kitchen appliances designed to substitute conventional deep frying. It has a few ways it could affect nutritional content in meals and impact cancer risk because the air fryer uses little to no oil, which takes away the need to reheat oil. These affect the number of acrylamide chemicals known as 2A carcinogens produced in the body. 

Despite this health advantage, it is essential to note that type of meal you eat in various forms is more vital than a single mood of preparing them. Some people prefer cooked meals prepared in an air fryer, which does not mean it is healthier than other food.

As a cancer patient, ensure to include various cooking methods into your regular dietary routine for optimal health benefits.

What Are the Pros and Cons of An Air Fryer?

Here are the pros and cons of an air fryer based on my personal experience and consumer feedback.

COSORI Air Fryer Oven

The Pros

  • Easier To Clean in Comparison to Traditional Fryers

With little or no oil required when using an air fryer, splatter is minimal. Some baskets found in an air fryer are ceramic non-stick coating and aid easy cleanup.

  • Simple To Use

Using an air fry is as easy as plug-and-play. Funny right? Let me explain how;

For the most part, all you require is a complete understanding of how to control the temperature and cooking timer manually. Most air fryers come with user guides and cookbooks to assist you.

  • Efficiency and Portability

Air fryers offer a practical and easy means to whip up frozen foods. Meals prepared in them are slightly healthier than traditional deep frying. These results are better than oven-fried foods, and the portability makes your kitchen looks cool.

The Cons

  • Limited Capacity

While convenient to cook anything with a larger quantity on an oven or a stove, the air fryer has limitations. The biggest size of an air fryer is limited to the amount of food you can prepare at once – especially if you have to cook for a crowd. 

  • Price

Air fryers are a bit pricey, depending on the size, model, and advanced functionality.

Can I Cook Anything in an Air Fryer?

You can practically cook anything in the best air fryers. However, most of this food is meals that can be deep-fried. It is also perfect for heating frozen foods, roasting vegetables, and more.

What You Can Cook in an Air Fryer

Here are lists of food you can cook in an air fryer

  • Cookies
  • Egg rolls
  • Chicken nuggets
  • Roasted pumpkin seeds
  • Lava cakes
  • French fries
  • Battered, breaded, or frozen foods
  • Turkey bacon
  • Homemade chips
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Hard-cooked eggs
  • Roasted vegetable

Cooking foods with a wet batter is not suited for air fryers.

What You Should Not Cook in an Air Fryer

Here are lists of food you should never cook in an air fryer

  • Pork bacon
  • Wet battered foods
  • Cheese
  • Popcorn
  • Broccoli
  • Raw grains
  • Leafy greens
  • Toast

Is an Air Fryer Worth It?

Using air fryers is convenient and healthy due to the use of little to no oil when cooking. The outcome may vary depending on individual preferences.

In a nutshell, if you are trying to replace your traditional oven with an air fryer, you are letting go of large capacity and high usage of oil and still end up with good tasty food. From a personal experience, it is worth it.

Best 3 Air Fryers

Cosori Air Fryer Combo 5.8QT Max

The Cosori Air Fryer is a highly efficient, stress-free, and healthier cooking tool for all your fried recipes. Compared to traditional ovens, this model cooks food 50% faster and uses just 15% of the cooking oil required in traditional deep fryers. Even then, this air fryer delivers crispy-tasting recipes without causing you any health drawbacks. 

This 5.8 QT Air Fryer features a Thermo IQ Technology that ensures meals are evenly cooked. It balances the air fryer’s temperature to prevent you from undercooking or burning your meals.  

With its 5.8-quart capacity, this air fryer can serve up to five people in one go. It features a large capacity square basket that offers more flexibility and cooking space, unlike round models. This means you can fit and air fry a 5-pound chicken at a go. 

If you are a beginner, the Cosori air fryer comes with 13 one-touch cooking functions to get you started. This is in terms of breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert. In addition, 100 chef-created and detailed recipes will transform you into a master chef.

Pros

  • 13 convenient cooking functions for tasty results
  • Thermo IQ Technology cooks meals evenly
  • It features a Shake Reminder
  • The 5.8 capacity serves five people at once

Cons

  • It may have a strong plastic smell.

Ninja DZ201 Foodi 

Cook two meals at once with the Ninja DZ201 Foodi Air Fryer. It features two independent frying baskets, thus reducing your cooking time. 

Each cooking basket has its separate heating zone, rapid heaters, and cyclonic fans. You can air fry one recipe in one basket while the other roasts, broils, bakes, or dehydrates.  

Its Smart Finish Feature allows both your meals to finish cooking simultaneously. With it, you can prepare your main and side dishes at once. Meanwhile, a Match Button enables you to sync the cooking settings between the independent baskets for an evenly cooked family-sized meal.  

This 6-in-1 machine can hold up to 4 lbs. or 8-quart capacity. In addition, its cooking temperatures range between 105 and 450 degrees to meet different cooking settings for different recipes. 

The DZ201 delivers crispy golden textured food yet uses 75% less fat than traditional fryers. It can also roast, air broil proteins, dehydrate ingredients, and bake.

Pros

  • Features two independent cooking baskets
  • Versatile machine that roasts, air fries, bakes, dehydrates, and broils
  • Dual Zone features Smart Finish and Match Button for convenient cooking
  • Healthier than traditional methods

Cons

  • The 4-quart independent baskets are quite small.

Instant Vortex Plus

With 7-in-1 functionality, the Instant Vortex is another air fryer that suits your kitchen countertop. With its one-touch cooking programs, this versatile machine can air fry, roast, broil, bake, dehydrate, rotisserie, and reheat.

A top-side heating element plus a motorized fan circulates heat evenly on the food without burning it. Also, thanks to the cooking chamber’s rapid air circulation and size, the air fryer cooks faster than other methods. 

Its adjustable temperature function allows you to key in your preferred cooking temperature. With temperatures ranging between 95 to 400 degrees F, it becomes easy to transform a frozen ingredient into a crispy and golden meal in a few minutes.  

This 10-quart capacity is the perfect size for growing families. Since the air fryer can hold two cooking trays at once, it can serve up to six people.

Pros

  • XL cooking capacity fro growing families
  • It allows quick, fast, and even heating of foods
  • Adjustable temperatures from 95 degrees to 400 degrees
  • Even Crisp Technology ensures your meals are crunchy and tender

Cons

  • May have a weird plastic smell
  • Fan is quite loud.

Related Questions

Can you put parchment paper in an air fryer?

Yes! You can use parchment paper in your air fryer. However, I don’t recommend it for frequent use in an air fryer because it has 99 percent potential to block air circulation in your fryer. 

Is a convection oven the same as an air fryer?

No! air fryer is smaller than the convection oven. A convection oven requires oil to surround food to deep fry and cook it evenly. There is no actual deep frying inside an air fryer because air cooks the food.

Summary

Ninja DZ201 Foodi

Having a modern kitchen appliance can inculcate a healthy eating habit. Air fryers are inventive tools recommended for every kitchen. They assist you in preparing some delicious food quickly. It is easy to use, whatever model you opt for.

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