While some of us love having fried food every now and then, others practically live off it for how delectable and soul-satiating it is. Having said that, one cannot ignore the fat and oil content of deep-fried food, which might lead to health concerns. However, we live in a world where through technological advancements made to kitchen appliances, like an air fryer, you can make fried food a lot healthier.
A clever blend of convenience and efficiency, the first-ever air fryer was launched back in 2010 by Philips. Little did the brand know they were going to create history by altering the ways of cooking in an exemplary manner. Equipped with the Rapid Air technology that uses hot air circulation to cook food, air fryers have been a rage ever since. And the innovation in their technology has only touched new horizons if nothing else.
What is the use of an air fryer?
Using the least possible amount of oil, an air fryer can serve as a healthier alternative to the conventional method of deep-frying, reducing the fat content significantly. It is also a user-friendly and time-saving option that lets you make all sorts of scrumptious dishes. From fries, samosas and chips to potato wedges, burger patties, fried nuggets and cigar rolls, there’s nothing you cannot cook in an air fryer.
Additionally, the use of an air fryer goes beyond frying food, as it can also be used for boiling, grilling, roasting, reheating and even baking. Whether you want to make roasted veggies, chicken, pizzas or popcorn; bake a cake or cookies; grill meat; or boil potatoes or eggs, an air fryer will always come in handy.
No wonder air fryers have been flying off the shelves since they do pretty much everything that a microwave or an oven does.
How to choose the best air fryer?
The market offers a lot of options to pick from. If you are wondering which one is best for you, here are a few things to consider.
Size and capacity
These aspects of an air fryer are essential to consider since they determine how much space the appliance is going to take in your kitchen and how much food you would be able to cook in it. Usually, the standard size of a 3.7-litre to 4.1-litre air fryer is ideal for making food for up to four people. It is also compact.
Controls, settings and other features
Some air fryers have knobs for controlling the temperature and the timer, while others have digital panels with LED/LCD displays. Many also have presets that make the cooking process easier. Before you buy the product, ensure that it has features like timers, safety locks, auto shut-off functions and temperature settings that go up to at least 200 degrees Celsius.
Air fryers also come equipped with additional features that make the cooking process easier. For instance, the Instant Vortex Air Fryer 8 Quart Dual Basket (Buy it for Rs 15,999 on Amazon) has windows that let you monitor the progress of the food and dual baskets that allow you to cook two separate meals in one go.
Ease of cleaning
These are usually easy-to-clean, as most of them come with detachable pans and baskets. These parts are dishwasher safe and can also be cleaned gently with a sponge and soap water. Take, for instance, the SToK Air Fryer (Buy it for Rs 4,850 on Amazon). Both its pan and basket can be easily detached and cleaned even in a dishwasher.
Remember to always clean your air fryer after every use.
How to use an air fryer?
Using an air fryer is easy, and all you have to do (apart from following the instruction manual) is keep the following things in mind.
- Always preheat the fryer before cooking so that the food has a crispy exterior and a tender interior. You can either use the automatic preheat button or set the temperature manually at around 200 degree Celsius for five minutes.
- Once preheated, take the basket out and place the food in it. Never overcrowd your air fryer basket. To ensure even cooking, always place the food in a flat single layer in the basket. Cook more batches if need be, but do not stack or layer the food.
- Now place the basket back in the fryer, set the temperature and time, and press the start button. The instruction manual or recipe book that comes along with it will have recommended temperatures for different foods. Follow them or other trusted air fryer recipes.
- Do not use too much oil. An air fryer is designed to cook food with minimal and sometimes no oil at all.
- Shake your basket (when making fries) and flip the pieces (when making chicken, fish or lamb) halfway through to ensure even cooking and browning.
Check out some of the best air fryers to invest in right now
(Main Image Courtesy: Philips ; Featured Image Courtesy: Kent)
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Known for its Rapid Air Technology with the unique starfish design that swirls hot air to cook delicacies, the Philips Air Fryer HD9200/90 is one of the most popular choices. Cooked in little to no added oil, the food is always crispy on the outside and tender on the inside with up to 90 percent less fat, according to the brand’s official website. In fact, you can download the NutriU app from Google Play Store or the Apple App Store and try the many recipes available on it.
This air fryer also lets you bake goodness, grill, roast and even reheat food. It includes features like an integrated timer that allows you to preset cooking times of up to 60 minutes, an auto shutoff function with a sound alert when your dish is ready, and fully adjustable temperature control. While the QuickClean basket has a non-stick coating allowing easy cleaning, all the removable parts are dishwasher safe. This low-fat fryer has a power of 1,400 watts and a 4.1-litre capacity.
Image: Courtesy Philips
Equipped with the Aero Crisp Technology that allows 360-degree air circulation to cook is this Havells air fryer. The Prolife Grande is a 6.5-litre fryer that runs at a power of 1,700 watts with a voltage of 220-230 volts. While the digital touch panel makes operating it easy, the LED display acts as an indicator when cooking time and temperature are achieved.
Allowing you to fry, grill and roast, this electric air fryer has ten auto preset options, overheating protection functions along with a safety lock, automatic shutoff for precise cooking and temperature control of up to 200 degrees Celsius.
Image: Courtesy Havells
Enjoy yummy dishes at home without much of a hassle with the Inalsa Fry Light Air Fryer that comes with a power of 1,400 watts and heats up in two to three minutes. With a food basket capacity of 2.9 litres and a cooking pan capacity of 4.2 litres, this air fryer takes care of your entire family’s instant food cravings.
Additionally, while the appliance automatically turns off when the basket is removed and only switches on when it is placed correctly, the overheat protection feature protects against the food being overcooked. Meanwhile, the intelligent knob system lets you adjust the temperature and timer easily with its rotating function. Both the basket and the pan are dishwasher safe and can be removed easily by pressing the release button.
Image: Courtesy Inalsa
Fry, bake, grill and roast in a healthy way with the Prestige air fryer that comes with a capacity of two litres and 1,200-watt power. Besides being attractively styled in a compact design, it has easy-to-use controls, is easy to clean and portable.
Offering an even heat distribution to cook perfectly, this air fryer also has a smoke vent that absorbs unwanted odour and smoke. With a timer of up to 30 minutes, its temperature settings range from 80 to 200 degrees Celsius.
Image: Courtesy Prestige
Using 80 percent less fat as compared to conventional frying, the Glen Electric Rapid Fryer is that multifunction cooking appliance one needs in their kitchen. From frying and grilling to reheating and roasting with minimal or no oil, this air fryer does it all. With a 2.8-litre capacity and power of 1,300 watts, it is equipped with plenty of features that make cooking a breeze.
It comes with preset functions, and all you’ve got to do is select the timer and temperature needed to cook for the dish displayed. While it has an adjustable 30-minute timer, the temperature settings range from 80 to 200 degrees Celsius and can be controlled easily through a knob. While the powerful motor ensures swift hot-air circulation, the fryer is also equipped with a separate light indicator for both power and heater. The cool-touch handle and automatic cut-off features add to the ease of using the appliance.
Image: Courtesy Glen
Yet another air fryer that enables healthy cooking, this appliance by SToK comes with four litres of pan capacity and three-and-a-half litres of basket capacity. It has 1,500-watt power with a voltage of 220-240 volts. The air fryer is equipped with digital LCD controls that allow a cooking time of one to 30 minutes at a temperature varying from 80 degrees Celsius to 200 degrees Celsius.
It also comes with eight presets, including warm, lamb, fries or chips, chicken, steak, shrimp, fish and cake. While the indicator alerts you on reaching the cooking time, the timer also beeps twice to let you know when it’s done. The non-stick basket and pan are easily removable and dishwasher safe for easy cleaning.
Image: Courtesy SToK
Turning your cooking time into an experience is the Instant Vortex Air Fryer 8 Quart Dual Basket that comes with an eight-in-one functionality of frying, roasting, broiling, baking, reheating, dehydrating, SyncCook and SyncFinish. This air fryer comes with dual baskets that allow you to cook two separate meals at the same time or cook large batches in one go.
Additionally, while the SyncCook lets you cook both baskets with the same settings, SyncFinish lets you programme both baskets differently to automatically finish at the same time. While the EvenCrisp technology drives airflow from the top down for perfect cooking, the ClearCook windows with internal lights allow you to easily monitor the progress without opening them.
With a power of 1,700 watts, built-in features like overheat protection and auto-off and easy cleaning make the entire process effortless. While the fryer has customisable programmes for one-touch wings, garlic potatoes, cinnamon buns, roasted veggies and many other dishes, you can also download their Instant Pot app to check out loads of easy recipes.
Image: Courtesy Instant
Using up to 80 percent less oil than the amount used in conventional frying as per the brand, the Kent Classic Hot Air Fryer makes for an efficient and reliable kitchen appliance. With a capacity of four litres, it has a rapid heating system that makes the process faster, while the vapour steam ensures the snacks are crispy on the outside and tender inside.
This fryer has an easy-to-use temperature knob that allows you to adjust the settings up to 200 degrees Celsius. It is additionally equipped with a 30-minute timer with an auto cut-off, making it a smart and safe addition to your kitchen. It has a power capacity of 1,300 watts.
Image: Courtesy Kent
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Answer: Air fryers and microwaves are different in many aspects. While air fryers use hot air circulation to cook, microwaves use electromagnetic radiation. On one hand, air fryers are more energy efficient, compact in design than microwaves, and use less oil to cook. On the other hand, microwaves take less time to cook than air fryers and offer more capacity. While it all comes down to your needs and preferences, if you’re looking for a healthier cooking option, air fryers can be your go-to for how they require less oil and do not use harmful radiations to cook.
Answer: Yes, the food cooked in an air fryer is healthy as compared to traditionally fried foods. An air fryer uses less oil, which cuts down the fat percentage as cited in a study on ResearchGate.
Answer: The best at cooking delicacies that are usually deep-fried like nuggets, fries, burger patties and samosas, you can also use an air fryer for baking, roasting, grilling and reheating.
Answer: Compared to a conventional oven or microwave, an air fryer uses less electricity and energy.
Answer: Yes, you can make popcorn in an air fryer, and it’s super easy to do so. Simply preheat the air fryer to around 205 degrees Celsius, and line the bottom of the basket with an aluminium foil in the shape of a bowl. However, do not line the sides to ensure proper air circulation. Then, toss in the popcorn kernels and one-fourth tablespoon of oil. Make sure to arrange the kernels in a flat single layer so that they aren’t on top of each other. Cook them for five minutes until you no longer hear the popping sound. Remove the air fryer basket and transfer the popcorn to a bowl. Cook the leftover kernels for another three minutes and you’re done.
Answer: Yes, you can cook a pizza in an air fryer. Simply spray the base of the basket with some cooking oil or line it with parchment paper. Then, carefully assemble your pizza in the basket itself, since putting an already assembled pizza inside can be tricky. Once done, cook it for six to seven minutes at 200 degrees Celsius and voila, it’s done! You can also cook your pizza base for around two to three minutes on both sides before adding the toppings to ensure that while the base is crunchy, the toppings do not get overcooked.
Answer: You should ideally clean the air fryer post every use. After this, turn off the machine and allow it to cool. Then, take out the basket and the pan and wash them, as you would normally clean your non-stick utensils. Usually, the air fryer attachments are also dishwasher safe, which makes cleaning them a lot easier.