| Skylar Black
How to Use an Air Fryer
We all love fried food - just thinking about crunchy fried chicken, crispy salted chips, or decadent doughnuts is enough to make anyone’s mouth start watering. However, enjoying these foods can come at a hefty cost to your health - research has linked oil-fried foods to health problems such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and even cancer.
Not to worry, though - there’s an alternative that can still help you enjoy all of the fried delights you love. Air frying has taken the Internet by storm in recent years, promising the taste and texture of fried foods without the excess oil, fats, and calories usually associated with this kind of cooking method. But are these machines the real deal, or just another diet fad?
For this article, we’re going to cover how to use an air fryer, whether using an air fryer is healthier than oil frying, and even how to cook chips in an air fryer.
What is an Air Fryer?
If you’re not entirely sure what an air fryer is, they’re small appliances about the size of a coffee maker. You place the food you’re planning to cook into a small basket at the base of the machine and turn it on. Air fryers use heated air pushed by a fan around the food to cook it, like a convection oven. The circulating air cooks the outside of the food first, creating that crispy coating we all know and love.
While air fryer instructions will vary, this is generally how these machines work. Many air fryer reviews state that people love how simple they are to use, especially because it’s meant to make food healthier than deep-frying it.
Is Using an Air Fryer Healthy For You?
According to current research, air frying is a healthier alternative to frying foods in oil. This method has been found to cut calories by up to 80% and involves a lot less fat.
Some research has also found that air frying can cut down on other harmful effects related to oil frying. Chemical reactions that occur in potatoes and other starchy foods when they’re fried in oil can result in a substance called acrylamide, which has been classified as a “probable human carcinogen” by both The International Agency for Research on Cancer and the Environmental Protection agency. This substance could be linked to a higher risk of developing cancer. One study has shown that air frying potatoes rather than deep-frying them can lower the amount of acrylamide present by up to 90%.
However, other studies on air frying show they may raise the number of harmful components in food. One study conducted on air-fried fish found that this cooking method increased the amount of cholesterol oxidation products, which form when the cholesterol in fish and other meats breaks down during cooking. Studies have connected these substances to coronary heart disease, hardening of the arteries, cancer, and other conditions. Air frying could also lower the amount of omega-3 fatty acids in fish - these are good fats that help lower blood pressure, raise HDL cholesterol levels, and may help protect the heart.
At this point, more research needs to be done on air frying as a healthy alternative. As always, consume everything in moderation, eat a variety of foods, and prioritize whole foods as much as possible.
Are Air Fried Foods As Good as Oil Fried Foods?
Of course, we can’t tell you what you like - this category is entirely subjective. However, one of the most attractive things about deep-fried foods is the crunchy outer texture paired with a softer inside. When food is fried, the outer layers absorb the oil you’re using to cook it, creating that texture.
The crunchy texture of fried foods can still be achieved by air-frying, but the look and inner texture may differ from traditionally fried foods. It might take a bit of getting used to, but air frying can definitely help you curb your cravings for fried treats.
In general, the air fryer reviews that we’ve come across have raved about the similarities between air fried foods and their traditional deep-fried cousins. Whether you’re a college student, a bachelor or a family with kids, you can enjoy the foods you love without worrying about the excess oil in your food.
How to Use an Air Fryer For Your Favorite Foods
The best thing about getting an air fryer is that you can use it for cooking pretty much anything that you would normally deep-fry. Everything from chips to chicken wings to wontons and doughnuts - the sky is the limit!
Some models also have toast and bake settings, giving them a wider range of uses. One downside of these appliances is that their baskets are typically quite small, making it difficult to cook portions for larger families.
One of the foods that air fryer reviews rave about the most is chips - the potential to have crispy fried chips at home without the hassle of deep-frying is a huge game-changer, especially for families with kids.
How to Cook Chips in an Air Fryer
There are hundreds of recipes for air-fryer chips online (we especially like this one from BBC GoodFood) and each differs from the others in its own way. With that in mind, here are some universal tips to ensure that you’re getting the best chips from your air fryer:
1. Different Potatoes Will Yield Different Chips
If you’re looking for a particular texture for your chips or your chips never come out quite the way you want them, it might be due to the variety of potato you’re using. In general, we recommend using Maris Piper or King Edward potatoes for chips.
2. Toss Your Chips in Oil Before Cooking
Unlike meat, most vegetables will require being tossed in a small amount of oil to get crispy in an air fryer. Fortunately, this is much less oil than you’d ever use in deep-frying - roughly one tablespoon is sufficient for coating items for an air fryer.
3. Shape Matters
Much like other cooking methods, the way you cut your potatoes will affect how long they take to cook and how crispy they will be. Chips that are too thick may not cook through or get mushy, while too thin chips might burn or break. We recommend aiming for chips that are about ½ an inch (1.25 centimetres) thick.
4. Season Your Chips Before Frying
Seasoning is the difference between a chip that’s alright and a chip that’s amazing, so it’s an important step to pay attention to. Many chip recipes with air fryer instructions state that you should be seasoning your chips before frying and then again halfway through cooking. This helps replace any seasoning that burns away during the cooking process. However, if you’re adding more delicate ingredients such as cheese, wait until your chips are cooked before adding them.
There are hundreds of other recipes out there for you to try, too! Don’t be afraid to experiment, and enjoy your healthy alternative to deep-fried food!