Air fryer FAQs
What is the best air fryer?
In this tried and tested review, the Salter EK4548 dual air fryer (£124, Amazon.co.uk) was found to be the best overall thanks to the fact that it covers all bases with its relatively large baskets, countless cooking options and incredibly easy-to-use design.
What is an air fryer?
An air fryer is a mini convection oven that is designed to recreate the taste and texture of deep-fried food, without the need for boiling it in fat. The heating element is located at the top of the appliance and is accompanied by a powerful fan, which gives food its crispiness in next to no time.
How does an air fryer work?
Food doesn’t actually fry. Rather, it is placed in a basket where the airflow is designed to replicate that of deep frying in hot fat. The force of the air produces a convection effect that cooks, crisps, and browns food.
How to use an air fryer
When using your air fryer, there are certain steps we’d recommend you take for excellent results – after reading the instruction manual, of course. First, pre-heat it as you would an oven. Second, it’s important to make sure there’s plenty of space around your food, so don’t overcrowd the basket. Third, when adding oil, less is more, as it has a tendency to make food soggy. Fourth, you’ll want to shake the basket frequently to make sure food is evenly crisp; and, finally, use kitchen foil or baking paper to make the clean-up quicker and easier.
What can you cook in an air fryer?
When it comes to using an air fryer, you can cook just about anything you’d ordinarily prepare in an oven or deep fryer – the general rule is, if you can bake it, grill it or fry it, you can cook it in your air fryer. Some foods are known to excel: these include pre-frozen foods (for example, chicken nuggets), vegetables that you roast or grill, potatoes (including chips) and meat (sausages, bacon and chicken). Some models also have a function that allows you to toast and bake food, making them more like conventional ovens.
Are air fryers healthy?
One of the selling points of an air fryer is that food is cooked in substantially less oil, compared with a deep-fat fryer, making it a healthier alternative. As we mentioned, we spoke to registered dietician Megan Hilbert MS, RDN, about the health benefits of cooking in an air fryer, and she said that it “reduces the amount of fat content by up to 70 to 80 per cent in foods, this can also drastically reduce the number of calories eaten without sacrificing the crunch and texture that frying provides”.
How to clean an air fryer
Air fryers are easy to clean. The basket, tray and pan can be washed in the same way you’d wash any other utensil, either with soap and warm water or by putting them in the dishwasher. With the latter, it’s worth checking your specific model specification, just to be safe. As for the exterior, wipe it down with a damp cloth, making sure your appliance is unplugged.
How to choose the right air fryer for you?
The best air fryer for you will depend on your needs and budget. But there are a number of things to consider:
- Capacity: Think about how big you need your air fryer to be – if you have a small household, you’ll want a capacity of around 1.5l to 2l, while larger households would benefit from one that has a capacity of 2.5l and above.
- Wattage: The more watts an air fryer has, the easier and quicker it will reach higher temperatures.
- Self-stirring: Some air fryers come with a paddle that moves the food around as it cooks, to make sure it does so evenly. This is beneficial because it saves you from having to stir or turn the food over yourself.
- Ease of cleaning: You need to wash your air fryer after every use, so you might want to consider investing in one that has dishwasher-safe parts.
Can you put foil in an air fryer?
Yes, you can put foil in an air fryer, as well as parchment paper. This will help to make sure your appliance stays clean.
Are air fryers worth it?
An air fryer is considered a must-have at the moment not least because of the fact they reduce the need for oil in cooking, but because they’re more energy-efficient than turning on the oven. Whether they’re worth it is of course down to personal preference, but through testing, we’ve found that they can speed up cooking time (for example, the Tower xpress pro combo 10-in-1 digital air fryer can roast a chicken in 40 minutes), deliver delicious dinners and are very easy to use.
Are air fryers cheap to run?
According to our expert-led guide to the best energy-efficient appliances, an air fryer is a fairly cheap home appliance to run, especially when compared to an oven. According to research by Utilita, an electric cooker costs an average of around £1.05 a day to run but an air fryer could set you back as little as 17p a day.
The verdict: Air fryers
We don’t think you’ll be disappointed with any of the air fryers in this round-up. Each and every model is incredibly easy to use and delivers delicious dinners without much faff.
But what we will say is most air fryers are somewhat small, making them perfect for solo dwellers or two-person households but not always the most convenient kitchen appliance for four or more – so this is certainly a situation where size really does matter.
For families, the Lakeland dual basket air fryer was our favourite find. For meat eaters, the Tower xpress pro combo 10-in-1 digital air fryer oven with rotisserie is sure to impress, and for one-pot wonders, look no further than the Tefal actifry genius XL AH960840 air fryer.
However, nicking the top spot was the Salter EK4548 dual air fryer, thanks to its huge number of settings. Although the Ninja Foodi AF400UK 9.5L dual-zone air fryer came incredibly close. And, if you really can’t decide between one or two baskets, the Instant vortex plus versazone air fryer may be your best bet. Just be sure to thank us when you’re dishing up deliciousness in the kitchen.
For more help on keeping costs low in the kitchen, read our guide to the best energy-efficient appliances