Best Air Fryers At A Glance
- Best blow-out multifunctional air fryer: Ninja Foodi MAX Health Grill & Air Fryer, £249.99
- Best looking air fryer for rotisserie chicken: Princess Air Fryer & Dehydrator, £169.99
- Best large-capacity air fryer for small kitchens: Instant Vortex Plus 6-in-1 Air Fryer, £119.99
- Best large capacity air fryer for affordability: Cosori Pro 5.5-litre air fryer, £109.99
- Best multi-tasking air fryer: Sage the Smart Oven air fryer, £329.95
- Best air fryer for roasting chicken: Tower Vortex 5-in-1 digital air fryer, £119.99
- Best air fryer for versatility: Tefal ActiFry Genius 2-in-1 air fryer, £269.99
- Best air fryer for making chips: Ninja air fryer, £94
- Best air fryer for families: Philips Avance air fryer XXL, £295.34
- Best air fryer for quietness: Salter EK2819 XL digital hot air fryer, £139.99
Philips Avance Air Fryer Xxl
Best air fryer for families
- Large footprint
Star rating: 4.5/5
The Philips family of air fryers have long been favourites in the UK market and if youre after a machine for straightforward frying, this is hard to beat.
It has a huge basket in fact, a small chicken will fit in there and cook beautifully, even with the juices draining away into the bottom of the pan.
Its definitely the pick of the bunch if you want power, speed and enough room to get a family dinner on the table quickly.
The controls are intuitive, with a digital dial adjusting temperature and timings, and a range of pre-sets that make it easy to use.
Since this is a basket drawer-style fryer, its wise to check the contents during the cook and move things around with tongs to ensure it cooks evenly. Quiet, powerful and easy to use, this was one of our top air fryer choices. Read our full review of the Philips Avance air fryer XXL.
What Is An Air Fryer
An air fryer is a benchtop kitchen appliance that cooks food by circulating hot air around it, much like an oven. It usually looks like a large rice cooker and contains a removable tray that can be filled with food and easily put back inside.
One of the main benefits of air fryers is that theyre claimed to use significantly less oil than other appliances, such as deep fryers , giving you a healthier and less greasy alternative. According to celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay: The air fryer doesnt quite replace that deep-fried taste, but with just a tablespoon of oil, the chips come out crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. Theyre healthier and taste great.
Our survey respondents cited the following reasons for purchasing an air fryer:
- For a healthier alternative to traditional pan frying: 51%
- For convenience: 24%
- To try something new: 11%
- Feels safer to use: 7%
- To make less mess while cooking: 5%
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Air Fryer Curly Fries
It is really easy to fry curly fries in the Air Fryer. These fries are just as crispy as deep-fried but without any additional fat. Done in less than 15 minutes. Crispy curly fries are a great side dish. Just as good as regular fries.
The perfect appetizer or side dish. Air Fryer Potato croquettes contain hardly any fat and have a great taste. A crunchy Air fried crust. A fast and easy recipe that you have on the table in no time.
You can make the ultimate classic tapas in the Air Fryer. Super easy to make Air Fryer patatas bravas are a great snack or side dish. Serve with aioli or brava sauce.
These Air Fryer Baked Potatoes are fast and delicious. Put them in the Air Fryer and they are done in no time. Load them with your favorite toppings and serve as a side dish.
Air Fryers Can Be Loud And Noisy
Air fryers use a ventilator to suck in air which circulates inside the pan of the air fryer when it leaves the air fryer though the rear exhaust. This makes quite some noise, and the amount of noise an air fryer makes differs between the models. But I can say that you can definitely can hear an air fryer when it is turned on.
You can compare the sound of a turned on air fryer with the sound of a hair dryer, a vacuum cleaner or an extractor hood. I dont find the sound an air fryer makes very annoying, but it is something to be aware of. Especially when you want to use your air fryer in an open kitchen or when you want to talk with someone in the same area where your air fryer is located.
When you do find the produced noise a bit annoying, you can always place your air fryer in a closed off area. Such as your garage or scullery when you have one in your home.
Some digital air fryer also make loud beeping noises. I have a few air fryers that produce very loud beeping sound when you adjust the timer, temperature or other settings. This noise is also produced when the air fryer has reached the desired temperature, or when the timer is finished.
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Cleaning Your Air Fryer Using Baking Soda
One of the best ways to clean an air fryer is to use a mixture of baking soda and water. This will not only eliminate any cooking smells but will also remove the cooked food and oil on your fryer.
Baking soda has been used for centuries as a cleaner and even beauty treatment.
Mixing it with water will make it a great cleaning agent. It creates an alkaline environment that helps neutralize and remove oil stains. In order to clean with baking soda, you need the following things:
- Microfiber cloth or sponge
Best For Single Portions: Instant Vortex 4
If you live alone and simply want a quick, no-fuss dinner, then the Instant Vortex 4-in-1 is right for you. Don’t underestimate the mini 2-quart Instant Vortex: Although it measures just 12 inches tall, the air fryer is capable of frying, baking, roasting, crisping, and reheating. Like its bigger 6-quart sibling, this air fryer uses Instant Brands’ EvenCrisp technology to ensure every side of your roast chicken or every single French fry you’re craving gets evenly heated. The LED touchscreen makes it easy to select pre-programmed settings or to adjust temperatures precisely, but shoppers love it most for how compact it is. “The footprint is small, so I was easily able to find space in my space-deficient kitchen,” wrote a reviewer. “Even if you have to stow it away, it’s so small and easy to bring out to use.”
To buy: $50
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Magic Bullet Air Fryer
I’m going to level with you, air fryers can be a little bulky. In fact, they’re one of the larger countertop appliances you can purchase, and if you have a small kitchen with limited countertop square footage, you’re going to have to account for that. One workaround is nabbing a hybrid countertop oven that serves as a toaster, convection oven and air fryer. The Ninja Foodi is my favorite and it even flips up to sit no more than seven inches from the wall when not in use
Another option is buying a smaller solo air fryer, and Nutribullet’s new Magic Bullet Air Fryer is our pick for the best compact air fryer in 2021. This model obviously won’t hold as much as the others on the list but in our testing, it showed good power so you could cook fairly quickly in batches if need be. The Magic Bullet has a 2-5-quart cooking basket which is enough to hold about eight wings or two servings of French fries in a single cook.
The Magic Bullet Air Fryer crisped chicken wings and Brussel sprouts nicely and got the fries to gold brown as fast as any other air fryer on our list. It also has very very simple analog dials and wasn’t very noisy while in action.
One popular option is the Instant Vortex. It’s priced in line with the other air fryers in this group. The Vortex is made by the same company that created the groundbreaking Instant Pot electric pressure cooker. Despite that, though, we weren’t blown away by the food we fried in it.
PowerXL Vortex Air Fryer
Instant Vortex Pro 10
- Features: Minimal preheating time, simple touch controls
- Additional Functions: Roast, broil, bake, toast, reheat, proof, dehydrate, rotisserie
If youre cooking for a family or want to be able to air fry for guests, you may want something thats a little larger. The Instant Vortex Pro Air Fryer offers a much larger capacity than other options on this list, sitting in at a hefty 10 quarts.
Thankfully, its not just bigthe Instant Vortex Pro air fryer is also highly functional, boasting nine settings, including the ability to bake, broil, air fry, dehydrate and more. Its a little more expensive than some of the others on this list, but its still very affordableand nowhere near the price of the premium options.
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How We Tested Air Fryers
What is the first thing you think of when you consider air fryers? Chips, of course, so our homemade fries test was crucial.
The key to crisp fries was to peel and soak the potatoes in cold water for half an hour to remove starch, before drying thoroughly. We used Maris Piper potatoes for all.
We looked at the manuals for each model and followed their directions for cooking temperature, time and the quantity of oil needed. If the type of oil wasnt specified them we used vegetable.
Anything from the size of the cut to the variety of potato can make a difference here, so its always good to gauge things halfway through the time. But for the purpose of the test, we shook ingredients only when prompted too and scored the appliance based on its performance.
We tested the air fryers using set criteria and scored each one on the following core areas out of five. The average of all determined the overall star rating they achieved:
Quality of foodTo ensure fairness, we initially cooked chips in every fryer we tested. We looked at how evenly they fried and whether they were brown and crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside.
Ease of useNo-one wants to resort to a YouTube video to work out how to use a new gadget. We looked for fryers with clear, simple instructions, so we could get them out of the box and cooking our dinner as quickly as possible. Fryers also scored highly if the icons or control buttons were easy to use and intuitive.
Extra Features And Accessories
Not all air fryer models will have these extra features, and generally the more that are included, the higher the price point.
- Stirrer: A self-stirring air fryer uses a paddle to slowly stir food while its cooking, but its only suited to some food types, such as baked vegetables. Choose a model with an extra bowl minus the stirrer for versatility.
- Rotating basket: TMore versatile than a self-stirring model, you can also bake, grill and roast food with accessories. Rotating baskets need less oil than other models, making them even healthier.
- Adjustable thermostat: Most models have end timers, but some also have alerts to remind you to turn or shake your food.
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What Can You Not Cook In An Air Fryer
You can cook most foods in an air fryer, but there are some exceptions. You want to avoid air-frying battered foods, like beer-battered fish or corn dogs. While these types of foods fare well with deep fryers, they can splatter and cause a huge mess in an air fryer.
Its also a good idea to avoid using an air fryer to cook things with a lot of cheese, like fresh mozzarella sticks or jalapeño poppers. While frozen versions of these items do okay, fresh cheese melts too quickly , leaving you with a mess and a not-so-great finished product.
More Excellent Air Fryers That Are Easy To Clean:
I never write reviews, but in this case I will. This Cosori air fryer is a super nice fryer. Its easy to use and the clean up is so easy. I use it almost every day. I work long hours, this makes My time cooking so much quicker. Great Product.
- Its modern, easy to use , easy to clean and figure out. Also, everything you put in it comes out instantly more delicious!
- I just finished making the most amazing batch of buffalo-style wings in our new Cosori air fryer. Honestly, about the best Ive ever had.
- It is easy to use, easy to clean and has earned a permanent spot on our kitchen counter.
- This Air Fryer is very easy to use and very easy to clean.
- It re-heats food like it was made fresh , doesnt require an oven preheat, no oil.
- Cooks quickly. Food tastes delicious and there is practically no clean up at all.
- The ease of the basket removal is a great feature and it makes it super easy to clean.
Cook your favorite foods without the guilt!!! Seriously, Ninja well done! You have impressed me again. Ive invested in the Ninja Air Fryer 4-quart, , and ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT as well! Super user friendly and SOOO EASY to clean!!!
Buy it!!! Love this thing, I was looking for a good quality air fryer to make healthy meals, and this is by far the best decision I could have made!
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What Can You Cook In An Air Fryer
As a rule of thumb you can cook foods that are traditionally prepared using either a deep fryer or oven. These include the classic favourite: French fries, along with onion rings and nuggets. You can also grill foods like meat, bake sweet treats like cake, roast hard vegetables like brussel sprouts, and experiment with making crunch-worthy kale and sweet potato crisps.
Whether youre a sweet or savoury person, there are plenty of great, free air fryer recipes online. Bear in mind that on some models, roasting and grilling may require separate air fryer accessories.
Don’t Make These 10 Air Fryer Mistakes
Doing any of the following things wont melt your face off, but try to avoid them.
Do not be too generous with oil.
Use a light hand with that oil! Excess oil ends up in the drawer under the grate, but if theres too much buildup, it might smoke. Generally speaking, if theres already fat on the food , you might not need to oil the food at all. Vegetables, however, benefit from a light coating of oil, because it helps make them nice and brown.
Do not grease the drawer with cooking spray.
Seems like that would be a good idea, right? But the baskets have nonstick coating, and cooking spray can damage the finish over time.
In lieu of cooking spray, toss your food in oil insteadyoure probably doing that already, in many casesor rub it down with an oil-saturated paper towel. I found pre-fried frozen foods didnt need the help of extra grease.
Do not use oil with a low smoke point.
Olive oil isnt great for air frying, because it has a low smoke point. Not only will it smoke at high temperatures, but it can also develop a weird aftertaste. Vegetable oil, canola oil, peanut oil, and other high smoke point oils are the way to go.
Do not crowd the drawer.
For all the space they hog on a countertop, air fryers dont have a big capacity. For the best results, dont load the drawer up with food . Its so tempting to add another handful of potato sticks or shaved beets, but youll learn from experience that food comes out crisper and cooks up faster if you work in small batches.
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Nuwave Bravo Xl Convection Oven
Although it only has room for one rack at a time, the Nuwave Bravo XL boasts a fairly large capacity.
Plus, the oven comes with a built-in temperature probe to help you ensure that your food is fully cooked.
The Bravo XL also has a variety of functions, including a yogurt-making setting. My colleague, Laura Flynn Endres of Get Fit Done, says that the Nuwave Bravo has earned its counter space in her kitchen because of all the different functions it offers in addition to air frying.
How Easy Are Air Fryers To Clean
In our testing, many air fryers only score OK for ease of cleaning, particularly if they have spare parts such as a rotisserie or wire grills which can trap food particles, as they require more effort to clean. Air fryers that rate well have baskets that are small enough to easily wash in your sink, and non-stick coatings that are easy to clean.
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How To Deal With Lingering Odors
When a food gives off a strong smell while cooking, the odor may linger in your air fryer, even after cleaning. NewAir, maker of Magic Chef air fryers, recommends soaking the food basket and drawer in soapy water for 30 to 60 minutes before cleaning again. If the smell persists, cut a lemon in half and rub it over the basket and drawer, let it sit 30 minutes, then rewash.
Wipe Down The Outside Of The Air Fryer
The outside of the air fryer shouldnt get very dirty. All of the cooking happens on the inside but, its still a good idea to dust and wipe down the outside of your air fryer at least once a week. This will keep germs and other things from building up on it, and it will keep your air fryer looking like new.
All you need for this step is a damp cloth! If there is grease or food on the outside, you might need a little dish soap or all-purpose cleaner.
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