How Air Fryers Work
Before I get into the pros and cons of air fryers, its important to understand the basics of how they work.
Simply put, air fryers dont actually fry food.
Actual frying involves immersing food in hot oil. The hot oil dehydrates the surface of the ingredients, and the Maillard reaction makes the food crispy and delicious.
Instead, air fryers mimic the effect of frying by blowing hot air on and around food.
Air fryers heating element is often an electric coil much like the ones youll find on some electric stoves.
A fan sits just above the coil and blows air down onto the food. The hot air surrounds the food, making it crispy and golden.
If the process of cooking food by blowing hot air around an enclosed chamber sounds familiar, thats because convection ovens work the same way.
In essence, air fryers are countertop convection ovens.
What Exactly Is An Air Fryer
CHOICE kitchen expert Fiona Mair says the biggest misconception is that air fryers fry food. Given the name of the appliance, you can be forgiven for assuming they do.
But, in fact, an air fryer works more like a small fan-forced oven and bakes food, rather than fries it.
Fiona explains: “It has a fan and an element and the fan circulates the heat from the element around a small cavity. The element surrounds the fan positioned at the top of the unit.
“A pull-out drawer with a basket or removable grill rack allows the hot air to flow around the food, which works the same as a fan-forced oven.”
Are air fryers the healthy alternative to enjoying fried foods?
Not exactly. It all comes down to what you’re cooking in your air fryer.
You can use it to cook similar things as you would in a normal oven, such as grilled meats and vegetables and homemade chips. But if you’re cooking pre-packaged frozen foods that are highly processed, it’s not going to be a healthier option.
And although air-fried foods are better than deep-fried foods in that they use much less oil, it’s no different from using oil to roast or grill in a conventional oven.
Although air-fried foods are better than deep-fried foods in that they use much less oil, it’s no different from using oil to roast or grill in a conventional oven
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It’s not a deep fryer
But there are a few traditionally fried foods, such as doughnuts, that can be made in an air fryer.
What We Think Of The Dash Dmaf360gbaq02 Aircrisp Pro Air Fryer + Oven Cooker
The Dash DMAF360GBAQ02 Aircrisp Pro Air Fryer + Oven Cooker has a 3 quart capacity, making it a much smaller and more compact choice than many of the other air fryers on this list. It only has a weight of around 10 pounds as well.
The appearance is pretty striking. It has a completely round body and comes in four color choices. This appearance looks fresh and ensures that the air fryer fits into any kitchen, no matter what the kitchen may look like.
Although the air fryer is small, it retains functional and efficient performance. It comes with a digital display and eight preset options. These presets make it easy to cook all of your favorite snacks in this nifty little device.
More so, the Dash DMAF360GBAQ02 Aircrisp Pro Air Fryer + Oven Cooker comes with safety features. For example, it comes with an auto shutoff function to ensure nothing burns or causes a fire.
Price wise, the air fryer is pretty affordable. It isnt quite as cheap as our budget pick, but it is close. People on a budget will be happy with the price tag on this product.
The biggest issue with the Dash DMAF360GBAQ02 Aircrisp Pro Air Fryer + Oven Cooker is its size. Because it only has a capacity of 3 quarts, large families probably wont be able to make food for the whole family using this device.
Easy to operate. Good time and temperature. The capacity is great for its price.
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What Air Fryer I Should Get Five Family Member
An air fryer with a 5.8-quart capacity is ideal for a household of five . With this air fryer, you may quickly and easily prepare large quantities of fried dishes such as french fries, lasagna, steaks, pizza, or fried chicken.
As far as digital air fryers go, this one from the GoWISE USA is our top pick. For several families of five, this air fryers sleek and modern style makes it a popular choice for cooking.
Thanks to its eight cooking modes, you can swiftly fry, grill, roast, or bake without using any oil.
What Are The Different Air Fryer Sizes Available
Finding the right air fryer size can be challenging, especially when youre not sure what sizes are on the market.
When excluding commercial models, there are four main types of air fryer sizes you may come across, these are:
- Extra Large .
There may be some variations to this, but most fryers sold online or in appliance stores will stick to these sizes.
But even with these measurements, it can still be hard to know exactly what size is the right option for you. Luckily, we have created a guide to the four most common air fryers sizes, so you dont need to spend hours comparing thousands of models.
We have also included an example product for each size to give you an idea of what you can expect!
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Things To Consider If You’re Buying An Air Fryer
- Unless you buy a double basket air fryer, you can only cook one food at a time.
- Because the element sits close to the basket it can overcook and dry out food.
- The size of the cooking area can be restrictive, so you’ll need to make sure the food can fit in the drawer/cavity in some cases it may be better to use an oven with fan-forced mode.
- Air fryers generally have a small capacity, so multiple batches may be needed when cooking.
- Most air fryers don’t have a viewing window so you can’t see what’s happening during cooking.
- It can take some trial and error to get the time and temperature for cooking right.
- They can take up quite a lot of space consider that your air fryer might be a permanent fixture on your bench or make sure you’ll have the space to store it before you buy.
- Some air fryers can use more energy than an oven.
Ii Medium And Large Air Fryers
This category is most ideal for a family of at least three people. The lower range of 3.0-5.0 quartz and is large enough for 3-5 family members. This may explain why it is the most popular range of this category.
It may not cook a whole chicken at once, but it gives you more options as you can cook two things at a go.
The upper range lies in the 5.0-6.0 quartz sizing, and the size is enough for a family of 5 and more. With these fryers, you can cook more than one food item at once, including chicken, vegetables, and nuts.
On top of everything, the larger sized fryers tend to have more accessories to ensure that they deliver a superior performance.
Also Check: Black & Decker Air Fryer Convection Oven
What Air Fryer Size Is Best For Small Kitchens
Living in a dorm room, a small apartment or a recreation vehicle often means theres little space to spare for clumsy appliances, and in that case, a large air fryer might not be the most appropriate pick.
In small living spaces, you may benefit from having an air fryer thats portable, well, all air fryers are portable, but all air fryers are not lightweight.
Smaller air fryers can easily fit in a kitchen drawer or storage box, making it easy to store them between each session. They are also the perfect pick for camping trips and vacations.
A suitable air fryer for smaller kitchens or living spaces, in general, would be an air fryer sized at 3 quart maximum.
Just make sure that the air fryer, no matter how big or small, is large enough to cook for the number of people you plan on serving. The convenience of having a small air fryer is lost if the appliance cant cook your meals in one session.
Remember, air fryers are supposed to be comfortable, time-saving kitchen helpers.
Instant Vortex Plus 10
The Instant Vortex Plus 10-Quart Air Fryer is a convection oven-style air fryer with two racks to maximize cooking space. Weinstein said that he loves this model, but noted that if you use both trays, youll need to swap your food halfway through cooking. The Instant Vortex Plus has a touchscreen to set the temperature and the time. It features seven functions, from air frying to dehydrating. It comes with a drip pan, cooking trays and a rotisserie spit that you can throw in the dishwasher, too. The Instant Vortex Plus has a 4.6-star average rating from 23,000 customer reviews on Amazon and comes with a one-year warranty.
Also Check: How To Make Potato Wedges In Air Fryer
How Are Air Fryers Sized
Air fryer models are designed to handle certain amounts of foods during a cooking cycle and this information is often shown in quarts, liters, or pounds. While the models will inform you about their size capacities, they are guidelines and not absolutes. The type of food that you are preparing will determine what will safely fit into the cooking compartment. A steak, a couple of chicken legs or wings will take up more space than a serving of sliced fries or other vegetables.
Phillips, a popular brand for top quality air fryers and they refer to their air fryer sizes in terms of food poundage. Their 2.2 quart model will state that it is an air fryer sized for 1.8 pounds of food, while their 3.2 quart model will state that it is an air fryer sized for 2.6 pounds of food.
American air fryers refer to the size of their models in terms of food quarts. The smaller model sizes are in the 2.2 to 3.7 quart range, the larger model sizes are in the 5 to 6 quart range, the extra-large model sizes are in the 8 and 16 quart range.
International models refer to their air fryer sizes in terms of liters, such as 2.0 or 4.0 liters, even when the models are designed for usage with American electrical outlets.
How Much Money Do You Want To Spend
Many of our experts mentioned you should expect to spend around $80 on a good air fryer, though top-tier models can cost as much as $300. Some smaller models under $80 can work for smaller quantities of food.
Are they worth it? Thats up to you, Weinstein said. His $300 air fryer has lasted him a long time, but he owns air fryers half that price that have worked their way through testing the thousands of recipes in his books, too. For the uninitiated, its probably worth spending less at first to allow room for experimentation and growth.
Also Check: Cuisinart Air Fryer And Toaster Oven
What Size Air Fryer For A Family Of 5
Ever asked yourself how big of an air fryer do I need for a turkey? because this is where it begins. Most turkeys are fairly big, and an air fryer for a family of five would be the smallest one that you should use for a turkey.
These are typically between 5.8 QT and about 6+ QT, which should fit most of your needs for a family of five. With larger air fryers, there are more features to account for, so keep your eyes peeled.
The Type And Shape Of The Air Fryer
As discussed earlier, air fryers come in a variety of types, shapes, and sizes, and you need to choose the right one depending on your use of the appliance.
You will find many air fryers with a circular basket, while others have a square or rectangle-shaped one.
The latter often have racks that allow pans to be placed inside them, while circular-shaped ones are better suited for snacks and smaller foods that can be cooked quickly and evenly.
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Are Air Fryers Good For One Person
Yes, an air fryer is good for one person. As they can be purchased in multiple sizes, its easy to get one that fits in with your lifestyle. A 2qt air fryer is large enough to fit single portions of food, so youll be able to cook full meals from fresh.
An air fryer can also be used to reheat food quickly, and while maintaining flavor and texture. Ideal for a single cook, who may rely on leftovers during the week.
Air fryers are energy efficient, and heat food quicker. You will save some money on electricity, but it wont be much. However, the advantage is your food cooks fast. For a single serving, this removes the extra effort of oven cooking.
If you enjoy cooking or sharing food, then its a good idea to invest in a larger air fryer. A 5-7 qt air fryer is large enough to cook for multiple people at once. By purchasing a larger size, you can anticipate future needs.
How To Properly Choose Your Air Fryer
Air fryers arent the most affordable kitchen appliance, but they definitely arent the most astronomically priced either. A good air fryer will range from $120-$250 depending on quality and features, though there are many great models at a lower price as well if youre looking to spend under $100. Setting your budget early is the best way to make sure you get the best air fryer you can comfortably afford, which should be your ultimate goal.
The capacity of your air fryer refers to how much food the basket can hold. A 3.7 L capacity is usually enough to feed a family of 4 and can make most foods comfortable. However, depending on the number of people in your household and your intended use of the air fryer, you may need a larger or smaller capacity. You should also keep in mind that your food needs to breathe and should not be overcrowded during cooking. When in doubt, opt for a bigger size.
Some air fryers dont have any pre-set cook programs, and some have half a dozen or more. Cook programs are especially helpful for beginners since they set the temperature and other settings on the air fryer to the appropriate numbers for cooking different types of food. Fried chicken and doughnuts would need very different cook times and temperatures, so pre-set programs allow you to easily and quickly switch between modes.
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What Air Fryer Can Cook A Whole Chicken Or Small Turkey
Smaller air fryers excel at cooking chicken breasts, tenders, nuggets and wings. However, when it comes to a whole chicken, air fryers below 5-quart in size dont have the cooking capacity needed to fit the entire chicken.
Facing this issue, some users may use a little bit of force to break the chickens backbone into smaller pieces to make it fit.
The best option would be to look for a bigger air fryer, an air fryer capable of cooking a whole chicken in one session. A whole chicken can weigh closer to 4-7 pounds, which of course, requires a much bigger air fryer than a couple of wings or nuggets would.
To cook a whole chicken in an air fryer, one should look for an air fryer at 5.3 5.8 quarts or more. Air fryers below 5 quarts are not big enough for the entire chicken to fit and air fryers just above 5 may have trouble with larger chickens.
Therefore, a 5.3 5.8 quart or larger air fryer is the best option when cooking a whole chicken or small turkey.
Additionally, larger air fryers come with better functions, features, and accessories suited for baking, roasting, grilling, frying and more. The extra space of such air fryers makes it possible to bake bread, cook pizzas, and smaller cakes.
Down below are three models large enough to cook a whole chicken.
What We Think Of The Cosori Zyx Air Fryer
The Cosori air fryer is a slightly more advanced digital model with excellent features for beginners. The most unique attribute of this air fryer is the shake reminder so your food will come out evenly cooked every single time. This 11-in-1 air fryer can cook nearly a dozen types of food and makes it incredibly easy to switch between modes with simple touch buttons on its digital display.
The air fryer ranges from 170 to 400 degrees F for cooking, which is a slightly larger-than-average range that we see on air fryers. You can also choose to have your temperature displayed in Celsius if you would prefer. This air fryer has a 60-minute timer that will alert you to your foods finished state so you can eat it while its hot, though there is no auto shutoff function to protect your food from overcooking.
This is a high-quality air fryer. It is very powerful, lightweight, and has an incredible temperature range that will cook anything you need. The timer is perfect for any recipe, and this machine even has a shake reminder to tell you to mix up your food while cooking. This appliance is absolutely perfect for me, my only complaint is that it isnt bigger, it makes such delicious food Id like to make more of it!
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