What is an Air Fryer
There is a new, or not so new now, invention called an air fryer.
A year ago I decided to buy one and since then it has a place of honor in my kitchen.
I really ❤️ my Air fryer.
Before I tell you all my conclusions, and of course a list of recipes, I want first to explain what it is and how to work with it.
An air fryer is new a kitchen appliance that fries food using hot air instead of oil. You can deep-fry food in it without oil at all, or with a really small amount of oil. (About a tablespoon or 2 for French fries, for instance). The cooking is done by hot air that circulates inside of it and “fries” the food.
The food comes out crispy and delicious on the outside and really soft and moist on the inside. Before I bought it, I was a bit afraid that because it uses hot air everything will come out dry and dehydrated. I was TOTALLY wrong. Everything comes out great.
Also, because the cooking is done at high temperature, the food retains more nutritional value. And since it’s without liquids, that extract some of the nutrients, the food retains even more nutritional benefits.
Inside the appliance, there is the main drawer/holder and the frying basket sits inside of it.
Most of the air fryers come only with the standard drawer+basket. It also comes with temperature control and a timer.
Upon receiving my air fryer, I started experimenting with it.
First, I tried all the classic dishes that need deep frying:
Air Fryer French Fries
Frozen French fries:
Preheat the air fryer on the heist temperature for 2 minutes. Add 500 gr. of French fries to the basket and fry for 10 minutes. Toss/mix well and fry for another 10 minutes. The fries come out perfectly.
Cut 4-6 large potatoes into fries and put in water for at least 30 minutes. Strain and pat dry with a paper towel. Add 2 tablespoons of oil and mix well. Prepare like the frozen fries.
Air Fryer Schnitzel
I tried making schnitzels without oil at all and they came out OK, but the crumbs were a bit dry. My son refused to eat them, so I had to find a solution how to make them crispier. I tried two methods that worked:
- After rolling the schnitzels in the bread crumbs, pour 3-4 tablespoons of oil on a saucer and using a cooking brush, brush them with oil. Fry for 7 minutes on the maxtemperature.
- Before rolling the schnitzels in the bread crumbs, pour 2 tablespoons of oil on a saucer, dip your hand in it, and spread the oil on both hands. Roll the crumbs in your hands to cover them with oil. Continue doing it till all the crumbs are a bit oily. Roll the schnitzels in the crumbs and cook like above. The first option is less work but more oil. The second less oil but more work. Both methods work great.
To cook a frozen ready schnitzel, look on the back of the package and see what it says there about frying. If it says 3 minutes on each side (total of 6), put in the air fryer and cook on high heat for 4-5 minutes. No need to flip them over. If it says 5 minutes on each side (10 in total), cook for 7-8 on high heat, etc. I think that they come out better than fried in oil. Not because of the health issue, but because they are tastier.
Air Fryer Onion rings
If you are using frozen ready onion rings you need to preheat the air fryer on the heist temperature for 2 minutes. Add 500 gr. of onion rings to the basket and fry for 4 minutes. Toss/mix well and fry for another 3 minutes. They come out perfectly.
If you are making homemade onion rings, choose 1 of the options described in the Schnitzel section to cover the crumbs in oil.
Different frozen foods
The next thing I tried was heating ready frozen foods. My husband likes different vegetarian hamburgers, Schnitzels, steaks, etc.
Before he used to fry them, bake them in the oven, or put them in the pop-up toaster. This really annoyed me because then the bread smelled of food.
In the air fryer, they come out great. Just look at the back of the package and see how long it says to fry them on each side. Put them in the air fryer for 70% of the time without flipping them. They taste like they were fried, but without oil at all.
Meatballs & Hamburgers
You can make them in the air fryer, and they come out good. The time varies depending on their thickness:
- If the meatballs around like a ball then they need about 15 minutes.
- If you flatten them with your hand, then they need about 12 minutes. The downside is that if they’re flat, you can fit less in the basket.
Occasionally they stick to the basket. The solution is to pre-heat the Air Fryer for 2 minutes beforehand and then pour about 1 teaspoon of oil on a saucer and spread it with a backing brush on the bottom of the basket. That prevents them from sticking. The meatballs come out exactly as if they fried in oil.
The next thing I tried was to prepare dishes that are not traditionally fried but baked or cooked in a pot.
I also searched the net to get ideas about what people are making with an air fryer and started experimenting.
At this point, I discovered that I need air fryer accessories. After a short search on Amazon, I found two accessories that I use a lot.
I use the Grilling Rack to make kebabs, steaks, chicken tenders, etc. Basically, everything that you can make on a barbecue grill. In the air fryer, it doesn’t taste the same, but it’s still good and saves me the need to fire up the grill for 2 hamburgers.
Of course, before ordering your grilling rack check the measurements to make sure that it fits.
I use the Baking Pan for casseroles, dishes with liquid, food with small particles (like rice) etc.
Today, if I’m making a small casserole I just make it in the air fryer. It saves me the need to heat up the big stove that takes a long time to heat and uses an insane amount of electricity. The air fryer needs two minutes to heat and the baking time is the same. So if I’m making a big dish, I’ll still use the stove. But for smaller portions, I’m using only the air fryer.
Of course, before ordering your baking pan check the measurements to make sure that it fits.
After a long experiment during which I prepared 70% of our meals in the air fryer, I can safely say that you can prepare anything with it except soup.
I made pies, casseroles, desserts, breakfast, lunch, dinners, main courses, starters, snacks, side dishes… ANYTHING.
Heating Up Food
Another great use I discovered for it, is heating up food.
Leftover pizza comes out like it’s just left the oven for the first time – crispy and amazing.
All the baked goods come out fresh and crispy like you just made them.
Fried foods, of course, after 3-4 minutes come out like new.
But it’s good not only for fried food or baked goods. I use the baking pan accessory to heat up almost everything: rice, potatoes, one-pot dinners, meatballs, baked chicken, grilled food… everything.
It takes longer than the microwave. The microwave usually needs 2-3 minutes. In the air fryer, it takes a bit longer. First, you have to heat it up for two minutes, then heat the food for 3 minutes, mix it, and heat another three minutes.
Because the microwave kills all the nutrients and the air fryer doesn’t. So far, the only thing I found that doesn’t heat well in the air fryer is soup. Everything else comes out great, even if it needs a bit longer.
To heat food, you need that baking pan accessory. Without it, most of the food will fall through the halls of the baskets.
A friend of mine decided to buy an air fryer after my experience. After a short search on Amazon, we found an air fryer that comes with the accessories. That’s better as you don’t need to buy them separately and pay more money.
The only difference is that my grill rack comes with four built-in skewers. Hers’ doesn’t. She uses wood skewers that she puts on her rack.
Because it’s coated with Teflon inside, it’s really easy to clean.
After I cook food that doesn’t leave leftovers, like fries, I just wipe with a wet kitchen towel and a paper towel and it’s clean.
After food that leaves leftovers, I just put it in the dishwasher and that’s it. I also tried to clean it with a regular dish sponge and dish soap with an excellent result. The coating is thick enough that it doesn’t come off or scratch and because it’s Teflon, the cleaning is very easy.
After 5 to 6 months playing with my air fryer, I can safely say that you can make anything with it.
It uses much less oil and much less electricity. The food needs a shorter cooking time, so you lose fewer nutrients.
I think it’s an amazing invention that adds a healthy touch to your kitchen and your cooking.
It’s good even if you don’t cook healthy food regularly at home. The fact that you cut down the oil, and the preparation time to save nutrients, is going to do a lot of good things to your body and your family.