Should You Get an Air Fryer?

If you’ve been shopping for small appliances recently for your kitchen, you probably have seen air fryers around. They’re relatively recent, but really popular. – An air fryer has a basket in here that comes out, sort of like a fryer basket, but it’s sitting in this bucket here and then it has preset settings here. You can set the temperature or the time.

Basically, it’s a fan that blows hot air around the oven cavity, so it’s sitting above a heating element and it’s circulating the air all around the oven cavity. Despite what their name would imply, air fryers are just mini convection ovens. – Just a convection oven. – Just a convection oven. – Just much smaller. – Just much, much smaller, yeah. – Okay. So if it’s just a convection oven, why are air fryers so popular right now? – A lot of celebrity chefs have endorsed them, so they’ve become very popular.

They have a very strong marketing campaign. We’ve been seeing them everywhere. They’re advertised as a more healthful alternative to deep frying, but since it’s actually convection baking, not deep frying, these companies are sort of comparing apples to oranges, right? It’s two different cooking processes.

So when you’re traditionally deep frying, you’ll get that really crispy exterior because the food is coming in direct contact with the oil, which dehydrates its surface and makes it really crispy. This doesn’t do that. You’re baking versus frying. – So what you’re telling me is baking french fries in here on the convection setting is the same thing as cooking your fries in here?

– Absolutely.

– Why not just call it convection?

– Well that is a great question.

People don’t realize what convection actually does. The term air frying is a more, it’s easily digestable, right? Like, people can kind of imagine what that means and use it.

And we’re actually starting to see that a lot of companies are calling the convection setting on the oven at your home or in a toaster oven, they’re just calling it the air fry setting. For that reason, it’s become a buzz word that people know and want.- So, all of these things do convection baking.

– Right.

– What’s so great about convection baking?

– Well, convection baking sort of speeds up the process and it’s also less prone to hot spots in the oven because the fan is circulating the heat around the food.

– You tested a few of these.- Mhmm.

– What did you find, like

what were your experiences?

One of the biggest takeaways from testing was that since the capacity is so small in these, you just can’t cook as much food  Right. As you can in a convection toaster oven. If you were to fill it to capacity, you would not be able to cook everything evenly.

It’s so cramped in there that the air can’t circulate around the food. You end up having to do things in, like, little layers, basically, but then you’re not making that much food at once. So if you’re trying to feed a family, it’s very challenging to get food on the table quickly.

Overall, they don’t cook as well as just a regular convection toaster oven.  Do things get crispy in here They do Compared to this?. I mean This is hot. I keep touching it.  It’s on! It does get crispy on the bottom and like, on the top, where the air is surrounding the food–

  Okay. But a lot of times, if you overfill the, you know, the basket in here, it will be soggy in the center and so, one of the issues with these is that you can’t fill them to capacity, right? You have to do sort of an even layer on the bottom to make sure that everything gets crispy, but then you’re only making about two servings of food at a time or less.  Like, let’s just talk about the food.

I mean, ’cause that’s really– Right. Like what this is about, right? We have plates of fish sticks. What I saw the most in testing was just that the direct contact with the food on the pan will give you better browning.  Right. Whereas, if it’s all cramped in this little basket and the air is trying to circulate the whole thing, you’re gonna get really nice pieces, but then you’re also gonna get some really pale pieces.

– Mhmm.  And it’s just sort of all mixed and some are, like, soggy on one side ’cause it just can’t reach the full capacity of what’s in there. The same with the fish sticks, you know, we’re getting, like, nice browning on and consistently for all the food in the convection toaster oven compared to this one. This model is $250, which is the higher end of the air fryers. Like, they range in price so they, I think the least expensive one we tested was maybe $50 or $60, but those models did not cook very evenly.

This model is $160 and you can cook more food in it and, in general, it cooked better than this, which is $100 more.  What can you do in here that you Well, like, in here, you can bake a pie in there if you wanted to Right. It makes a beautiful pie.

And this even comes with a pizza stone and that’s another thing about the accessories of these. You can buy other accessories like a pizza pan or a cake pan and there’s racks that you can buy to like, layer the food in there. But again, it’s just, like, more stuff for this little appliance.

They’re all sold separately, so that’s not, that price, $250, doesn’t include any of the extra Right. Accessories. You can use all of the cake pans and sheet pans you have at home in a regular toaster oven and you don’t need to go out and buy any more things if you wanna use this, right? This, in the long run, we think, will serve you better.  

When you were roasting those chickens in both of these simultaneously, I noticed that this one is very quiet Right. Like an oven and this one is very loud Yeah.  Like a turbine engine. Yes.  This sort of annoying humming sound, the whole time that it’s operating, so, that’s also something new about these. What about non-stick coating?

The non-stick coating on the inside of this, you know, it’s, well, right now it’s kind of gross because it’s oil, but it’s eventually gonna wear down if you don’t wash it by hand. You should really try to wash it by hand even though the manufacturer, most manufacturers, say that you can wash it with a dishwasher, but  You can’t wash non-stick coatings in a dish, I mean you can, but it’s gonna wear it down. Yeah. It just, it’s a fact of life. You gotta wash it by hand. And like You gotta be careful with the, with metal utensils too. You gotta wash that by hand, folks.

Yeah. And this.  And that. Whereas, in this, it’s just a pan that you take out, you can throw it in the dishwasher. So, it actually ends up being a little bit more work than I think a lot of people expect. So, they’re still very popular. I mean, they’re not in stores for nothing. So like Right. What does it do right? Well, it does cook faster than a convection toaster oven ’cause of the smaller capacity, but you just can’t cook that much food at once. But yes, it is faster, so that’s a How much faster? We’re talking like a few minutes faster.

 I mean, it sort of depends on what you’re cooking, but  A few minutes?  It’s a few minutes. So you’re not shaving off that much time. I think one of the most important things to know is that air frying is just convection baking. It’s the same thing. There’s no difference there.  Not frying.  It’s not actually frying.  Not frying.

 Yeah. We’re not saying that air fryers don’t work as they should. Mhmm.  It’s just, if you’re coming to this and you’re trying to decide, should I get a convection toaster oven or should I get an air fryer, well then you should definitely get the convection toaster oven ’cause it can just do so much more.

You don’t have to buy any other, you know, accessories to go with it and it just cooks more food at once and overall, it did a better job cooking.  And it makes toast. And it makes toast. It looks like, yes, it also reminds me of a small egg. Like a small, tiny egg. Tiny, dark egg. We digress.

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