Purchasing an air fryer means purchasing all of its golden promises of making your food crispier and healthier at the same time. But do air fryers really work as advertised? In many cases, the answer is yes. Making perfect French fries, chicken wings, or calamari all without the oily mess of deep-frying may seem too good to be true, but this celebrated kitchen appliance makes healthier, tastier eating a reality.
How do air fryers work?
Air fryers are unique kitchen gadgets that use superheated air to simulate a deep fryer environment. Unlike an instant pot, the air fryer doesn’t use pressure to cook your food, nor does it need the long cooking times that you might use with a slow cooker. Air fryers are essentially high-powered convection ovens. By circulating superheated air around the food, air frying simulates the high temperatures of cooking oil and results in a crispy exterior.
Do air fryers use oil?
Since air fryers use hot circulating air to cook food, they don’t need oil like a traditional deep fryer. However, it is common to brush or lightly coat food with oil before using an air fryer. A little oil can help you get that crispy, golden exterior that most people desire in fried foods.
Even if you use a little oil to coat your food, it is still FAR less oil than you would end up eating with a traditional deep fryer.
Are air fryers really healthy?
Air fryers have had a recent surge in popularity due to growing health awareness among the general public combined with a continuing demand for fried foods. When it comes to the health benefits of air frying, there is significant evidence demonstrating that air-fried food is a healthier alternative to the oily, traditionally fried food that we’ve grown accustomed to in restaurants and fast-food joints.
Since air fryers don’t rely on a bath of high-calorie oil to cook foods, air frying is often naturally healthier than a regular fryer. By greatly reducing or completely eliminating the oil, the amount of calories and fat that you consume in air-fried food is substantially reduced.
What are the benefits of air frying?
- Healthy eating – by using less oil, you can reduce the number of calories consumed when eating “fried” foods
- Easy to clean – most air fryers have removable frying baskets that you can pop in a dishwasher. Since there isn’t a big oil bath, you don’t have to worry about disposing of lots of used oil!
- Safety – since air fryers are self-contained units, there is very little risk of being scalded by splashing or bubbling oil. Air fryers do still get hot, though, so always be attentive.
- Reduced acrylamide formation – as detailed later in this article, air frying produces less acrylamide than traditional frying.
- Quick cookin’ – since it is superheated, air fryers can help whip up meals faster than cooking in the oven. For example, air-fried wings can finish up in just 30 minutes, compared to an hour in the oven.
- Easy to use – just set your cooking temperature, prep your food, stick it in, wait, and enjoy crispy deliciousness!
- Breathe new life into leftovers – Have your delicious leftovers gotten soggy in the fridge? Air frying won’t be as quick as microwaving, but it can re-crisp your food’s coating to make eating leftovers much more satisfying
Are air fryers toxic?
Don’t worry, the answer is no.
There are some pretty blatant misconceptions about air fryers currently floating around the internet. The primary concern of many users is the risk of acrylamide formation. Acrylamide is a compound that can form on certain foods if they are cooked at high temperatures above 100C (212F).
Several organizations, including the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have determined that acrylamide is likely carcinogenic, but there is no concrete link between acrylamide and human cancers. As the U.S. National Institute of Cancer website states, “a large number of epidemiologic studies (both case-control and cohort studies) in humans have found no consistent evidence that dietary acrylamide exposure is associated with the risk of any type of cancer”
In fact, research has shown that air frying actually results in lower levels of acrylamide formation than traditional oil frying. A study in 2015 by researchers at the Polytechnic University of Valencia demonstrated that air frying food resulted in a 90% decrease in acrylamide formation compared to traditional frying.
Fortunately for low carb dieters, acrylamide formation is most likely to occur on starchy foods like french fries, so it’s less of a concern for keto-friendly foods.
- It’s not great for cooking a feast – Even though some air fryers are capable of cooking up to a pound of food at once, it is best not to overcrowd the frying basket. Since air frying a batch of food can take an average of 20 minutes, this isn’t the best gadget to use for preparing large meals.
- Stay away from wet batters – Some fried foods call for a wet frying batter, like beer-battered fish or onion rings. In an air fryer wet batter wont set properly like it would in a traditional fryer. Instead, wet batters tend to drip off of the food while cooking, leaving you with a bigger mess to clean. Try dry preparations instead!
- They’re not the magic key to weight loss – You can help lower your oil intake by using an air fryer, but it’s not guaranteed to make you healthier. It’s still important to have a balanced diet and stay active. Don’t eat air-fried foods with every meal!
Are air fryers worth it?
Air fryers are a great way to make tasty food in a healthier way. They are easy to use, easy to clean, very functional, and produce great, crispy results. Do air fryers really work? You bet they do! An air fryer is a great kitchen tool to have when you’re craving fried food.
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