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What is an Air Fryer? Everything You Need to Know

Ah, the air fryer. It’s a delightful appliance that has taken the world by storm. A fad, I hear you say? You couldn’t be further from the truth. The air fryer is an exciting new trend, but one that’s here to stay because it brings you the best of everything. 

Fried foods are delicious, a guilty pleasure that is hard not to indulge in. However, all the grease and oil isn’t great for your heart (or your hips, am I right?). It’s time to throw the oil aside and bask in the true wonders and delights that are brought by the air fryer.  

Not sure you know everything you need to know about these marvelous appliances? What is an air fryer anyway? That’s why we’re here, so take a seat and let us take you on a culinary adventure. 

What is an Air Fryer 

If you think about it, an air fryer is like a countertop convection oven on speed. It’s amped up and powerful, and it fries food instead of baking it. It might be a small appliance, but it is able to mimic the results of deep-frying with truly masterful results. All you need is a little oil (or sometimes none at all) as well as the hot air the fryer produces. 

You’re likely no stranger to the fact that this appliance has become exceptionally popular in recent years. In the US alone 40% of households had one as of July 2020.


Well, the thing is you can air-fry anything. Chicken wings, french fries, roasted vegetables, you name it. And you can even bake a batch of fresh cookies in an air fryer.

How Does an Air Fryer Work? 

In the top section of the air fryer, you will find the fan as well as the heating mechanism. Below this, there is a fryer basket where you place the food you want to cook. Once it has been turned on, hot air rushes down and surrounds the food. The rapid circulation of air is what cooks the food and makes it crisp – just like deep-frying, but without the use of oil. 

What’s the Difference Between an Air Fryer and a Deep Fryer? 

As you know, air fryers bake food at a high temperature with a powerful fan. On the opposite end of the scale, deep fryers use vats of boiling oil that has been heated to a specific temperature in order to cook and fry the food. 

What else is different? Well, an air fryer doesn’t really need time to preheat, but a deep fryer can take a minimum of ten minutes (if you’re lucky) in order to get hot enough for cooking. An air fryer also doesn’t require oil, whereas a deep fryer requires masses of it that gets absorbed by the food. 

While both end up with deliciously crispy and juicy results, they don’t quite taste the same. This is because the batter cooks differently in each appliance – the batter for air fried food only needs to be sprayed lightly before frying whereas deep-fried food is submerged in the oil. The light spray in air fried food is only to help with the color and crispiness. 

What I will note is that batters that are flour-based and wet do not cook well in an air fryer, but they do come out superbly in a deep fryer. So that is a winning point for classic deep-frying. 

What’s the Best Way to Use an Air Fryer? 

Want to know exactly how to use an air fryer? Well, I have some handy steps below that will give you the best and most delicious results. 

Step One: Place Your Food in the Basket

Since air fryers come in a range of sizes, it’s up to you to determine how much food will fit in the basket. Generally speaking, you can get between 2 and 10 quarts, although some models might be bigger. Once it’s in, add 1-2 teaspoons of oil if it is required by the recipe. 

Step Two: Set the Timer

Generally speaking, the cooking time for air fryers ranges between 5 and 25 minutes at a temperature between 350-400F (180-200 C), depending on the food you are making. Either way, it’s a quick process that will have you eating in no time, so get that timer set. 

Step Three: Cooking and Eating Time 

Some recipes will need you to turn the food halfway through, so pay close attention to what you are making. Once it’s done, you can start enjoying your food. Just make sure you clean the air fryer once you’re done! 

What Can You Cook in an Air Fryer? 

We actually have a complete guide on what you can cook in an air fryer that you can check out here, but here’s a sneak peek at some of the things you can cook and enjoy.

  1. Frozen finger foods
  2. Homemade finger foods
  3. Meat and fish
  4. Vegetables (especially roasted)
  5. Baked goods (air fried cookies every day, please)

Is Air Fryer Food Healthy?

Overall, the texture and taste are very similar to what you would get in a deep fryer when you use an air fryer. You get that wonderfully crispy coating with a juicy and delicious interior. However, the big difference is that you only need to spray the batter with a little oil and many recipes require no oil at all.

That makes the short answer yes, air fryer food is healthy when compared to something cooked in a deep fryer. As long as you are using minimal oil and you keep eating it in moderation you are absolutely fine. The lack of oil is better for your heart and weight, and the fact that you can use an air fryer for vegetables is a great added bonus.

Better weight management, improved long-term health as you grow older, and the lowered risk of chronic disease are some fantastic reasons to choose an air fryer as your next cheeky home appliance. Air fried chicken anyone?

Are There Any Good Tips or Tricks?

This is my sneaky section where I let you in on some of the best secrets for getting that air fried food absolutely perfect. But hush, don’t go spreading them around – use them to impress your friends and family instead.

  1. Keep your air fryer on a level surface at all times to help ensure even cooking
  2. Invest in accessories, they really are a game-changer
  3. Use a foil sling to make cleaning the air fryer so much easier after each use
  4. Always use the proper breading technique, don’t put wet batter in the fryer
  5. Add water to the fryer drawer when cooking fatty foods, stops it getting hot and smokey
  6. Don’t crowd the basket, give the food plenty of space to breathe
  7. Remember to flip foods halfway through to get an even crispy coating
  8. Shake the basket halfway through to keep the seasoning even
  9. Spray with oil halfway through if you feel the coating needs to be a little crispier
  10. Sometimes the juices the fryer catches can be used as a sauce. Mmm, delicious

What are the Pros and Cons of an Air Fryer? 

There are a few pros and cons to having an air fryer. Nothing is perfect, and even this awesome appliance has a few things that could be worked on. Hopefully, this helps you with your decision-making process.

Air Fryer Pros

  • Easy to whip up those delicious frozen foods
  • Incredibly versatile
  • Compact so as not to take up too much space
  • Keeps your kitchen cool
  • Results that are similar to deep-frying but healthier
  • Gives you crispy and tasty food

Air Fryer Cons

  • Limited capacity
  • Takes up counter space
  • Can be pricey, depending on the model

Is an Air Fryer Worth it?

Oh absolutely. An air fryer is an investment that you will never regret because it is such a versatile and useful kitchen appliance to own.

Is it perfect? Nope, but what is in this world? All you need to know is that it provides a quick and healthier alternative to your favorite deep-fried goods. You might be worried about the price, but don’t be.

Since air fryers are becoming so popular, their price has also decreased. There are still incredibly expensive high-end models, but you can get some exceptionally affordable ones that do just as good a job without breaking the bank. After all, deliciousness like this should be accessible to everyone.

Don’t forget to check out our air fryer reviews to find the best appliance for your kitchen!

To Conclude

Now that you know absolutely everything about air fryers, are you ready to have one in your home? The answer should be yes because how can you resist a healthier and more delicious way to enjoy your favorite fried foods? You can’t, none of us can.

Stuck on which air fryer you should be buying? Well, we have you covered with an excellent and detailed guide on air fryers – helping you to make the right choice. Why not check it out here and see what you think?

Want to share your own air frying adventures? We’d love to hear how you got on with yours in the comments, so make sure you leave us a message below.

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