How do air fryers work?
If you love the tasty crunch of fried food but want to keep the calories down, an air fryer is the perfect way to have your chips and eat them. Air fryers are essentially small convection ovens with a highly concentrated heat source set in the top. These countertop cookers have a powerful fan that circulates hot air around the food to create a crispy ‘fried’ finish. Because the air inside these appliances gets so hot, no oil is needed for the cooking process. Air fryers’ ability to crisp up oil-free chicken wings, sausages and even doughnuts has led to these nifty ovens to sometimes being referred to as ‘health fryers’.
What can you cook in an air fryer?
Air fryers can be used to prepare anything that you would traditionally fry or indeed roast, such as corn on the cob or pork belly. Due to their compact size, air fryers are also ideal for cooking dishes like frozen pizza or reheating leftovers very quickly. They can even be used to cook up some baked goods, with cookies and flapjacks being particularly popular. Most versions come with a classic frying basket which you simply pop your food into for cooking, however some models have an oven-style design, rather like a microwave. The newer air fryer models have upped the ante, with additional dehydrator functions and toaster oven settings.
Whether you’re looking to save money and counter-space with a multi-purpose cooking appliance, or you just want to cut the fat in your bacon sandwich, there is an air fryer to suit you.
What size air fryer should I choose?
As countertop appliances, air fryers are typically compact and can be grouped into small, medium and large sized models. Small units typically have a capacity between 1 and 2 litres, while medium units have between 1.8 and 2.5 litres. Larger units can be up to 5 litres or more which is 2.5 large bottles of cola. Small units can produce up 3 to 4 servings of a dish such as french fries, while medium ones can create food for 4-5 people. For people with families of up to 7 or 8 people, a large fryer can roast a whole chicken and some have twin baskets so you can prepare more than one dish at a time.
Can I put you put foil in an air fryer?
You shouldn’t. Because the air fryer circulates hot air around the food it’s cooking, it needs to be able to move freely. Foil creates a barrier between the air and the food so prevents it from being cooked properly. If you want to line your air fryer to prevent droppage or for easy-cleaning, baking parchment is a better option.