With the ever-rising cases of lifestyle illnesses, healthy eating is at the top of most individual’s minds. And one of the most recent craze related to healthy eating is cooking with the air fryer. More and more people are adopting this modern cooking appliance as it allows for cooking with no oil.
Despite being way much more expensive than traditional cooking appliances like deep fryers, its popularity is still on a sharp rise as it is the in-thing when it comes to healthy cooking.
But, like any other cooking method it is not all rosy because besides having several benefits, the air fryer also has some drawbacks. Here we explain both the pros and cons to help any potential buyer make an informed choice.
What Is an Air Fryer?
Despite what the name implies, air fryers do not actually fry foods. These are more like a convection oven that is self-contained than a deep fryer. But, they get their name from the fact that they are typically used in place of the deep fryers.
Air fryers are designed to enable you to cook foods with air instead of hot oil. They will feature a heating system and a fan which are what makes air frying or cooking possible.
The heating element will often come as a pair and most units will also have two fans. These heating elements generate the heat and the fans help to direct the hot air towards the food which cooks it fast and with a crisp outer layer and moist interior.
Pros of Air Fryers
Some Air Fryer pros are:
1. Healthier Cooking
The jury is still out there on how healthy air frying is and to what extent. But there are some key indications that this method of cooking is much healthier than others like deep-frying such as the fact that it requires little to no oil.
Deep-fried foods are unquestionably unhealthy given the huge amount of bad oils that end up in your food.
With air frying, you will only need little oil and some models and types of food will not even need any. Also, the fact that it cooks super-fast means that little of the oil is absorbed by the food.
2. Faster Cooking
An air fryer will cook food faster than most other cooking methods including deep frying. And if you factor in the time needed for preheating, they are also faster than full-size convection ovens.
Air fryers will take little time to preheat and most of the heat generated stays in there given the closed design, and this all translates to faster and more efficient cooking.
Also, these fryers will intensify the heat generated given the constant circulation which means that even frozen foods will be cooked fast.
3. More Energy Efficient
Electricity is not cheap regardless of where you live, and so the fact that the air fryer is a more energy-efficient appliance means it will help save your cash on your energy bills.
Since these air fryers are small, running them will not require a lot of power. Also, the size and the fact that it does not release a lot of heat to the surrounding environment means that it will not heat your house in the hot summer, and so you will not need to turn on the air conditioner to cool things down.
4. Highly Versatile
The small size of an air fryer should not deceive you into thinking that it is only good for frying small chunks of meat. These appliances are highly versatile, and you will be amazed by the number of things you can cook on them.
Whether you want to broil, stir fry, bake, grill, steam or even just reheat food, the air fryer will be very useful. Better yet, some models will also have a rotisserie, and this means you can use an air fryer to cook almost anything you want from grilling chicken and steak to baking cakes and desserts.
5. Super Easy to Use
Air fryers take very little effort to use and almost anyone can use them to make some amazing meals whether it is your first time or not.
All you will need to do is set the ideal cooking temperature (depending on the food), put your food on the basket and leave the appliance to do everything else. But for better results, you need to shake and turn your food now and then to ensure uniform cooking or browning.
Cons of Air Fryers
And cons of Air Fryers are:
1. Not the Best Taste
For those that love that deep fat fried food taste, an air fryer might not please you because while the food taste is still good enough, it will not be the same.
But while the taste might take some getting used to, the fact that you are avoiding deep fat should be more comforting. Furthermore, you will discover that certain food types will actually taste better when air fried.
2. There is Still a Learning Curve
While the air fryer is straightforward to use, the cooking method still comes with a learning curve because you need to perfect everything from the timing to the temperature for different foods.
Some trial and error or using the air fryer as much as possible should give you enough lessons. Also, a good air fryer cookbook with detailed recipes will be highly useful.
3. Smaller Cooking Capacity
Given the size of most air fryers, they will typically have a smaller cooking capacity. And this means that they will not be the best when you want to cook for larger families.
A typical air fryer will be ideal for making food for between 1 and 4 people. Even the few that can make food for more people than this will also require you to cook it in batches.
If you want to make meals for large families the 3.5-quart or even 5.8-quart air fryers will not work for you, and so you will be better off buying the larger convection air fryer oven.
4. Food Can Dry Out and Burn Easily
One of the most common air fryer complaints is that food seems to burn a little too easily than when using other cooking methods. Also, some users complain that their foods dry out.
Typically, an air fryer will cook at a temperature of at least 300 degrees Fahrenheit which can easily throw newbies off with the timing and hence causing food to burn. But, as you use it more and more, you should be able to master the timing to prevent burning.
As for drying out, it is often a result of lack of oil but adding a little oil and keeping watch of the cooking process keenly should take care of this problem.
Air fryers provide a healthier, faster and more efficient way of cooking food. Also, they are more versatile appliances that you can use to make almost any kind of food.
But like any other appliance, they will have both pros and cons which you should understand making a more informed decision whether to buy one or not.
From the pros and cons highlighted above, it is clear that while these might be highly efficient appliances, they are not for everyone.
If you are a single user, have a small family or leave in a small space, an air fryer will be perfect for you. But, it can also work for larger families if you get a larger capacity one and also do not mind cooking your dishes in batches.