All About Air Fryers: Fried Food with Less Fat

Mar 22 2017
Question@2x Hi Hungry Girl,

I loved your review of the Instant Pot and want to hear your thoughts on air fryers. What's the deal?! Is it worth purchasing one?

Curious Cara
Answer@2x Hi Cara,

When I read about air fryers -- and their ability to make crispy fried food with hardly any fat -- my interest was piqued! So I snatched up the Cozyna Air Fryer, and off to the test kitchen I went. Gotta say, this thing's impressive! It's not just full of hot air (tee-hee!)...

Air Fryer 101

Unlike the Instant Pot, an air fryer isn't a specific branded product. It's a generic name for a gadget that many brands make. My review is based on the Cozyna Air Fryer, but all air fryers utilize similar technology. Amazon sells a slew of them!

How does it work? The food goes into a basket, like a typical fryer. But instead of getting submerged in sizzling oil, the basket is blasted with high-speed hot air that cooks the food to a crispy finish. Genius!

5 Reason an Air Fryer Is Worth the Hype

If you love the taste of fried food but not excess calories and fat, this appliance delivers. Here at Hungryland, we've gotten pretty good at re-creating fried food sans guilt with our own "faux-fry" oven method. But I've gotta say, the recipes we tried in our air fryer came out even crispier. It gets better: We tried them with and without a small amount of oil (per the air fryer instructions) and found that NO added oil is needed to achieve that crispy finish.

It's NOT a uni-tasker. I'd hesitate to recommend splurging on a kitchen gadget that can only do one thing. So I was pretty happy to learn that our air fryer can also bake, grill, and roast. I'm talking meatballs, steak... even muffins and cake! The manual includes a comprehensive chart with foods, temps, and times, which I LOVE.

It's a time saver! My oven takes around 10 minutes to pre-heat, but an air fryer takes only about 3 minutes. Plus, some recipes cook WAY faster in an air fryer... My butternut squash fries were air-fryer ready in just 12 minutes, versus the 35 minutes they take in the oven!

Clean-up is a breeze. No messy pans or oily skillets. You can toss the fryer pan and the basket right into the dishwasher when you're done with 'em.

The built-in timer has an auto switch-off feature to keep the absent-minded chef in check. Have you ever gotten distracted while something was in the oven and returned to burnt food? Our air fryer's self-timer turns off the unit when time is up!

4 Recipes to Try in the Air Fryer

I cooked all these recipes at 392 degrees (yes, you'll notice the unconventional temperature settings on the air fryer!), except for the chicken nuggets, which I cooked at 356 degrees. Unless noted below, I cooked them for the same amount of time as directed in recipes, shaking the contents of the basket halfway through.

Bottom Line: Is It Worth Buying?

That depends on your budget and interest. The average price is around $100. (They start as low as $50 and go up to around $300!) I can't vouch for any air fryers other than the one by Cozyna, but I do LOVE it. If you like experimenting in the kitchen, it's definitely a fun tool to add to your arsenal!

Chew on this:

March (this very month) is National Caffeine Awareness Month. To limit your caffeine without giving up coffee, try this Vanilla Java Swappuccino with instant decaf!

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*The PointsPlus® and SmartPoints® values for these products and/or recipes were calculated by Hungry Girl and are not an endorsement or approval of the product, recipe or its manufacturer or developer by Weight Watchers International, Inc., the owner of the PointsPlus® registered trademark and SmartPoints® trademark.

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