How Does an Air Fryer Work?

Everyone has heard of air fryers by now. They are the new trendy kitchen appliance with lots of bloggers raving about it. A lot of people are still pretty skeptical about it.

Regardless of the different opinions, it is important to understand the actual appliance before buying it or having opinions about it. Read more to get an idea.

What is an Air Fryer?

An air fryer is a countertop kitchen appliance that imitates frying food using hot air and a teaspoon of oil. It has been around since 2010, but it has recently gained more popularity.

This is because of the well-supported claim that you can finally eat delicious fried food with a fraction of the oil and far less cholesterol. People who are becoming more conscious of what they eat and how it affects them fell in love with this gadget.

But How Does It Work?

No, it doesn’t include submerging the food in hot oil, such as in a deep fryer or a pan, thankfully.

Air fryers follow the convection method, which is a process where the air is heated and circulated around, carrying the heat with it. 

First, the air is heated by a heating element. Then, the heated air is moved around in all directions by a large fan at the top of the air fryer.

This heated air circulates rapidly around the food in the small-sized frying basket to cook as evenly as possible and gives it a crispy exterior and juicy interior. This is referred to as the Rapid Air Technology.

That makes air fryers, in a way, smaller and more convenient convection ovens. However, they are different in the rapidness of the hot air movement, which cooks the food much faster than convection ovens. A batch can take minutes to cook literally. 

Their small size, along with the concentration of the hot air, can cook food fast and still give it the delicious golden and brown crisp. 

This also makes air frying much healthier than deep-frying, since you’re only using hot air and up to 80% less oil than deep frying. This is perfect if you’re anxious about gaining weight or raising cholesterol levels.

An air guide is placed underneath the frying basket to guide the airflow and make sure it happens evenly.

Another essential part of air fryers is the exhaust system, with the purpose of maintaining internal pressure and temperature to prevent the hot air circulation from exploding the air fryer. It does so by letting out a small amount of air to reduce the pressure.

Air fryers also have a cooling system to let fresh air into the bottom of the fryer through filters, cooling down all internal parts on the way.

What Can an Air Fryer Do?

Any food that can be breaded and fried can be cooked in an air fryer. Frozen foods work really well and come out nice and crispy in an air fryer. Although it is mainly made for mock frying, an air fryer can bake, grill and roast too. However, it will not be as good as an oven.

It can cook vegetables that can be roasted or fried, such as Brussels sprouts, broccoli, chickpeas, potatoes, eggplants, pickles, and carrots. It can also cook meats and meat-centered recipes such as breaded chicken nuggets, burgers, shrimp, salmon, fish fillets, and meatballs.

Baked foods such as donuts, cookies, lava cakes, fritters, biscuits, banana bread, churros, pop tarts, empanadas, calzones, French toast, dumplings, and meatloaf can do wonders in an air fryer.

Many people love using the air fryer to reheat foods that have already been baked or air-fried; it definitely does it better than a microwave, though slower.

What Can’t an Air Fryer Do?

Liquid batter and air fryers just don’t go well together. If you try to cook anything liquidy, like liquid batter or cheese, in an air fryer, the liquid will drip through the basket or fly around with the air. It will be a hot mess, and nobody wants that.

Avoid cooking food with loose seasoning too. Anything that is loose might be blown away by the hot air. So, salt and pepper your food after air-frying it.

A final thing to be said about air fryers’ capabilities is that they are not suitable for large servings and significantly large families. No matter how big the model you have is, it is still a small appliance. Overcrowding it will lead to uneven cooking. So, don’t overcrowd it.

Final Thoughts

An air fryer is quite an impressive gadget that has lived up to the hype in many ways. 

If you want to eat guilt-free fried food, your kitchen needs an air fryer. If you want something that can cook appetizers quickly, while you’re cooking the main dish on the stove, get an air fryer. If you have a small family that occasionally loves their french fries, get a small air fryer! 

If you have a large family, you might check this post here for the best large capacity air fryers reviews. Deciding whether  to get an air fryer or not might still a big question in your head so we have more posts comparing air fryers to most common cooking appliances you might already have, feel free to check the following posts:


It all depends on your needs, but if you decided to get one make sure to check our buying guides for the best air fryers.

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