Healthy and Delicious: Exploring the Benefits of an Air Fryer
Air Fryers have become popular quickly, thanks to their fantastic marketing strategy of a healthier and more convenient way of cooking. We have explored the pros and cons of an air fryer, so you can decide if you want to be like one of the cool kids and join the ‘Air fryer club’.
What is an air fryer?
An air fryer is a kitchen appliance that uses hot air to cook food, typically using little to no oil. It works by circulating hot air around the food, which creates a crispy outer layer similar to deep-frying, but with significantly less oil.
Air fryers are often used to prepare foods such as french fries, chicken, and fish, but can also be used for baking and roasting. Recently, they have become popular as a healthier alternative to traditional frying methods.
How does an air fryer work?
An air fryer works as follows:
- The air fryer has a heating element that warms up the air inside the appliance to a high temperature.
- The appliance also has a fan that circulates the hot air around the food, cooking it from all sides.
- When the hot air comes into contact with the food, it causes a Maillard reaction, a chemical reaction that browns and crisps the outer layer of the food.
- Some air fryers come with a basket or tray where you can place the food you want to cook, while others have a rotating drum to cook the food evenly.
- Since the air fryer uses hot air to cook the food, there is little to no need for oil. However, some recipes may require a small amount of oil added to the food to enhance the flavour and texture.
An air fryer is a simple yet effective kitchen appliance that uses hot air to cook food. It creates a crispy exterior with little oil, making it a healthier alternative to traditional frying methods.
The Air fryer benefits and Pitfalls
Here we explore the pros and cons of an air fryer user. As well as the huge benefits you can reap as a household, there are some pitfalls to consider. Let’s check them out!
Air fryer pros:
The benefits of an air fryer:
- Healthier cooking: Air fryers use hot air to cook food, which can result in healthier cooking compared to traditional deep-frying methods. They require little or no oil to cook food, which can reduce the overall fat content of the dish.
- Convenience: Air fryers are easy to use and require minimal prep work. They preheat quickly and cook food faster than ovens, making them a convenient option for busy individuals or families.
- Versatility: Air fryers can cook a wide range of foods, including chicken, pork, beef, fish, potatoes, eggs, vegetables, and desserts. Some air fryer models also come with accessories that allow you to grill, bake, slow cook, pressure cook or roast food.
- Energy efficiency: Air fryers are more energy-efficient than traditional ovens, which can result in cost savings over time.
- Space-saving: Air fryers are typically compact and take up less space than ovens, making them a good option for smaller kitchens or apartments.
Air fryer cons:
The downfalls of using an air fryer:
- Limited capacity: Air fryers are generally smaller than ovens, limiting the amount of food you can cook at one time. There may be better options for larger families or those who frequently entertain.
- Noisy: Air fryers can be quite noisy when in use, which can be problematic if you’re cooking in an open-plan living space or are sensitive to noise.
- Additional expense: Air fryers are an extra expense, and some models can be pretty expensive, especially those with advanced features and accessories.
- Cleaning: Air fryers can be difficult to clean, especially if you’re cooking greasy foods. The fryer basket and drip tray must be cleaned after each use, which can be time-consuming and messy.
What meals can you make in the air fryer?
You can make a range of meals using an air fryer; here are our favourites at AquaSwitch:
- Roast potatoes and other vegetables such as carrots, parsnips, and Brussels sprouts
- Fried foods such as chips, chicken wings, and onion rings
- Grilled meats such as chicken breasts, pork chops, lamb chops and even whole roast chickens
- Fish and seafood such as salmon, cod, and prawns
- Baked goods such as muffins, brownies, and cakes
- Breakfast foods such as bacon, sausages, and hash browns
- Snacks such as popcorn, nuts, and kale chips
- Frozen foods such as fish fingers, chicken nuggets, and pizza
- Appetisers such as samosas, spring rolls, and mozzarella sticks
- Desserts such as doughnuts and fruit crisps.
The possibilities are endless, and you can experiment with different recipes and ingredients to find new and delicious meals to make in your air fryer.
How much energy does an air fryer actually save?
The energy savings of an air fryer versus an oven depend on various factors, such as the air fryer’s model, the oven’s size, and the cooking time.
Air fryers are generally more energy-efficient than ovens, as they use less energy to heat up and maintain a consistent temperature.
A typical air fryer uses around 1,400 watts of power, while a standard electric oven can use anywhere from 2,000 to 5,000 watts. This means an air fryer uses about 30% less energy than a traditional oven.
Air fryers typically have faster cooking times compared to ovens, which can also contribute to energy savings. With an air fryer, you can cook a small batch of food in just a few minutes, while an oven may take longer to preheat and cook the same amount of food.
Overall, using an air fryer instead of an oven can help reduce your energy consumption, resulting in lower energy bills and a more environmentally friendly option.
However, the energy savings will depend on your specific usage patterns and the energy efficiency of the air fryer and oven models you’re comparing.
So, how much money can you actually save using an air fryer?
By using an air fryer, you can reduce your energy usage by around 30%, but what does that look like in £££.
We have looked at the cost savings of cooking a whole roast chicken in an air fryer vs cooking in the oven.
To estimate the cost savings, let’s assume we are cooking a 1.5 kg chicken at 180°C for 1 hour in an air fryer and an electric oven. We will also assume that the cost of electricity is 17p per kilowatt-hour (kWh).
Using these assumptions, we can estimate the cost of electricity for each appliance as follows:
- Air fryer: 1.4 kW x 1 hour x 0.17p/kWh = 23.8p
- Electric oven: 2.5 kW x 1 hour x 0.17p/kWh = 42.5p
(Here’s our in-depth article on calculating energy usage)
This means that the cost of cooking a roast chicken in an air fryer is approximately 44% cheaper than cooking it in an electric oven.
It’s important to note that the actual cost savings will depend on various factors, including the size and efficiency of the air fryer and the oven, the cooking time, and the cost of electricity in your region.
Additionally, while air fryers are generally more energy-efficient than ovens, not all air fryers will accommodate larger items such as whole chickens, which may require the use of a conventional oven.
The AquaSwitch view!
Here at AquaSwitch, we are pro air fryers, with energy savings of 30% and time/cost savings; we are filling the paperwork in now to join the cool ‘Air Fryers Club’.