I can’t believe air-fryers have been around for so many years and I just realized the magic they can bring to my food! You can say I am in love ❤️
In the post, I will share with you all that I have learned about air-fryers recently to help you decide if purchasing one will be beneficial to you and what you can make in them. But first…what is an air-fryer? And what’s so special about it?
What is an air-fryer exactly?
An air-fryer is a small kitchen appliance that cooks your food by circulating hot air around it using the convection mechanism. Basically, it is a miniature powerful convection oven that crisps food with air instead of oil, letting you enjoy healthier versions of your favorite treats. (Source: The Essential Vegan Air-Fryer Cookbook)
What can you make in it?
It would be easier to answer the question, what can’t you make in it! Judging from the air-fryer cookbooks I’ve read, you can make just about anything! Especially if you get an air-fryer with the accessories.
I’m still new to air-frying, so I’m sure I will be making more with time, but for now, here’s what I’ve been making in it…
Fries – Both potato and sweet potato and they come out perfectly. Check out this video to see how.
Atayef – I started using the air-fryer in Ramadan and atayef came out even better than the fried kind. So crispy and ready in 12 minutes.
Reheating fried food – leftover fries or kibbe? When you reheat them in the air-fryer they get crispy again!
Kale Chips – I have a dehydrator so that would always be my first choice to retain more of the nutritional value of the food, but you can get really crispy kale chips in a short amount of time in the air-fryer. A little olive oil and some seasoning to your kale chips, and then air-fry for 5-8 minutes at 180C, shaking the basket half-way through. Depending on the quantity of kale-chips, you may need to do it in batches. You don’t want more than 1 layer of kale. It may fly around though, so keep that in mind.
Pancake Cereal – this is a trend on TikTok…you make pancakes really tiny and then serve them in a bowl with maple syrup and milk. How boring is that? Not so boring when you spray the pancakes with a little oil and let them crisp up in the air-fryer. My kids are loving this for breakfast.
Roasted vegetables – you get the caramelized browned result of slow-roasting in less time using an air-fryer. What would usually take 40 minutes in the oven, only needs half the time.
Zucchini fries – a lower carb option to potatoes, zucchini can be sliced into sticks like fries and then dipped into a beaten egg, then into ground almonds or almond flour, or panko bread crumbs for a non gluten-free option, and then air-fried with a spritz of oil. Season the egg and almond flour/crumbs as you wish before you dip the zucchini.
Fritters، Bahjia or Falafel– not as good as the fried versions, but close enough. Just make sure the batter is a little firm so that you can shape it into a patty. You will also need to use parchment or foil to line the basket.
Samboosa – just simply spray with oil and bake at 175C for 8-10 minute flipping halfway through. Just as good if not better than deep-fried.
What can’t you make in it?
In short, anything that is a liquid batter, such as luqaimat or tempura that takes shape when dropped in hot oil. Liquid batter cakes can be baked in an air-fryer as they will be placed in a cake tin first.
What I’ve learned so far – My Tips!
It’s Hot! – air-fryers convey heat more efficiently than traditional ovens. With that in mind, you may need to set the temperature at lower than what you would set in a regular oven, and/or shorten the cooking time. Even when following an air-fryer recipe, it’s important to keep checking as appliances differ in how hot they actually get at certain temperatures.
Toss in a bowl – most recipes will say to shake the air-fryer basket, but I suggest whenever possible, to transfer the contents to a bowl to mix properly and then return to the basket. Don’t do this if you are working with breaded or delicate ingredients. This technique is best when making french fries or roasting vegetables.
Oil is a must – especially for plant foods since they have little fat on them. Unlike chicken wings or minced meat that come with their own fat, vegetables do not, so It’s important to add some oil for both flavor and texture.
Don’t overfill – the recipe booklet will give you larger quantities than is best for proper air distribution and better results. The basket should not be more than half full for best results. If the basket is overfilled, the food will steam instead of crisp and cook unevenly.
Should you buy an air-fryer?
Let’s go through the pros and cons to help you decide for yourself.
Healthy – this is especially the case if you enjoy fried food on a regular basis and use unhealthy genetically modified vegetable oils that are very unstable when heated.. By using the air-fryer you reduce your consumption of oil considerably, allowing you to use small amounts of healthy fats such as olive, avocado, or coconut.
Easy – and also safe. If you can use a microwave then you can use an air-fryer. With some instruction beforehand, children 8 years ad up can use it to reheat food. That said, you know your kids better than I do, so if you don’t think they are up for it, don’t let them use it!
Fast – it will cook or reheat your food much faster than a regular oven. This is especially useful if, like me, you don’t own a microwave. Air-friers take minimal time to pre-heat, as little as 3 minutes, and thanks to the power of convection heat, food can be reheated within 5 minutes. Most of the time I don’t pre-heat and there is no difference in the end result.
Plant friendly – if you eat mostly plant-based like me there is so much you can make in an air-fryer, especially for roasting vegetables (more ideas above).
Delicious – for certain foods the results are even better than fried or baked in the oven.
Hot Climates – Excellent for hot climates or during the summer as it doesn’t heat up the kitchen as much as a regular oven.
Expensive – Depending on the model it can be expensive especially if you don’t use it often enough.
Space – It will take up space, so not great if the space in your kitchen is limited.
Not Oil-Free – you still need to use a little oil to get good results.
Limited quantity – Even the large size air-friers won’t make huge quantities. So it’s great if you’re cooking for 2-4 people, but not for large families or entertaining.
If you have a small family and frequently cook foods that require frying, then definitely get one. However, if you have a large family, don’t have enough space for more equipment in your kitchen, or if you rarely consume fried-foods, then you are better off using a regular oven.
This is new to me and I will update the post if I try anything. However, considering that oil sprays are an essential part of air-fryer use, I have ordered this oil sprayer bottle to replace the ready-to-use oil aerosol cans you find at grocery stores. The aerosol cans are more costly in the long-run and may contain chemicals that can fade the protective coating on most air-fryer baskets. (Source: MyForkingLife.com)
Overall, the best result for me has been fried potatoes of all kinds. And don’t expect the result to be on par with fried in oil food. However, the results will be better than “oven-fried” food.
I hope you found this information useful. Let me know if you have any questions or share your experience with air-fryers by writing them in the comments below.