Air fryer sales saw a 400% increase in 2021 in the UK.
Since they use little or no oil, are they an option healthier What other cooking methods?
At a time when the cost of living is rising, it’s also worth asking how the air fryer affects your energy consumption and pocketbook.
Greg Foot, show host sliced bread BBC Radio 4, consulted with two experts to understand the advantages and limitations of air fryers.
1. The fryer cooks by circulating hot air around the food.
The air fryer is about the size of a bread machine and fits on the kitchen counter. Circulates very hot air high speed around food.
“It’s basically a very strong and very hot wind. It can be compared to using a hair dryer,” explains Jakub Radzikowski, Culinary Education Designer at Imperial College London, UK.
“It is essentially the same as a fan oven. But it is smaller and the fan is usually much stronger.”
The force of the air current inside such a fryer resembles a very sophisticated oven that would be used in a professional kitchen.
2. The air fryer cooks faster than a conventional oven, but only in small quantities.
Because the fryer fan is more powerful and its compartment is smaller, the whole device is more efficientJakub says.
“I can probably cook a chicken thigh in the air fryer in 20 minutes. In the oven, it would take longer.”
Also, it takes longer preheat a conventional oven larger.
But since the fryer drawer has less capacity, only small quantities can be prepared.
“If you’re cooking for four or six people, it won’t save you time because you’ll need multiple batches in the fryer,” says the food scientist.
3. The air fryer is used to prepare “crispy” food
The stars of air fryer commercials often do Chicken and french friesbecause this appliance is great for making “anything you want crispy,” says Jakub.
Kale chips, plantains, breaded zucchini or whatever.
4. Is it healthier?
“Compared to the technique of dipping food in hot oil, it’s obviously healthier because it uses less fatJakub says.
But it can also be healthier than cooking in a conventional oven.
If the potatoes are sprayed with oil, they will absorb it as they roast. With the air fryer, everything falls into the perforated basket.
“Yes there are excess fatit will drain to the bottom and you won’t eat it.”
There are still healthier ways to cook: you can steam without using oil.
“Some of the newer models have about 15 functionssays Anya Gilbert, editor of the magazine good food from the BBC, which specializes in reviews of equipment and appliances.
5. The air fryer consumes less energy than the oven
In reaching this conclusion, Simon Hoban, producer of the show sliced bread from the BBC, prepared chicken thighs and potatoes, one serving in the oven, the other in the fryer (making sure all other appliances were switched off when cooking).
Then he checked the electricity meter to see how much energy had been used.
“The chicken took about 35 minutes to cook in the oven, and the meter told me I used 1.05 kilowatts of electricity per hour. The fryer took 20 minutes and the meter indicated a usage of 0.43 kilowatt hours.
The potato with the skin, in turn, took about an hour to cook properly in the oven, the equivalent of 1.31 kilowatt hours.
«In the fryer, it took much less timeSimon says. «35 minutes», consuming 0.55 kilowatts per hour.
“Cooking in an air fryer uses less than half the energy needed in an oven,” Greg concluded.
6. An air fryer never completely replaces an oven, but it works.
Jakub doesn’t think an air fryer can totally replace an oven. “Obviously you can’t roast a whole chicken in a deep fryer. Or at least not a turkey,” he says.
“But I think it’s a great invention. I have one, I use it a lot. I think it is cool for someone who doesn’t have an oven.”