I Air Fried My Food for a Week and Here's What I Learned
The overall verdict: You should buy one right now!
Fried food lovers: It’s time to lighten up! According to Consumer Reports, a whopping 4 million air friers were sold last year in the U.S. and the trend is just firing up. “Air fryers are countertop appliances that work like mini convection ovens,” explains Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, FoodNetwork.com contributor and author of the Healthy Air Fryer Cookbook. “The inner chamber and suspended basket allow hot air to circulate around the food, allowing it to cook, quickly, evenly, and to crispy perfection.”
With more and more of my clean-eating friends raving about said kitchen unicorn, I had to find out what the fuss was all about. I put Food Network’s top pick (the Crux 2.6 Qt. Touchscreen Air Convection Fryer) to the test every day for a week. Here’s what I found — and why you need to get one STAT.
Lower in fat doesn’t mean fat-free.
Mozz sticks, chicken wings, onion rings — oh, my! But are they healthier cooked in the air fryer? The verdict: Not necessarily, but your favorites can be, especially if you go homemade. “Swapping out deep fried foods for an air fried version using little or no oil can certainly help reduce your intake of fat and calories,” explains White. “If you are just reheating packaged French fries, they aren’t any better for you than if you cooked them in the oven.” That’s why you have to think outside the (frozen food) box. My must-makes include homemade zucchini fries, extra crispy Brussels sprouts and sweet potato chips.
Your favorites are made faster — and more conveniently.
I roast veggies in the oven almost every night to top Buddha bowls, star in salads and mix into omelets so I know that crisping up some of my faves, like kabocha squash and cauliflower, take time and a touch of patience. Not anymore! In less than 20 minutes, you name the veggie — it’s done to perfect tenderness with a satisfying crunch. Oh, and don’t even get me started about air fryer roasted chickpeas. A new staple snack in the Seib household!
Mess and fuss-free!
No hot oil, splatter or elbow grease needed here. A once-over spray of olive oil and a quick temperature toggle will get you perfect eats with ease. When you’re done, throw the dishwasher safe basket in with your dirty dishes and voilà! “Clean the machine well between each use,” advises White. “Crumbs can accumulate in the bottom of the unit, which can burn and smoke.“
A hostess of the mostess’s most-valuable sous chef.
I’ll be honest, unpacking this spaceship-looking appliance and giving up valuable countertop real estate was a bit intimidating — dare I say, off-putting. I was shocked nonetheless in how simple the display screen was to find the sweet spot for “frying” a variety of things and how often I tapped into the crunch-making machine, especially when hosting. Novice-friendly to say the least! On my to-make list next for gal pal brunch: Teriyaki Salmon and Banana Bread. (Yes, you can bake with this thing, too! Craziness.)