How to Use All of the Functions On Your Air Fryer

Your guide to the roast, dehyrate, broil and bake buttons.

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September 23, 2020
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The Air fryer is a kitchen appliances for cooks by hot air

Photo by: TAO EDGE/Getty Images

TAO EDGE/Getty Images

If you’ve recently purchased an air fryer, you most likely have the basic function mastered, air frying anything from potatoes to chicken tenders. But, did you know that you can go beyond the fundamental function of air frying with these small-but-mighty gadgets? Depending on which model you have at home, there are other ways to cook in these countertop appliances, including dehydrating, broiling, baking and roasting. We talked with Amanda Neal, recipe developer and resident air fryer expert, about the functions you might be missing out on and what she recommends you make with these features.

What Do the Different Functions Mean?

If you’re confused how your air fryer can transition to multiple appliances with the switch of a knob, let us explain: The separate functions are basically just pre-set temperatures and times meant to achieve varying results. Having the option to use the air fryer for different results not only makes them worth the investment, but it’s especially helpful if you don’t want to heat up the kitchen with the oven. Plus, you’re almost guaranteed a shorter preheat time when you opt for cooking in the air fryer.

Make Veggie Chips With the Dehydrator

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1175436925

colourful roasted chips made of yellow and lila sweet potaoes and parsnips

Photo by: lacaosa/Getty Images

lacaosa/Getty Images

Homemade apple slices, fruit leather and veggie chips can be easily achieved with an air fryer with a dehydrating feature. In testing, we loved the Ninja Air Fryer for its versatility, including the dehydrating function. “A traditional dehydrator gently blows warm air on a piece of food for a long period of time, drawing out any excess moisture,” says Amanda. When picking the dehydrating setting on an air fryer, it will default to the correct temperature and time to achieve those same results.

The Difference Between Roasting and Broiling

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185274327

Selective-focus image of Spicy Buffalo Chicken Wings

Photo by: rudisill/Getty Images

rudisill/Getty Images

Some air fryers can get up to pretty high temperatures, making them great for roasting and broiling. When roasting, your air fryer will default to a higher temperature and cook for a shorter amount of time than air frying, which makes it suitable for cooking beef or poultry (hello, chicken wings!) like you would in a traditional oven. If you want to melt cheese or brown a casserole, opt for an air fryer with a broiler feature, like the Cuisinart Air Fryer Toaster Oven, which will only use the direct, top-down heat to get a crisp, bubbly top to your dish.

Skip the "Bake" Function

While Amanda finds air fryers to be solid substitutes for an oven in most cases, the "bake" function doesn't always work well. Even though some air fryers have the baking function, Amanda has found that the circulating hot air tends to dry out baked goods.

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