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What, pray, is an Air Fyer?

MizLizzie
3 years ago

This Southern girl wants to know. Oh, yes, I have heard of them, but they seemed to be obscure critters until somewhat recently. Now they seem all the rage, and I was wondering – – what do you use them for? Do they work? I suppose they are certainly more helpful than frying chicken in an inch of fat. The reason I ask is Amazon.com has one on Deal of the Day, and it just got me thinking. It might be a good way to fry potatoes? TIA.

Comments (31)

  • mamapinky0
    3 years ago

    Hi Lizzie....I am also interested. The ones I looked at at Walmart don't seem to hold much and I have a family of 5. Think I read somewhere they are only appropriate for one or two people but that may have been about a specific model. Inquiring minds want to know. Ha

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  • bcskye
    3 years ago

    I have one, but haven't used it much yet. I've done frozen French fries from the store and liked them better than oven baked or deep fried. My best friend and her daughter each got them a couple of years ago and swear by them. I know they've done the fries, chicken, chicken fried steak, fish, etc. They said fresh home made fries are the best they've ever had. Little or no oil and petty quick.

    Madonna

  • MizLizzie
    Original Author
    3 years ago

    Also, ladies, thanks for not pointing out that a FYER is not a FRYER — lol. Apparently, one cannot edit the title of a posting, only the text?

    In any case, I have an aversion to collecting “kitchen devices,” as I’ve learned over time I’m just a basic hand chopper and frying pan gal. My only fancies are my Kitchenaid mixer and a Breville oven. Oh, and my pressure cooker. No food processors or Vitamixers or sous-viders, though I do admire folks who use them creatively. So I am loath to tote home an air fryer for fear of it gathering dust and ending up at the charity shop. Would it? I wonder.

  • plllog
    3 years ago

    An air fryer is basically a high power convection oven. It was first invented as a way to make French fries in a tiny Euro apartment with 2 burners and no oven. The portable appliance cooks the potatoes without the mess of a countertop fryer and leaves the burners open for the rest of the meal. People have been very inventive with what they can use them for, and the tech has been refined since they first came out. As Madonna can attest, people like them. Store bought fries are usually parcooked, however. I wonder how it does with fresh raw potatoes?

    MizLizzie, you can edit the title of a post for an hour, I think. They don't want you making major changes to an existing thread and confusing people, so we don't have the ability to fix a typo caught later, either.

  • shambo
    3 years ago

    I got a giant size air fryer a couple of months ago and am still not convinced it will become a useful addition to my kitchen. The one "hit" that I've had is similar to what Cookebook's coworker discovered. I made roasted green beans in it, and they were delicious, fast, and quite easy. I've often thought about doing the same with Brussels sprouts. I've done frozen French fries, and they were fine but not remarkably better than oven cooking.

    As Plllog indicated, an air fryer is a closed high powered counter-top convection oven. It has a heat source on top, with a high powered fan underneath. The heated air circulates quickly throughout the machine to produce cooked food. There is no bottom heat source, so you often must pull out the basket to shake ingredients about and redistribute them, or you must actually turn pieces of stuff over so their other side will cook properly. The shaking is rather easy, but there's no guarantee that every side will receive the same amount of heat exposure. So you can end up with uneven browning. Because the baskets are rather deep, turning individual pieces over in a hot "fryer" basket can be tricky and awkward.

    If you cook something that exudes a lot of grease (like hamburgers), you may have to remove the entire basket assembly to drain out the fat halfway through. Apparently it can create smoke.

    I've got a giant-size, as I indicated earlier, but it's still not big enough for my husband and me, especially when I want to cook more than one thing. It would never hold enough wings to satisfy the two of us.

    Also, the fan is very powerful and some things don't work well -- things that are lightweight or have a lot of loose crumbs. I tried to do tortillas chips, but they just flew around and stuck to the fan grid. Too light. Cookbooks recommend securing sandwiches with toothpicks to keep the top bread piece from flying off. They also suggest pressing crumbs into the food in order to avoid a crumb whirlwind.

    I know some people love their air fryers, but I'm not there yet. And I'm not sure I'll ever get there. I don't use a lot of frozen foods, and I find crisping up food in my regular convection wall oven or toaster oven easier and handier. Maybe I'll change my mind after going through a hot summer with this additional appliance. Who knows?

  • dcarch7 d c f l a s h 7 @ y a h o o . c o m
    3 years ago

    Actually, it isn't even "high power". It can only give you what an electric outlet can legally supply, that is, 1,800 watts. In order to provide high heat quickly it does so by making the cooking chamber small. for small quantity of food.

    dcarch



  • MizLizzie
    Original Author
    3 years ago

    Very interesting. Still, given my aversion to “stuff,” methinks I had better pass on owning an air fryer, or an air fyer, too, for that matter. Thanks, guys!

  • plllog
    3 years ago

    DCarch, I'm no expert on them, but I thought the high power was supposed to refer to the fan rather than the heat. That the amount of wind blowing on the food is considerably more than in a regular convection oven.

    There are newer ones on TV that are vertical rather than having a fryer style basket. They have racks for the food, or skewers. Some models that are particularly oriented to French fries and similar small things have a stirring wand that is meant to jostle and tip over the pieces.

    ML, I was guessing you'd go that way.

  • sooz
    3 years ago

    My Big Boss air fryer is still up for grabs if anyone local wants to come and pick it up (the southern part of So Cal). My sister only used it once or twice, and I've not used it at all.

    Make a separate post here in Cooking if you want it (Topic: Sooz, I'll take your Big Boss air fryer!), or take a chance on sending an email. I'll keep it another week and then off it will go to GoodWill.

    Smiles,

    Sooz

  • shambo
    3 years ago

    Sooz, I've seen pics of the Big Boss. It's similar to what Islay linked to. I had a countertop convection oven that was similar too. I actually liked it a lot. It was pretty handy and useful. Eventually it's bulb went out and I decided to get another brand of countertop oven as a replacement. Honestly, I really don't see much difference between the Big Boss and something like this.

  • sooz
    3 years ago

    Thanks for the input and the link, Shambo! The darn Big Boss is just too big (and heavy) for me and for my kitchen. It currently resides outside on the porch. Did you use yours every day or every week or ?? Did you have to "plan" for its use?

    Smiles,

    Sooz

  • nancyjane_gardener
    3 years ago

    I love mine, but there are only 2 of us. I make fries from scratch. (Using frozen, you're still getting all the fat from the pre-cooking. same with other pre-cooked foods). I make my own bread crumbs from WW organic bread heels and bread chicken, fish, eggplant for perfect EP parm, Ive made chicken parm, stuffed portabell mushrooms, hassleback potatoes (nuke first), brussle sprouts, and more. All with just a spritz of spray oil.

    On the other hand, I only do one part of a meal with this toy. The rest is done on the stove or microwave or by hand.

    I'm not sure what the big ones can do for a family of 5.

    I'm loving being able to eat some crunchy stuff that feels fried with much less guilt! Nancy

  • shambo
    3 years ago

    Sooz, several years ago my husband was watching late night TV when an ad about the NuWave oven came on along with another countertop convection oven similar to the Big Boss. Well, he decided I needed one. And since he wasn't sure which one was the best, he ordered both of them. They were OK, but I liked the Big Boss style one better. It had adjustable temperature and fan speed. I also found the giant glass bowl pretty easy to clean. But both only went up to 350 degrees.

    I'd use them for baked or roasted potatoes, roasted vegetables, baked/roasted chicken (whole & parts), baked shrimp and fish, open faced sandwich melts, etc. They were both good for reheating leftovers that needed crisping. And I could make crumbed and crispy fish or chicken easily. Baked french fries came out nicely.

    I tried baking quick breads & muffins in them but wasn't happy with the results. The items were cooked through and their tops looked beautifully browned. But because there's no bottom heating element, the undersides were pale and anemic looking. Something I didn't like. And also, due to the lack of a bottom heat source and the heavy fan action, casseroles didn't work out well. The tops browned long before the entire casserole was heated through. And if I covered them with foil to protect the top from over-browning, it would take forever to get hot.

    I've got a newer NuWave that has variable temperatures and even has a sear function of 450 degrees. I've also learned little tricks for using it with casseroles and other things. But I don't bake in it. I just can't get past the anemic bottoms. However, it does a great job for anything that can be turned over.

    The reality for me is that it does just about anything an air fryer can do. I probably shouldn't have bought one, but I was eager to give it a try. If your'e thinking of playing around with the Big Boss, I'd suggest doing an internet search for Big Boss recipes and see if anything strikes your fancy. I certainly understand that it's a big contraption and you might not want to give up counter space for it, especially if you've already got a toaster oven.

  • annie1992
    3 years ago

    Many years ago I had something called a "counter top convection oven". It made outstanding baked potatoes and was good for frozen pizza, but not much else.

    So, are today's Air Fryers similar to that old counter top convection oven? It was round, glass, had temperature settings on the top.

    Annie

  • Blue Onblue
    3 years ago

    We love ours for "fried chicken", vegetables or shrimp that are lightly tossed in breadcrumbs. We take boneless, skinless chicken thighs, pat them in breadcrumbs, spray with Pam Cooking Spray and they turn out juicy, crispy and delicious in 16 minutes (6 large chicken thighs).

  • sooz
    3 years ago

    Thanks, Shambo, for the additional info!

    I did check out quite a few recipes as well as some videos for the Big Boss, but nothing really struck my fancy.

    I loved this sentence in your post about your hubby: And since he wasn't sure which one was the best, he ordered both of them.


  • amylou321
    3 years ago

    Im sorry. While I understand the health benefits of baking over frying, there is NOTHING BETTER than a pile of real fries, fried in peanut oil or beef fat. My sister went through all the trouble of making somosas from scratch for her familys "Indian Night', then cooked them in her air fryer. I warned her not to do it, its not the same. She said never again. They were crispy, but lacked that fried deliciousness.

    Then again, I always have favored rich, heavy foods. So I know the taste and texture of an air fryer would appeal to many over actual deep or pan frying. Just not me. I wonder if it would be good to reheat previously fried foods? I always reheat in the regular oven and it works okay.

  • l pinkmountain
    last month
    last modified: last month

    After a grease fire destroyed their home, my husband got his son's family an "air fryer" for Christmas and they use it a lot. I'm not much of a fryer, (Hannukah latkes excluded) but I loathe actual frying with oil, so any way to make it easier and less messy would be a hit for me. We simply don't have the counter space or even storage space. Since we aren't big into frying so far we don't miss it. Ironically, I used to always order fried foods when I went out to eat since I so seldom ate them at home . . .

    I do miss the days when Mom would occasionally make us fritters for dinner or breakfast, but I don't think those are "air fryer" items . . .

  • Lars
    last month

    After visiting Islay's link to amazon.fr, Google also started speaking French to me. It's not a problem for me to read, but I would rather not write my search requests in French, as my spelling is not all that great.

  • plllog
    last month
    last modified: last month

    LOL! If you google something really American it'll probably spring back. :)

    I just tried doing up some cauliflower in my Prime Day air fry ovenlet. I was following a recipe from the included book to get to know the settings. It was wrong. Dead wrong. I stopped following the recipe and the cauliflower came out fine. It was goopy, but there's a drip catcher/crumb tray kind of thing. It's supposed to dehydrate. I have some beets....

  • Jasdip
    last month
    last modified: last month

    I have a friend who cooks porkchops, lamb chops, sausages, chicken etc etc in his. He loves it. He uses it more in the winter, and bbq's all summer.

    I've been seriously thinking of it. I saw one last week at a friend's house......theirs was very large!

    I wouldn't get one that big, it would just tempt me to cook up the whole darned bag of frozen fries at once! But, damn I'm tempted. Just how easy ARE they to clean, anyway? You can roast whole chickens and everything in them.

  • plllog
    last month

    My oven style one is easy to clean, but they don't recommend putting the gizmos in the dishwasher. I would think that the easy of cleaning would depend on the model.

  • Jasdip
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Plllog can you post a pic of your oven style one. The big one I saw last week is a basket, but a large basket. I didn't know they made baskets that big.

    I don't have a dishwasher, so it will be scrubbing for me.

    This is on sale for $75. Would it be big enough to do chicken pieces, pork chops, etc etc, or should I get a more squarish one?

    https://www.canadiantire.ca/en/pdp/master-chef-air-fryer-3-l-0432740p.html#srp

  • plllog
    last month
    • These look like the important features from your link for your questions:
    • Detachable basket for frying up to 1.5 lb (700 g)—should do half a chicken or a couple pork chops
    • Detachable non-stick drawer — detachable should be easier to clean
    • Adjustable temperature control from 80˚C-200˚C — mine goes to 400F, which is pretty close
    • Capacity: 3L (3.1 qt.)—not a lot of volume, but more than minimal, but should keep you from the whole bag of fries, and should hold what you need. Given you can't stuff it, think of what you can fit in a 2L container... mine is an oven the size of a large toaster oven with a 17 qt. capacity. I have a basket that holds all the little bits, and there's a fry basket that takes up the whole oven and is on its own. ;) I need to find storage space... I think yours is self contained.


    I don't have a picture of mine, but here's the listing.

    https://www.amazon.com/GoWISE-USA-Food-Dehydrator-Fryer/dp/B083LPBCFM


    I've used the tumble baskek for sunchoke chips, for which it works great. Much more even than the trays. I haven’t tried the skewer go round yet, or the spit or big sold separately basket. The rotating things should make up for the unevenness, while I've used the rotisserie spit in my big wall oven and it just makes a mess. The oven is so good, I get equal results, for, say, chickens, standing them on wire supports, without all the splatter. The air fryer is great for toaster oven sized portions, and no big fuss, but my big oven will do a pseudo-fry too, and much better, but it needs pre-heating, and is terrible at dehydrating. I hope the air frier lives up to its claims, there.

  • Islay Corbel
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Lars you made me laugh. Just go to google US!

    Mine's like Pllog's. I use it most days - things like re-heating food, home made oven chips, roast veggies, cheese on toast..... be careful not to overcook meat.

  • Lynda (Zn9b/23 - Central CA Coast)
    last month

    We have this one - https://www.costco.com/cuisinart-digital-airfryer-toaster-oven.product.100600123.html $199 at costco online. I hadn't thought I needed one, but now I don't know how I lived without it. I use it daily, often to make a side dish (vegetables or potatoes) or dessert at a different temp, if our main oven is in use for something else. It heats up quickly and cooks faster than the main oven, sometimes I air fry other times I bake with or without convection. Other features I like are dehydration which I use to preserve our home grown herbs and the bread proofing feature. I also make small batch cookies for my son from frozen dough.

  • annie1992
    last month

    I have this one but seldom/never use it, the only thing I've liked that has come from the air fryer is fried chicken and baked potatoes. Mine will hold 4 chops, a whole chicken, a bag of fries. Mother is the only real fan of french fries, and she refuses to eat them from the air fryer, she says they are "too crunchy". If I cook them less time they are "too soggy", LOL, she had better see a pan of hot oil on the stove or she's going to find something wrong. It's actually kind of funny. Anyway, I got a good buy on mine, I think maybe $79.00.

    https://www.target.com/p/instant-vortex-6-qt-4-in-1-air-fryer-oven/-/A-54643374#lnk=sametab

    If I had more time to fiddle with it, I'd probably figure out how to make edible meals with it, but I just don't have that time right now, it's barn cleaning, garden planting, tree pruning, chick brooding, berry fertilizing time and then it will be canning season!

    Elery has also lost all interest in grilling or smoking or sous vide, so not a whole lot of cooking going on right now...

    Annie


  • Jasdip
    last month

    Annie, that is exactly the one I'm looking for. A g/f has that one and she loves it. I'm going to wait till it's on sale as it's $150. I like that a whole chicken can fit in it, and I can see baking potatoes, roasting asparagus, etc.

  • plllog
    last month

    I keep trying to get my air fryer to toast. It says it can. :) The app says there's a toast pre-set, but I can't figure out where, and none of the documentation says. I tried winging it--after all one can toast in the oven. It came out nicely heated and dry on top, so was sort of like pale toast with some butter melted on it, but it wasn't caramelized at all. Though maybe it was the (homemade)) bread. I want it to toast.