Multiple kitchen appliances have been introduced in recent times, and one of them is the air fryer. How does air fryer work? Should I get one? We will try to answer all these questions in this article. Read on to learn more about how air fryer works.
What is an Air Fryer?
This is a small appliance, usually placed on a countertop, and it is used to cook multiple foods. An air fryer can cook foods ranging from meats to vegetables. As the name suggests, this unit is used as a fryer but using air.
The major components of an air fryer include a heating element, fan, and a food basket. And like any other advanced cooking appliance, this one also features some settings. The food basket of this unit will work as a drawer.
How Does An Air Fryer Work?
Too many people want to know how an air fryer works and if they work the same as deep fryers. Well, from the look of the names alone, you can easily tell that an air fryer works differently from a deep fryer.
Even though most people prefer a deep fryer when preparing specific foods, it might not be the best cooking option. First off, a deep fryer delivers food that has an amazing taste. But on the contrary, they are not as healthy as such. When you submerge the food in the hot oil, it will absorb as much oil as possible.
The extreme heat in a deep fryer will oxidize the frying oil first, which will then oxidize the food when you deep it inside. When you have dropped the food in the hot oil, the already-oxidized oil will damage the original nutrients of the food. The more the food cooks in the hot oil is the more the healthy nutrients and ingredients will be destroyed.
By the way, oxidized oil is one of the main causes of heart diseases. Now you understand why the doc will tell you to avoid deep-fried foods.
But let us not lose focus because we are not here to talk about deep fryers, but rather their bitter rivals; the air fryer.
So, an air fryer works very differently from deep fryers. However, they work the same as convection ovens. Actually, most people call the air fryers mini convection ovens.
With an air fryer, they work by cooking food using extremely hot air. The appliance will blow hot air through and around the food. Nevertheless, the hot air comes from above, which is then evenly blown around the food. This means that you have a better chance of having fully-cooked food when cooking in the air fryer.
However, there is a ‘but’. If you want the food to be cooked evenly, you will have to arrange them in the basket as needed. Suppose the food is crammed or overfilled, you might end up having unevenly cooked food.
Keep in mind that the air fryer won’t work exactly the same as a convection oven. In an air fryer, the hot air moves more rapidly compared to a convection oven. Generally, this would affect the cooking times and evenness of the food.
Now, you might wonder why meat and other proteins cooked in an air fryer come with a brown coating. This is because the air fryer delivers the Maillard Effect when cooking food. This is a reaction that happens between sugars and amino acids on the surface of the food. The Maillard effect will occur when the temperature is between 280 and 330 degrees Fahrenheit.
As a result, you will have foods with a brown crust but tender on the inside. Keep in mind that the Maillard reaction will only occur when you grill, roast, or fry the food. As long as the cooking method increases the temperatures, this reaction will take place. The reason why boiling meat doesn’t come with the brown crust is that water usually has a maximum boiling point of 212 degrees Fahrenheit.
Also, it is important to keep in mind that the temperature must be maintained below 320 degrees if you want to stay healthy with the cooking.
Is Oil Used in an Air Fryer? – How Air Fryer Works?
Yes, and air fryer uses oil, but not as much as the amount used in a deep fryer. One reason that most people prefer using an air fryer is the fact that it allows you to make foods with a little oil as possible. The best part is that the food still comes out tasty and healthy.
So, suppose you want to make some fries, you will not have to soak them in the oil. Instead, you can put or roll the potato in one or two tablespoons of avocado oil and cook them in the air fryer. Keep in mind that you have used healthy oil and in the smallest amount, but you will still get crispy fries.
Also, remember that cooking fat is not exactly dangerous to your health. It will only be harmful if it is used in excess amounts and if it is oxidized, like in the deep fryer.
But how does a air fryer work?
In an air fryer, there is a little amount of oil that will be oxidized, which will not be as unhealthy as in the case of submerged frying. So yes, you will not be ruining your food in this case.
If you want to use oil and stay healthy with the air fryer, you might want to go for the high-quality oil, like the avocado oil or ghee. Such oils can withstand extreme temperatures and prevent oxidation like in the case of the regular cooking oil.
Point to Remember: if you want to use the deep-frying option once in a while, you can sprinkle some Ceylon cinnamon or melt butter for dipping. Alternatively, you can whip some avocado mayo and throw in some herbs for a custom dip frying.
Does Air Fryer Reduce the Cooking Temperature?
So, the Maillard reaction will occur when the temperature increases. But then again, some health and nutrition experts recommend gentle cooking at low temperatures. For instance, raw foods and light steaming will help to preserve most nutrients while keeping fats intact.
Besides that, air fryers have been designed to reduce the cooking temperature as compared to the deep fryers. Generally, when cooking food in an air fryer, it will drop the temperature by around 25 degrees. Suppose you deep fry meat at 350 degrees in a deep fryer, it will drop to 325 degrees in an air fryer.
Even when cooking at the highest temperature in an air fryer, the temperature will always be at 320 degrees or lower, which is good enough.
Another trick is to extend the cooking time and reducing the temperature in the air fryer. This keeps the food well-cooked and healthy as well.
Luckily, most of the air fryers come with some recipes to help you achieve the best when cooking different types of food. But you can still follow reliable YouTube channels on air fryer recipes.
Does Air Fryer Cut Fat Content in Foods? – How An Air Fryer Works?
A short answer to this is yes. But let’s explore that further.
Deep-fried foods tend to have a high-fat content compared to foods that are prepared with other methods of cooking.
Take, for example, frying chicken breast. If you deep fry the chicken breast, which already has some fat content, it will contain around 30% more fat than that which is prepared with roasting.
It is reported that some air fryers can cut down the fat content by almost 75%. One reason for this is that air fryers require less amount of oil to cook. If you are cooking with a deep fryer, you will need up to 3 cups of oil, which translates to around 750ml. But with an air fryer, you only need one or two tablespoons of oil, which equates to around 15ml.
In other words, a deep fryer will use almost 50 times more oil than an air fryer. Above all, all the oil in the air fryer will not be absorbed.
It has also been tested and found that an air fryer will give you foods that come with less fat but with similar results as a deep fryer. Remember that food is cooked through hot air that circulates inside the air fryer.
Consuming excessive fat from vegetable oils is reported to be associated with heart diseases and inflammation.
So again, air fryers reduce the fat content in foods.
Can Air Fryer Promote Weight Loss? – How Does Air Fryer Work?
Reports from health experts and nutritionists show that air fryers can help in weight loss. But is it true? Honestly, it is, but let’s explain that for you.
You see, deep-fried foods will come with high-fat content, but also high-calorie content. Even without a degree in health and nutrition, you can easily tell that high calories and fats will lead to weight gain.
If you consume too much of fried food, you will end up being obese, which will pose a serious concern to your health.
So, if you truly want to trim that waistline and maintain a healthy weight, you might want to drop the deep-fried foods. Replace that deep fryer with an air fryer. We understand how difficult it is to switch from that delicious fried chicken. But you can still have your chicken. The only change here is the cooking method, or rather, appliance.
If you reduce the fat and calorie intake over time, you will end up promoting weight loss. But the best way would be to engage in proper physical exercises to burn the excess fat.
Does that Mean Air Fryers are Healthier than Deep Fryers?
Clearly, air fryers are a better option since they are healthier than deep fryers in many ways. They come with lower fat content and reduced calories when preparing foods. By the way, air fryers can help to prevent the formation of harmful compounds.
When food rich in carbohydrates are cooked in high heat like deep frying, they will end up forming acrylamide. This is a compound that is also known as a probable carcinogen. In other words, it is reported that acrylamide can promote the development of cancer cells in the body.
Besides that, this compound can lead to kidney risks, ovarian cancer, and even endometrial cancer.
But you need not worry about that when using an air fryer. Experts have found out that air fryers can cut down the acrylamide level by 90%.
So yes, air fryers are far much healthier than deep fryers.
Should You Get an Air Fryer? – Air Fryer How It Works?
Now that you know about an air fryer how it works, you can decide if you should get it or not. Generally, it is a good option for those living alone or if you don’t have a big family. The reason for this is that air fryers are small in size and they don’t cook large amounts of food at once. If you were to cook for more than six people, you might have to do several reloading in the food basket of the air fryer.
But you can still find some air fryers that are large in size. They are very versatile and much easier to use than most cooking appliances out there. Air fryers also save the cooking time and tend to be healthier than deep fryers. The best part is that you still get to enjoy the crispy foods that are tender inside like how you deep fry food.
That being said, here is a breakdown of the pros and cons of an air fryer;
- Easy to use
- Versatile cooking appliance
- Saves cooking time
- Healthier; lower fat content in foods
- Efficient cooking
- Not ideal for large families
- They don’t tend to last for long due to their plastic construction
For now, we are confident that you can answer