For the past decade, there may probably not have been a better invention in the culinary world than the air fryer. This countertop appliance has revolutionized the way people cook fried foods. Previously, fried foods were known as being some of the most unhealthy foods ever. That’s due to how they needed to be boiled in hot oil, which made food extremely greasy and high in calories and fat.

Air fryers work differently — instead of using oil, they make use of convection heat to fry and make food crispy. This also means they aren’t as unhealthy as oil-fried foods, which allows people to enjoy fried foods without harmful consequences.

 

How Do They Work?

Like we mentioned above, air fryers do not require large amounts of hot oil to fry your food. Instead, they make use of hot air to make your food nice and crispy. Air is sucked in and heated up before it spreads all around the inside to cook your food from every angle.

Through a natural chemical reaction known as the Maillard effect, your food gets fried and becomes crispy — similar to how oil would crisp up food. This chemical reaction happens when the intense heat and the amino acids and sugars in your food mix together. This is why air fryers are seen as a healthier alternative to get fried foods — no oil is involved, so air fried food is typically less fatty and lower in both cholesterol and calories. This means you’ll be less likely to put on weight and will have a decreased risk of developing chronic diseases.

 

Tips And Tricks To Using Your Air Fryer

If you have an air fryer at home, you’ve probably been using it just to fry foods. However, there really is a lot more you can do with an air fryer than simple frying. You can bake and even grill, and this makes the air fryer an extremely versatile and valuable kitchen appliance to have. To make the most out of your air fryer, here are some simple tips and tricks that can help you with everything from cooking methods to minimizing the mess it will make.

Always Preheat Your Air Fryer

Just like how regular ovens benefit from preheating, air fryers too can reap the same benefits. All you have to do is turn on your air fryer before you add any food to the inner tray. Some models will even beep to let you know it has been fully preheated and is ready for cooking. It’s a simple step that can help your food to cook faster, so don’t overlook it.

Add A Little Bit Of Oil

Air fryers may not need oil to fry your foods, but adding just a little bit can help things along. For one, using oil to grease the cooking basket will make sure that none of your food will stick to the insides, which will make cleaning a lot easier. Some foods will also benefit from adding a dash of oil to help them get a little crispier. If you’re adamant about keeping things as healthy as possible, use olive oil as it contains healthy dietary fat.

Add Water To Prevent Smoke

If you’re cooking food that has solid fats, like burger patties, bacon, or meatballs, it might create a lot of smoke within the air fryer. This is due to the fat melting off and collecting in the tray below, where it heats up and causes smoke. This can cause your kitchen to fill with smoke and make your place smell smoky. To prevent this, just add a little water to the inner tray right at the bottom, and this prevents the fat and grease from heating up too much.

Give Your Food A Little Shake

If you’re cooking small items like nuggets or tater tots, open the tray every few minutes and give them a little toss and shake. This helps each piece to cook and crisp up evenly, so everything will be consistently cooked. You don’t have to turn off the air fryer to shake, but be careful not to touch the hot metal tray with bare skin.

Do Not Overload The Tray

Air fryers cook food by circulating hot air from the top to bottom, so it’s important to leave little gaps for the air to flow. This is why you should not overload the frying basket with large amounts of food and should cook them in smaller batches instead.

Use Foil To Prevent Messes

It can be quite messy to fry food in an air fryer, especially if you’re cooking foods that come with sauce, or fatty foods that will drip oil all over. To spare yourself from the hassle of cleaning messes, adding a sheet of tin foil to the frying basket before adding your food on top will keep the mess to a minimum.

More Than Just Frying

Air fryers can do more than simple frying. Newer models have preset options that can mimic other cooking styles — baking, broiling, grilling, or even roasting. However, you might need to get some add-ons for your frying tray, like a special stand if you wanted to boil eggs or a special baking tin that could let you bake cakes and brownies. The possibilities are out there so don’t be afraid to experiment.