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Basically, an air fryer is a kitchen appliance that circulates hot air around your food to cook it. They come in different sizes but all perform pretty much the same job.
So why should you get one?
One of the main touted benefits for having an air fryer is that it’s supposed to make your food healthier and to a certain extent, that’s true. If you’re looking to fry some food, air fryers use much less oil than traditional frying techniques—like pan-frying or deep-frying require. That mitigates some of the associated health risks of eating too much fried food such as obesity.
However, fried food is still fried food, and is usually not as good for you when compared to say, steaming, boiling, or grilling your food. Thus, it’s not so much that air fryers make your food healthier as it is that they make your relatively unhealthy food less unhealthy. But if you’re looking to enjoy the taste of great fried food anyway, air fryers help make for a good compromise.
How does an air fryer stack up against the kitchen mainstays like your stove, microwave, and oven?
Against frying on the stove, an air fryer is generally a lot safer. You won’t need to worry about spilling hot oil or have to shy away from the pops that send droplets of oil your way. If you want to skip the trial of hot oil that every chef or home cook goes through, this is certainly a step in the right direction.
Microwaving is the simplest way to cook your food, given that you just need to stick your food in, set the timer, and it comes out ready to eat. Air frying comes quite close to that, seeing that you also press a few buons to cook your food, but with the added preparation of spraying a good amount of olive oil.
Technically, your oven can do prey much everything an air fryer can. Where an air fryer can surpass it though is in its eiciency. An oven needs to be preheated and certain dishes need to be specially prepped for oven cooking, whereas an air fryer allows you to bypass a lot of the steps for a similar result. Definitely worth considering when you’re pressed for time!
Speaking of time...
As is often the case, the cook is willing but the circumstances are not. As recent times have proven, with all the concerns of running a household while also working from home (or going through the whole disinfecting process if you have to work out of home), it’s become a challenge to balance everything while still having time to cook for yourself and your family
This is where an air fryer becomes a worthy contender for consideration. As mentioned earlier, air fryers allow you to forego many of the attention-related inconveniences of stoves and ovens. With their built-in timers, you don’t have to actively cook as you would on a stovetop, and their whole cooking process is far less time-consuming than oven cooking.
As a matter of fact, air fryers are excellent at turning frozen foods into freshly-cooked meals in 30 minutes or less. When you think of common frozen foods like chicken tenders, dumplings, vegetables, nuggets, shrimp pops, and more—the kinds of food kids will happily devour (okay, maybe not the vegetables)—you’ll be happy to know that these are right up an air fryer’s alley. Pop them in and voila! A lot of saved time and effort.
Which means more time for you to spend on other tasks or to take a well-deserved break.
(Alright, fine, if you had absolutely no time at all to cook, you could microwave your food. But is that really cooking? And how many microwaved meals can you take before you decide you want yourself a legitimate, freshly-prepared meal?)
It seems like air fryers occupy an interesting middle ground. They cook more quickly than ovens but are slower than microwaves, and while they lack the versatility of stoves, they are a lot safer. Is there anything they excel at?
The short answer is that it depends on you.
If you like the active role of cooking that ovens and stoves allow you, you may not get much mileage out of an air fryer. If you just want your food heated ASAP, it'll be hard to top the convenience of a microwave.
However, if you want a versatile appliance that strikes a good balance between the speed of preparation and the range of dishes offered by your typical cooking arsenal, an air fryer might just be your next favorite kitchen companion.
You can continue enjoying your fave fried foods yet keep your health in check with this air fryer.
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