In the past year, you’ve probably been exposed to a sermon from one of the many evangelical air fryer owners about the wonders of the kitchen appliance.
Despite the name, an air fryer doesn’t actually “fry” food: it’s a mini convection oven that sits on the countertop and circulates heated air around food to cook it, creating a crispy finish without the need for frying.
The machines are often equipped with other functions as well, including dehydrating, roasting, rotisserie and toasting. However, they cannot be used for cooking with a wet batter and are more suitable for pre-fried frozen foods.
Air fryers are also less expensive than the traditional oven. According to UK energy company Utilita, it costs around £1.05 (€1.22) a day to run an electric cooker, but an air fryer costs just 17p (19 cents) a day.
Are you considering switching to an air fryer? We asked chefs and cooking experts which models are worthwhile.
If you’re on a tight budget, live in a small household or only want to use your air fryer occasionally, you can find cheaper options at Lidl such as the Silvercrest range. The Digital Air Fryer XL (€89.99) will be available in stores from December 8th.
Dan Sheedy is producer contact at NeighborFood.iean online platform that connects consumers with local food producers, and he uses his Silvercrest Air Fryer once a week.
“It’s foolproof, it works really well for me,” he says. “Convenience is a big deal and it still makes the most of really good ingredients. I love frying small portions of chicken fillets in it, I think tofu can be really nice and crispy, the fries are really good. It’s beautiful and practical that way.”
This air fryer is “really easy to hand clean, as easy as any skillet,” and Dan notes that it’s compact enough to keep next to the microwave, although it’s not big enough to cook a full meal in.
“I can make a pound of ground chicken in it, so you would feed four or five people, but of course you would have to do something else with it,” says Dan. “It’s definitely a basic air fryer, but I still get a lot of use out of it.”
Donegal-based chef Brian McDermott likes the Tower Vortx 5L Digital Air Fryer (€89.95, Dunnes Stores).
“The digital time and temperature are easy to set. It’s small, easy to use, and most things can be cooked in it — air frying is healthier and safer than a deep fryer,” he says, noting that he mainly uses it for chicken dishes like breaded chicken breasts, chicken wings, and lemon, thyme pepper -Chicken breast.
“It’s ideal for the three of us, since our daughter is now going to university.”
He adds that the Tower model is “super easy to clean.” “I just remove the non-stick tray, wash in soapy water, dry and put back in. It’s important to wash after each use,” says Brian.
“The storage is very neat and doesn’t hold odors, so we’ll put it in a cupboard once it’s cooled.”
Food writer and chef Colm O’Gorman cites the Power 5.7L Air Fryer (€189, Harvey Norman) as his favorite, noting that he used to use a Tefal 4.2L model but found the capacity too small. However, the Power One is not only larger, it contains three shelves.
“That makes a big difference. The other had a single basket that fit in and that was quite limited so you often had to take things out and shake them to make sure they were cooked evenly. But even if you’re just making fries, now you can split the batch across three shelves and they cook really evenly,” he says.
“I’m a bit allergic to multifunctional machines in general, because I don’t find them doing any of their functions well. With this one, however, its multifunctions are just variations on the air fryer: it can dehydrate and it also has a rotisserie function.”
Colm says the air fryer is “about the size of a small microwave,” so he puts it outside on the counter and uses it at least once a day. “Even just for a bit of bacon in the morning or to warm up a bun. I’ve cooked chocolate fondants in the air fryer in eight minutes – it makes them brilliant,” he says.
“If it’s something you might put in the oven, you can just slap it in the air fryer instead of heating up your whole oven, so it’s very economical from that perspective. It’s really fast and cheap and efficient.”
Seana McCafferty, a Derry-based blogger, has amassed a sizable following sharing air fryer recipes on Instagram under the name @SeanaMcAirfryer, and she used three models. She first bought a Power XL air fryer, which is no longer available, although the brand offers a new version, the Power XL Vortex 5-in-1 Digital Air Fryer (€115, Harvey Norman).
“I wouldn’t have been a great chef before. I would have tried to cook a lot with the oven and my sister said to me back in January 2020: “You should try an air fryer, it’s fantastic”. I ended up loving it,” says Seana.
Her second model was a Cosori 5.5 liter air fryer (€125.69, Amazon) that she received as a gift and then bought an Instant 6-in-1 Vortex Plus 5.7 liter air fryer (€150, – €, Argus).
“Cosori and Instant are very, very similar. They have the same basket size and the same digital usage,” she says, adding that the main difference is that the Cosori is connected to an app. “You can use it from anywhere — if you’re outside the house or upstairs, wherever, you can pause, rotate and so on.”
Seana adds that she’s noticed a change in her energy bill since switching to air frying. “I find electricity cheaper – I think it’s 85p for an oven and 18p for an air fryer, so there’s a huge difference,” she adds.
“Obviously it’s great for kids, great for people with disabilities, it’s safer for the body in terms of burns and stuff, they burn less. I also find it more relevant to look at, it’s more practical because sometimes even with the oven it can be a bigger burden.”
Additionally, Seana says her air fryers are easier to clean than the oven. “I put some Fairy liquid in with half a liter of warm water for about seven minutes, take it out, rinse it and wipe it off with some kitchen roll. It is so easy. You can even take out the basket and put it in the dishwasher, it’s amazing.”
With the air fryer, she now cooks pretty much everything from sausage rolls to fish goujon to crispy cabbage and kale. “You name it, it goes in,” she says. “People ask me what I don’t put in it – my husband, he’s the only thing that doesn’t fit!”
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Chef Kevin Dundon says he’s tried several air fryers but finds the Ninja Foodi 5-in-1 5.7L Grill and Air Fryer (€239, Harvey Norman) “best” after using it for a year Has.
“It’s a bit more expensive, but it works like a dream,” says Kevin, who offers an online course “Air Fryer Secrets” with recipes and video tutorials on his website (€70, Kevin Dundon.com).
“When people talk to me about air fryers, they automatically think it’s about fries. I’ve never cooked a chip in it,” he says.
“They are really economical to run and you get great results. You just have to be a little careful with the recipes and what you cook.
“Hot air fryers are not for large families. They are for a maximum of four people because you wouldn’t have the capacity – you would have to use it twice.”
Kevin likes the Ninja to cook everything from roast potatoes to roast beef steak to desserts, although he notes that a sponge cake doesn’t rise well in the air fryer, so it’s better for scones and sheet cakes.
He explains that the air fryer doubles as a pressure cooker and slow cooker, and cleaning is convenient as the basket inside is dishwasher safe.
“You can leave it out because it eliminates a lot of other cooking utensils,” he says.
https://www.independent.ie/life/food-drink/these-are-seven-of-the-best-air-fryers-to-buy-now-according-to-experts-42080301.html According to experts, these are seven of the best air fryers to buy right now