What is an air fryer? Here’s What It Really Does for Your Food

There is no doubt that air fryers are extremely popular. But if you’ve ever wondered, “What is an air fryer?” or “How does an air fryer work?” This guide breaks it down.

Air Fry

What is an air fryer?

The air fryer is essentially an amped-up countertop convection oven—it doesn’t actually fry your food. (However, keep in mind that there is a difference between air-frying and baking.) the small device claims to mimic the results of deep-frying with nothing more than hot air and little or no oil.

You can air-fry all kinds of things from frozen chicken wings and homemade french fries to roasted vegetables and fresh-baked cookies.

How do air fryers work?

The top part of an air fryer contains a heating mechanism and fan. You put the food in a fryer-style basket and when you turn it on, the hot air goes down and around the food. This rapid circulation makes food crispy—much like deep-frying, but without the oil.

Here’s how to use an air fryer:

  1. Put Your Food in the Basket

Depending on the size of your air fryer, the basket can hold anywhere from 2 to 10 quarts. In most cases, you’ll want to add 1 or 2 tablespoons of oil to help make the food nice and crisp. If you’re in a hurry, you can put the foil in the air fryer to make cleanup a little easier.

  1. Set Time and Temperature

The cooking time and temperature in an air fryer is typically between 5 and 25 minutes at 350° to 400°F, depending on the food you’re cooking.

  1. Let the food cook

In some cases, you may need to cut or flip the cooking time in half to get it to crisp evenly. After cooking, it’s important to clean your air fryer.

Want to know the secret to crunchy, golden-brown air-fried food? We’ve got air fryer tips that will help every recipe come out perfect—and the air fryer mistakes you’ll want to avoid.

What can you cook in an air fryer?

While many of the best air-fryer recipes feature foods that are typically deep-fried, you can also use this appliance to roast vegetables, cook meat, and bake cookies.

Frozen Finger Foods

The air fryer is a star when it comes to preparing deep-fried flavored frozen foods. Frozen french fries, mozzarella sticks, and chicken nuggets are some of the frozen air-fried foods you can make.

Homemade Finger Foods

If you prefer to make your finger foods from scratch, the air fryer is a great option for making homemade crunchy snacks and sides—try air-fryer sweet potato fries, air-fry pickles or air-fry potato chips. . Also don’t miss these addicting air-fryer appetizers like air-fryer ravioli and air-fryer egg rolls.

However, while air-fried frozen mozzarella sticks are delicious, fresh cheese melts and turns into a gooey mess (so homemade cheese curds are out).

Chicken, fish and meat

You can make air fryer chicken which is tender and juicy. Try an air-fryer chicken recipe, like Air-Fryer Nashville Hot Chicken. For a healthier option, air-fryer keto meatballs are a great option. When it comes to fish and seafood, we love this Air-Fryer Crumb-Top Sole and Air-Fryer Cod.

Comfort recipes like Air-Fryer Meat Loaf and Air-Fryer Pork Loin Roast are also possible to make with this wonderful appliance.

Roasted Vegetables

Since air fryers are essentially small convection ovens, they’re great for roasting vegetables—especially if you’re only cooking for one or two people. Some of our favorite air-fryer vegetable recipes include Air-Fryer Herb and Lemon Cauliflower, Air-Fryer Red Potatoes, Air-Fryer Asparagus and Air-Fryer Garlic-Rosemary Brussels Sprouts.

However, when you are using this gadget to cook vegetables, skip the leafy greens.