You’ve seen them advertised on television and seen them on store shelves for the past few years, and now you’re finally thinking of getting one. But are they worth all the fuss? Unequivocally, yes! So where do you start? What do you do first? And what does all the air fryer terminology mean? RecipeTeacher is here to help!
What is an Air fryer and how does it work?
Though they’re heavily marketed as an alternative appliance to deep fryers, air fryers are so much more. They are kitchen appliances that use rapidly moving air with the food close to the heating element, to offer the crispness of traditional deep frying, without using all the grease. In fact, most air fryer foods only need a quick spritz with oil, instead of being submersed in large amounts of oil. It offers a much healthier alternative for many of your favorite foods.
What are the different kinds of air fryers?
While the air fryer industry is growing by leaps and bounds, there are two very common types of air fryers: basket style and tray style. Basket style air fryers have a removable drawer which contains a basket which holds the food. The space around the basket allows the heated air to circulate around the food. Tray style air fryers have a door which opens, and one or more removable trays on which the food can be placed. The functionality is the exact same. There are also many newer, larger air fryer appliances that offer many different options such as rotisseries, cooking baskets, baking modes and more. The most common air fryers are the basket style in a size of approximately 6 quarts.
Does air frying require oil?
Traditional deep frying requires the foods to be submersed and cooked in oil. Not air fryers. You don’t need to stock up on large quantities of vegetable oil with an air fryer. However, most foods will require a spritz of oil, usually less than a teaspoon, that helps the ingredients and the food to properly crisp. A fun and inexpensive investment for your air fryer is a spray bottle that you can fill with your favorite oil. For instance, grapeseed oil, olive oil, peanut oil or vegetable oil will be right there in their very own dedicated air fryer mister.
How does breading foods work with an air fryer?
For optimal results, the best breading for air fryer foods are bread crumbs, either regular or panko. Flour-based breading does not work as well in air fryers.
Can I make Frozen Chicken Nuggets and Cheese Sticks in an air fryer
Absolutely you can! In fact, air fryers are the best way to make breaded, frozen snacks. No need to get out the deep fryer and all the smelly oil. Just place your frozen nuggets in the air fryer basket or tray, and a few minutes later you’re all good to go! The pre-breaded, frozen treats are now cooked to perfection and ready to enjoy.
Can I make non-breaded foods in the air fryer
I’m jumping up and down, waving my arms and saying YES to this question. In fact, non-breaded foods are my favorites to make in an air fryer. My recipes for Best Damn Air Fryer Pork Chops, Best Damn Air Fryer Pork Tenderloin, Best Damn Air Fryer Salmon, and many more, contain no breading at all. But instead, they use delicious seasoning rubs which are super easy to make, and will make the juiciest, most tender meals you’ve ever had.
What do all the buttons do?
There are many brands and styles of air fryers, but they all have one thing in common… the “air fry” setting. Many of the buttons on an air fryer are presets, which have a specified time and temp suggested for certain foods. More often than not, if a specific food or recipe you’re making has specific instructions, follow those for best results. Many of the other buttons can include bake mode, which acts more like a regular oven without the high speed hot air circulation; rotisserie mode for units which have a rotating spit for cooking; and many units have a preheat button. More on that below.
Should I preheat the air fryer?
Almost always, yes! Consider this like a regular oven, you don’t want to put food into a cold oven to start. In the same way, you don’t want to put foods in a cold air fryer. Unless a recipe specifies not to preheat, always preheat.
Understanding cooking meat in an air fryer
Air fryers are such versatile kitchen appliances. They take up little space, cook food quickly, deliciously, and are super convenient in terms of cleaning. Your journey to air fryer cooking will be so much fun, that’s a promise! It can be a very forgiving appliance with an easy learning curve too. Whether cooking pork, chicken, beef or fish, you’ll find all sorts of great recipes for something you love. Let’s take a look at some Air Fryer Meat Mastery 101…
- Cooking meats in the air fryer isn’t all that different than cooking meats in an oven or broiler. Most air fryers have temperature settings from 350° – 400°(F). Some may go higher or lower. Because of the small cooking space and the fast moving air, foods will cook more rapidly than a conventional oven.
- Chicken with skin gets the crisp you know and love. There are lots of delicious recipes for boneless chicken breasts and thighs, and they’re all awesome. But when you’re looking for that crispy chicken you know and love so well, it gets that way because of the skin. And using an air fryer to get that crispy skin is no different. Even without breading, we can get a chicken to be so succulent, so moist and tender, you simply won’t believe it’s possible.
- Meat cooks faster in an air fryer. This is true of most foods in an air fryer. You’ll want to adhere to the suggested times and temps of the air fryer recipe you’re cooking. They may be different than what you’re used to.
- Meat likes to stick. Even though most air fryers have a non-stick surface with which to cook the food, meat can still stick to the basket or tray. Give the cooking surface a quick spritz of a non-aerosol cooking spray to help prevent sticking.
- Don’t overcrowd the cooking basket or tray. When cooking any meat, the air needs to circulate around the surfaces of the food to create even crisping. You want to avoid stacking meat and have the sides touching as little as possible. If cooking for a large group or family, 2 or more batches are recommended for best results.
We hope you love your air fryer as much as we think you will. And we hope we answered all your questions! If not, drop us a line and we’ll get you confidently air frying as soon as possible!