Since the introduction of the air fryer in 2010, it has rapidly grown in popularity and become mainstream. People may wonder if they can only rely on an air fryer for their frying needs.
An air fryer is healthier than a deep fryer because it doesn’t require oil. The purpose of an air fryer is to fry food without battering, reheat food, and cook it until crisp using convection heat. Breaded foods require a fryer.
People are starting to discover the complexity of air fryers. Viral TikTok videos of recipes we thought were confined to ovens and hobs can now be made in one go with a deep fryer. These same recipes can’t be made with a deep fryer, so which is better: an air fryer or a deep fryer?
How do air fryers work?
Plugged into an outlet and placed on a work surface, convection fryers use less energy and heat than an oven. They won’t heat the whole house like an oven would in the summer.
Before using a new air fryer, it is recommended that you wash the air fryer basket and tank. Do not wash the part of the air fryer that connects to the wall: water and electricity do not mix!
Like deep fryers, air fryers use baskets to hold food while it cooks. The food basket must be inserted into the air fryer before turning on the power button.
Fryer time and temperature settings can be made prior to a cook cycle using the exterior button panel. Once the fryer heats up, it will create a “buzzing” sound similar to a dehydrator.
Air fryers cook food using convection heat, like an oven, but in a confined space. This allows more surface area of the food to crisp up on the outside faster than it would in an oven, giving it the effect of “frying” without oil.
Convection heat in an air fryer works through the movement of air molecules that are energized by the heat. In an air fryer, the food is enclosed by these energized air molecules that carry heat to the surface of the food.
Air fryers can be used to cook and reheat foods. To learn more about the best things to reheat in an air fryer, we recommend reading this related article.
Unlike deep fryers, air fryers do not require humidity to cook. There is no lingering oily smell in the air after using a deep fryer like there would be with a deep fryer. Air fryers are more versatile than deep fryers and can cook foods that would normally be baked or grilled.
How do fryers work?
There are different types of fryers. Some are larger commercial fryers that use gas tubes that turn on when the fryer is set to the desired temperature. Wait 15-30 minutes for a fryer to fully heat to temperature.
These fryers can work with or without baskets. Some foods can be placed directly into the fryer once the temperature has been reached.
Using a spider to move food through the oil and then retrieve it is common in the “swim method” in fryers. Spiders can be in the shape of a rectangle or a circle.
Medium fryers for outdoor cooking that work with propane. This is common for turkey fryers.
Countertop fryers are a convenient option for home use. They cook food on the same scale as an air fryer but on a smaller scale than a commercial fryer.
Deep fryers cook food by oil convection. The oil in the fryer tank heats up and then this heat is transferred to the food.
The heat draws out the natural moisture from inside the food and some of that moisture is replaced with oil, but there are still pockets of air in the food that work to transfer the heat from the oil, cooking it completely without completely saturating it.
That’s why French fries immediately bubble when dropped into a deep fryer. It is the moisture that escapes from the inside of the fries. When the bubbles disappear, the food is cooked.
Are Air Fryers Better Than Deep Fryers?
Depends on what’s on the menu. When cooking a variety of crisp foods for a large crowd, neither a countertop fryer nor an air fryer will be practical. A commercial fryer in this case would be the best option.
Air fryers are not only good for cooking fries, but also for reheating them. When reheating French fries in a deep fryer, they may become more saturated with oil the second time and have an off-flavor.
Deep fryers are better than air fryers for foods that require battering, such as tempura, fried twinkies, onion rings, pumpkin fritters, and funnel cake. Think of all the classic fried foods as best in a traditional deep fryer.
Air fryers are revolutionizing weeknight dinners with their ability to bake, roast, dehydrate, broil, and even pressure cook certain dishes. All of these applications are outside the scope of what a fryer is capable of.
For example, Mexican bites of street corn, chicken Parmesan, personal-size pizza, and French toast can all be made in a deep fryer. The creative range is better with an air fryer.
Are Air Fryers Really Healthier Than Deep Fryers?
Foods fried between 350 and 375 degrees F don’t absorb as much oil (or calories) as you might think. according to a to study Conducted by Florida International University, French fries provide just 40 more calories per 4-oz serving than their oven-roasted counterparts.
However, for anyone who frequently frys their food, swapping the deep fryer for an air fryer is sure to make a big difference in their overall calorie intake, reducing it significantly.
Since air fryers work with convection heat much like ovens, we can assume that this layout would be a good side-by-side comparison of how an air fryer compares to a deep fryer. However, there is more to general health than just counting calories.
Oils contain fats, which are necessary for the functioning of human organs. The brain, heart, kidneys and liver need fat intake because there are certain fats that our body cannot manufacture internally from scratch.
Trans fats can contribute to higher cholesterol levels and an increased risk of cardiovascular problems. Vegetable oils like corn oil contain trans fat, which is a common oil used for fried foods.
However, it is also common to fry foods in soybean, safflower, and peanut oil. These oils contain 0% trans fat. Still, there are benefits to using the air fryer instead of the deep fryer, especially for those who use the air fryer frequently.
Advantages and disadvantages of air fryers
- Cooking with a deep fryer is considered healthier than frying or roasting in oil
- There are more possible meals to make in a deep fryer than in a deep fryer
- There is less mess with an air fryer than with a deep fryer
- There is no oil cost when cooking with an air fryer so it could be cheaper
- Air fryers do not cook a large volume of food and are limited to the size of the basket
- It is impossible to see what is happening during the cooking process when food is in an air fryer
- Traditional fried foods that require moisture do not work well in a fryer and require a deep fryer
- Fried foods don’t taste “fried” like they normally would in a deep fryer
Advantages and disadvantages of fryers.
- Food cooks faster in a deep fryer than in an air fryer
- There is more control over the sub-techniques in the frying technique (i.e. the swimming method, grabbing the outside of the food before cooking or grilling it)
- Large quantities of different varieties of food can be produced quickly (if a commercial fryer is used)
- Conventional frying is better in a fryer than in an air fryer
- There is less variety of techniques available in a fryer than in an air fryer
- Oil is necessary, it is expensive and adds calories to food
- Managing the installation and cleaning process of a fryer takes more time than an air fryer
- There is an increased risk of hot oil hazards and oil spills with a deep fryer
Does air-fried food taste the same as deep-fried food?
Because an air fryer uses convection heat like an oven, foods cooked in an air fryer will taste crisp and cooked. It won’t taste like it’s fried because it wasn’t convection cooked with oil.
Fried and air-fried foods have a crisp, golden exterior. This is the result of heating, deconstruction and formation of new bonds by the Maillard reaction or caramelization, respectively, of protein or sugar molecules.
Oil is a key factor in the traditional flavor of fried foods. The exterior of the food may look similar, but the mouthfeel betrays the true identity of the air-fried food. Real fried foods have that “melt in your mouth” texture that so many people crave.
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