How an Air Fryer Works
An air fryer essentially produces the same crispiness of traditionally fried food by using rapid air technology. Where deep frying and pan frying use oil to generate that crispiness — deep frying by surrounding the food in oil, and pan frying by crisping one side at a time — air frying is instead based on circulating heated air around the food, inducing oil free crispiness.
An important part of the air fryer is how small it is. This small size ensures that heated air is circulated evenly and effectively, making sure that all the items positioned in the fryer come out crispy and cooked properly. The small size also reduces the cooking time; it’s not uncommon for foods to take approximately 20% less time in an air fryer than in a conventional oven.
Food will either be placed in the basket after the fryer has preheated or, in the case of some more fragile foods like eggs, left in as the fryer is preheating. Plenty of different foods can be cooked in an air fryer, as essentially it is an extremely powerful, very small convection oven.
7 Tips for Using an Air Fryer
Read the manual
Sure, most air fryers operate on the same basic principle, but every fryer has its own quirks that you’ll have to read the manual to fully understand. Taking the extra ten minutes to fully understand this kitchen appliance will totally change the way you use your air fryer.
Don’t overfill the fry basket
Obviously, it’s tempting to put in as many fries, chicken wings, or mozzarella sticks as possible when you first get your fryer. But you really shouldn’t crowd the basket; all that will happen, even in the best air fryer, is you’ll get unevenly cooked, mushy food. Make sure there’s enough space for the air to circulate and you’ll be more easily able to enjoy deliciously crispy fried food.
Cook for less time than you would in a conventional oven
On average, food cooks about 20% faster in an air fryer than in a conventional oven. If you’re moving a recipe or food from your normal oven into your air fryer, it’s highly likely that the food will burn if you cook it for the same amount of time. Instead, check on it a couple times until you can determine about how long it takes.
Move food around frequently
Even if you’re using the best air fryer, that says you won’t have to move the food around, it’s a good idea to give the fryer basket a shake every so often just in case. Even if it won’t burn when you just leave it alone, moving it around will often give you more of that crispy taste that you’re trying to achieve.