The Inner Workings of an Air Fryer

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An air fryer is a small convection oven. It uses hot air to cook food and can be used to cook a variety of different items. 

The air fryer works on the principle of hot air circulation. It builds the temperature, then the fan sucks it up to distribute it around the sides and sucks it back up through the food in the basket. This rapid air frying allows food to be cooked evenly on all sides.

In some circumstances, when an ingredient is too large, the cooking can be uneven, or you might have to turn it around halfway through.

What is an air fryer?

An air fryer is a countertop convection oven that cooks by circulating hot air around food to crisp and brown it. 

Ninja AF101 Air Fryer that Crisps, Roasts, Reheats, & Dehydrates, for Quick, Easy Meals, 4 Quart Capacity, & High Gloss Finish, Black/Grey

Air fryers look a bit like miniature convection ovens, with a heating element and a fan to circulate hot air. Most have a basket that goes into a drawer; when you turn on the machine, the basket moves around as the hot air circulates, so your food cooks evenly.

You can use an air fryer for cooking all kinds of chicken wings, and french fries and even baking cakes if they are small enough (cakes I mean). 

One of the main benefits of an air fryer is that it uses little to no oil, so it’s healthier than traditional frying. And since it’s a countertop appliance, it doesn’t take up as much space as a traditional oven.

If you’re considering buying an air fryer, there are a few things to remember. 

  • First, they come in all different sizes; make sure you choose one that will fit on your countertop and has enough capacity for the amount of food you want to cook. 
  • Second, they can be noisy; look for one with good reviews for noise levels. 
  • And finally, remember that while they’re versatile appliances, they won’t do everything an oven can do. If you want to roast a chicken or bake a cake, you’re better off using your regular oven.

How does an air fryer work?

An air fryer circulates hot air around the food, similar to a convection oven. The difference is that an air fryer also has the ability to deep fry food. The mechanism is cleverly put together to allow quick air frying while keeping the appliance compact in size.

I am not going to bore you with a detailed explanation of the Rapid Air technology, but I would suggest taking a look at the video below that explains it.

Rapid Air technology explanation

To use an air fryer, you first need to place the food in the basket. The basket is then placed in the air fryer, and the lid is closed. 

The air fryer will then circulate hot air around the food, making the food crispy on the outside and cooked on the inside. Depending on the food, you may need to flip it halfway through cooking.

Air fryers cook food quickly and evenly, making them ideal for cooking French fries, chicken, fish, and other fried foods. 

They are also great for reheating leftovers and cooked foods. Air fryers are small and compact, making them perfect for small kitchens or countertops.

If you are wondering about the energy efficiency of an air fryer, I have an in-depth article about the topic here.

What are the different kinds of air fryers?

The two most known types are air fryers and air fryer ovens. Similar by name but quite different in usage.

As the image above suggests, the air fryer oven is much bigger and more versatile. But also a bit more expensive and requires at least two times the space of an average air fryer. For more information about the air fryer oven, check out my comprehensive article here.

On the other hand the air fryers can be used to fry, cook, or roast food. The time it takes to cook food in an air fryer will depend on the model, but it is generally quicker than cooking in a traditional oven. Also it is much easier to use than an oven or air fryer oven.

If you’re considering buying an air fryer, you should keep a few things in mind. 

  • First, you need to decide what size appliance you need. Air fryers come in various sizes, from small personal-sized models to large family-sized models. 
  • Second, you need to decide what features are important to you. Some air fryers have additional features such as timers and temperature controls. 
  • Third, you must decide what kind of food you want to cook in your air fryer. Air fryers can be used to cook a variety of foods, so it’s important to choose an appliance that will suit your needs.

Are air fryers healthier?

Air fryers have been around for a few years, but they’ve only recently gained popularity in the United States. These kitchen appliances cook food by circulating hot air around it, which gives the food a crispy texture without all the extra oil that comes with deep-frying.

But are air fryers really healthier than traditional frying methods? Let’s take a closer look.

For example, when you cook french fries in an air fryer, you’ll use less oil than you would if you deep-fried them. And since air fryers circulate hot air evenly around the food, you won’t need to worry about flipping them halfway through cooking (as you would with batch frying).

Of course, some oil is involved in cooking with an air fryer. But since you don’t need to use as much oil as you would with traditional deep-frying, overall, your food will be less greasy and unhealthy.

So if you’re looking for a healthier way to cook chicken wings or french fries, an air fryer is a good option.

Just remember to monitor how much oil you use, as too much oil can defeat the purpose of cooking with an air fryer in the first place!

Does an air fryer really ‘fry’ food?

So, does an air fryer actually ‘fry’ food?

The answer is yes and no. An air fryer will not give your food the same crispy exterior you would get from deep frying it in oil. However, it will cook your food quickly and evenly and give it a crispy exterior thanks to the hot air circulation.

An air fryer is a good option if you’re looking for a healthier way to cook fried foods. Air-fried food has 70% less fat than deep-fried food so you can enjoy your favorite fried foods without all the guilt.

Do you need to use oil in an air fryer?

No, you don’t need to use oil in an air fryer. An air fryer works by circulating hot air around food to cook it. A bit of oil may help crisp up food, but it’s unnecessary.

An air fryer has a heating element and a fan that circulates hot air around the food. The hot air makes the outside of the food crispy while the inside stays moist. 

This cooking method is similar to deep frying but uses less oil and produces fewer harmful chemicals when food is fried in oil.

If you are already cooking with an air fryer and it is dirty from bits of food or sticky from residues of oils and juices, check out my article about how to clean it here.

What can you cook in an air fryer?

An air fryer is a kitchen appliance that allows you to cook food using hot air. The appliance works by circulating hot air around the food, which makes it cook evenly and develop a crispy exterior. 

You can use an air fryer for cooking food, including french fries, mozzarella sticks, and onion rings. Air fryers are also good choice for cooking frozen food or leftovers.

Air fryers are especially well-suited for cooking chicken wings and chicken nuggets. However, you can use your air fryer for cooking protein, including fish and pork chops.

One of the best things about air fryers is that they’re very easy to use. 

You must add your food to the basket and set the timer. Air fryers also have various features, including temperature control and automatic shut-off. 

Some models even have a built-in stirring paddle so that you can ensure that your food cooks evenly.

What you should not cook in an air fryer?

An air fryer works by circulating hot air around the food that is placed in a basket. This hot air cooks the food and gives it a crispy, fried texture.

However, there are some things that you should not cook in an air fryer. 

These include:

  • Anything that is wet or has a lot of moisture (such as soup or stew)
  • Anything that has been breaded or coated in batter (as the breading will not get crispy)
  • Anything that would normally be cooked in a slow cooker or Crock Pot (air fryers cook food much faster and work on different principle)

Does an air fryer cook food faster?

Roasting in an air fryer is similar to roasting in a convection oven. Both appliances cook food by circulating hot air around the food. 

The main difference is that an air fryer circulates the hot air more quickly and evenly, which means that food can be cooked faster and more evenly in an air fryer.

When you use an air fryer, you don’t have to wait for the appliance to heat up before you start cooking. This also means you can save energy by not preheating your oven. 

However, remember that most air fryers have a maximum cooking time of 30 minutes and are much smaller than an oven. 

So if you’re planning to cook a large roast, you may need to do it in two cycles or opt in for something bigger, like a conventional oven. 

Another advantage of air fryers is that they can produce crispy results without needing oil. This is because the hot air circulates so rapidly around the food that it dries out the surface, which gives the food a crispy texture. 

If you’re looking for a healthier alternative to deep frying, then an air fryer is a good choice.

Vojta Vevera

Combining a love for cooking and using all kinds of technological gizmos helps Vojta to bring the experiences and excitement to all his articles. He is always doing his best to serve you with great information. Mixing over 15 years of cooking experience with his analytical mind and love for all technological things.

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