air frying 101

Today I’m talking about one of my favorite tools in the kitchen, my air fryer! Since the New Year, I’ve gotten about a dozen messages about the air fryer. Is it worth the money? Is it easy to use? Is that much better for you? The answer is yes, yes, and YES. I got my air fryer for Christmas and have used it almost every day. I was gifted the Faberware Oil-less Fryer which retails at Walmart for $79 and feel that with using the cheapest option, it’s a lot of bang for my buck.

The air fryer cooks by circulating (really) hot air around the food. It’s SUPER easy to clean, which is always a big deal to me and is really user friendly.

Q: What type of foods do you put in the air fryer?

A: ALL FOOD. But really, this baby can handle a lot. It’s perfect for veggies that you would normally bake, meat that you would grill/bake/fry, breakfast food, baked goods, and IDEAL for leftovers (I’m looking at you soggy French fries!) My favorite thing to put in there is chicken that’s coated in either panko, breadcrumbs, or seasoning. I love making crispy shrimp. The Brussel sprouts cook at lightning speed. The whole thing is incredible.

Q: How much oil do you use to fry it?

A: None. I toss my veggies or meat like I normal would in olive oil in a separate dish and place in the fryer. If it’s something breaded like chicken or shrimp, I will spray the meat with an olive oil mister to give it that nice brown color. No oil is dumped/sprayed/dunked in the fryer.

Q: Is that meat raw when you put in the fryer?

A: Yes, you cook it like you normally would on the stove/oven/grill.

Q: What is the difference between the oven and the air fryer?

A: For me, it’s the quality of the food. I spend a lot of time trying to make my meals as close to restaurant quality as possible. Things like broccoli tots, homemade French fries, and chicken tenders have always come out pretty soft in the oven. Even when they are fully cooked, it’s still a bit mushy. The air fryer will transform all of your tots, fries, and tenders into a crispy, unbelievable goodness. The other big factor is TIME. Most nights I’m trying to make a handful of veggies at once. I end up dirtying a lot of dishes and waiting what feels like ALL NIGHT for things like potatoes to cook. With the air fryer both of those things are eliminated. I line my air fryer basket with aluminum foil, that way when it’s time to throw in a new batch of something, it takes zero time. In regards to cook time, Brussel sprouts take about 12 minutes to fry and potatoes vary on size and cut (normally anywhere from 20-5 minutes).

Q: What are some of the cons to air frying?

A: The basket on mine is pretty small. It’s perfect for a single person or using to cook side dishes. They do sell larger baskets and double layer baskets, but I thought for my first go-around that one basket should be fine. Another con is that it takes a bit of experimenting. Not everything that I put in the air fryer turns out amazing. There are some things that I coated in the wrong batter or are just better on another surface. But with every recipe and “guess-ipe” it gets better. There isn’t a ton of literature on the art of air frying, so being okay with failure is something that I’m learning to cope with. The air fryer is pretty bog, but probably not as big as you think it is. I had originally planned to store mine in the garage, but after seeing how often I used it, the AF has a permanent home in my main kitchen. I swapped out some pots and pans and store it under the cabinet. The last con is that when you do find a recipe; most of them will have you pre-heat your air fryer. Mine does not have a pre-heat setting; it just ramps up really fast. So when following a recipe, I have to guess on the timing.

I’ll be posting recipes over the next few weeks of some dishes in the air fryer. Feel free to comment below with questions. I’m happy to help anyway that I can.

Happy Frying!

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