An air fryer is an appliance that cooks food through the use of a mechanical fan that circulates hot air around the food, as opposed to covering it in oil.
The food is placed inside of a cooking basket along with a very small amount of oil. In most cases the basket must be shaken to ensure even coverage and cooking, but there are some models that can handle the movement themselves. Some models of air fryers have a timer and temperature controls.
On the upside, air fryers mean you aren’t dealing with oil splattering, and the question of how to store or dispose of a lot of oil used in cooking. Using such a small amount of oil makes for healthier food.
On the downside, air fryers are rather large and take up some room on the counter. And despite the fact that they are large, the amount many can cook in one batch is on the smaller side. That means you will have to make several batches of food in order to feed a family or crowd, which translates into the air fryer usually not being a time saver.
The taste of air fried food versus food fried in oil is comparable, but most people do notice a slight difference in texture and flavor.
Wondering what to make in an air fryer? There are hundreds of air fryer cookbooks!