Air Fryer 101

Studies show that eating fried food increases the risk of diabetes and heart disease, which isn’t great news if you’re a fan of favorites like French fries and fried pickles.

What if there was a way to make those greasy treats a little healthier? The answer is air fryers.

Air fryers are a recent trend in the cooking world that circulate hot air to cook foods. This convection-type baking machine uses only small amounts of oil, making it a healthier alternative to deep frying food. Try using avocado or olive oil to cook a delicious, “fried” treat.

You are probably wondering what delicious things you can make in an air fryer. Here are some great ways to use your frying device:

  • Heat up most frozen foods (Note: many processed frozen foods have been pre-cooked and may have been fried before, but there are healthier options available.)
  • Make chicken or fish.
  • Make French fries, sweet potato fries or fried pickles.
  • Turn leftover pizza crispy and warm.
  • Make homemade empanadas.

The options are endless when it comes to air fryers. Before you purchase one, here are some things you should consider:

  • Many air fryers are quite large (bigger than a toaster), so make sure you have somewhere to store one before purchasing or find a smaller model.
  • They come in a range of quality and prices – from around $40 to up to $400 – so do your research beforehand and read reviews online and buy one that suits your price range. More expensive does not always mean better.
  • Some air fryers can cook more types of foods than others, such as poultry or fish, so make sure you are buying one that is right for your cooking needs.

Quick Tips

  1. To use most air fryers, simply plug it in and set to a correct temperature and time.
  2. Some devices require preheating before use.
  3. Don’t overcrowd food in the air fryer.
  4. Shake whatever you are cooking halfway through cook time. Click here for a chart on air fryer cook times for different products.
  5. If you are frying something covered with a liquid batter, freeze the item before so it doesn’t make a mess in the air fryer and so that the batter stays on the food.
  6. Be careful when talking food out of an air fryer – it gets hot.
  7. Make sure you properly wash your machine after using – read the manual for information on your air fryer.

There are many ways to incorporate air-fried foods into your diet for a healthier version of your favorite fried foods. Avoid feeling sluggish after eating fast food French fries and try an air fryer instead.

For more healthy recipes, check out these posts:

Photo credit: Lauri Patterson

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