An Introduction to Air Fryers

An Introduction to Air Fryers

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If you’re thinking of dipping your toes into the world of air fryers UK but have no clue where to start, you’re definitely not alone. That’s exactly where I was, a year ago, right before I invested in one and it changed my life forever. (I’m not even joking.) So, I’ve got answers to all your air fryer questions in this introduction to air fryers.

Whether you’re using it for the first time or the one-hundredth time, I guarantee you’ll find a trick or two in here that you can use to make your air fryer journey a much easier, quicker, and tastier one.

Shall we jump right in?

An Introduction to Air Fryers

I’ve broken this guide into different sections, as you’ll see from the table of contents above. I’m going to start by answering some generalised air fryer questions, before then moving into preparation, cooking, cleaning, accessories, safety, and more.

What is An Air Fryer?

An air fryer is exactly as it sounds: a kitchen appliance that ‘fries’ food items using air rather than oil or some other type of fat.

These days, you can buy air fryers in all sorts of designs, colours, shapes, and sizes, with a wide range of features. (Or ‘bells and whistles’ as my mother would say.)

It can technically do the job of many other kitchen appliances, including:

  • Frying
  • Baking
  • Roasting
  • Reheating
  • Crisping
  • Broiling
  • Dehydrating

To complicate things just a little bit, there are actually two main types of air fryer. One is like an oven – an air fryer oven.

The other is the typical appliance we all think of when we say the word ‘air fryer’ – an appliance with a basket (or similar). These are known as basket air fryers.

When Was the Air Fryer Invented?

The air fryer was first ‘invented’ in 2010, when Airfryer-branded convection ovens were put on sale by electronics name Philips. The term had picked up steam by the later end of the decade, and by the 2020s, every brand name had their own version of an air fryer.

Technically though, the air fryer is a type of convection oven and those have been around since around 1945.

How Does an Air Fryer Work?

When you fry food, you submerge it in hot oil until it turns crispy, brown, and cooked.

When you cook food in an air fryer, you’re doing exactly the same thing. Rather than submerging the good in hot oil though, you’re essentially submerging it into swirling, circulating hot air.

In essence, this makes an air fryer the same as a convection oven. The fan blows hot air around the inside of the cooking drawer or basket, resulting in evenly cooked food with nice and crispy coating.

Are Air Fryers Healthy?

Yes, air fryers are generally considered more healthy than other methods of cooking, especially frying.

Only a small amount of oil or fat is necessary for this appliance to cook food, which means that you’ll be cutting down your fat/oil content when you use it. Chips in an air fryer are going to be considerably less fatty than chips in a deep fat fryer. The more meals you cook in the air fryer, the less fat you’ll consume.

Are Air Fryers Safe?

Yes, air fryers are safe…

But this only applies if you purchase a good quality air fryer, with good reviews, from a reputable brand, used properly and as the instruction booklet dictates.

If you get ‘creative’ with your air fryer, using it in ways not recommended, the level of safety goes down. The same applies to low-quality, second-hand, or too-cheap-to-be-true models.

All air fryer models come with safety features as standard now. These include things like:

  • Automatic shut-off
  • Overheat protection

If your air fryer doesn’t appear to come with some or all these safety features, it might be worth considering another model instead. You cannot put a price on safety.

Are Air Fryers Dangerous?

Air fryers are dangerous when they’re not used as they’re supposed to be used, in the way they’re supposed to be used. That’s why you should read the instruction manual before you start playing with your new kitchen toy.

Will an Air Fryer Save Me Money?

In theory, yes, an air fryer will save you money.

There are many, many variables to factor in, however.

If you replace oven cooking with air fryer cooking, you are likely to save money for several reasons:

  • Food cooks quicker in an air fryer than an oven, so the appliance will be turned on for a shorter time.
  • Air fryers don’t [always] need to be preheated, which again means a shorter turn-on time.
  • Air fryers often use less power than ovens.
  • You’ll use less oil. (A small saving but a saving nevertheless.)
  • You’ll save time when cooking. (Time is money, right?)

Are Air Fryer Ovens Energy Efficient?

An air fryer is, in theory, much more energy efficient than a ‘regular’ oven.

They’re also usually more energy efficient than a microwave, too.

Using an air fryer requires no or little preheating time, plus reduced cooking time. These two things combined that cut your energy usage by a fair bit during dinner!

Are Air Fryer Ovens Energy Efficient

Can an Air Fryer Replace an Oven?

The answer to this question will be different from person to person and household to household.

Some people still prefer to use their oven and/or other appliances even after getting an air fryer.

Since buying my air fryer, I’ve barely used my oven. The fryer does pretty much everything I want the oven to do, but quicker, cheaper, and using less oil or fat.

So, yes, I could replace my oven with an air fryer.

Can an Air Fryer Replace a Microwave

Again, the same disclaimer applies to this question as the previous one. Different people will have different opinions. As much as I could give up my oven and only use an air fryer, I don’t think I could do the same for the microwave.

I use the microwave to steam a lot of vegetables when I don’t want them to be air fryer crispy. It’s also a great way to quickly heat up beans or spaghetti for baked potatoes or a side, and to heat up the microwaveable heated lavender bear I have.

I love my air fryer very much, but I don’t think it could completely replace my microwave. (Sorry, air fryer!)

Where Can I Place my Air Fryer in the Kitchen?

When in use, your air fryer should be on a surface or counter that is resistant to heat.

The appliance will heat up, so you should also make sure that there is at least seven or eight inches around it, in all directions.

A tea towel (or anything else) placed too close to an in-use air fryer could get so hot that it ends up starting a fire.

Again, if you read the instruction manual that comes with your device, it will tell you how much space it needs to vent properly. It will also tell you where the exhaust vent is. It is vitally important that you do not cover or smother that part of the appliance.

When not in use, you can store your air fryer in a cupboard. Just make sure you wash every part and wipe down the machine to prevent stickiness all over.

You must let the air fryer cool down before you put it in storage.

Will an Air Fryer Burn the Countertop?

If your countertop is heat resistant, no, your air fryer will not burn the countertop.

Most countertops are heat resistant, but not all. If you wouldn’t put a deep fat fryer on it, or any other hot cooking appliance, I probably wouldn’t put an air fryer directly on to it.

You can buy heat-resistant mats and protective bases for the air fryer to sit on if you are concerned.

Are Air Fryer Trays Dishwasher Safe?

Although all models are different, most air fryers come with dishwasher safe parts.

That doesn’t mean you should clean them in the dishwasher, though.

According to experts, putting air fryer components in the dishwasher can deteriorate the non-stick coating. Handwashing is a more delicate approach, which will leave the non-stick as non-sticky as it should be, for longer.

An Introduction to Air Fryers

Keep your eyes peeled for the next part of my complete guide to air fryers, which will answer every single question you ever have. (I promise!)

While we’re on the subject of air fryers, why not have a look at these while you’re here:

By Buzzy Kitchen

Lovers of food, owners of opinions, pleased to share!