When someone you know gets an air fryer, chances are you’ll know about it. Not only because they’ll announce it from the rooftops, but because – if that someone is your neighbour – they’re actually very loud appliances ( something they don’t warn you about on the box). But are these popular kitchen additions actually as great as everyone makes them out to be?
After hearing our friends sing its praises for months, we finally caved and got an air fryer in our household. It sits quietly in the corner behind the kettle, lying in wait for the moment someone will turn its timer dial and press that power button – then it growls. Loudly.
The volume of the thing could be considered a downside, but considering the device cooks just about anything (and I mean anything) to near perfection, why should it not announce its presence with thundering gravitas?
If you’re accustomed to frying things in a pan, it can be a little daunting to toss all manner of edible things into an air fryer basket and let them do their thing unsupervised. And at a time when people have ovens, microwaves, slow-cookers, food processors, waffle irons – and an appliance for just about anything else – lying about the kitchen collecting dust, why would anyone want another?
Air Fryer pros
Perhaps the greatest thing about the air fryer is how much it reduces cooking time. Unlike a conventional oven, you don’t have to wait for it to heat up – you simply pop your veggies in and let it get to work.
It also doesn’t require oil to make things extra crispy, which is a real delight, and will make you feel so much healthier – not to mention safe from those pesky little oil splatter burns. It also saves up having to clean oily utensils afterwards – although cleaning the machine itself requires some effort int he case that you do get oil in there.
They really can cook anything too. We’ve so far tried an array of veggies ( corn: great. Brussel sprouts: less so), meats, fish, tofu, muffins – and almost everything comes out beautifully. French fries are crispier than when done in the oven, and nothing gets that mushy microwaved vibe.
Basically, this not-so-little device is supposed to save you time, effort, and calories – which is why it’s become one of the hottest ( pun intended) kitchen appliances around these days.
Air Fryer cons
Unless you buy a small model – which will take up quite a bit of space on your counter – towering above most other appliances like a rumbling behemoth, An air fryer probably isn’t going to be able to cook all that much at a time. The basket is smaller than one would imagine, and when catering for a crowd, you’d probably be better off using a spacious oven or a few plates on the stove in conjunction with it.
It also probably won’t come with all the additional bits which will allow you to bake things like muffins, or fry two layers of chicken wings at a time. Instead, you’ll be convinced that you need these things by the recipe book they send along with the machine, and spend a whole load of money on extra parts just so that you can boast a little more successfully to your air fryerless (read: plebeian) friends.
Again, it may be a little loud for some – with some models reaching up to 65 decibels, the equivalent of a vacuum cleaner. If you’re working from home you may want to ensure that you’re not trying to cook some fries when your meeting starts or you might not hear a word your boss has to say.
Air fryers are having a real moment right now – just like smoothie makers, juicers, and pressure cookers have in the past – and they probably won’t be going away any time soon. Ultimately, though, you don’t need a giant plastic contraption to cook your food for you. If you’re getting by just fine using the microwave and the stove, it’s not necessary to splurge on an air fryer.
We love ours and use it all the time, but I won’t be recommending everyone I know get one – if the machine is on while I’m trying to, they won’t be able to hear me anyway.