Before You Buy a Air Fryer
Let’s all be honest, who doesn’t like fried foods. They are unquestionably delicious. Yes, it is regarded as one of the least healthy ways to cook, but we want our french fries, or chips, fried chicken, and doughnuts. We buy them anyways, either at a restaurant or like me invest in a deep fryer for our homes. Lately, many kitchen appliance manufacturers have been introducing the magical air fryer, a device that rotates extreme hot air that essentially “fry” foods.
Technology and science have been playing huge roles in cooking and baking. The Maillard reaction is when food is heated above 285 Fahrenheit, creating that flavorful brown food that we all so enjoy. Depending on if heated directly or indirectly, the foods flavor compounds and appearance change. Airfryers are apparently able to do this without the use of any added fat to fry. The real question is do french fries still taste delicious like there deep fried counterparts. How crispy do they really get?
So I decided to test it out and see how the Airfryer measures up to my deep fryer. I decided to use raw potatoes to make french fries and breaded chicken strips. Assembling my family to be my test tasters to judge for crispiness, flavor, and moisture, I was ready to put this to the test.
For the airfryer, I used a medium-sized potato, unpeeled, cut into one-half inch thick strips. Most airfryer manufacturers suggest about a tablespoon oil to coat with for the best fry. I had to make sure to keep an eye on it and shake the basket halfway through to make sure the heat past through and cooked evenly. Time and temperature varied but man did it cook fast.
Once the timer went off, all of our anticipation went into overdrive as we bit into the fries. We all had the same opinion; yes it did cook it evenly and crispy, but the flavor just didn’t hold and just didn’t give you that satisfaction we were looking forward too.
The fries were not even brown and missed out on that beautiful crackling sound when they come out fresh from the fryer. There were a couple of brown spots, but mostly it remained the light yellow potato color they were when I put them in. They were not tender and fluffy inside, instead, they lacked moisture and none of the seasonings will hold onto the fries.
Fried Chicken Strips
Now, I bought the breaded chicken strips frozen to see how it handle it without defrosting. Surprisingly it handled it quite well. I didn’t have to coat with oil since it already had it. Once the timer went off we dug in. They came out hot, crispy and pretty damn tasty. We all filled our mouths with this moist deliciousness. It passed all the test with the highest remarks especially flavor. But, compared to it deep fried counterpart, it still came up short from that true fry satisfaction.
Overall Verdict and Recommendations
So, after tasting a couple more batches of fries and chicken in the airfryer, we came to the conclusion that this is a hybrid between a convection oven and a dehydrator. The heated air rotates around the food and cooks it as evenly possible. The holes and slats in the basket allow the heat to circulate around the surface of food to cook it.
If you have a convection setting on your oven, you can essentially replicate airfrying by putting your foods on the rack and just bake it. The most noticeable thing about the airfryer was the dehydration. Cooking the potatoes, the flavor seemed more like it was leached out and not much flavor added.
The best feature I did like though was how quickly it heated up. It only took couple minutes to preheat and it cooks foods much faster than a conventional oven. Looking at it as a healthy alternative, airfrying can be apart of your life. Just experiment on seasonings, oil amounts, and cooking time and you may find yourself using this all the time to satisfy that fry tooth.