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Needs some air fryer questions answered? Air fryers are confusing to people who have never used one. And even for more experienced users, air fryer questions come up. So here we’ll cover all those air fryer questions you have, and then some!
Air Fryer Questions – Quick Links
What is an air fryer?
An air fryer is basically a small convection oven that forcefully blows hot air around your food. It differs from a convection oven in the force of the air and the size of the cooking area. Air fryers purposely have smaller cooking areas in order to cook food faster. They also blow hot air more forcefully than a standard convection oven. Read more here.
What are the different types of air fryers
Not all air fryers are created equal, and some are very different from what most people think of when they think of an air fryer. Different types of air fryers offer different pros and cons. So it really comes down to how you cook and what you need from an air fryer. Let’s look at the different types to help you understand this better.
What is a basket type air fryer?
One of many air fryer question sis, what is a basket type air fryer? A basket air fryer is what most people imagine when they think of an air fryer. They are the egg-shaped air fryers with a pull-out drawer that holds your food. Typically, their one and only function is air frying. So if you need an air fryer and nothing else, these are a great option. They work well, cook fast and are easy to clean. On many models, the removable parts are dishwasher safe. Read more on basket air fryers here.
What is a paddle type air fryer?
A paddle air fryer is a counter top appliance that has a large bowl that holds your food. A paddle (removable on some models) rotates your food for you as it cooks. The paddle pushes the food around the bowl as the air fryer cooks. The also have their pros and cons, but can serve a few different functions aside from just air frying. In the models with removable paddles, so models can also mix or bake.
The main benefit here is that you don’t have to tend to the food during the cooking process as you do with other types because the paddle moves the food around for you. In all other types of air fryers, you must toss/rotate/flip your food once or twice during the cooking process. Read more about paddle air fryers here.
What is a toaster oven type air fryer?
These air fryers are our personal favorites. They offer so many functions and really do replace several other appliances in your kitchen. In fact, we haven’t even used our oven since we purchased this type of air fryer.
These look and function very much like a toaster oven, but they are convection air fryers. They have pull out trays, and some of them come with rotating baskets for roasting food, as well as a rotisserie set for cooking whole rotisserie chickens. These air fryers are the most versatile air fryers you can buy. Some have up to 9 or 10 different functions. Baking, rotisserie, roasting and more. Read about the best toaster oven air fryers here.
What is a microwave air fryer?
The idea behind these is that you get all the conveniences of a microwave while adding a crisping function to crisp up soggy food after microwaving it. Because we all know how soggy some foods can be after being cooked in a microwave. These microwaves claim to solve that problem. The jury is still out and we will be doing more research on these. They are still relatively new to the market.
What are the best air fryer brands?
Often asked air fryer questions usually include, “what are the best air fryer brands?” The answer to this can be subjective, but some brands really do stand out among the rest.
When considering the brand of an air fryer, it’s best to do your research. Some of the best brands produce more than just air fryers, so it’s good to consider their overall reputation for making good appliances. Brands such as Ninja are great with many different types of appliances. So its logical to assume that they will apply the same quality measures to their air fryers. And while there are always lemons in every bunch, Ninja really does seem to be one of the leading brands with good quality air fryer ratings.
Other brands include GoWise, NuWave and Instant (as in, Instant Pot). Read more about the best air fryer brands here.
Is an air fryer worth it?
Most people who ask this question are considering three things. Price, space and food. Does it fit your budget? Do you have the space for it in your kitchen, and can you cook a varied enough number of foods to make it worthwhile?
Air fryers are worth it only IF they are an appliance you will actually use. So to answer this question, you have to ask yourself what it is you want and need from an air fryer and if it will serve a purpose in your kitchen. We can help you figure that out in greater detail with this article here.
Is air frying healthy?
This is one of the top air fryer question asked. As with any kitchen appliance, the health factor of the food you cook with an air fryer is only as good as the food you cook in the air fryer. Meaning, you can cook junk food all day and it won’t be the healthiest choice, no matter how you cook it. The reverse is true too. Healthy food can be cooked in an oven or an air fryer and it will still be healthy.
That being said, if you purchase frozen foods such as cheese sticks, onions rings and french fries from the frozen section at the store, they will undoubtedly be healthier made in an air fryer than if you were to deep fry them. Not because the ingredients are healthier, but because you have reduced the amount of fat in the finished food.
Keep in mind that “healthy” is a subjective term. So some would say that air frying makes junk food healthier because of the reduced fat, which on some level, is very true. But that doesn’t change the amount of chemicals or processed ingredients in that same food. So here again, it all depends on your goals.
At the end of the day, it will always be easier to cook food in an air fryer. They heat up quicker, cook faster and reduce your overall fat intake, regardless of what you cook in them.
Does an air fryer really make crispy food?
Yes and no.
They do, in fact, make crispy food. But not in the same way that a deep fryer would. There is a level of crunch that deep frying in fat provides that an air fryer will never be able to duplicate. However, you absolutely can cook crispy food. It’s just a different type of crispiness without all the added fat.
Can you tell the difference? Yes, you can. Will your food still be crispy? Yes it will. Will it be different than deep fried food? Yes. But it’s also a healthier crispiness from cooking with so much less fat.
What size air fryer do I need?
This will depend largely on how many people you cook for at any given time. You should always purchase the air fryer with the largest capacity you can afford and fit into your kitchen. Because the only true regret you’ll have with a good air fryer is if it’s too small for your needs. Bigger is better in that regard. But if you’re really stumped, heres a guide to help you decide what size air fryer you need.
How much food can an air fryer cook or hold?
This will vary from air fryer to air fryer. Basically, it depends on the size of your air fryer. Typically, air fryers are measured in quarts. This indicates the amount of food, in quarts, that your air fryer can hold in one batch. However, keep in mind that cooking a quart of onion rings will be very different from cooking a quart of chicken breasts. Air fryers cook with air flow. So you may not be able to put as much of denser foods in your air fryer as you can with less dense foods.
Some air fryer capacities are measured in liters our pounds. So be on the lookout for any of those three types of measurements when purchasing an air fryer. Occasionally, we’ve also seen one measure in cubic feet. But those are pretty rare. Not sure what size air fryer you need? Read this guide to help you decide.
Are there ones that can hold enough food for a family of 4…or larger?
Yes! Absolutely! Air fryers for home use can go all the way up to 21 quarts, with the standard home-use size range being between 5 and 10 quarts. Always purchase the largest air fryer you can afford and that you can fit into your kitchen. Here’s a guide to help you figure out what size air fryer you need.
Are air fryers really quicker than ovens?
Yes. They are a smaller cooking area than an oven, so not only do they heat up much faster (2-5 minutes on those that require preheating – not all air fryers need to preheat), but they cook much faster too. The combination of forceful air flow and a smaller cooking area cut cooking time by at least half, if not more, depending on what you are cooking.
What can you cook in an air fryer?
One of the most asked air fryer questions is, what can you cook in an air fryer? A better question with a shorter answer would be, “what CAN’T you cook in an air fryer?”.
Truthfully, depending on what you want to cook and what type of air fryer you have, there isn’t much you can’t cook. Particularly in air fryers that have multiple functions. You might be only slightly more limited with an air fryer that only air fries, but there is still a large range of foods you can air fry. Here is a more extended description of all the possibilities
Can I fry veggies and meat together?
Yes, no…. and it depends.
Can you cook them together? Absolutely. The question is, will they cook the same? For example, a small piece of fish cooked alongside some broccoli or green beans will probably cook pretty well together and be done about the same time. Whereas, a thick steak and some thin slices of summer squash can still cook together, but you would have to remove the summer squash from the air fryer before the steak is done. So yes, they will cook together, but they won’t necessarily be done at the same time, depending on what you are cooking.
That being said, you never want to overcrowd your basket or try. Remember that air fryers cook with air flow. So you never want to put so much food on the tray or in the basket that the air can’t flower around the food freely. So make sure you have some room between your foods. It’s always better to cook in a single layer, even if you have to make a few batches to do this. The exception here would be something like onions rings where the food is naturally thin and automatically allows air flow all around it, no matter how much you fill up the try or basket.
Can you cook with oil in an air fryer?
Another of the main air fryer questions we get asked most often is if you can cook with oil in an air fryer. The answer is, absolutely. You won’t need much, but a little oil can really help with the finished flavor and texture. However, read the next question…
Can you use cooking spray in an air fryer?
Never, never, never use aerosol cooking sprays in an air fryer. The chemicals in the aerosol cans will damage the finishing on your air fryer tray or basket. Particularly, those finished with a non-stick finish. If you want to spray your basket or tray to help keep foods from sticking, check out these suggestions here for the best oil spray.
Is and air fryer good for a keto diet?
Yes and no. Is it a great way to cook meats and other low carb foods? For sure! But keto is a high fat eating plan, and high fat foods won’t do as well in an air fryer. They will still cook, but they will produce a lot of smoke from the fats.
The whole point of an air fryer is to cook with less fat. So technically, you could cook something and then add a bunch of fat to it (as sauce or butter) after cooking. But you never want to use a bunch of oil or fats in an air fryer. Your smoke alarms will not be happy.
How long do you cook food in an air fryer?
This depends on what you are cooking and how freely the air flow can circulate around your food. Different foods have different cooking times and temperatures, just like an oven would. The amount of food you put into your air fryer at once will affect the air flow too, which can affect cooking times. Here is a chart of air fryer cooking times to get you started. Keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures can vary slightly from air fryer to air fryer. We strongly suggest printing out a chart of times and taping it to your fridge or cabinet. Every time you cook something, take note of the time if takes YOUR air fryer to cook properly. Always use charts as a jumping off point, and then adjust accordingly.
What do I do if there is smoke coming from my air fryer?
People get alarmed when they see smoke. It’s natural. So another of the top air fryer questions is, what do you do if you see smoke?
Most air fryers will omit a small amount of smoke during air frying. It’s normal. This is why a 5 inch clearance is always recommended around your air fryer for proper ventilation. You can also set your air fryer under your stove vent to suck out any excess smoke.
Keep in mind that the fattier the food is that you are cooking, the more smoke there will be. Some people will put a little water in the drip pan (1 to 2 tbsp.) to offset this, while others recommend sacrificing a slice of bread by placing it in the drip pan to catch any fat that drips down. But in most cases, these sorts of measures are unnecessary. Most air fryers will smoke or steam far less than a pot of boiling water.
What are some good air frying tips for beginners?
The best thing you can do is to read your users manual and start looking at different recipes to see what the general processes are for air frying. But beyond that, we have 10 very specific air frying tips for beginners here.
How do you clean an air fryer? Is an air fryer easy to clean?
One of the most basic air fryer questions is on how to clean an air fryer.
To some extent, the answer to this will depend on the type of air fryer you have. Take note of which air fryer parts are dishwasher safe (if any). Typically, the removable parts are dishwasher safe, but read your users manual to be sure. Not all air fryers come with this option.
Some air fryers are easier to clean than other. The harder air fryers to clean tend to be the ones with more cracks and crevices that are hard to get into. We have found that on our toaster oven air fryer, the hinges on the door are the hardest part to keep clean.
Beyond that, your user manual will tell you exactly how to clean your air fryer. Most require a simple wipe down after every use.
How to choose an air fryer
There are many things to consider when deciding what kind of air fryer you want. Everything from exterior size and price to functions and capacity. It can be overwhelming to ty and choose the right air fryer when you don’t know much about them. (Hint: it’s much easier buying an air fryer the second time around!) So for your first timers, we’ve put together a checklist of what to consider and what to look for. You can find that here.
What are the best air fryers?
“Best” is a relative term in some ways. Because the best air fryer for you may be a terrible option for somebody else. This comes down to what can fit in your kitchen, what wattage your kitchen can handle, and what functions your air fryer offers as well as how much food it can hold in one batch.
Beyond that, considerations become more about the brand and quality as well as longevity or lifespan. Note that air fryers are not known for their long lifespans. We hope that companies will address this issue as more and more consumers start to enjoy air frying.
But there are some air fryers on the market that seem to stand out from the rest. Here are the best air fryers currently on the market.
Is there anything extra I have to buy for my air fryer?
Technically, no. Everything you need to start air frying will be in the box with your air fryer (which is sometimes, just the air fryer!). Some air fryers come with accessories or cookbooks. But all you need to get started is that actual air fryer and all it’s parts.
However, there are ways to really extend number of types of food you can cook in an air fryer. There are accessory sets you can purchase that give you things like cake pans, muffin tins or egg bite trays that really open up the world of things you can make in your air fryer.
Note that not all accessory sets will fit in every air fryer. So it’s critical to find the measurements of the inside tray or basket on your air fryer, and then compare that to the size of the accessories you want to purchase.
We found some accessory sets that will fit in a good majority of air fryers. Not all, but most. You can find those air fryer accessories here. Also, having the proper tongs for air fryers will help you a lot, particularly in maintaining any non-stick surfaces. Remember that you will have to rotate your food during cooking. So having tongs is a must. But you have to get the right kind. We talk about what those are here.
Lastly, if you really get into air frying, you’ll want to consider things like french fry cutters, vegetable peelers, meat thermometers and even basting brushes. These are not required to use your air fryer, but they certainly make life easier. Especially the fry cutter!
This thermometer is our favorite, and it’s totally affordable too!
How much do air fryers cost?
As with most appliances, there can be a relatively large price range. An as with most things in life, you get what you pay for.
That being said, you don’t have to purchase a top-of-the-line air fryer to get a good one. And sometimes, the cheap ones are inexpensive because they are also very small, which some people actually need. So price is relative in that way.
Most air fryers will range between $45 – $400. So consider what you are getting for your money. If you find a huge air fryer for $45, you may want to do a little research on it before buying. And if you were to find a very tiny air fryer for $400, well… it’s your money. But we don’t recommend it. At that price, a tiny air fryer better do the dishes and fold the laundry too. So choose wisely and use some common sense.
Why does my new air fryer stink so bad when I use it?
Many air fryers on the market have a short period of time in the beginning, where they will off-gas. While it’s anybody’s guess what they are off-gassing (teflon coating? Other manufacturing chemicals or finishing sprays?), many do have a very strong smell the first few times you use them. It can feel like you are in the midst of chemical warfare if it gets really bad. So here’s what we recommend.
- If it’s truly offensive and intolerable, send it back.
- Run your air fryer in a garage or other well ventilated area the first few times you use it. We do not recommend eating any food cooked while this off-gassing takes place. We recommend a sacrificial potato or two, or three.
- If the smell starts to fade after the first two or three uses, then the smell will fade and go away completely with a few more uses. If, however, the smell continues in strength and severity no matter how many poor little potatoes you’ve sacrificed, then send it back. Off-gassing is exactly that and should fade with each use. Not stay the same or get worse. We hope with time, manufacturers will wise up and find a way around this. But for now, that’s the process. Note that not all air fryers go through this process. But many do.
Are there any safety settings on an air fryer?
No. Most air fryers will shut themselves off when cooking is done, but there are not actual safety settings, and really, none are needed.
There are, however, safety tips to follow.
- Keep in mind that some air fryers get hot on the outside too. Most manufacturers will not mention if their unit gets hot on the outside or not, so it’s basically a shot in the dark unless somebody mentions it in reviews. If that is the case, make sure you protect your counter by setting your air fryer on a heat-safe surface, and if you have any kids in the house, warn them not to touch without your permission.
- Always use pot holders.
- A good, long pair of the right kind of tongs will prevent many air fryer burns. They are affordable too, so there is really no reason not to have one. Just make sure it’s the right kind of tongs for air frying.
- After every use, let your air fryer cool down and then wipe it down to keep it clean. Wash any washable parts and unplug your air fryer when not in use. (That’s more for saving on your electric bill than for safety, but it’s worth mentioning)
Can you set an air fryer to start and stop automatically?
Set it to start? No. Not to our knowledge. But you really wouldn’t want one with that function anyway because you never want to set up raw food hours ahead of time, even if you could set an air fryer to start automatically. Raw food belongs in the fridge.
Most air fryers will stop automatically, however. Once the cooking is done.
If it doesn’t sit out on the counter all the time, does it cool quickly so that it can be put away quickly?
No. While there are some toaster oven air fryers that store in an upright position when not in use, most air fryers require at least 20-30 minutes to be fully cooled down. So it comes down to what you consider “quickly”. If 20-30 minutes is a short amount of time to you, then sure! They cool down quickly! Just make double sure that it’s fully cooled before stashing it back in your cabinet. The truth is, many air fryers do best if left on the counter. But that’s a personal decision for you to make.
Should I get an extended warranty for my air fryer?
The short answer is, yes. As we mentioned above, air fryers are not known for their long lifespans. So having an extended warranty can really save you. That being said, it’s critical to read your warranty and understand what it will and won’t do. In some cases, portions of your warranty are only good if you purchase directly from the manufacturer. In other cases, they’ll cover everything, no matter what happened or where you bought it from. So read and understand first. That is, if an extended warranty is available.
Most air fryers will come with a standard, 1 year warranty. But again, read and understand what it covers. Not all warranties are created equal.
These are the top air fryer questions we get asked, and we hope we’ve provided you with useful answers to your air fryer questions. If you find that you have any air fryer questions not listed here, please feel free to reach out on social media and we’ll answer whatever air fryer questions you may have.
Remember, any new appliance has a learning curve. As long as you do some research before hand, read your user manual and even use the internet for help, most air fryer questions can easily be answered or will be avoided all together. Take the mystery out of any new appliance by getting informed before you ever try using it for the first time. You’ll feel more confident if you do.