Chicken nuggets, French fries, mozzarella sticks… It seems like all the best foods are fried, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, fried foods aren’t the best base for a healthy diet. Fried foods and healthy eating have never gone hand in hand. Until, that is, the invention of the air fryer.
Over the past few years, air fryers have taken over as the latest cooking craze. They cut the cooking time in half and claim to be the best way to cook frozen foods. So, what is an air fryer? Think of an air fryer as a convection oven small enough to sit on your counter.
This trendy device fries foods using air, rather than oil. It allows people to enjoy their favorite fried foods without all the grease and grime. But what exactly does this mean? Are air fryers healthy? Today, our team at Chefs Temp is breaking down everything from the benefits of air fryers to whether or not air fryers are healthy.
Benefits of Air Fryers
If you ask an air fryer lover “what are the benefits of air fryers”, they will likely tell you there are too many to count. However, we’ve summed it up into the top 3 benefits of air fryers to show you how awesome these devices are.
- Air fryers are convenient.
Because these gadgets operate like a convection oven, they cook food in a much shorter time than other cooking devices. Air is circulated all around the food from every angle, meaning you don’t have to worry about flipping or turning your food throughout the cooking process.
- Air fryers are oil-free.
These gadgets work by using an internal fan to circulate hot air around your food. Unlike deep fryers that use tons of fattening oil to get food crispy, air fryers get food nice and crispy without the need for any oil at all. This is why many people believe that air fryers are one of the healthiest cooking methods, especially when compared to deep fryers.
- Air fryers make for easy clean-up.
Anyone who has ever deep-fried their food before can tell you just how messy the process is. Oil splatters fly everywhere and it’s a nightmare to clean. With the air fryer, no cooking oil is necessary and the food is contained inside the chamber, preventing any mess from getting outside the device.
What Temperatures Do Air Fryers Cook at?
Air fryers have a number of settings and temperatures for different types of foods. Temperatures range from 325°F to 400°F, allowing you to adjust as needed to suit your needs. Here are some common air fryer food temperatures:
- Bacon at 350°F
- Burgers at 350°F
- Chicken wings at 375°F
- French fries at 380°F
- Vegetables at 400°F
Keep in mind that proper temperatures and settings can vary depending on the air fryer brand, so always be sure to check the air fryer guide that came with your device.
When cooking raw meat in the air fryer, always use a quality meat thermometer to check the internal temperature before serving.
Does Air Frying Cause Cancer?
With any cooking method, there is a risk of carcinogens, or cancer-causing substances. This risk is known to be especially high in fried foods because the oils coating various foods are being continuously reheated. So, does air frying cause cancer?
In addition to reheated oils, longer cooking times are known to increase the risk of carcinogens. So, while air fryers use far less oil than deep fryers (if any at all), they typically require longer cooking times.
Overall, air frying is much better for you than deep frying. However, it’s important to keep in mind that every cooking method comes with a risk.
Is an Air Fryer Healthier than an Oven?
One appliance is not necessarily healthier than the other—unless of course you’re comparing a deep fryer to an air fryer. There are, however, advantages to using an air fryer over an oven.
The main difference between an air fryer and an oven is in how the oil is circulated. Not only are fryers designed to keep food from absorbing too much oil, but you actually don’t need any oil at all.
Alternatively, when your food sits on a baking sheet in the oven, it soaks up all of the oil you’ve rubbed or sprayed it with. So, if your goal is to cut back on calories and still enjoy the dishes you love, the air fryer is a great way to do it.
Air Fryer Pros and Cons
As with anything in life, there are advantages and disadvantages to owning an air fryer. Our ChefsTemp pros have narrowed down the top pros and cons of air fryers to help you make an informed decision.
- Quick cook times
- Compact size (fits on the countertop)
- Makes food crispy without oil
- Does not heat up your entire home (like an oven does)
- Too small for certain foods and bulk batches
- Food can burn quickly if you aren’t careful
- Internal fan can cause breadcrumbs or wet batter to blow off the food
A major disadvantage however is the size itself. If you are trying to prepare a feast for a holiday, larger foods like a turkey or ham will not fit inside the fryer basket. Keep in mind what you are trying to prepare when using your air fryer—larger foods might not cook as evenly or thoroughly.
Should I Buy an Air Fryer?
If you’re looking to cut down on your oil intake and want a quick and affordable new way to cook your food, then air fryers make a fantastic investment. The device is easy to use and dorm-friendly, making it a great gift for college students. It’s also wonderful for people looking to eat healthier without sacrificing their favorite fried foods.
Because the attachments are dishwasher-friendly, air fryers are extremely easy to clean. They also eliminate the need for an oven or microwave. Whether you’re looking to cook a dish or reheat some leftovers, the air fryer has got you covered.
With so many benefits surrounding these trendy cooking gadgets, it’s no surprise that air fryers are so popular. If you have not yet given into the craze and tried it out for yourself, now might be the time. Unlike traditional fryers that soak food in oil, air fryers do not require any oil at all. This makes them far healthier than other cooking methods.
Air fryers are affordable, user-friendly, healthy, and quick. They make great gifts for loved ones, so keep that in mind this holiday season. If you stumbled upon this guide because you searched “are air fryers healthy”, we hope we answered your question. Now, you’re ready to fry up some delicious food!