The cost of living crisis has made many of us look at ways we can save a bit of extra cash. In particular, the cost of energy is of great concern. So what if there was a device you could use to cook food more efficiently and better still, do it in a healthier way than traditional methods? Well, there is such a device and it’s called an air fryer. So what is an air fryer and should you buy one?
What is an air fryer and how does it work?
Air fryers are a great addition to any kitchen. They use the power of hot air to cook food. This is a much healthier alternative to deep-frying, which can add too much oil and fat to your diet.
What can you cook in an air fryer?
You can cook pretty much anything in an air fryer that you can cook in a traditional oven, room permitting. Try adding a little oil to foods like chicken, potatoes and parsnips to give them a lovely crispy coating for a delicious roast meal.
Will using an air fryer save you money?
One of the main reasons air fryers are gaining popularity is that they are cheaper to run than traditional ovens.
Since air fryers are smaller and generally cook food faster than an oven, the running cost is a lot less.
In addition, consider how much less oil you will be using when cooking with an air fryer. Instead of using a large quantity of oil to produce your favourite fried foods, you will be using much less – usually a tablespoon or less.
With the price of oil increasing, this adds to the potential money saving.
Buying an air fryer – what size should it be?
Air fryers come in different capacity sizes, measured in litres.
If you are just cooking for yourself and the occasional second person then a smaller capacity will suit you just fine, however, if you are cooking for a family or a large number of people then you will need an air fryer with a bigger capacity.
Do you need dual cooking?
Some of the newest air fryers on the market offer dual cooking – either in the form of multiple baskets for cooking or using trays.
If you want to cook an entire meal with sides then you might want to consider an air fryer that offers dual cooking. For example, with dual cooking, you could cook fish in one basket or on one tray, and chips in the other basket or on the other tray.
If you are likely to just be cooking one thing at a time in your air fryer then you don’t need to consider a dual cooking function.
Basket or trays in your air fryer?
Air fryers either cook food in a basket or on trays like a traditional oven.
The basket-style air fryers are typically tall air fryers which feature heating elements and fans. There are slide-out baskets that slot into place inside the air fryer.
Basket-style air fryers usually have a smaller cooking area than oven-style air fryers.
Basket-style air fryers often require the food cooking inside the basket to be shaken during cooking to ensure even cooking.
Oven-style air fryers use fan or convection technology to cook the food on flat trays. These trays slide into the air fryer, much like in an oven.
Whilst usually bigger than a basket-style air fryer, the benefit is that you can cook a variety of foods at the same time on separate trays.
Oven-style air fryers also often come with extra features, like a rotisserie function you could possibly use to cook a whole chicken.
Your budget for buying an air fryer
Air fryer prices have a dramatic range, from around £40 at the lower end to over £500 at the higher end.
Your budget should play an important factor in deciding which air fryer to purchase.
Some people choose to buy a cheaper air fryer to see if they actually use it before deciding to upgrade, whereas others go straight in at the top end and buy a more expensive air fryer from the start.
There is no right or wrong budget for an air fryer. It’s down to personal choice based on your needs.
Of course, you can save money by looking to buy a second-hand air fryer from places like eBay or Facebook Marketplace.
Storage space for your air fryer
As previously mentioned, air fryers come in various sizes.
This means that you need to take the size of the air fryer into consideration – not only for your kitchen worktop but also if you are planning to store your air fryer in a cupboard when not in use. Larger air fryers would have difficulty fitting into a cupboard in your kitchen.
Will you actually use an air fryer?
It is time to get serious with yourself – will you actually use the air fryer you have purchased?
If your air fryer will soon become another kitchen gadget rarely used, then buying one isn’t for you.
However, our view is for most people an air fryer is a good investment that you won’t want to confine to the cupboard of unused appliances. Saving money while producing healthier food is a win-win!