Questions about Air Fryers? Here are the answers


If you’re thinking of getting an air fryer, it’s normal to have some questions about how they work and whether they will fit into your lifestyle. We answer some of the most frequently asked questions below, so you can see how easy it is to produce tastier and healthier food than you ever imagined.

Do air fryers use Oil?

The main point of air fryers is that they let you cook food without using any fat or oil. The appliance cooks food in a sealed chamber, where the food’s steam is trapped in the chamber and converted into heat energy that circulates and cooks the food at a uniform temperature. Rapid circulation of air forces any fat in the food to coat the outside evenly, making the food crisp, as if it has been fried, but without the requirement for additional fat or oil to be added.

If you are cooking food that does not contain oil, you may want to spritz a little oil over the food before you put it into your air fryer, for example on vegetables, battered fish, and oven chips to give it that crisp, fried taste.

Is an air fryer a convection oven?

A regular convection oven uses a fan that circulates hot air around the food to cook it, maintaining an even temperature so it cooks the food evenly. Air fryers work in the same way, so does this mean they are convection ovens? Yes…but no. An air fryer is a lot smaller—and the fan is closer to the food. This means that high temperatures are focused onto a smaller cooking area, which means that the food will cook quicker in an air fryer than in a convection oven.

Furthermore, food is placed in a basket in an air fryer so that air circulates all around it. Any oil or fat coats the outside of the food and the excess falls through the basket. This minimises calories and the food is crisper because it is not sitting in oil.

Do air fryers smell?

Questions about Air Fryers SousBeurreKitchen 2022Unlike deep fat fryers, using an air fryer won’t leave your house smelling like the local greasy spoon. As the cooking in an air fryer is done by hot air circulating your food, rather than heating oil to a sufficient temperature, there is no smell of frying produced. The only smell from an air fryer is the aroma of the delicious meal you are preparing.

However, if you do not clean an air fryer properly, over time it will start to smell as food particles that are not removed will burn and release an unpleasant odour. It’s important that you wash the removable parts of your air fryer, such as the basket and drip tray, after every use. Also, wipe down the heating element and inside of the air fryer once it has cooled down to remove any food debris and grease and your air fryer won’t start to smell bad.

Can you use aluminium foil in an air fryer?

It’s easy to see the benefits of using aluminium foil in your air fryer to keep your appliance clean. But, the main point of air fryers is that the air inside the device needs to be able to circulate freely so that the food cooks. So, if you obstruct the free flow of the air, it will disrupt this process. You will need to check the instructions with your particular model and manufacturer as there may be some safety issues as to why you shouldn’t use foil in your air fryer.

This doesn’t mean you can’t use aluminium foil, but if you are using it to line the air fryer basket, you will need to put holes in the foil to let any fat drip out and to allow the air to flow freely around the food.

Lining the bottom of your air fryer with aluminium foil to trap grease should be less of a problem. You can then simply remove the foil once you have finished cooking to dispose of any congealed fat.

Can you use paper towels in an air fryer?

The answer to this question is along similar lines to the one about whether you can use aluminium foil in an air fryer as it can hinder the air circulation and impede the cooking process so that your food will not cook properly, which could be dangerous as any bacteria in food is killed off by the cooking process.

More importantly, the nature of paper towels poses another problem that foil doesn’t—and that is that a paper towel is rather flimsy and can be sucked into the heating element, where it may start to burn and could potentially cause a fire.

The only time you should use paper towels with your air fryer is to dry off any parts that you have cleaned or to season the basket with oil to prevent food from sticking.

Can you use parchment paper in an air fryer?

Parchment (greaseproof) paper is designed for cooking with and can handle the high temperatures inside an air fryer. The same caveats apply to parchment paper as using aluminium foil. It will impede air circulation and so you will need to perforate the paper and you will need to ensure that the paper does not get too near the heating element and cause it to burn. Always check the manufacturer’s instructions for your model of air fryer.

Can you stack food in an air fryer?

Typically, a small air fryer has one basket that you should not overcrowd with food. For the best results, food should be arranged in a single layer to ensure that the air circulates around the food for even cooking that produces crisp and non-soggy results. However, to a certain extent, the type of food you put into the air fryer will determine whether it can be stacked. 

For example, French fries are small and thin enough that even if they aren’t spread in a single layer, the air should be able to circulate around the small gaps between the fries. 

Taking the basket out and shaking it once or twice during the cooking time should ensure the fries are cooked evenly. This won’t work for large food items, and you will find that the food will cook unevenly as the air can’t circulate around the whole item. 

Depending on the brand and model of the air fryer, it may be possible to stack food in your air fryer using racks that ensure air circulates sufficiently around all the food. Alternatively, some air fryers have multiple drawers so you can cook larger portions or different types of food all at once.

Do air fryers use a lot of electricity?

The amount of electricity air fryers use will depend on each model and manufacturer but air fryers don’t generally use too much energy. Typically, with a capacity of between 1400 and 1700 watts, they use between 1.4 – 2.7 kWh for every hour of use. This compares favourably with a regular convection oven, which uses between 2 – 5 kWh per hour. 

Additionally, air fryers tend to cook food considerably quicker than regular ovens. For example, something that takes 25 minutes in a regular oven may only take 15 minutes in an air fryer. Furthermore, many air fryer models do not need to be pre-heated, unlike regular ovens.

Air fryers are designed to be energy efficient and can help you to save money on your electricity bills—which in these current times of soaring energy prices could be a welcome benefit of using an air fryer instead of a conventional oven.

Can you boil water in an air fryer?

The heating coil and fan inside an air fryer are designed to heat up the air inside the appliance so that it is hot enough to cook food. Unfortunately, the temperature it generates will never be hot enough to boil water—and it won’t even come anywhere near boiling point. What’s more, excessive amounts of liquid in the air fryer can be dangerous resulting in the appliance overheating

If you want, you can add a few drops of water underneath the basket to prevent grease from fatty foods, such as sausages or bacon, getting too hot and smoking but you cannot use air fryers for steaming food or cooking rice.

The Bottom Line

Air fryers come in a variety of sizes and can be used to cook lots of different foods providing a healthier alternative to traditional frying. The value of the air fryer is that it doesn’t require oil, using foods’ natural oils to cook. 

Overall, an air fryer is a really good investment to make. They are efficient and healthy, and the best part is that they don’t take up much space on your kitchen worktop. So, if you are interested in one, you should get one as they can make your life much easier.

As with any kitchen appliance, how you use them is up to you but now that you know the basics, you’ll be able to make the most out of your air fryer, so it works for you.

Did you know that there is a special microwave for seniors with dementia? Check out our reviews for the ones we think are the best-suited microwaves for seniors with dementia, keeping in mind the simplicity of use and the safety aspect of each.


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