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  • Post #31 - February 12th, 2021, 12:06 pm
    Post #31 - February 12th, 2021, 12:06 pm Post #31 - February 12th, 2021, 12:06 pm
    ronnie_suburban wrote:1) What's the draw of an air fryer?
    2) If one already owns a convection oven or toaster oven, is there any significant advantage to adding an air fryer?
    3) Are there some brands that are more reliable than others?
    4) Are differences in pricing (there is a wide range) indicative of anything in particular? Quality, features, capacity?
    5) Are there any brands on which all the applicable parts are truly dishwasher safe?
    6) Given the nature of the cooking done in these machines, does their volume capacity really matter? Since you wouldn't stack food, wouldn't area capacity be the only relevant measure of capacity?

    Thanks,

    =R=


    I don't think I would've bought one myself, but I was gifted the Air Fryer attachment for our Instant Pot, and, surprisingly, I love it. It's small capacity is made up for by the fact that it is an absolute breeze to clean; which might distinguish it from other options.

    I'll pile on with respect to leftovers. It is great for reheating anything that came from the resto fried (onion rings, calamari, wings, etc) and anything from the freezer section of the grocery store that is better deep-fried than oven-baked. Perhaps faster than the microwave and way better results.

    Another example: I've started buying frozen falafel and in a few minutes I've got great material for lunchtime wraps. I've pondered trying to build a process for freezing home-made falafel in bulk to use with the air-fryer. But haven't really dove into that project yet.

    Also great for "broasting" a head of broccoli or caulifower if I'm not running the oven already.

    In any event, I use it way more than I thought I would.
  • Post #32 - February 12th, 2021, 12:14 pm
    Post #32 - February 12th, 2021, 12:14 pm Post #32 - February 12th, 2021, 12:14 pm
    My wife, who never cooks, insisted on getting an air fryer. Since we have a toaster oven and a regular convection oven, I didnt think we would ever use it, so we got a relatively cheap model, the Chefman turbofry touch, for $60 at target. It has a 3.6 quart capacity. I have found that I use it quite a bit, particularly now that the kids are gone.....it isnt really big enough to cook for more than 2-3. I use it for many of the same things that I would normally convect roast in the oven, mostly potatoes and vegetables. It crisps them up as well as the oven with much less oil. It is easier to use than the oven, cooks more quickly with basically no pre-heating time. We have also used it for frozen appetizer type things and tater tots. It is a front loading basket model, and the basket and tray are dishwasher safe, though I usually just hand wash it.
    I have not tried any regular meat or poultry in it. I do not use it to reheat pizza because that is what the panini press is for. So overall, it is certainly not necessary, but it is nice and convenient. Unlike most of the kitchen gadgetry that my wife gets, I actually use it.

    -Will
  • Post #33 - February 12th, 2021, 1:03 pm
    Post #33 - February 12th, 2021, 1:03 pm Post #33 - February 12th, 2021, 1:03 pm
    Ha, air fryer. I was a toaster oven guy for years, then went slot toaster. After a year the bride bought me a nice Cuisinart toaster oven for a present. It sat in the basement for years, just brought it up last week. Love the thing. :)

    It also took me 4-years to use the Lodge griddle insert in my 'new' oven. :)

    I'll try an air fryer in a few years. First I have to buy one and have it sit in the basement for a few years. :)
    Hold my beer . . .

    Low & Slow
  • Post #34 - February 12th, 2021, 1:29 pm
    Post #34 - February 12th, 2021, 1:29 pm Post #34 - February 12th, 2021, 1:29 pm
    ronnie_suburban wrote:1) What's the draw of an air fryer?
    2) If one already owns a convection oven or toaster oven, is there any significant advantage to adding an air fryer?
    3) Are there some brands that are more reliable than others?
    4) Are differences in pricing (there is a wide range) indicative of anything in particular? Quality, features, capacity?
    5) Are there any brands on which all the applicable parts are truly dishwasher safe?
    6) Given the nature of the cooking done in these machines, does their volume capacity really matter? Since you wouldn't stack food, wouldn't area capacity be the only relevant measure of capacity?


    My first stop on questions like these is Wirecutter:

    When we first tested air fryers, in 2017, most of the models we found were small, pod-shaped appliances that looked like they’d be more at home in a sci-fi movie than on a kitchen counter. They couldn’t hold much food, and they yielded mediocre results. Since air frying is really just convection baking, we think most people would be better off with a convection toaster oven, such as our top pick, the Cuisinart Chef’s Convection Toaster Oven TOB-260N1, which does everything an air fryer can do and more.


    They also answer a few of your other questions.

    For what it's worth, my BiL has an Air Fryer and uses it a lot.
  • Post #35 - February 12th, 2021, 5:30 pm
    Post #35 - February 12th, 2021, 5:30 pm Post #35 - February 12th, 2021, 5:30 pm
    G Wiv wrote:After a year the bride bought me a nice Cuisinart toaster oven for a present. It sat in the basement for years, just brought it up last week.

    While at Trader Joe's Evanston yesterday I bought a vacuum sealed tray of cod. Did not have high hopes but it smelled fresh, was firm and cooked up nicely in my 'new' toaster oven.

    click to enlarge
    Image

    Toaster Ovens, count me a Fan!
    Hold my beer . . .

    Low & Slow
  • Post #36 - February 12th, 2021, 6:05 pm
    Post #36 - February 12th, 2021, 6:05 pm Post #36 - February 12th, 2021, 6:05 pm
    One of my favorite meals prior to the pandemic (and since) has been the El Pollo Loco Tostada Salad. In other words, it is what most places call a taco salad.

    I can take a large flour tortilla, spray it with pan spray, and place it in the airfryer and make the taco bowl for the salad. It comes out real nice with well under half of the calories. The one good thing about that is that it is simple to do early in the day and then focus on the fillings closer to dinner.
  • Post #37 - February 12th, 2021, 7:18 pm
    Post #37 - February 12th, 2021, 7:18 pm Post #37 - February 12th, 2021, 7:18 pm
    Never tried an air fryer.

    But just from a physics point of view, I don't see how really fast moving air, can make that much difference over slower moving air.
  • Post #38 - February 12th, 2021, 7:58 pm
    Post #38 - February 12th, 2021, 7:58 pm Post #38 - February 12th, 2021, 7:58 pm
    A few thoughts on the fast moving air question, and why fan cfm could be important: Air has very little specific heat for its volume compared to vegetable oil. The amount of energy required to heat a potful of air to a given temperature is roughly 1/1600th of the energy required to heat the same potful of oil. That's the amount of energy available to cook the food via conduction alone. The air or oil cools down and the food heats up. So, the air will need to be reheated many many times, or depending on the design of the appliance, new hot air brought in and old blown out.

    I suspect that some of the air fried crispiness is created simply by drying out the food as it cooks. Fast moving air will do a faster job of drying.

    From reviews, this is borne out in real life. Basket and top fan oven styles, with large hard-blowing fans behind their heating elements, are reported to cook faster and crispier than side fan or infrared glass bowl styles with smaller fans located farther from the heat. I'm a little skeptical of that Wirecutter article, surprised that they didn't recommend the somewhat similar Cuisinart TOA-65. But they, in turn, were skeptical of air fryers to begin with.

    Ron mentioned drawer vs. flip-top. Only one person mentioned the latest thing, the pressure cooker/air fryer combo or air fryer lid accessory for pressure cookers. Unfortunately, they don't allow air frying under pressure. That would be really interesting. But they do make one less thing to keep in the cupboard. And used with a stainless cooking insert, it would be another dishwasher-safe option.

    I air fried an ordinary 3-egg quiche tonight. Took 22 minutes, a little more than half the time of the regular oven. The bottom crust could have been slightly more done. Next time I'll reduce the ratio of top heat vs. bottom heat and use a dark steel pan instead of a traditional ceramic dish.
  • Post #39 - February 12th, 2021, 10:55 pm
    Post #39 - February 12th, 2021, 10:55 pm Post #39 - February 12th, 2021, 10:55 pm
    Tomorrow, I will be using my air fryer to make up some tortilla chips using a dozen corn tortillas. They turn our very well as long as you don't overcrowd them.
  • Post #40 - February 12th, 2021, 11:39 pm
    Post #40 - February 12th, 2021, 11:39 pm Post #40 - February 12th, 2021, 11:39 pm
    bobbywal wrote:In any event, I use it way more than I thought I would.

    WillG wrote:Unlike most of the kitchen gadgetry that my wife gets, I actually use it.

    Okay, there's two votes right there for unexpected usefulness. I think that's important.

    G Wiv wrote:I'll try an air fryer in a few years. First I have to buy one and have it sit in the basement for a few years. :)

    LOL- I hear dry-aging is the way to go! :lol:

    Darren72 wrote:My first stop on questions like these is Wirecutter

    Thanks, Darren. That's really helpful.

    G Wiv wrote:Toaster Ovens, count me a Fan!

    Me too and that's part of why I'm not convinced an air fryer would be a significant addition for me. I have a Breville convection toaster oven that does a lot of things really well and it has a much larger capacity than most (all?) air fryers.

    jlawrence01 wrote:I can take a large flour tortilla, spray it with pan spray, and place it in the airfryer and make the taco bowl for the salad. It comes out real nice with well under half of the calories. The one good thing about that is that it is simple to do early in the day and then focus on the fillings closer to dinner.

    Interesting. So you're actually using the air fryer's cooking basket as a mold for your salad shell? How long do you cook it?

    lougord99 wrote:But just from a physics point of view, I don't see how really fast moving air, can make that much difference over slower moving air.

    Well, in the negative column, as I posted above, it can wreak havoc on batter-based bakes by blowing the batter around, preventing it from setting properly. Maybe this also has to do with the proximity of the food to the fan(s)? I saw one recommendation for covering such bakes with foil.

    tjr wrote:But they do make one less thing to keep in the cupboard.

    Yeah, part of my decision-making process is that I really like my Breville toaster oven. It resides on an otherwise unusable portion of my countertop and we use it almost daily. How often will I use another device, a significantly smaller one, that overlaps with many of the Breville's functions, especially if I have to retrieve it every time I want to use it?

    jlawrence01 wrote:Tomorrow, I will be using my air fryer to make up some tortilla chips using a dozen corn tortillas. They turn our very well as long as you don't overcrowd them.

    You add no oil at all?

    =R=
    By protecting others, you save yourself. If you only think of yourself, you'll only destroy yourself. --Kambei Shimada

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #41 - February 13th, 2021, 2:39 am
    Post #41 - February 13th, 2021, 2:39 am Post #41 - February 13th, 2021, 2:39 am
    Yeah, part of my decision-making process is that I really like my Breville toaster oven. It resides on an otherwise unusable portion of my countertop and we use it almost daily. How often will I use another device, a significantly smaller one, that overlaps with many of the Breville's functions, especially if I have to retrieve it every time I want to use it?


    Well, you could upgrade to a Breville Smart Oven Air and have it all. It's sometimes mentioned in reviews as the best air fryer nobody buys, because it's nearly $400.
  • Post #42 - February 13th, 2021, 3:51 pm
    Post #42 - February 13th, 2021, 3:51 pm Post #42 - February 13th, 2021, 3:51 pm
    I've never been able to find a good explanation of how --- other than in shape --- an air fryer differs from a toaster oven with a convection cooking option. Not that I'm advocating getting a toaster oven rather than an air fryer if you don't have either, because a good toaster oven takes a honking amount of counter space. But if you do already have a good toaster oven with convection feature, as I do (an Oster TSSTTVLXDG, which I picked in part because it is big enough for a full-size pizza but mostly because of its high ratings to price ratio), I don't see what an air fryer offers that a convection toaster oven doesn't.
    "Your swimming suit matches your eyes, you hold your nose before diving, loving you has made me bananas!"
  • Post #43 - February 13th, 2021, 4:44 pm
    Post #43 - February 13th, 2021, 4:44 pm Post #43 - February 13th, 2021, 4:44 pm
    It's the difference between drying your hair in front of a space heater vs. using a hair dryer.
  • Post #44 - February 13th, 2021, 4:58 pm
    Post #44 - February 13th, 2021, 4:58 pm Post #44 - February 13th, 2021, 4:58 pm
    Katie wrote:I've never been able to find a good explanation of how --- other than in shape --- an air fryer differs from a toaster oven with a convection cooking option. Not that I'm advocating getting a toaster oven rather than an air fryer if you don't have either, because a good toaster oven takes a honking amount of counter space. But if you do already have a good toaster oven with convection feature, as I do (an Oster TSSTTVLXDG, which I picked in part because it is big enough for a full-size pizza but mostly because of its high ratings to price ratio), I don't see what an air fryer offers that a convection toaster oven doesn't.


    Apologies if this has already been mentioned. But my understanding is they're both using the same concepts, but an air fryer is more compact, leading to the quick and crispy cooking that everyone loves.

    Obviously the size difference between a convection toaster oven and air fryer is much more comparable and thus it makes a convection toaster oven the best of both worlds (see wirecutter's recommendation below)

    I'm always impressed by the food output of an air fryer but I personally don't really want another small appliance to deal with. If space wasnt an issue, I'd have a few in the house tho.

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.nytime ... fryer/amp/
  • Post #45 - February 13th, 2021, 6:46 pm
    Post #45 - February 13th, 2021, 6:46 pm Post #45 - February 13th, 2021, 6:46 pm
    tjr wrote:It's the difference between drying your hair in front of a space heater vs. using a hair dryer.

    Why is it different, if it's a convection toaster oven? Isn't an air fryer just a small electric convection oven?
    "Your swimming suit matches your eyes, you hold your nose before diving, loving you has made me bananas!"
  • Post #46 - February 13th, 2021, 7:06 pm
    Post #46 - February 13th, 2021, 7:06 pm Post #46 - February 13th, 2021, 7:06 pm
    Katie wrote:Isn't an air fryer just a small electric convection oven?


    Yes. Check out the article I linked above.
  • Post #47 - February 13th, 2021, 7:36 pm
    Post #47 - February 13th, 2021, 7:36 pm Post #47 - February 13th, 2021, 7:36 pm
    That's my understanding. Thanks to you, Darren72, and WhyBeeSea for the links. Interesting reading.
    "Your swimming suit matches your eyes, you hold your nose before diving, loving you has made me bananas!"
  • Post #48 - February 13th, 2021, 10:12 pm
    Post #48 - February 13th, 2021, 10:12 pm Post #48 - February 13th, 2021, 10:12 pm
    tjr wrote:A few thoughts on the fast moving air question, and why fan cfm could be important: Air has very little specific heat for its volume compared to vegetable oil. The amount of energy required to heat a potful of air to a given temperature is roughly 1/1600th of the energy required to heat the same potful of oil. That's the amount of energy available to cook the food via conduction alone. The air or oil cools down and the food heats up. So, the air will need to be reheated many many times, or depending on the design of the appliance, new hot air brought in and old blown out.

    I suspect that some of the air fried crispiness is created simply by drying out the food as it cooks. Fast moving air will do a faster job of drying.
    So it's kinda like wind chill for cooking?
  • Post #49 - February 13th, 2021, 11:26 pm
    Post #49 - February 13th, 2021, 11:26 pm Post #49 - February 13th, 2021, 11:26 pm
    Artie wrote:So it's kinda like wind chill for cooking?


    It would be interesting to see someone study exactly what's going on at the food's surface. My guess is that the moving air and heat both dry and raise the temperature of the surface of the food, and once the food is dry, it heats even faster due to a lack of evaporative cooling.

    Katie wrote:Why is it different, if it's a convection toaster oven? Isn't an air fryer just a small electric convection oven?


    Yes and no. An air fryer is like a convection oven with a much-greater-airflow fan. The description of the Breville Smart Oven Air provides a good explanation. With the fan running on low speed, it's a convection oven. With the fan on "super convection" speed, it's an air fryer.
  • Post #50 - February 14th, 2021, 3:20 am
    Post #50 - February 14th, 2021, 3:20 am Post #50 - February 14th, 2021, 3:20 am
    For the taco salad shells, I start using a COLD basket (to avoid burning my hand) and go for four minutes. However, I always think that it is better to sit there and watch it until you are sure how long it will take.

    Second, for tortilla chips, I spray the basket with a pan spray, place the tortilla triangles in the basket, and spray the top of the chips. Then, every two minutes, I shake the chips and check them. I use as little as possible and get good results.
  • Post #51 - February 15th, 2021, 11:51 am
    Post #51 - February 15th, 2021, 11:51 am Post #51 - February 15th, 2021, 11:51 am
    Had a nice win last night with the Instant Pot Air Fryer attachment. While making dinner, I cut the stems out of a bunch of green kale and tore the leaves into pieces. Massaged in olive oil, salt and some "Everything But the Bagel" seasoning (TJs). Used the double-decker air fryer thingy in the IP. Had to mother the kale a bit - open the lid, move things around, take out chips that were done, etc. But, after 10-12 minutes, had a nice batch of very tasty kale chips. The kids devoured them. Cleanup was a breeze. When I try to do this in the oven, it seems like half the "product" winds up burnt to the baking tray.
  • Post #52 - February 15th, 2021, 5:01 pm
    Post #52 - February 15th, 2021, 5:01 pm Post #52 - February 15th, 2021, 5:01 pm
    General comments:

    1) Tomorrow's airfryer experiment will be ... pizza! I sent to the Grupo Bimbo bakery outlet last week and purchased 16 Boboli Pizza Crusts and sauce for $4. My friend has been without her conventional oven for several weeks (lousy landlord) so I am going to see if pizzas in air fryers work. I will probably make one traditional one and then try one that is closer to a Detroit style.

    2) Next week's experiment will be "Everything Bagel Seasoning" on chicken wings. A recipe has been floating around the neighborhood and I am anxious to use up some of the seasoning that I bought at Winco Foods in September.

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