Of all the new kitchen gadgets developed in recent years, the air fryer takes the cake for convenience and usefulness. And while many may argue that an air fryer is just a smaller version of a convection oven, the results speak for themselves.
Not only do you get healthier “junk” such as fries and hot dogs, but you also get them done faster and with much better results than if you bake them in a regular oven. Keep reading to learn how to perfect the art of cooking healthier cheat meals.
How an air fryer works
An air fryer uses hot air to fry food using a powerful fan that shortens the cooking time and improves the crisping aspect. Air fryers are equipped with a heating coil and a fan that helps to create hot air that is then circulated to fry your food.
Due to its size, the air fryer can circulate air much faster than an oven, resulting in faster cooking. The extremely hot air also helps produce a crunchy, crispy exterior, which simulates deep-fried results without deep frying the food.
Check this too: How to Clean Silicone Bakeware
Benefits of air frying
With an air fryer, cooking time is reduced, you get crispier results in a much shorter time, and the energy consumption is undoubtedly lower. Additionally, the air fryer can also be used to make dehydrated snacks in an instant compared to an oven which may take up to a day.
But the most crucial benefit of an air fryer is reducing calories by 70% to 80%. In addition, because you use air to fry the food instead of oil, air frying may also reduce other harmful compounds in your food resulting from deep frying.
The art of air frying: tips for perfectly air fried food
Here are some helpful cooking tips you can use to get the most out of your air fryer;
Preheat your Air Fryer
This is the same practice as baking, where you preheat the oven to ensure it brings food up to temperature faster. This leads to faster and even cooking. Most air fryers require preheating before cooking. Some even come with an automatic preheating feature that activates as soon as you turn on the air fryer.
If your air fryer does not have a preheat setting, turn it to the desired temperature and allow it to run for around 3 minutes before placing your food in.
Use oil on your foods
Oil helps your food to crisp up and to have a golden color when done. Of course, you do not need to oil food with fat on it, such as chicken thighs, a fatty steak, and so forth. But the oil is essential if you want a perfectly seared crust.
Grease your Air Fryer Basket
This prevents food from sticking and makes clean up a breeze afterward. In addition, you only need a small amount of oil. All you have to do is rub the fryer basket with oil or spray it with oil (non-aerosol cooking spray). You can also brush it on using a pastry brush.
Don’t overcrowd the basket
Putting too much food in the basket will prevent proper air circulation, leading to uneven cooking and a less crispy finish. It is better to cook your food in batches for better results, especially if you cook heavier meats or dough-based foods.
Shake the basket during cooking for fries, wings, etc.
Shaking your foods halfway through cooking enables foods not exposed to direct hot air to crisp up and get that golden brown exterior. You can also use a pair of tings to turn foods that are not easy to toss, such as wings.
The key takeaway is that turning your food halfway through the cooking time. Or several times when cooking it, if the food has a longer cooking time, it will give you better results.
Spray halfway through cooking
to ensure even browning, re-oil your food halfway through cooking when shaking it up. This will help any parts that were not coated with oil when you sprayed them initially to get covered in oil so they can become crispy. If frying foods coated in flour, spray on all dry flour spots when you shake the food.
Water in the bottom stops smoke
Dripping grease will lead to smoking when the oil reaches a smoking point. To prevent this from happening, put about three tablespoons of water in the bottom of the air fryer. This will prevent the grease from overheating.
Adjust the Temperature for Certain Foods
The air fryer temperature is not a one-size-fits-all. Instead, adjust the temperature depending on the food for best results. For instance, thicker vegetable slices will take longer to cook than paper thin slices of carrots. Ideally, the temperature chosen should be roughly 30 degrees lower than oven baking time and about 20% low timer than an oven.
For example, if you cooked brownies at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes in the oven, cut the degrees on the Air Fryer to 320 degrees. For the temperature, reduce it to 16 minutes.
Cook more oversized items in a single layer and don’t stack them.
Place larger food items such as steam in a single layer for even cooking. This is because putting too much food in the air fryer will prevent it from cooking properly.
Use foil or parchment paper to make cleanup easier.
Use a sheet of tinfoil or parchment paper on top of the air fryer basket. This will make cleanup easier when cooking super-messy items such as saucy wings. Ensure you use a large sheet that is slightly folded on the sides. To prevent the parchment paper or foil from flying when the hot air from the fan hits it.
Make sure there are at least 5 inches of space around your air fryer.
Always ensure there are at least 5 inches of space around your air fryer to help with heat dissipation and provide the airflow needed. You should also place the air fryer on a heat-proof surface.
Mix your seasonings with oil before adding them to your foods to prevent them from blowing around.
Since spices are lightweight, they will blow around in the air fryer if you sprinkle them on food. To make them adhere to the surface of the food, mix them with oil to make them stick better onto the food surface.
Check this too: How to Cook Hot Dogs in an Air Fryer
How to air frozen fry fries
- Pour your frozen fries into the air basket and spritz them with oil using a spray bottle (do not use aerosol sprays).
- Shake up the fries and spray liberally again.
- You can let them stack on top of each other but do not fill up the basket. The quantity should not fill the basket more than halfway up.
- Cook your fries at 390 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes.
- Remember to shake the basket after 10 minutes of cooking to ensure even cooking of all the fries.
- Once the 20 minutes are up, check your fries to see if they are ready.
- If not, cook them in two-minute increments to avoid burning until you get your desired crispiness.
Note: For thicker fires, you may have to coo them for more than 20 minutes.