Air Fryers

Started by daniel1948, November 14, 2023, 10:19:18 AM

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Browsing a list of early black Friday deals on Amazon I noticed a Ninja air fryer at a deep discount of $100 (down from the regular price of $170). This sent me down a rabbit hole of research including some video reviews on YouTube.

The thing looked intriguing until I downloaded the manuals and saw that roasted veggies take as long to cook in the air fryer as they would in the oven. Supposedly it can make toast, so would not add to the clutter of my kitchen because it would displace the toaster.

It claims to be able to "fry" without oil "or with much less oil." The manuals still recommend using oil, about the same amount I'd use to roast veggies in the oven.

It can fry, roast, broil, bake, reheat, or dehydrate. But what's the difference between fry, roast, broil, and bake?

Does anybody have experience with one of these things?
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-- Greta Thunberg


They are basically the same as small convection ovens with stronger fans, as far as I am aware.
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Home air fryers are convection ovens, nothing special. I think you'd want to have a usage in mind otherwise the machine will gather dust. I use my air fryer all the time to cook sweet potato chunks. I cook a kilogram of taters at a time and it takes about 40 minutes. Regular oven takes about an hour. Mine has a rotating basket like this one,

If you want browning and crispness you'd need to coat the food in oil. I cook without oil and the texture is chewy and yummy but not crispy like fried. Minimal browning without oil.

I had wanted to buy an impingement oven. These blast hot air directly at food through jets at up to 1500 linear feet per minute and can cook significantly faster than a convection oven. Impingement ovens cost thousands of dollars and therefore I do not have one. Most are large and have a conveyor belt but some small tabletop models are also made, such as this one,

The Merrychef weighs about 150 lbs. Small but not portable.



The use I had in mind was mostly roasting root vegetables, but also cooking fish. And one of the reviewers said it can toast bread.

Right now I use a large stainless-steel soup pot or frying pan in the oven for roasted veggies, and a Zojirushi fish roaster for fish. And a regular toaster for toast.

Several decades ago I discovered that sliced potatoes with just a dab of oil in a cast-iron skillet in the oven come out just like french fries, but with hardly any oil. Then maybe one decade ago I was visiting friends and we did the same thing but with lots of different veggies. I'm planning to do it today with butternut squash, beets, carrots, and potatoes. I'd include sweet potatoes if I had any in the house.

Anyway, that was the use I mostly had in mind for an air fryer. But I'm not sure it would be any better than using the oven. An air fryer is supposed to be more energy efficient than an oven, but I have abundant free zero-carbon electricity, so that's no longer an issue. (I used to nuke my potatoes so as not to waste energy using the oven. One of the many great advantages of living in Maui is abundant solar.)

The rotating cage sounds like the way to go for an air fryer. But I'm thinking maybe it's just a gadget I don't need. One of the advantages of a skillet is that if you get it right the bottom layer gets just a little burned, which I love.

(And I switched from cast iron to stainless steel because when you burn food as much as I do, sometimes more than intended, cast iron is a real bitch to clean.)
"You say you love your children above all else, and yet you are stealing their future in front of their very eyes."
-- Greta Thunberg


The roasted veggies were delicious! I cannot imagine that an air fryer could have done them as well. For the moment I'm not going to buy the air fryer. (I could always change my mind.)

The only advantage an air fryer might have had is that my method involves removing a heavy oven-hot skillet from the oven, stirring the veggies, and replacing it in the oven, a couple of times, all without burning myself. From the looks of it, the air fryer would be easier and safer.
"You say you love your children above all else, and yet you are stealing their future in front of their very eyes."
-- Greta Thunberg

Harry Black

An air fryer is a passable substitute for many ways of cooking food if you dont have access to them or want something easier to clean, but if you have an oven, you will probably still use your oven.

I find it quite handy to slice and dice a potato, throw it in with some herbs for 12minutes and have fries.
Its handy for cooking meat quickly but you dont eat meat...
I would say its not worth it for you.

I got the ninja foodi 15 in 1 though and I often use it as a rice cooker too and for various other things from time to time. The big advantage for me over the oven/hob is that it switches off when its done so I can put it on and go to the shop or gym and my food is ready when I return without the fire risk of the oven if I get delayed.



It would be convenient to be able to start food and have it ready when I return, especially on days when I get home from Pilates class at 12:30. But I can make things that take less time on those days, and make things that take longer on the days when I'm home earlier.

Today's roasted veggies were so good it was worth doing it the slow way. But I also love oatmeal and I can make that on days when I want something sooner because I got home late. In a month there will be whales and I'll be out paddling for four hours two or three days a week, and not wanting to spend an hour-plus cooking when I get home.
"You say you love your children above all else, and yet you are stealing their future in front of their very eyes."
-- Greta Thunberg


I don't personally have experience with air fryers, but I have researched getting one before, and came across this ranking article/post from Serious Eats. I generally appreciate their info, as they can be extremely detailed but also summarize for what a normal person would need/be able to notice the differences.


"You say you love your children above all else, and yet you are stealing their future in front of their very eyes."
-- Greta Thunberg


Myu oven has an air frying option and I never use it because of the smoke it creates. Not a great design. Basically my convection fan runs faster and there is a heating element inside of the oven in addition to the gas heat.


I had an oven that was a combo regular oven/convection oven. Worked great, especially for foods that you want to be crispy. However, that solution is way more than $100. I'm planning on buying one when my current oven needs to be replaced.
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Evil Eye

My Kenmore oven hasn't worked in over a year! (nice to see you Greg)..... What is the best countertop oven big enough? I can't afford to replace a full stove. And my stovetop works.
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My opinion, is that they basically do the same thing as an Oven: faster but in smaller batches. Great when you are preparing food for 1 or 2(maybe). We bought one half a year ago, and it's mostly used for fries. In my household, we are 4, so I'd rather put the fries in the oven. Sometimes we get those frozen fish or tenders, and I use them there. There is a Brand of frozen Naan that I buy that is perfect for my air fryer.

Overall, for my household, it's a waste of space. Maybe once my daughter grows up a bit and increases her finger food.