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Air fryer: how it works, user experiences and expert opinions. Information for those who are undecided about buying a hot air fryer.
Therehot air fryer, also commonly calledoil-free fryer, allows the "frying" of food by exploiting the high temperatures reached in the cooking chamber.
Air fryer, how it works
How does the air fryer work?
Therehot air fryerit works thanks to its special cooking chamber. Before seeing how an air fryer works, it is good to specify a fundamental concept: frying does not become such thanks to the oil, but thanks to the high temperatures that the oil reaches. In other words, the oil becomes a heat carrier and allows food to be cooked by reaching high temperatures.
In aair fryerno oil is needed because the heat carrier is the air itself. The heated air is circulated at a very high speed in order to allow uniform cooking by simulating the behavior of oil in classic frying.
With conventional fryers, you need to completely immerse the food in boiling oil or be careful to turn it halfway through cooking. Inhot air fryerthe food is completely surrounded by the heat vector and as a result the food becomes crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside.
The hot air can be heated up to temperatures around 200 ° C. Given the high thermal demand of the cooking chamber (the heat used to cook food), theair fryersthey are very energy-hungry: they see an electrical consumption between 800 and 2,000 watts.
The electricity consumption of these appliances is considerable but the economic and health return should not be underestimated. An economic return is clear: it avoids the purchase of oil necessary for frying, obviously also avoids the investment in terms of gas to heat the pan.
How to choose the air fryer
On the market there are many models with different characteristics, in fact, in the choice, we should not let ourselves be conditioned only by the price. The parameters to be observed when choosing our first oneoil-free fryer, I'm:
- Maximum temperature
Make sure that the chosen model reaches a temperature of 200 ° C.
- Basket capacity
Pay attention to the right sizing! Those who live alone or as a couple could be satisfied with a one-liter basket while those used to organizing family lunches will necessarily have to aim for a larger model.
- Adjustable temperature
Thanks to the possibility of regulating the temperature, with practice, you can learn to choose the degree of "crunchiness" to give to each dish.
- Heating times
Like the oven, the fryer chamber must also be pre-heated. The most powerful deep fryers take a few minutes to pre-heat. Choose a model that takes 3 minutes to be ready for use.
The timer is not a decisive factor, you can use the oven timer or the alarm on your mobile phone. Keep in mind, though, that many models have this feature, so if it's a priority for you, consider it when choosing.
Air fryer, prices and models
On the market it is possible to find models at low pricesthat can be bought with a budget of less than 100 euros. There is no shortage of more performing models that exceed 200 euros in cost.
I personally bought the hot air fryer present in the photo above, is onePhilips HD9240 / 90with a capacity of 1.2 liters. It is very good, it can fry, roast, grill and bake in the oven. I can basically fry any frozen product as well as fresh fish or chicken wings. If you want to completely avoid oil, be careful when using pre-packaged or frozen products that are often pre-cooked (or rather, pre-fried, therefore already greasy).
For all product info:Philips HD9240 / 90
The aforementioned Philips model is priced at € 186.99.
Personal tips for frying with the Philips air fryer
If you want to fry courgette flowers in batter, vegetables in batter or tempura, make sure that the batter and breading are well blended with the food, otherwise it risks coming off the basket during cooking. To avoid any risk, before frying the most "humid" foods (including fish, breaded foods ...) with a handkerchief soaked in oil, grease the inside of the cooking chamber. It is not a necessary process, nor is it recommended by Philips, it is my personal advice: this way I feel better and afterwards it is also easier to clean it.
There are many models of Philips, the one reported in this article is the one I tested. Those who want to aim for the top of the range must buy the HD9641 / 90 model with Turbo Star technology, the price is higher but the model is newer (when I bought theair fryerthe Turbo Star model did not yet exist). What's more? A pre-set system with programs for cooking and frying food can be very useful for those who do not want to try their hand at experiments that go beyond Philips recipes. Plus he seesconsumptionlower electric power (only 1,400 watts against the 2,000 of the model reported and purchased by me) and a system that keeps food warm even after frying.
For all information on this new model ofair fryerI refer you to the page: Philips HD9641 / 90.
Comparison of air fryer and convection oven
Initially I was a little reluctant to buy theair fryerbecause my oven offers a program for thedietary fryingusing the 4D technology of intelligent ventilation. I succumbed to the temptation of the new appliance because I usually prepare for 2 or 3 people, so a very large oven was wasted and then… the air fryer could be washed in the dishwasher more conveniently.
I must say that the result obtained is not comparable to that proposed by the frying program with a ventilated oven. In both cases, a dry fried food is obtained (oil-free) but in the fryer it is "dry but not dry" as it can be accessed in the oven.
There is another non-negligible factor that goes beyond the result obtained (better in an air fryer), an oven has much higher electrical consumption.
Those who do not want to give up the capacity of the basket, neither to savings, nor to quality, can point to the Duronic AF1 air fryer. Personally I have never tried it but I have an automatic dehumidifier from the same house (Duronic) and I must say that I am fine. The Duronic air fryer can be bought on Amazon for 79 euros with free shipping costs.