Today’s post answers some very common reader questions! You can read previous answers to readers’ questions here.
Should I buy an air fryer? Through email, comments on the blog and the Planning With Kids Facebook Page some of the most common questions I have received over the last 12 months revolve around air fryers. Should I get buy one? What air fryer do you use? Is an air fryer worth it? etc. So I thought I would give you my thoughts all in one place and then I will be able to link to this post next time I am asked a question about air fryers!
I would place the air fryer in a “want” category, not a “need” category. If you have an oven and a stovetop then you can cook everything you need via those two options. But if my air fryer were to break down today, I would replace it instantly. Before running out and buying an air fryer because everyone seems to have one, you need to think about the way you cook now, what you want to be cooking and the type of foods you would be likely to cook in the air fryer.
I would use our air fryer about 3-4 days a week. This includes at least one day on the weekend when I would use it multiple times to prep food for the week. I find it quick to use and it requires very little monitoring compared to cooking the same foods in the oven where I would need to turn food and/or turn trays around in the oven so it cooks evenly.
When I first had our air fryer I wasn’t very adventurous with it. Now I am always on the look out for cooking recipes in the air fryer that I previously cooked using a different method. I share some examples further down. Like all appliances it takes time to get to know how to cook with an air fryer and to become confident to make up your own recipes or tweak existing recipes to fit the air fryer.
Below I have answered the most frequently asked questions about air fryers. Hopefully my answers will give you more information so you can decided whether or not you should buy an air fryer!
What type of air fryer do I have?
I have the DéLonghi MultiCuisine. I was gifted this back in 2015 and wrote a full review of it here. The fact that I am still using it multiple times a week six years later is testament to how useful I find it. It has an air fryer function and other functions, but the main function I use the air fryer.
It is big enough for me to cook key items in large enough quantities to feed the whole family. The bowl is big with specifications as follows:
- Max food capacity (fresh potatoes to peel): 1.7kg
- Max food capacity (frozen potatoes): 1.5kg
The bowl comes with a mixing paddle so it mixes the food gently during the cooking process without me having to shake or stir. Some air fryers have rotating baskets which have the same function.
What do I cook in the air fryer?
Almost every weekend I will cook up at least one if not two batches of sweet potato. I add about a tablespoon of coconut oil and the air fryer turns my small chopped pieces of sweet potato into delicious chips! I eat this during the week for the starchy carb component of my lunch and as a substitute for pasta at dinner with family meals.
We have a meat and veg style meal at least once a week and I almost always cook the potatoes in the air fryer (note I had served up most of the plates before I remembered I needed to take a photo!). I use a small amount of olive oil for these and they turn out so crispy and fluffy – so delicious.
Previously I cooked the rice puffs and corn puffs in the oven. Now I make it in the air fryer. It takes me half the time and I don’t have to keep an eye on it – so much more efficient! You can find the choc rice puffs recipe here and the honey corn puffs recipe here (this goes to a Facebook post, I will write it up on the blog soon). I have also started cooking the kids’ granola in the air fryer too. I have to do it in a few batches but I find it actually cooks better in the air fryer!
I really like the super easy to make Falafel Mix and Bean Burger Mix from the Woolworths Macro Range. I used to cook these in the frying pan but now I simply brush on some olive oil and cook them in the air fryer.
I find my dukkah crusted salmon recipe is much easier (and less mess) to cook in the air fryer. I can squish in about 1.25kgs of salmon into our bowl which is better than using multiple frying pans.
The air fryer is brilliant at making crunchy chickpeas! I rinse and drain them from the can (two cans usually) and add them to the bowl, sprinkle with a tablespoon or so of my taco seasoning and they are so delicious.
When I make sushi now, I cook the egg in the air fryer. It is much more efficient as I can set and forget about the egg while I chop up the veggies to put in the rolls. You can find my sushi recipe here.
Where do you store the air fryer?
We do not have a butler’s pantry or the like so we actually store ours in the laundry. Our laundry comes directly off the kitchen. Our laundry isn’t very large and doesn’t have any bench space so it actually sits on top of our front loading washing machine! Highly unorthodox but it works for two key reasons:
- The air fryer isn’t taking up precious kitchen bench space.
- Our air fryer is quite loud, so I can close the laundry door and shut out the noise.
What to consider when buying an air fryer
Really think through whether or not you think you will use an air fryer on a regular basis. If you want it just to make some nice chips, I am not sure it is the best investment. If I am purchasing a kitchen appliance I want to know that it is going to be used regularly and can solve a number of problems. Here are some key points to consider:
- Size – Many air fryers can only cook in relatively small batches serving two adults, which is not likely to work for many families.
- Dominant use case – will you cook more than fries in it?
- Price – Our air fryer is on the top end of the price range but it has lasted us six years to date. We have had to replace the paddle twice (I probably overload the bowl at times making it work harder than it should!) but if you are going to use it a lot make sure you read the reviews and buy one that will last.
More information on air fryers
If you would like to do more research on air fryers these articles have solid information:
- Choice Australia – How to find the best air fryer
- Product Review Australia – Air Fryers Buying Guide
- News.com.au – The 11 best air fryers to buy in Australia in 2021 revealed
- Canstar Blue – Air Fryer Reviews