Air fryers have gained popularity over recent years.
While many people see them as a healthier alternative, there’s a lot of confusion surrounding how they work and what you can use them for exactly. Sometimes we are left with the decision either to buy an air fryer or a deep fryer. But, how do we know which one’s best for us?
This article breaks down the facts on air frying to help clear up any misconceptions about this kitchen appliance.
Can air fryers be used to deep fry food?
No, air fryers cannot be used to deep fry your food. You may end up hitting snag if you attempt to deep fry with an air fryer, as they do not use vast amounts of oil and cannot heat that oil high enough to get it to the right deep-frying temperature.
Deep fryers work by using large amounts of hot oil to cook food at a very specific temperature.
What is the difference between an air fryer and a deep fryer?
An air fryer uses convection oven technology to cook foods quickly. It heats food from below, so the top surface cooks first. This means that foods cooked in an air fryer will come out crispy and browned on top while remaining tender inside.
In contrast, deep fryers use immersion heating where the food is submerged in oil and heated directly. The result is that deep-fried foods tend to be more greasy and less crisp than those cooked in an air fryer.
What’s the meaning of the word “fry”?
“Frying” is a very troublesome word to explain. In general, the dictionary refers to frying as a cooking method that mainly uses fat. When people refer to deep frying, they’re really talking about submerging food into a bath of hot oil.
Now, “air frying” is the coined term that doesn’t mimic the process of cooking but refers to the results of the food produced. Air frying doesn’t use the process of using fat for cooking. In fact, when you air fry something, you are literally cutting the fat from the food.
However, in both situations, the names “fry” refers to the way both cooking methods create a brown caramelized surface in the end.
How do air fryers work?
An air fryer is a cooking appliance that uses circulating hot air to cook food. Airflow is caused by the circulation of electricity converted into heat through a heating element. The circulating hot air cooks the food from the outside in, which gives it, its crispy brown texture.
The fan at the top of the fryer blows down onto all sides, cooking food on all surfaces and also producing that french toast effect known as the Maillard reaction. The Maillard reaction explains how chemicals react between amino acids and sugars to give that brown color we all know so well.
How do deep fryers work?
Deep fryers are cooking appliances that use oil or fat as a heat transfer medium. In order to cook food in this way, the fat must be heated to a temperature of between 350 and 375 degrees Fahrenheit, which can create bubbles and vapor.
It’s a device that heats the oil to cooking temperatures and cooks food on all sides once dipped in.
Deep fryers work by first heating the oil to the appropriate temperature and this allows the oil to soak up heat from below. This is what allows for deep frying without using any additional fat in comparison to air fryers which use less or no oil at all.
Can you just fill up an air fryer basket with oil?
You can. However, you won’t be able to get your oil to the correct deep-frying temperature of 350 to 375 degrees Fahrenheit because of the mechanism that air fryers use to heat up food.
In a deep fryer, the element or gas flame is usually located at the bottom of the oil container. The source heat is then transferred directly to a heat-conducting material that makes direct contact with the container. This direct contact then efficiently cooks the oil to the right temperature.
With an air fryer, the conducting material is actually just the air, and if you fill-up the basket with oil, the air will only just heat up the top surface of your oil. It would take an extremely long time to get your air fryer oil to the correct temperature.
What can I do with a deep fryer that I can’t do with an air fryer?
A deep fryer is a kitchen appliance that’s designed to fry food by immersing it in hot oil at a high enough temperature to cook the food, yet not so high as to cause the oil to splatter or break. An air fryer, on the other hand, is a kitchen appliance that’s designed to cook food by circulating hot air around it at a high enough temperature to cook the food.
While it might be possible to use an air fryer as a deep fryer, the oil needed for cooking food must somehow reach this extremely hot deep-frying temperature, something most difficult for an air fryer to do. A bucket of oil undercooked would end up soaking through the food leaving a soggy, overly oily flavor in your food. This will mostly be due to the fact that the method of using air fryers to get food to a certain temperature will not work the same way when it comes to liquids.
With that being said, deep frying provides a unique flavor that comes from a combination of the food itself and the fat in oils. This isn’t something that’s fully grasped when using an air fryer.
What can I do with an air fryer that I can’t do with a deep fryer?
Some of the things you can do with an air fryer that you can’t do with a deep fryer are: roast vegetables, make crispy pizza crust, and cook baked goods.
Air fryers are becoming more popular day by day with the introduction of different types of models. They come in countertop and tabletop versions, which makes them a versatile appliance that can be used for quick snacks or family dinner.
The work done by an air fryer is made up mostly of convection cooking at a relatively high temperature compared to deep-frying; this means you will not have to use as much oil when using one, resulting in savings from buying oils too often.
Although air fryers are designed to cook food at temperatures ranging from 350 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, they cannot also be used as deep fryers by adjusting the settings or filling up your air fryer basket with oil. Another difference between an air-fried and traditional deep-fried meal is that it take about 30 minutes for the oil to heat up in a deep fryer and only 15 minutes to preheat an air fryer.
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