What is an Air Fryer?
I’ve owned an air fryer for 11 days and have used it more than 30 times already. You might say I’m obsessed!! Before I tell you what I’ve made and why I love it, there’s a short back story I want to share.
Years ago, I first heard of air fryers and wanted one, but couldn’t justify the price for what I thought was a “one-trick pony.” I didn’t know anyone who had one, and thought frying food to crispy goldenness with no oil must be too good to be true, so I didn’t purchase one and forgot about it.
I noticed someone in my Instant Pot Facebook group mentioned their obsession with the Instant Pot and the air fryer. Once she said she never uses her microwave now that she has an air fryer to heat leftovers, I raised an eyebrow and decided to look into it. When our microwave died a month ago, I wanted to see how long we could go before buying a new one. We hardly used it and now that we can’t use it, I found we’ve been getting along just fine without it… but if I could get an air fryer (swoon) instead of a microwave, then that sounded really enticing to me!
My husband stopped by a store and looked at them and said he was interested in getting one, as well. We make decisions together and he gave me the green light to get whichever one I wanted! Before I buy a tool or small appliance, I research it and think about it for a few days or weeks before acting on it. I don’t like making mistakes and prefer to use our money wisely. If I buy a small appliance, I want to use it frequently enough to justify the purchase. Could I justify owning an air fryer? How frequently would I use it? Would it replace our microwave? What would I cook in it?
An air fryer behaves like a mini convection oven. Hot air circulates around the food and through the magic of science, it produces really crispy, well-cooked, delicious food. Wikipedia describes it as “An air fryer is a kitchen appliance that cooks by circulating hot air around the food. A mechanical fan circulates the hot air around the food at high speed, cooking the food and producing a crispy layer thanks to the Maillard effect.” If you love frozen egg rolls, potstickers, burritos, taquitos, fries, hash brown patties and other such food, you’ll love this. We don’t eat those treats, but I’ve discovered I have a weakness for tater tots. More about that later!
After reading up on it and watching a few videos and infomercials, I had narrowed it down to a few brands I trusted. The only thing keeping me from going with the original Philips AirFryer XL was the price. I checked the prices at Amazon’s website but ultimately bought our air fryer when I was at Bed Bath & Beyond to buy a Red Copper frying pan (I love those pans!). One of the brands I’d considered was a decent price and was in stock. With my 20% off BB&B coupon, I knew I could knock the price down a bit. To my surprise, it rang up lower than the list price! I paid just $79.99 for our air fryer!
The first night I bought it, my husband was out of town and in less than 40 minutes, I’d made 4 different dishes! I sent him pictures of the pepperoni chips & marinara sauce, roasted Brussels sprouts, roasted cauliflower and turkey breakfast sausages. He wanted to come home immediately. 😉
No oil was used in air frying the pepperoni chips or turkey sausages. I used less oil on the veggies than I would if I’d roasted them in the oven. It took about 6 minutes to preheat the air fryer and ten minutes to air fry the veggies in it. That’s much faster than using the oven!
A few days later, I bought the generic house brand of tater tots from my local Fred Meyer grocery store and when I cooked them in the air fryer I was amazed at how they tasted like a $10 appetizer!! I was ready to open a tater tot food cart! My signature dish would be crispy air fried tater tots served on a bed of nacho cheese sauce, topped with crispy bacon, shredded cheddar, pickled jalapeños, sliced green onions, chopped cilantro, and a drizzle of Frank’s Red Hot sauce. OH YEAH!! I can’t eat dairy anymore, so I haven’t made this concoction, but I know it would taste amazing.
When my husband came home a few days later, we experimented with air frying crispy chicken wings, BBQ chicken thighs, sweet potato fries, green beans, egg cups, portobello mushroom (as the crust) pizza, kale chips and much more. I love that most foods are cooked to perfection in ten minutes or less! I’ve used some of the recipes that came with my air fryer and several recipes from the air fryer cookbook I ordered from Amazon. A lot of the things I’ve air fried were made without a recipe. I quickly took to this air fryer and I’m able to wing the recipes and create my own. If you would like me to blog recipes for any of the pictures I’ve shared in this post, please comment below.
I didn’t plan on writing a blog post, so I don’t have photos of everything and my photos aren’t as good as I’d like for my blog, but I think it’s better to include them so you have an idea of what I’ve been air frying. I also didn’t take pictures of all the times we’ve made tater tots. I feel really naughty admitting that, but they’re just really, REALLY DELICIOUS! NOT GONNA LIE!
We used pre-washed baby kale and it was too thin and wimpy for substantial kale chips. If I make kale chips again, it will be with mature adult kale.
The air fryer I bought was a NuWave Brio Digital Air fryer. I set a mustard bottle next to it for size reference. It’s basically the size of Darth Vader’s helmet.
This is the cookbook I highly recommend for inspiration: 175 Best Air Fryer Recipes! There are also apps, blog posts and Facebook recipe groups galore. You can make grilled cheese sandwiches, steak, lemon chicken, cakes, reheat leftovers and do so much more with it! We just love roasting veggies in it and in time, we’ll certainly try more foods in the air fryer.
I was not paid to write this post; there are zero affiliate links; and this post (like all of mine) just came from my heart. My husband keeps posting food photos on Facebook and our friends keep asking about the side dishes. Friends, this blog post is for you. 🙂