Home chefs went so nuts for the Instant Pot this year that its a status symbol is right up there with the KitchenAid Stand Mixer and the Le Creuset Dutch Oven. The trendy multi-cooker's hands-off approach to cooking up servings of tender meats, perfectly steamed rice, and hearty soups in half the time (or less) of other cooking methods is a huge advantage. But we think the beloved appliance has some competition coming its way. Enter: the air fryer.
Air frying claims to be a healthier alternative to frying food, and air fryers are gaining some serious attention. In fact, air fryers are some of the top-selling appliances on Amazon and there's even a group dedicated specifically to air frying recipes has nearly 60,000 members. One search on garners hundreds of recipes, and nearly 120,000 people have taken to Instagram using the hashtag #AirFryer to show off their results:
To really understand what all the hype is about we went straight to the experts in the Good Housekeeping Institute Kitchen Appliances & Technology Lab. Betty Gold, a Senior Editor and Product Analyst, told us that while air fryers won't churn out fast food-level fries, the results are still pretty tasty.
"Air fryers circulate hot air similar to a convection oven that adds a crisp exterior with minimal oil," she explained. "Your food won't taste like it's deep fried, but it will have a crispy coating."
Another thing she loved: the easy prep.
"The gadget pre-heats faster than your oven and most of the time, you just put your food in the basket, set the timer and temperature, and give it a toss halfway through cooking."
But, what about the health claims that this gadget makes?
Good Housekeeping's Nutrition Director Jaclyn London, MS, RD, CDN says while it won't make all fried foods automatically healthy, using an air fryer is likely going to be a better option than deep-frying your foods.
"It's DEFINITELY a healthier alternative if you're committed to using just 1-2 tablespoons of a plant-based oil with seasoning, and sticking to air frying veggies more than anything else," she explained. "Any appliance that helps you and your family up your veggie game is key to both weight-management, reduced risk of chronic disease, and improved long-term health as we age."
Sold yet? You're in luck, the Good Housekeeping Institute just tested three air fryers: the Good Housekeeping Seal holding Farberware Air Fryer, the top-tested Black + Decker Purifry 2L Capacity Air Fryer, and the trendy Philips Avance Collection Airfryer.
- Black + Decker Purifry 2L Capacity Air Fryer: $75, amazon.com
- Farberware Air Fryer: $86, amazon.com
- Philips Avance Collection Airfryer: $200, amazon.com
We totally recommend getting one, but if you don't have the counter space for another appliance, Gold says you can achieve similar affects to an air fryer by setting your oven to convection and placing your protein or veggies on a roasting pan with oil.
Regardless of the method you use, you HAVE to try out this recipe for eggplant fries.