I’ve recently stepped up what I’m serving my family for dinner, thanks to one appliance: the air fryer. I have been in a dinner rut for a while and the air fryer has opened up a lot of new and easy options.
You’ve probably heard about the air fryer, if you don’t yet own one. For a year friends kept telling me I should buy one. You can heat up chicken nuggets and French fries so much faster than the oven. But for me that wasn’t a selling point. I didn’t want a giant appliance taking up space just to save me some time to heat things in the oven. But one day after making homemade French fries, heating up a large pan of oil, which is not only high in calories but also dangerous with two kiddos hanging around the kitchen, my husband proposed to try the air fryer.
We bought one and have been loving it ever since. Yes it’s nice to heat up frozen foods, it is faster, and things are also much crispier than just heating in the oven. We’ve also been experimenting with homemade recipes, such as veggies, salmon, stuffed peppers and chicken thighs. We’re taking anything we would normally put in the oven to cook or roast, and putting it in the air fryer instead. Everything we’ve made has been quick, easy, and delicious. And I was shocked to find how crispy and tasty homemade fries are, with a couple tablespoons of oil, versus sitting in a giant pan of it.
How does an air fryer work?
How do things get crispy? The air fryer circulates hot air around the food that would otherwise be submerged in oil. The cooking element is near the food and that cooks the food more efficiently. If you are cooking a lot of vegetables, chicken nuggets or French fries, you do need to stop a couple of times throughout the process to shake the basket and move things around. But it’s a lot easier than keeping an eye on something frying on your stove top. And clean up in a breeze.
Which air fryer do I buy?
There are a ton of options when it comes to the air fryer and it can be overwhelming. I would suggest looking at the size. They range from 3-6 quarts. I bought a six quart for a family of four. Here is a best seller (almost) 6 quart. While the basket is large and can be filled with a lot of vegetables or chicken nuggets, when it comes to main dishes, it only holds three or four pieces of meat at a time. I’ve learned there are some models that include a little shelf, which I would recommend so you can stack things like chicken and salmon. But I will say since it’s a quick process, I’ll serve the meat I’ve cooked and then throw in another batch while we are eating. It’s ready within 10-15 minutes for those who want seconds. The other thing to keep in mind is that air fryers are very large and take up a lot of space. I made room in a cabinet to avoid keeping it on my counter.
What can I make in an air fryer?
Since air fryers are all the rage right now, almost every recipe you search has an air fryer option. There are also several cookbooks that focus on just air fryer recipes. I’ve found it does take some experimentation as far as length of time to cook and preferred crispness. So far we’ve really loved salmon and chicken thighs in the air fryer, they are tasty with a little olive oil and spices of choice. And we keep making these maple bacon Brussel sprouts!
Do you have an air fryer? What’s your favorite recipe?