Air fryers

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Fries without the fat.

Low-fat or air fryers surround food with hot air so you can cook with little or no oil. The result should be food that’s crisp on the outside without the added kilojoules of deep-frying. We put air fryers to the test cooking thick-cut fries, skinny french fries and crumbed chicken.

From our test

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What are air fryers?

First up, air fryers aren’t fryers. They’re more like a mini-benchtop oven that circulates hot, dry air to produce crispy food in a similar way to an oven in fan-forced mode. Like an oven, food cooked in an air fryer needs to be rotated or shaken to ensure even browning. Air fryers either have a drawer you pull out to shake the food, a paddle that stirs the food throughout the cooking process, or a rotating basket that automatically moves the food inside.

Most air fryers do more than just “fry” – they can roast, bake and grill and some are big enough to roast a whole chicken.

Do you need one?

If you live in a large household and already have an oven, cooktop and grill you probably don’t. You can do as good a job in your oven using little or no oil.

Things to consider:

  • They can only cook one type of food at a time
  • Cooking takes about the same time as a regular oven
  • Air fryers usually have a small capacity, so you might need to cook in batches
  • Some models use more energy than an oven
  • They take up quite a bit of space on your bench or in a cupboard.

Energy savings

We also measured how much energy each used to cook crumbed chicken for 30 minutes. If used 3 times a week, your energy costs would be $12-30 a year depending on the air fryer. In comparison cooking crumbed chicken in your oven for 30 minutes costs between $12-21 a year depending on your make of oven, although your oven does need preheating.

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Cooking tip

For tasty oven-baked chips, slice chipping potatoes (like Agria) into chips, rinse in cold water, dry, and then coat with a small amount of oil before baking.