I know quite a few of you will have got air fryers for Christmas, so I have a question for you: how are you getting on with them? As much as we love ours, it isn’t necessarily the best buy to suit all households, so I thought I’d talk about a few pros and cons we have experienced.
Firstly, we have found it really easy to use. As yet, we have only really used the air fryer option, even though it has many other functions such as dehydrate or grill. We have a basic air fryer cook book which we found useful with getting to grips with the timings, temperatures and functions, but for everything else we Google timings and recipes.
We have found it great for things that are a bit of a faff cooking around kids, like sweet potato fries or cod in breadcrumbs. It cuts the time it takes for food to cook but most importantly, you don’t have to stand over a hob or check on the food. Once you know your timings, the food comes out pretty much perfectly and the same every time. I loved prepping bacon sandwiches for my parents in it, as I could put the rashers in the air fryer then chat to my parents whilst it was cooking without being distracted, so it is quite handy for hosting.
I think it’d really come into its own when renovating, and wish we’d had one when we didn’t have a kitchen! And I know a lot of people who barely use their oven since getting one BUT I do believe there are a few cons that come with an air fryer and they definitely won’t work for everyone.
Pro: It can save 5 times the energy of using an oven, depending on what you are cooking and how much. For example, Which? found that it’s the cheapest and quickest way to cook chips (23 minutes, 10p for two portions) but if you needed to cook for a lot of people, it might work out cheaper to use the oven and cook all at once, rather than cook in batches in the smaller space of the air fryer.
Con: It’s not especially attractive. There is such a niche for something that doesn’t compromise on style (in my opinion!).
Pro: Things cook quicker, so you save time. Again this only applies if you are making smaller batches (most air fryers cater for around 4 people).
Con: They’re not cheap, they’re generally around the £100 mark (and I am always dubious/cautious of spending hundreds on items to save money) . I remember seeing £30 Lidl ones, but they sell out pretty quick. And the cheaper you go, the less space there is.
Pro: Generally you use less oil (saving money) which makes your cooking healthier.
Con: It takes up a lot of space in your kitchen. Like most people, worktop space in our home is prime real estate! If you have a designated space for it, then great.
Pro: It’s relatively easy to clean.
Con: It’s not really easy to clean. Once you’re doing it it’s easy, but realistically it just sits unwashed in our sink for days. I haven’t tried them yet, but you can get silicone air fryer ‘sheets’, which means you can wash those rather than the air fryer tray and have them on rotation.
Con: For me, it slightly takes the joy out of cooking. I love chopping and seasoning for the oven and trying new things.
I probably wouldn’t replace my oven with an air fryer. It’s good to have it alongside, but then that’s an extra cost (and huge privilege!).
We did cook a small roast chicken in our air fryer and it came out brilliantly! And I find it lets out less aroma generally (which again, for me, is a pro of cooking!).
I hope that has felt like an honest review! It’s the kind of thing I would have liked to read before trying ours, as they are a big purchase and I am always a little bit dubious of items that cost a lot in order to save money. If you think you’d get a lot of use out of it and have the surface space (or even better: storage for one!), then I really think they’re a great investment. It’s also great for students, small households, people living on their own, renovators and those wishing to save on bills.
We have since donated ours to a friend living on her own who was after one, as we decided we wouldn’t get enough use out of it to warrant it being on the side constantly.