What Is an Air Fryer and how does an air fryer work?

For those who love fried food, there’s nothing like it. Crispy on the outside and tender or juicy on the inside, deep-fried food just can’t be beat. From chicken and fish to potatoes and vegetable fritters, there’s no end to the kinds of foods that taste amazing after being deep-fried. From main dishes to sides and desserts, fried foods are perfect for any course. Today I’m going to introduce you to a better/healthier alternative which is an air fryer, but what is an air fryer?

The big problem with deep-frying is the huge amount fat and calories that results from immersing food in a pan of piping hot grease. This turns the fried foods that we love into foods that we can only have in moderation. There is a way to get rid of the dietary guilt around deep-fried foods, however. Simply lose the vat of grease and cut the calories by air frying your favorite food.

what is an air fryer

What Is an Air Fryer?

An air fryer is an amazing cooking appliance that lets you enjoy deep-fried goodness without the fat of actual deep-frying. Everyone’s using them, from at-home cooks to celebrity chefs like Gordon Ramsay. People love them because they’re easy to use, make fried food with way less fat than deep fryers, and are extremely easy to clean. There’s no reason you have to settle for fat-laden, deep-fried foods when you can opt for a healthier alternative.

How Does An Air Fryer Work? 

Unlike a deep fryer, an air fryer uses virtually no oil to cook food. If any oil is needed, less than a tablespoon will do. During cooking, an airfryer circulates hot air around all sides of the food. This causes it to get brown and crispy—very much like deep-frying, but with a fraction of the fat and loads of flavor.

How Does An Air Fryer Work


An air fryer sounds great, but how does an air fryer work? First, you’ll plug the unit in. Some air fryers have a preheat mode and others must be preheated manually. Either way, you’ll want to warm it up first. Turn it on and set the appropriate mode. If your air fryer has a preheat mode, choose that.


The next step in knowing how does an airfryer work is remembering to preheat it. Next, you’ll need to set the cooking time. Whatever the cooking time will be for your food, add a few extra minutes to it in order to accommodate the time it will take to preheat the unit and add the food to it.


Once your airfryer is nice and hot, pull out the removable basket and add your food. Whether you’re making chicken wings or fries, be sure not to crowd your food when placing it in the basket. Each piece needs plenty of room for air to circulate around it. If you stuff too much food into your air fryer, it won’t get brown and it will stick together. Food capacity is a good thing to keep in mind when purchasing an air fryer; you’ll want to make sure you buy one that can accommodate the amount of food you’d like to make in a single meal.


Place the basket back in the air fryer, where your food will get crispy and brown. You’ll note that cooking with your air fryer doesn’t put off the same overwhelming “deep fried” smell that can stay in your house for days after using a traditional fryer. During the cooking process, it’s helpful to shake the food periodically in order to move it around and ensure even cooking. Once the timer goes off, your food is done! Simply remove it from the basket and enjoy.

In addition to frying your food, air fryers also give you the ability to bake and roast, as well as grilling and other cooking techniques. People like them because they’re not an appliance that takes up precious kitchen counter space for only one use; air fryers are incredibly versatile and can be used to cook a variety of foods in a variety of different ways.

The benefits of an air fryer don’t end once the meal is cooked: one of the many reasons people love their air fryer is how easy they are to clean up after the meal is cooked. With traditional deep fryers, you’ve got leftover oil to dispose of when you’re done. Not so with an air fryer. In the case of many prepared frozen foods (like fries and tater tots, for instance), they come with a bit of oil already on them, so you’re all set. With foods made from scratch, you’ll only need as much as a tablespoon of oil in order to set the browning process in motion.

In addition to having no used oil to dispose of, you won’t have to deal with cleaning up grease that’s splattered all over the place. Most air fryers come with dishwasher safe, nonstick cooking baskets that are truly easy to clean. Once the basket has been removed, simply wipe the rest of the air fryer with a damp cloth. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning and maintenance of your air fryer.

Air Fryer Choices

Now that you’ve read our guide on How Does An Airfryer Work, you’ll need to go about choosing the best air fryer on the market. For starters, you can find air fryers available in a variety of colors to match your kitchen decor. Most models of air fryers are available in black or white, but some manufacturers offer air fryers in an even wider range of colors that will look great in any kitchen.

Your next option will be whether to purchase an air fryer with analog or digital controls. Analog air fryers are very simple: They have two knobs or dials: one for temperature control and another for the cooking timer. When the cooking timer ends, the air fryer will turn off. Digital air fryers have many more modes and control options. They have a digital screen that shows you things such as temperature and cook time. Digital air fryers feature button controls for temperature and cook time. Depending on the model you choose, your digital air fryer may have buttons to help you automatically select cooking modes for different food items such as steak, chicken, potatoes, etc.


Size is another consideration in air fryer selection. One factor in knowing how does an air fryer work is understanding how size affects its food capacity. Small air fryers are perfect for meals for 1 or 2 people. They can accommodate a large snack or a small entree portion of food—for instance, about 8 chicken wings or two sliced potatoes. For more than 2 people, a large-capacity air fryer will be necessary. If you’re cooking for a very large group, you’ll need to cook in batches (as mentioned above, your food won’t get crispy and evenly-cooked if you crowd it into the fryer).

Wide Variety of Air Fryer Accessories

How does an air fryer work for more than frying food? With accessories, of course! You’ll need to consider which accessories will work with any brand of air fryer you’re thinking of purchasing. Philips is a great brand of air fryer because they make a wide range of air fryer accessories that specifically fit the Philips air fryer models.

Why do you want air fryer accessories? Because they allow you to do things like grill perfect filets of fish or steak on your air fryer. Air fryer baking pans are great for making things like lasagna, macaroni and cheese, or potatoes au gratin. Cooking racks and variety baskets enable you to make everything from kebabs to tortilla chips and dehydrated food snacks in your air fryer.


what is an air fryer infographic

click on the image to see the full size.

Other Things to Consider

what is an air fryerNow that you know what is an air fryer and how does an air fryer work, you’ll be able to start researching different models of air fryers to figure out which one is perfect for you. Keep in mind that even small-capacity air fryers take up quite a bit of counter space, so make sure you’ll have room to use it. You’ll need room to set up your air fryer, as well as a work space to prep and hold your raw food while you wait for the fryer to preheat. It’s also good to have room to stash your air fryer away if you need that extra room when it’s not in use.

Expectations vs Reality

It’s also important to have realistic expectations after learning how does an air fryer work. While air-fried food is delicious and satisfying, it’s not going to taste exactly like deep-fried food. Air fried food isn’t an exact replacement for deep-fried treats, but it’s a wonderful and much healthier alternative. With many people trying to figure out ways to exercise more and make healthier food choices, air frying is an excellent way to eat in a more healthful way while still enjoying a wide variety of delicious food. With the proper research into the best model to fit your lifestyle, an air fryer can be a life-changing addition to your kitchen and your cooking repertoire.

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