Air fryers come in several different styles, including what we like to call basket-style, great for large batches of foods like fries and vegetables that benefit from shaking; oven-style, ideal for cooking food on numerous shelves and often including rotisserie accessories; and toaster oven-style, which can toast, bake, broil and more in addition to air fry. No matter the style, they require minimal cleanup, which is one of the main reasons we like using them.
What to look for when selecting the best air fryer for your needs
Size: How many people will you be cooking for at once? A compact size is suitable for one to two people, whereas a larger size is suitable for three or more.
Basket-style air fryers are ideal for small batches and foods that are easy to shake, such as fries and vegetables. Air fryer ovens are larger and can air fry food on multiple shelves, but they require more monitoring and frequently require food to be rotated while cooking. Air fryer toaster ovens can perform multiple cooking functions in addition to air frying, such as baking, roasting, and broiling.
Price: Digital air fryers are more expensive than mechanical air fryers, and stainless steel options are more expensive than plastic options.
If you're looking for another appliance, toaster ovens, microwaves, pressure cookers, steamer cookers, and even full-sized ovens have begun to incorporate an air fry option into their designs, so investing in a multifunctional appliance may be a good value (and takes up less space!).
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Air fryers use hot air instead of oil, so are healthier than deep-fat fryers and more versatile and energy efficient for cooking smaller quantities than ovens. Based on our rigorous evaluation of the different best air fryer, we have created a list of our top choices:
Best Overall: Beelicious 32QT Extra Large Air Fryer
Best Value: Breville Smart Oven Pizzaiolo Pizza Oven
Best Budget: Ultrean Air Fryer oven
Best for Rotisserie Chicken: Kalorik MAXX® Complete Digital Air Fryer Oven
Best Air Fryer Toaster Oven: Tovala Smart Oven, 6-in-1
Best Dual Basket Air Fryer: Instant Vortex Plus Air Fryer
Another Top Pick: Ninja DZ401 Foodi 10 Quart 6-in-1
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1. The Basket-style Air Fryer
During our tests, Ninja SF301 Speedi Rapid Cooker & Air Fryer was the top performer. It scored the highest marks across the board for ease of use, thanks to its intuitive, easy-to-read buttons and clear and useful owner’s manual, the basket slid in and out easily, which made.
- ONE-TOUCH, ONE-POT MEALS IN 15 MINUTES: Choose your base, your vegetables, and your protein to create an entire meal in one pot in as little as 15 minutes with the Speedi Meals function.
- CREATE A MEAL FOR UP TO 4: With 6-qt. capacity, fit up to 4 chicken breasts and 1 lb. of pasta to create a whole family meal in one pot.
- 12-IN-1 FUNCTIONALITY: Choose from Speedi Meals, Steam & Crisp, Steam & Bake, Steam, or Proof in Rapid Cooker mode and unlock Air Fry, Bake/Roast, Air Broil, Dehydrate, Sear & Sauté, Slow Cook, and Sous Vide functions in Air Fry mode.
- RAPID COOKING SYSTEM: Quickly create moisture with steam while caramelizing and crisping with air fry technology at the same time in one pot when in Rapid Cooker mode to get restaurant-worthy results.
- SMARTSWITCH FUNCTIONALITY: Easily switch between Air Fry mode and Rapid Cooker mode to unlock endless possibilities.
- THOUSANDS OF SPEEDI MEALS: Ninja’s Speedi Meal Builder unlocks thousands of customizable recipes with ingredients that are already in your fridge or pantry.
- AIR FRY HEALTHY MEALS: Up to 75% less fat when using the air fry function vs. traditional deep frying. Tested against hand-cut, deep fried French fries.
- SPEEDI CLEANUP: Nonstick pot and crisper tray are dishwasher-safe, making cleanup quick and easy.
- INCLUDES: 6-qt non-stick Cooking Pot & Multi-Functional Crisper Tray.
2. The toaster oven-style airfyer
Air fryers come in a variety of styles, including oven-style, which is ideal for cooking food and often includes rotisserie accessories; and toaster oven-style, which can toast, bake, broil, and more.
- AIR FRYING & GRILLING IN 1 APPLIANCE: Versatile unit allows for many different cooking modes saving you the need for multiple appliances.
- 99% LESS FAT THAN DEEP FRYING: Enjoy the same rich flavors & crispy textures from frying guilt-free. All the excess fat & grease collects beneath the cooking plate for easy separation & cleanup.
- LESS-MESS INDOOR GRILLING: Cast-aluminum non-stick grill plate offers seared, grilled results without the grease splatter of traditional indoor grilling methods.
- EASY TO USE: Just pop in your food, select the time & temperature and walk away.
- 8 PROGRAM TOUCH SCREEN: Meet all your air frying, grilling, baking, and broiling needs with simply one button. Easily select programs designed for fries, chops, shrimp, pizza, grilled burgers, fish, chicken, and cake.
- COMPLETE MEALS IN MINUTES: Create easy and healthy homemade meals fast - 6 mins for salmon with asparagus, 10 mins for grilled chicken and cauliflower, 15 mins for steak and fingerling potatoes, 20 mins for a whole chicken with veggies & more.
- FAMILY XXL SIZE: Large 5.9-quart capacity cooks 6 to 8 servings at once. Air fry up to 3 lbs of fresh-cut fries, grill 4 quarter-pound patties, or roast up to a 5-lb chicken.
- Cooking of 1.2 kg of fresh fries at 55% weight loss with 15 ml of oil vs traditional deep fryer with 2L
3. The air fryer style with two independent baskets
The first air fryer with 2 independent baskets that let you cook 2 foods at once, not back-to-back like a traditional single-basket air fryer.
- 8-IN-1 FUNCTIONALITY: Air fry, roast, broil, bake, reheat, dehydrate, SyncCook and SyncFinish
- WATCH YOUR FOOD COOK: ClearCook windows and internal light to easily monitor cooking progress without opening the baskets
- DUAL BASKETS: Save time and eliminate back-to-back cooking like a traditional single-basket air fryer! Dual baskets allows you to cook 2 meals/appetizers, 2 different ways or larger batches!
- SYNCHRONIZED COOKING: SyncCook lets you cook both baskets with the same cooking settings; SyncFinish lets you program baskets with 2 different settings to automatically finish at the same time!
- EvenCrisp TECHNOLOGY: Advanced technology that drives air flow from top down for a perfect golden finish and crispy, tender results every time!
- ONE-TOUCH SMART PROGRAMS: Customizable programs for one-touch wings, roasted veggies, garlicky potatoes, cookies, cinnamon buns and more!Easy to use touchscreen with step-by-step instructions displays each stage of cooking.
- FAST PREHEATING: Little to no preheating time, from frozen to golden in minutes! Create gourmet meals with the versatility of a temperature range of 95 to 400° F.
- DISCOVER AMAZING RECIPES: Download our free Instant Pot app, so you can create quick new favorites and prepare delicious meals, available iOS and Android.
- EASY CLEAN-UP: Non-stick, dishwasher safe air fry baskets and trays.
- SAFETY FEATURES: Built-in safety features like Overheat Protection, auto-off and more to keep your mind at ease.
The best large air fryer of 2023 reviews: Using this guide on how to choose a large air fryer, you can find the best air fryer for your kitchen..
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Are air fryers worth it
If you like to cook foods quickly with minimal cleanup, air fryers are a good investment. Sure, some are bulky and may feel like a thief on your counter, but most people who use them quickly realize the benefits. They're especially useful for prepackaged frozen foods and leftovers like french fries or dumplings. All proteins, including chicken, pork chops, and salmon, cook quickly and become golden brown and juicy; vegetables become nicely blistered or caramelized. We especially enjoy air frying root vegetables like mini potatoes, diced butternut squash, and beets.
When is an air fryer not appropriate
Air fryers are excellent for crisping foods, but there are some situations in which they should not be used.
- Even when heated in a heat-resistant vessel, liquids can easily spill and splatter in an air fryer. You should also avoid using an air fryer for foods that require a wet batter, such as tempura, because the coating does not set quickly enough to stick, resulting in drips and smoking as well as a lack of crispiness.
- We don't recommend using an air fryer for many baking tasks: Most cannot bake because they only have heating elements on the top of the unit, as opposed to the top and bottom of a toaster oven or oven. The basket or shelf design also limits the size of your baked goods. Air fryers, on the other hand, are ideal for desserts that benefit from browning, such as a baked apple or an individual-sized crumble.
- You should avoid cooking greasy foods in an air fryer. When air frying something greasy, use a lower temperature to help reduce splattering, which can cause grease to hit the elements and create smoke.
- Avoid using lightweight foods like bread in air fryers with powerful fans.
Are "healthy" air fryers available
"Because air frying uses significantly less oil than deep frying and pan frying, it can provide a lower-calorie and lower-fat alternative with a crisp texture," says Stefani Sassos, MS, RDN, CDN. "However, air fryers are only as healthy as the foods you cook in them, and they will not magically eliminate saturated and trans fats from your meals."
To reap the most health benefits from your air fryer, Sassos suggests using it as a vessel to incorporate more vegetables and lean proteins into your diet. One of her favorite uses is air frying frozen vegetables. "I couldn't believe how easy it was the first time I tried it," she says.
What is the operation of an air fryer
The majority of air fryers have a heat source at the top of the appliance and a large fan that circulates the hot air. This design, along with other factors such as the use of perforated trays, which help increase airflow, and a small-capacity design, contribute to food cooking quickly. Most foods cook best at high temperatures, such as 400oF, for short periods of time, according to our tests, at-home use, and recipe development. Smaller foods don't usually need to be tossed or flipped, but they can be for more even cooking; larger foods, on the other hand, benefit from turning for even cooking.
How do I adapt a standard recipe for an air fryer
Converting regular recipes to air fryer recipes is more difficult than converting regular recipes to convection oven recipes, which typically necessitates lowering the temperature by 25oF and checking on it more frequently. Instead, keep in mind that most foods air fry best at 400oF unless they are thicker (think chicken breasts, which take longer to cook and should be air fried at a lower temperature, such as 370oF or 375oF to avoid drying out), so you are frequently just adjusting the timing.
The most important thing to remember is that air fryers cook quickly, so keep your user guide handy and refer to the included cooking charts and recipes frequently. Until you've mastered the recipe, it's also a good idea to start checking your food after a quarter of the time you'd normally check it in the oven.
What is the best air fryer for crispy food?
After testing leading models by cooking chicken wings, frying french fries and baking cookies, the Ninja Air Fryer Max XL stood out as the best air fryer thanks to its ability to perfectly cook up crispy food in a convenient, easy-to-use gadget.
What is the number one rated Air fryer oven?
Best Overall: Breville Smart Oven Air Fryer
The digital interface makes it an intuitive machine with 11 preset functions including air fry, slow cook, roast, broil, bake, cookies, pizza, toast, bagel, reheat and warm.
Is an air fryer actually worth it?
Bottom line — air fryers have been trending for years, but they are only worth the buzz if they fit your lifestyle. If you have a large family, it'll take too long to make a meal to satisfy a crowd. But for couples or people looking for ways to cook quick meals with less oil, it could be the perfect kitchen upgrade.
Why doesn't my air fryer make food crispy?
Oil or fat has not been used correctly
To find out how to use oil in your airfryer correctly, please follow the next tips: Dry the outside of the food properly before you add oil. Do not use too much oil, as this will make the food less crispy and more fattening.
Do air fryers really make food taste fried?
No, air fried foods do not actually taste deep fried, even though I'd really, really, really like them to. So what does air fried food actually taste like? It tastes like extra-crispy oven-baked food.
Most air fryers pack impressive versatility into a compact footprint small enough to keep on a kitchen countertop, as a healthier alternative to deep-fat fryers. What can you cook in an air fryer? Air fried chicken, buffalo cauliflower 'wings', air fryer baked potatoes, air fryer doughnuts, kale chips and traditional chips can all be made with air crisp functions. But look out for reheat, baking, roasting.