When you think of traditional cooking it is impossible not to think of frying, which with endless variations, is present in all the kitchens of the world. It’s the most widely used technique.

After all, even if it’s not the healthiest choice, it’s really hard to resist a golden and crunchy fry.

But in recent years, the desire to eat in a more healthy and balanced way has also involved this widespread cooking technique, thanks to the air fryer. According to the most sceptical, and initially I was, it is an appliance different from the classic fryer and much more similar to a normal electric oven.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

Its working principle is based on the use of heat instead of fats such as oil or butter. The air is heated to the ideal temperature and circulated at great speed in the cooking chamber of the machine to cook food evenly, leaving them dry and crunchy outside and soft inside.

It should be noted that even if in the technical sheets of the various products is indicated "without oil", for excellent results it is advisable to add a spoonful of oil. It’s still a small amount compared to the classic deep fryer.

IS IT HEALTHIER?

Yes, because air fryers require a much lower amount of fat.

The same producers say that this reduction can reach 75%, a very remarkable fact if we consider how widespread this method of cooking is.

The reduction concerns not only fat but also calorie intake. For example, if you want to lose a few extra pounds, changing the classic fryer with the air fryer can be the first step, without having to give up some whim.

Not only that but... During cooking with large amounts of fat it is possible that some compounds harmful to health such as acrylamide, considered by various studies related to oncological diseases. In air frying, the content of this compound is reduced by 90%.

So if what you’re looking for is a healthier diet, without having to give up fried food, the air fryer is a great choice always remembering that changing food and cooking techniques remains the best option for our health.

And that’s not all... We can say that it is even healthier for the environment because at the end of the various preparations we will not have those large quantities of exhausted oils, typical of the classic fryers, which are highly polluting.

IS IT EASY TO USE?

Definitely yes. It is simple to use because its operation is not very different from other appliances already present in our homes. Most models have a timer, which allows us to cook food while we are engaged in other activities. Besides, the absence of grease makes its cleaning much faster and more effective than other appliances. In almost all models some pieces are easy to pull out and dishwasher safe.

AND CONSUMPTIONS?

To assess consumption, it is essential to know what the consumer needs, such as capacity, because the size of the appliance and, consequently, the electricity consumption depends on it. The average value ranges from 800 to 2000 watts.

Another factor to take into account is the heating time, always reported in the product data-sheet. If the set temperature is quickly reached, consumption falls significantly.

Using hot air as a heat conductor should be remembered that you save in oil or fat, needed in large quantities in the classic fryer.

If we relate the consumption with the actual use of this appliance must be evaluated three parameters: model, capacity and frequency of use.

IS THE RESULT THE SAME?

At first, I too was quite sceptical about the results of this small appliance, but with the use, I was positively impressed.

The result although slightly different in texture, drier, is really good. The result changes from model to model, and there are many of them on the market but in most cases it’s satisfying.

The choice of food also affects the final result. For example with ultra-frozen foods the results are excellent, you get fried golden and crunchy.

HOW CAN I CHOOSE IT?

The choice of model depends on the needs of the consumer, especially concerning capacity, functions and frequency of use.

For example, often the cheapest models do not differ much in the quality of the result, but allow only limited preparations or have few functions and accessories available.

Another fundamental factor is power. A good fryer must be able to reach 200 degrees of temperature otherwise the results will not be satisfactory.

If we also want to pay attention to the aspect of energy consumption, it is important that the model we choose can heat up quickly. In the market, many models can reach the temperature set in 2 or 3 minutes and this allows energy and time savings.

Equally important for the choice of the model is the design and shape of the appliance. They are oval or rectangular, and certainly, the latter allows better exploitation of the internal space, without having to make layers of food.

In this type of models, we observe more homogeneous cooking. While those oval or rounded usually have designs and lines softer that make them more aesthetically pleasing and modern.

Besides, if there is not much space available, the type of charge can also influence the choice, which can be from the top or front. The latter is usually chosen by those who have no space limits in his kitchen.

It is obvious that the aesthetic taste affects the choice of the model, but for an appropriate choice, it is important to consider space and needs.

CAN I REALLY COOK ANY FOOD?

It is highly not recommended to use the air fryer to cook food in batter, with these the results are not at all good.

As far as the rest of the food is concerned, I have always been satisfied with the result. With the two models I tried I cooked meat, fish (the classic cod fillets were delicious), potatoes both fresh and frozen and in every size, vegetables and also various pre-cooked as cordon blue. I also prepared desserts but for these, I prefer the classic electric oven.

ARIETE AIRY FRYER 2,6L VS COSORI 5,5L

Until now, I have tried these two models of air fryer, different in both capacity and function, but both with excellent results.

Ariete Airy Fryer Digital

It has an excellent capacity/ price ratio, with its basket of 2.6 litres allows you to prepare 2-3 portions simultaneously. So it’s ideal for a couple or a small family.

It has a timer that allows a maximum cooking time of 60 minutes, more than enough considering that most preparations have a cooking time of 20-35 minutes.

It can reach a maximum temperature of 200 degrees, perfect for frying many foods.

It has a touchscreen display really simple to use and intuitive, and you have 7 preset programs available.

The basket can be removed easily for faster and more effective cleaning. In some cases, you can use a simple wet cloth or wash it in the dishwasher.

I tried it with every kind of food and I had excellent results both with the classic frozen chips and with fish meat and many other breaded preparations.

Besides, a small cookbook is included, with about twenty recipes both sweet and savoury, very useful for those who start to use this small appliance and maybe do not have many ideas.

The instruction booklet is also very simple, well written and with many images, very understandable even for those who, like me, are not very well versed in the use of technology.

Here, in addition to the explanation of the various preset programs and functions, there are also general tips for the correct use of the device.

Cooking times vary from 15 to 25 minutes, depending on the food you want to prepare.

It’s ideal for those who have little time and are always in a hurry but still want to indulge in a whim.

As for the size is a compact appliance, also suitable for small brushes, and very light, not even 4 kg.

The model also has a mini version, for up to two portions, and a larger version if you need to cook for more people.

Only the capacity changes, while the functions and the drawing remain unchanged.

Air Fryer Cosori 5,5L

The second model that I recommend, and that I tried personally, is the COSORI 5.5L fryer. The change of appliance is not due to defects in the first model but to the need for greater capacity.

The COSORI fryer has a capacity of 5.5 litres, which allows you to prepare 5-6 portions simultaneously.

Besides, its square shape allows you to make the most of the basket, without having to overlap food and you get more uniform cooking.

It incorporates 11 preset programs for different foods, including various types of meat, fish, vegetables, vegetables, chips, frozen, cakes and bread.

Each comes with a cooking time and temperature suitable for the chosen food.

In addition to these programs, the COSORI deep fryer has some really useful extra functions.

For example, the KEEP WARM function, which I used a lot, allows maintaining a preparation at the ideal temperature when it has finished cooking. There will be no need to heat it, which can change the final texture of the food.

Another useful function, and that few air fryers have, is SHAKE.

The machine warns when it is time to mix food, so you can dedicate yourself to other activities during cooking without forgetting.

The COSORI fryer also has a protection mechanism against over-heating. In other words, the machine detects excessive effort and turns it off automatically to protect the engine. It is a very important function and that many air fryers do not have and provides excellent safety for both the consumer and the appliance.

Another feature that differentiates it from other air fryers on the market is the possibility to change the temperature and cooking time while the machine is in operation. It may seem trivial but in many other models, you have to wait for the end of the program or turn off and restart.

As for the materials, they are of excellent quality.

The interior is stainless steel and the basket is covered with non-stick material of excellent quality. Besides, almost all components are easily removable and dishwasher safe. The display is quite large, with clear and well-readable characters, as well as very intuitive to use.

Included are a booklet, really complete and simple, and a recipe book with many recipes, more than 100, ranging from appetizers to desserts. This latter accessory may seem obvious, but not all air fryers include such a complete manual.

I used it a lot, it gave me lots of ideas for new and tasty recipes.

COSORI also offers other interesting models, even if more expensive.

Among these, a smaller and compact version of 3.2 litres and another model with the same capacity of 5.5 litres with wifi technology.

With this version it is possible, thanks to an application, to control the appliance remotely with the mobile phone.

For example, you can turn it on and start cooking, stop it and activate the KEEP WARM function. Solution for those who have little time but do not want to give up a full meal.

The variety of models on the market is very wide and also as far as prices are found for all budgets.

If you are looking for a super complete model and high quality we will have to spend a little more.

With both models I tried, I was satisfied with the results that, even if they are not the same as those of a classic fryer, are worthy of note.

Moreover, it allows us to indulge some whim and not to give up the crunchiness of the fried food.

Now you just have to try and have fun with the recipes!


Image from Engin Akyurt

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