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What's an Air Fryer?

In the last couple of years, air fryers have taken over the cooking world as the biggest innovation in healthy eating. These convenient cooking appliances have been praised as the answer to getting fried food junkies to turn over a new leaf. While the name suggests the machine fries your food with air, the result is much closer to something that's been perfectly baked. Even though the name "air fryer" is new, the technology behind this season's hottest kitchen appliance is relatively old.

Air fryers are condensed convection cooking systems. Although you may have heard the term, "convection cooking" before it doesn't give many clues as to how the technology works—let's be honest, it doesn't sound quite as appealing as "air frying" either. In an air fryer, convection cooking is applied too quickly, easily and deliciously cook your food to have a crisper exterior that can mimic the texture of fried foods. Typically air fryers use an electric coil to produce heat that is then blown by a fan around food to cook it. This is similar to the cooking technology found on most standard ovens when you use the "convection" setting and it is the same technology found in most countertop convection toaster ovens.

Air Fryer Tips and Tricks

Air fryers are a healthier alternative to deep fryers because they use less oil to cook food. More often than not, all you need is one to three teaspoons of oil to perfectly cook your favorite fried foods. Most air fryers also use a nonstick coating on the cooking basket to help ensure your food does not stick. However, using a little oil in the basket helps ensure all your hard work doesn't go to waste.

Oil vs. Nonstick Cooking Spray in Air Fryer

When you're cooking in your air fryer consider staying clear of nonstick cooking sprays to help maintain the longevity of the machine. Some nonstick sprays contain additives that can negatively affect the nonstick coating used on pans and racks, etc. causing it to flake off much quicker than it would through normal wear and tear. One alternative is to use an oil mister or oil sprayer to coat the basket with the cooking oil of your choice. If you would like to use a nonstick cooking spray in your air fryer, we recommend lining the cooking basket with aluminum foil first. This is also a useful trick for cooking items that are coated in sugar-based sauces to make cleanup a breeze.

Always Preheat

When it comes to cooking in the air fryer there are quite a few advantages, one advantage that any busy home chef is sure to love is the faster cooking times for some of your favorite foods. To help your air fryer cook as quickly as possible, we recommend allowing it to preheat like you would an oven. By allowing your air fryer to preheat to the temperature called for in the recipe, your food cooks quickly and evenly.