Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.
Have you had that air fryer in your online cart since the start of the pandemic, but you’re still unsure if you need another kitchen appliance that’ll take up valuable space? Trust us: We get it. We were on that same wavelength, but now that we’ve given the air fryer a try, we can say that our lives changed. When you buy an air fryer, you’re getting so much more than just another cooking tool.
Not to be SO dramatic, but since investing in the air fryer, not only has our diet changed (for the better!), but we’ve also been granted the gift of time, too. You see, cooking in your air fryer can drastically lessen cooking time for so many recipes, leaving you with much-needed extra time to get tomorrow’s lunches made before you even have dinner on the table tonight! #Winning, we know!
5 reasons to invest in an air fryer
1. Air fryers save time
We said it before, and we’ll say it again. You’ll be amazed at how much time you can save when cooking weeknight staples in your air fryer. Lauren Manaker MS, RDN, LD, registered dietitian and author of Fueling Male Fertility, agrees: “I didn’t realize how quickly I could cook my favorite foods. In 10 minutes or so, sides and main meals come to life that my entire family loves!”
If you think about it, this makes complete sense. Air fryers are more compact than your traditional oven, meaning they heat quicker and require less time to come to temperature to cook your recipes. So, if you have a recipe that cooks at 400 degrees F for 40 minutes in your oven, you may find it can cook in half the time in your air fryer (with some close monitoring to ensure you’re shaking the basket to prevent overcooking, too!).
Every air fryer model is a bit different, so be sure to do your homework and read reviews to find the best one that fits your needs and budget.
2. Cooking with an air fryer saves you money
Not only might you notice a savings on your electricity bill, especially during warmer months, but you may also find your dining out expenses decrease as well when you learn your favorite restaurant food fare can be made in a fraction of the time from your own home!
Think about this: It’s mid-July and you’re craving cookies. You turn on the oven and immediately, your house becomes a sauna – so you lower the air conditioning temperature to compensate for the oven. Now, you have both devices running full speed, costing you a pretty penny and utilizing a lot of energy. Instead, when cooking (and yes, baking!) in your air fryer, you won’t notice your kitchen or house heating up exponentially. Remember, your air fryer has a smaller heating unit, so it will not only cook quicker, but also produce less heat. It’s energy-efficient and that, both in the short- and long-term, can be fantastic for your wallet.
3. Air fryer cooking may improve the nutritional profile of your meals
Many air fryer brands promote that air frying your food can decrease the total fat of your recipe by up to 75 percent. While the food items and specific recipes you cook will cause this to vary tremendously, it’s true to some degree. When you submerge your food in oil and cook it at high temperatures, like in deep frying, the food will retain more fat from the oil and thus have a higher total fat and calorie content than if you were to air fry the food using just a tablespoon or so of oil.
However, remember that a variety-filled diet is key for lifelong health. While we certainly love the air fryer because it can produce restaurant-style fried food texture with significantly lower fat and fewer calories, you shouldn’t be eating French fries and chicken tenders every day.
Keep it spicy and exciting when cooking in your air fryer! Try out new foods and flavors. For example, we love making a yogurt chicken thigh with tandoori spice for a quick and easy chicken to top veggies with or pair with naan and cucumbers for a nice, refreshing handheld meal to eat on your way out the door.
4. Air frying can help you eat more vegetables
Okay, this might sound a little crazy – but it’s totally true! While air fryers may be best-known for creating “fried” foods in a more health-conscious way, they’re also a fantastic tool for varying your veggies.
One out of 10 Americans do not eat the recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables in their daily diet. Cooking fruits and veggies in your air fryer is a great opportunity for modern-day appliances to show you how simple it is to make eating produce easier and more accessible.
Manaker says she enjoys making potato wedges to pair with hummus or slicing up an apple and popping it in her air fryer for a quick and easy crunchy snack to eat with peanut butter. “Think outside the traditional carrot and celery sticks and pop your favorite produce picks in the air fryer to make eating more fruits and vegetables easy and exciting,” she explains.
5. An air fryer makes food fun!
Looking to get your family or friends involved in the kitchen? An air fryer can do the trick. Whether you each choose a recipe to make for your next game night or simply have a cocktail (or mocktail) in the kitchen while whipping up a veggie loaded egg roll, an air fryer can provide the convenience and fun you expect when dining out – but from the comfort of your own home.
Plus, you can totally get creative. Turn whatever leftover cooked veggies you have in your refrigerator into a taquito with a can of beans, or make a fun dessert using leftover wonton wrappers and top with a little nut or seed butter, a few chocolate pieces and a dash of cinnamon. We promise, eating at home has never been more fun!
Still on the fence about buying an air fryer? Keep reading to learn more about this appliance’s potential: