How can you fry something without grease? Of the greatest inventions for those of us that like fried foods but don’t like the cholesterol issues that come with them is the air fryer. I will admit, when air fryers first came out, I was very skeptical, but I still bought one hoping for the best. I purchased a $30 model and after about a month of tinkering around, I was duplicating deep-fried recipes without a drop of grease!
Air fryers first hit the store shelves around 2010. The first model was made by Philips and after the positive feedback, just about every appliance company on the planet jumped in with two feet. Today, you will see cheaper versions that offer basic frying abilities to more expensive models that look more like convection ovens that have an air fryer capability but also offer numerous other options. For instance, the air fryer that I use was about $300 but it offers nine additional cooking methods.
How Does an Air Fryer Work?
We have to remember that cooking is science. Now, most of us associate frying with “deep” frying, but that is not the only way to fry food. An air fryer makes use of the Maillard effect, which uses high surface temperatures to create a chemical reaction with sugars and amino acids, which then creates that golden, crispy exterior we love in our fried foods. The beauty of the air fryer is that with little or no grease, you can still enjoy this style of cooking.
As I noted above, it does take some time to figure out the best way to cook with an air fryer. Each model is different, so you will want to use the cooking guide that comes with it and tinker around with the timing to find the best way to cook different items. But I can assure you, when you figure it out, the food comes out amazing.
One of my personal secrets is using avocado spray in the cooking cycle. For instance, I love zucchini fries but they always came out limp unless I overcooked them. I quickly learned that after about 10 minutes of cooking, give them a quick spray with the avocado spray and it makes them nice and crispy. I have since started using that with my “naked” wings to replicate that golden crispy skin I get at my favorite wing spot.
Have some fun with it, play around with your cooking technique and times, and you will become a master with an air fryer in no time at all!