Air fryers are the internet’s latest food trend, and for good reason. These magical machines let you enjoy the wonders of fried food minus the grease and calories! Think guilt-free homemade fries, or air fryer vegetables if that’s more your style. If you’ve just bought one for yourself or are debating whether to try one, we’ve put together everything you need to know about air fryers, including how to use them, useful tips and even some recipe inspiration.

How do air fryers work?
Firstly, let’s look at how these machines work. The magic of an air fryer lies in science, and it’s a pretty simple explanation too. Where deep frying relies on fat, in most cases oil, to carry heat, an air fryer uses air for this. This means that these devices act like mini-ovens, heating and cooking your food using hot air. 

Benefits of an air fryer:
  • They are much less messy to use than a deep fryer
  • There is no “hot spot” like in regular ovens as the air is pushed around in equal amounts
  • Food cooks faster in an air fryer
  • It only needs a few minutes to preheat

How to use your air fryer
Using an air fryer is pretty simple and easy, all you need to do is treat it like you would an oven. Simply season and prep your meat, vegetables or meat-substitute, place it in the air fryer, and set it for the time it needs to cook.

Tips for using your air fryer
Here’s a few tips to remember when you’re using your air fryer.

Don’t use too much oil
Unlike deep frying, which uses fat (oil) as a conductor of heat, an air fryer uses, you guessed it, air. This means that you don’t need to go overboard with the oil that you’re using. Keep it on the lighter side as you don’t need much of it to get that crispy finish. 

Don’t expect an exact dupe for fried food
There’s just something about the crispy golden of fried food that simply can’t be replicated. Air fryers do a pretty good job of producing a crunch on your homemade fries, chicken strips or onion rings, but don’t set your expectations too high. 

Don’t be afraid to get creative!
There are so many possibilities when it comes to air frying, so try different combinations of foods or new ways of cooking.

Don’t add too much food to the basket
Be careful to not overcrowd the basket, because whilst air fryers are super efficient, if there’s too much food in there to cook then things can go south pretty quickly. 

What foods to cook in your air fryer
Now for the fun part, let’s look at all the different dishes you can cook in an air fryer. Remember that it uses dry heat to cook, so think of foods you would usually roast, bake or fry rather than steaming or broiling. Here’s a few ideas:

  • Homemade fries (potato or vegetable)
  • Pre-fried frozen foods work a treat in an air fryer
  • Reheating precooked foods
  • Hot dogs
  • Root vegetables

And there you have it, everything you need to know about using an air fryer.