March 27, 2018
Natalie AlbersStaff Writer
I’ll admit I was a total skeptic when I heard about air fryers. I like to keep my kitchen counters bare, and more importantly, I just couldn’t get my head around the concept of using air to fry food.
I’ve always craved texture over taste. I can enjoy a cookie if it’s soft in the middle and crunchy around the perimeter, I scoff at the notion of grilled fish in my tacos and I always select the crispiest bits of popcorn chicken (even the bits of chicken-less fried batter). My standards of fried food are high — nearly as high as the fat content of the oil.
I do care about my health, however, and realize that traditional frying might not be the most healthful way to eat. So I took an air fryer for a spin and brought my co-workers along for the ride.
We bought a bunch of frozen appetizers (for easy in-office cooking), and selected frozen onion rings as our first test. With oil listed as one of the ingredients, we opted not to add more. (Tip: If you choose to make your fried foods from scratch, you’d want to toss them in a little oil before cooking.)
Setup was easy. We dumped the rings in the frying basket and the appliance heated up in seconds (quicker than preheating an oven or bringing a pot of oil up to temp). Fifteen minutes later we had crispy rings that would rival any restaurant.
Next, we popped in jalapeno poppers, followed by rounds of mozzarella sticks, sweet potato fries, chicken nuggets and French fries. Crunch. Crunch. Crunch. Crunchy, crunch, crunch.
In each case, we determined cooking up our favorite munchies in the air fryer was faster than an oven, safer than a pot of hot oil and easier than going to a restaurant. And, without submerging the food in oil, it was a more health-conscious way to indulge.
Cleanup was also easier than traditional frying methods. I simply washed the frying basket by hand, dried it and put it away. No dumping hot oil. No scrubbing cookie sheets. No paying a restaurant tab.
As it turns out, my theory on air frying was full of hot air. In fact, I might even make room on my counter for one.
Want to try air frying for yourself? Best Buy has a variety of models to choose from. Bon appétit!