The Complete Guide to Using an Air Fryer
Find out how to get the most out of an air fryer with Robins Kitchen. Read popular air fryer questions, how to care for it, use it & much more now.
If you’ve been anywhere near the internet in the last few years, you’ve likely heard some of the hype surrounding air fryers. We’re here to tell you that the fanfare is for good reason. Your new air fryer is about to revolutionise your life. That’s not even a dramatic statement!
Before allowing it to transform your cooking, you’ve likely got a couple of questions. What exactly is an air fryer? What’s the difference between an air fryer and the more traditional oven or frying pan? Why is it better? What kinds of foods can I make in it? Will it really change my life?
All of your most pressing questions will be answered shortly. Let’s dive right in.
Air Fryer FAQs (or more fittingly, AFQs)
1. What is an Air Fryer?
Let’s start with the most important question first. An air fryer is pretty much an oven, but better. It’s not a deep fryer – let’s clear that misconception up straight away. Air fryers are small, exceptionally powerful ovens that use air as a vehicle for heat, as opposed to deep fryers which use fat as the vehicle for heat. Their reliance upon air rather than fat means they’re a much healthier cooking device than a deep fryer. There’s no need to lather your meal in oil with an air fryer.
2. What Types of Air Fryers Are There?
There are two main types of air fryers. The first is the most popular one, which is a square device that looks a little like a coffee machine. The inside is a removable basket, in which you simply pop in the food you want to cook and shut the door. It’ll do the rest.
The second is a boxier multi-functional air fryer, which looks like a small countertop oven. It has a few more functions in addition to air frying, such as slow cooking, toasting, and dehydrating.
3. What Types of Food Can I Cook in an Air Fryer?
Essentially, anything that can be roasted, baked, or fried. You can’t cook something that needs boiling, steaming, or braising in your air fryer. It operates using dry heat, not water, so pretty much anything that can be cooked with hot air. The sky’s the limit.
Want some ideas to get you started? You can bake pretty much anything in an Air Fryer, from biscuits and slices to cakes and muffins. You can roast or bake any kind of meat for dinner. Chicken wings do particularly well in an air fryer where they cook faster than in a conventional oven, coming out nice and crispy. Vegetables you’d typically roast are also brilliant in the air fryer, such as roast potatoes. Your Sunday roast has never been easier to prepare.
Another quick tip – air fryers are great for reheating leftovers. They’ll refresh last night’s dinner into its former glory, not turn it into mush like your microwave would.
4. Is it Quicker/Easier to Use Than an Oven?
Yes and no – air fryers are much quicker than conventional ovens, saving valuable time that could be better spent on something else. They are, however, more hands-on than traditional ovens. You’ll have to remove the basket and shuffle food around every couple of minutes to ensure it’s cooking evenly, depending on what you’re cooking. You’ll still save time even with this caveat because the air fryer’s small size and intense heat circulation makes for a rapid cooking process.
5. Will an Air Fryer Really Change My Life?
Yes – but don’t take our word for it! Browse our range of Air Fryers on Robin’s Kitchen today and find out for yourself.
So, You’ve Got Your Brand-New Air Fryer – Now What?
You’ve got your brand-new air fryer and taken it out of the box – how exciting! Before you dive right into whipping up a feast there’s a couple of things you need to do to get your new best friend in the kitchen set up.
1. After it’s out of the box, first take apart all the removable components and clean them as per the care guide. It’s included at the end of this article.
2. Next, after everything’s clean and dry, place the air fryer on a stable and heat-resistant surface. Don’t put anything on top of the appliance as this will disrupt the airflow and prevent it from working properly.
3. Lastly, place the frying tray into the frying drawer. Don’t fill the drawers with oil or any other liquid. You’re now ready to go!
My Air Fryer is Now Prepared – How Do I Use It?
Got your air fryer ready and a christening recipe picked out? Perfect. Here’s exactly how to proceed.
Plug your air fryer into a wall socket. It’ll beep and light up for a second before going into standby mode. The power button will be illuminated in red.
Place your ingredients into the non-stick frying drawer on top of the frying tray and slide the drawer into the air fryer.
To operate, press the power button. The control screen will illuminate, and the default temperature and time will flash alternatively.
Adjust the temperature and timing according to your recipe by using the plus and minus buttons.
To pause, press the pause button and the appliance will beep to let you know it’s done so. Press it again to restart.
Some ingredients may require shaking throughout the cooking process to ensure they cook evenly. Simply pull the drawer out to do so mid-cooking process and return it to finish cooking your meal.
When the cooking cycle is finished the appliance will beep to signify it’s done. Take the drawer out and place it on a heat-resistant surface. Don’t worry if the motor doesn’t turn off straight away – it continues to run for a minute after cooking is finished to cool the appliance down. It’ll then go into standby mode.
It’s that simple; you can now enjoy your delicious air-fried meal. Yay!
Disclaimer: Operate with care when using the appliance on surfaces that may be damaged by heat as the surface under the appliance may become hot during use. Sit the appliance upright on a firm, stable, level, and heat-resistant surface. The use of a heat resistant pad is recommended. Be aware that not all bench tops are considered as heat-resistant surfaces.
A Few Last Tips
Before you whip up a delicious air-fried creation, here’s a couple of last-minute hot tips – have a browse and you’ll soon be an expert.
Don’t try to fit a lot of food into your air fryer, as it’s a lot smaller than typical ovens and the cooking air needs to be able to circulate. If you’re making a meal bigger than what would serve two, consider splitting it up into a couple of batches to cook. It’ll probably still be quicker than using the oven!
Don’t use too much oil – excess oil might build up under the grate, causing smoke. No one wants to accidentally set the fire alarm off! If there’s already fat on the food you’re cooking, such as chicken, you likely don’t need any oil at all. It’s one of the major perks of air fryers.
Don’t use cooking spray either – again, you don’t need it. Your air fryer basket will have a non-stick coating, and cooking spray use over time can cause damage to it. You’re better off letting it do its thing.
Feel free to pull the basket out and have a look at what’s going on in there. The cooking process will resume as scheduled even if you take it out. Just make sure you fully shut the drawer to make it start back up again.
The less food you put in, the quicker the cooking process will be. Some foods are cooked better in multiple smaller batches rather than all at once. Your air fryer doesn’t like being too crowded.
Don’t touch your air fryer too much or put its drawer on the countertop. It gets hot. Treat it like you would a frying pan. Don’t put it on your nice counters or touch the bottom when you remove the drawer.
Make sure you use utensils that won’t scratch the non-stick surface of your air fryer’s tray, such as a rubber spatula or set of tongs. Don’t use anything metal that could cause scratching.
Let your air fryer shine by using it for foods you want to be crispy. Crispy chicken skin, crispy veggies, and crispy reheated meals are the crème de la crème of air-fried cooking. Your friends and family will be amazed at your cooking skills – just don’t forget to give your air fryer some of the credit.
Air Fryer Care Guide – How to Clean, Wash and Store Your Air Fryer
- Always switch off, unplug, and dismantle your air fryer before cleaning
- Never put the power unit in the water or let the cord or plug get wet
- Do not wash parts in the dishwasher
- Do not clean with scouring powders, steel wool pads, or other abrasive materials
- Wipe the exterior with a clean damp cloth and allow it to dry
- Wash the cooking drawer and the frying tray with warm soapy water and rinse well. Once dry, replace in the appliance
- Once clean store in a dry cupboard
- Dispose of the appliance in accordance with the local environmental laws and guidelines.
Hopefully this guide will have you well on your way to creating mouth-watering recipes with your brand-new air fryer.
If you're stuck for ideas on what to cook, try this crispy roast pork belly recipe. Or, for something sweet, this chocolate mug cake recipe.