How Does an Air Fryer Work – What Can You Cook in?

Air fryers are pretty new appliances on the kitchen scene, so the exact ins and outs of how they work can be somewhat mystifying. This tool is super cool and super innovative. How can you possibly fry food without large quantities of oil? Well, that’s just what an air fryer does!

The air fryer is a compact, affordable solution for cooks who want to pay more mindful attention to their health and well-being. This appliance is multi-functional and high tech, a perfect choice for health people on the go. Read on to learn more about how this awesome appliance works!

How Does an Air Fryer Work

How Does an Air Fryer Work?

The way that an air fryer works is actually fairly straightforward, though it may be confusing at first. The main thing to know is that air fryers use advanced methods of air circulation to move hot air, thus immersing the food in hot air in a similar way that a regular fryer would use hot oil.

Air fryers are exceptionally compact and small, which is another important aspect of how they work. The appliance’s small size makes it possible for there to be a more concentrated cooking area completely filled with hot air. This speeds up cooking times drastically.

Besides being in a small space, the food is also placed in a well-ventilated basket that allows all parts of the food to be accessed by the hot air as it circulates around on all sides. The circular motion of the air helps create crispiness, as does the added heat from the small cooking area.

But, a lot of people may still be confused about how exactly these appliances work with so little oil. The incredibly hot air combined with supreme circulation is what makes it so that the food crisps up. Air frying only requires a small amount of oil, also making it more economical!

So then, how does hot air contribute to the crispiness of the food, even when the air fryer uses such a small amount of oil? The phenomenon that occurs when you use an air fryer is called the Maillard effect, a scientific occurrence that makes food turn crispy.

The Maillard effect is a chemical reaction that involves an amino acid and sugar reduction in the food. The reduction of the sugar is due to the high heat in the air fryer. When this chemical reaction occurs, it causes alterations to the color, flavor, and texture of the food.

The oil comes into the equation in combination with the Maillard effect. Tiny drops of oil are circulated through the air fryer along with the hot air to gently and perfectly fry food with none of the excess oil that comes with deep frying; healthy, easy, fast, and delicious food!

The combination of all of these components is what makes it possible for air fryers to effectively “fry” food so effectively without much oil. They’re incredible tools with quite a unique set up that’s worth exploring, especially for cooks who love new gadgets.

What Kinds of Foods Can I Cook in My Air Fryer?

The air fryer is a handy dandy appliance that can be used to cook a lot of different kinds of foods. Besides the obvious and traditional “fried” foods like chicken fingers and donuts, these machines can also function in a variety of other capacities.

Other than frying food, an air fryer can also handle the easy task of rewarming food. In fact, air fryers have superior reheating abilities as they have good air circulation and very high heat settings. Reheating food can be a hassle sometimes, so this is a huge bonus.

An air fryer can even be used for baking and roasting! The final product may not be the same as if it were baked in a regular oven (or a toaster oven), but air fryers still do a decent job. One piece of advice though, use a recipe if you’re going to endeavor to use these cooking methods.

Among some of the many delicious foods that an air fryer can make include French fries, samosas, veggie chips, quesadillas, egg rolls, and toast. The options are endless! A quick online search for air fryer recipes yields a ton of results that will surely spark ideas.

Do You Have to Use Oil with an Air Fryer?

You don’t have to use any extra oil when you’re using an air fryer. That’s a large part of the reason why the food comes out so much healthier! This appliance is specifically designed to “fry” food and make it crispy without the use of so much oil.

Some cooks and recipes might recommend a quick swipe of butter or oil on the outside of foods that you’re about to air fry, but this isn’t necessary. If you’re looking to get that buttery flavor, it’s usually better to use butter or oil at the end of the cooking process rather than at the start.

Contrary to popular belief though, air fryers do still use a small amount of oil in order to do their job properly. But what makes them so much healthier is that they require only the use of about 1 tablespoon of oil in comparison with the cups of oil needed to deep fry food.

The lower use of oil makes this machine a more budget-friendly choice, too. Because oil can get expensive, using less of it to fry foods cuts down costs and makes it possible to have your favorite foods more often without as much pressure on your pocketbook (or your conscience).

When it comes to choosing an oil to use with an air fryer, oils with a high smoke point are usually the best choices. These oils include extra light olive oil, grapeseed oil, and avocado oil. Please be aware that nonstick spray could damage the air fryer and should not be used.

How Long Does It Take to Cook Food in an Air Fryer?

Air fryers work quickly, and they don’t waste any time. They’re the perfect choice for impatient cooks! The spectacular hot air circulation system utilized by these appliances cooks food extraordinarily quickly, meaning you have the chance to prepare other parts of the meal.

Depending on the food you’re cooking the cooking times vary, but on average most foods cook in about 15-30 minutes. For example, roasting vegetables may take 20 minutes while some tater tots would only take about 10 minutes. It’s perfect for a late night or busy cooks!

Besides being a faster alternative to deep frying or roasting, air frying also minimizes clean up time by completely eliminating oil splatters. And, there’s no need to get the oil temperature just right! Air fryers take a lot of guesswork out of frying so that you can focus on the flavor.

These Air Fryer Donuts take only 15 minutes to make from beginning to end, while these Air Fryer Chicken Wings take about 30 minutes to cook. From desserts to main dishes, the air fryer can do it all and do it fast, without any of the hassle or risk of deep fat frying.

Are Air Fryers Healthier?

The general consensus among customers and health experts is that yes, air fryers are a lot healthier than deep fat fryers for a number of reasons. Air fryers have been said to produce low-fat, low-oil, and overall flavorful, healthy food.

The design allows these appliances to work with the use of very little oil. One of the most unhealthy things about fried food is the excessive amount of oil and fat present in the foods, something that can cause serious health issues later in life.

Air fryers use (on average) 50 times less oil than a deep fat fryer, meaning there’s a lower final fat content in the resulting food. Lower fat content and less heated oil means that food is cooked in a more nutritious way while still retaining delicious flavor and texture.

Air fried food usually has up to 75% less fat than the same foods that were fried regularly, a huge difference for your health. And, air frying bypasses the formation of potentially damaging compounds (like acrylamide and heterocyclic amines) that form when you deep fry foods.

Some of the health benefits that come with using an air fryer include weight loss, increased mental function, improved memory, glowing skin, and fewer stomach upsets, just to name a few. Numerous other benefits are also possible of course, since healthy food is vital for good health.


Because air fryers are so innovative and new on the market, current buyers will be the first ones to start a new trend! The popularity of this modern kitchen appliance is only growing, and with the surge in health awareness, its popularity is sure to continue increasing.

With so many possible uses and a wealth of health benefits, the air fryer is a must have kitchen appliance for both new and experienced cooks. This tool is amazingly diverse and well worth the investment for health- and time-conscious people.