What No Oil? How Does an Air Fryer Work? [THE INSIGHT]

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Welcome one, welcome all!! To the home of air frying debate, conversation and even tips!! Today, we want to tell you all about air fryers, what they are and how they work! Air fryers (also known by the term hot air fryer) have been one of the hot new kitchen appliances of recent years. You must be living under a rock if you haven’t heard of them! Do they live up to the hype? How does an air fryer actually work? How can they air fry food without oil? Let’s find out together!!

In a nutshell, an air fryer is a kitchen appliance that uses hot air to cook food. This hot air is pushed around the cooking compartment by a fan. The main selling point of an air fryer is being able to “fry” foods with air and therefore with little or no oil.

For more details (and a longer answer!), please grab a drink and read the rest of our article!!

a diagram showing how an air fryer works

What is an air fryer? How Does an Air Fryer Work without Oil??

The Air Fryer Story

So, you have heard about this kitchen phenomenon known as an air fryer. You are wondering what it is all about? Air fryers actually have a longer history than you may think! The idea of air fryers was first touted by Turbochef Technologies, who applied for a patent in 2005. This company thought that air fryers would be a good fit for commercial companies back then. Using air instead of messy and expensive oil would be ideal for most business needs!

air fryers work by pushing hot air around a cooking compartment.

It wasn’t until 2010 that Philips cottoned on to the potential this technology had for the home, and came out with the first home based air fryer appliance (and (as they say) the rest is history). From my own memory, I always associate Philips with the first times I ever heard about air fryers. I have vivid memories of wondering around my local electrical store and wondering what the heck these Philips air fryers were all about! Little did I know how important they would become in my life!!

But How Do I Get Fried Food out of my Air Fryer without Oil?

As stated above, an air fryer simply uses circulating hot air inside its cooking chamber to cook or “fry” food without the need for a vat of hot oil. This style of cooking is very similar to that of a convection oven. However, air fryers started off much smaller than these convection ovens, giving a more intense way to cook with hot air. Not only this, the heating elements and fans found in air fryers are much more powerful than what you find in other household cooking appliances.

After all, the air fryer was originally thought of to replace the much more unhealthy deep fryer. Deep frying is one of the most aggressive forms of cooking we have, and the air fryer was trying to mimic that. This is why they were designed to be so powerful. Therefore, air Fried food was born as a cooking method 🙂

As a bonus, when compared with the regular conventional oven, an air fryer can often cook the same food with up to fifty percent faster cooking times. I did an experiment all about cooking frozen french fries in my air fryer, and found I only needed half the time required for even a fan assisted oven. It a similar story for other popular air fryer recipe items such as fried chicken, chicken nuggets or even the mozzarella stick!

No more need to pull out a conventional oven, toaster oven, or deep fry your food to get that crispy exterior on your favorite food! The air fryer replaces it all 🙂

how does an air fryer work? it cooks with hot air!

The temperature inside air fryers has been known to get as high as 200 °C/400 °F.

If you want a more in-depth explanation of the air frying cooking method, I would recommend going over to Wikipedia, our modern version of an encyclopedia! That will explain everything in far more technical terms 🙂

Do I Ever Need Oil in an Air Fryer?

Although an air fryer doesn’t technically need oil, there are some types of food that may require a quick spray of cooking spray (or preferably olive oil for me!).

This is just to make sure that you get a crispy exterior or crispy crust to your food. To learn more about the types of food that you may need to spray a little oil on, click HERE.

And don’t worry, this is still a small amount of oil and is much healthier that traditional hot oil cooking 🙂

What types of air fryers are there?

When air fryers were first out on the market, they came in a bucket style design. There would be a bucket style base, into which you would drop a basket. This basket would be what you used to cook the food. The heating element and fan would then be placed into the lid. This bucket style of air fryer is still what a lot of people think of by default when the subject of air fryers comes up. I believe air fryers started in this form because they look identical to regular oil fat fryers that were used in the home. This is perfect for marketing air frying as a healthy alternative to traditional fat frying.

The Ninja air fryer below is a typical example of a bucket style, click the image to view it over at Amazon.

More recently, there has been a trend towards the oven style of air fryers. They would have more of a traditional oven look to them, coming with racks inside to cook. Again, click the image to view this oven style model over at Amazon.

Bucket style air fryers are still great, but often you find the amount of food you can cook in them is not that much. This is because you need to have air circulating around each item of food for it to cook well. If you start stacking items directly on top of each other, you would often find these areas under cooked. It is hard to put a lot of food into an air fryer basket and expect it to cook well.

This is the main selling point of these oven style air fryers, allowing you to cook more food at once on the racks, whilst still maintaining good air flow.

The final type of air fryer I have seen is even newer than the oven style. This comes in a one of a kind air fryer, the Ninja Foodi air fryer. This particular air fryer is claiming to mix the cooking styles of both an air fryer and a pressure cooker. They say jack of all trades, but master of none. I wonder where the Ninja Foodi fits into all of this??

Do I have to tell you about the whole clicking the image and going to Amazon thing again!! 🙂

For more details on the different air fryer types, I have a full article you can read.

Thanks for reading…

Well, all there is left to say is thanks for taking the time to read our article. I hope we opened your eyes to what an air fryer is and what an air fryer could potentially mean to your kitchen.

For me personally, air fryers have changed the way I cook. I use my air fryer pretty much every day and love it. It gives me a quick and healthier way to cook. I know everyone is going on about the instant pot these days, but for me the air fryer cooking method is equally exciting 🙂

If you have any experiences with air fryers, we would love to hear all about it in the comments section below. Hearing from the community is one of the highlights of my day!

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