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Old 02-03-2020, 02:06 PM
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Air fryers: Worth it?


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Originally Posted by kayaker View Post
Lately I have been avoiding restaurant french fries though, because my air fryer fries are so much better than deep fried.
I've been making do, happily I thought, with either Lamb Weston Idaho brand frozen fries, or seasoned frozen fries and onion rings by Alexia. Pop 'em in a convection oven at 450F and they come out pretty good. But I've been considering an air fyer. Which one do you recommend, and do you slice your own fries or go with frozen?

What else do you cook in your air fryer and how easy/difficult is it to keep clean? Do they retain food smells that permeate every new batch of food with the previous?
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Old 02-03-2020, 02:19 PM
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Do you have a convection oven? Basically the same thing, except countertop sized.
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Old 02-03-2020, 02:25 PM
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Yep. I do. Full size convection oven. However, trying to make fries from scratch in it has never worked out. Too much interior volume and not enough venting, I figured.
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Old 02-03-2020, 02:34 PM
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Originally Posted by QuickSilver View Post
Inspired by:


I've been making do, happily I thought, with either Lamb Weston Idaho brand frozen fries, or seasoned frozen fries and onion rings by Alexia. Pop 'em in a convection oven at 450F and they come out pretty good. But I've been considering an air fyer. Which one do you recommend, and do you slice your own fries or go with frozen?

What else do you cook in your air fryer and how easy/difficult is it to keep clean? Do they retain food smells that permeate every new batch of food with the previous?
Mr. Salinqmind read about air fryers last year and hurried and ordered Avalon Bay air fryer, 3.7 qt. model, about $85 because he was just so psyched to try it with french fries. He didn't do much research. It's easy enough to use, has smaller cooking basket than I'd hoped, but it bakes enough french fries for the two of us. Chicken pieces, raw and cooked, hot dogs, and asparagus come out very well. It reheats pizza and chicken wings very well. (sadly, the promising grilled cheese sandwich recipe didn't pan out.) Everything seems to require the highest temperature setting, I don't know why anyone would bother with the lower, but it has a timer and turns itself off.

The pot and the insert in the pot are teflon coated and come apart for cleaning, nothing we cooked has burned or requires scraping. I had to practice lifting the insert a few times, it is attached to the handle and lifts out. There is a wire rack thing we haven't used, I forgot what its for, and a helpful instruction booklet.

Pros: Works well for air frying and crisping food for the two of us. Hot dogs, sausages, chicken wings, tenders, fries, onion rings, and some vegetables turn out well, fairly quickly, too.

Cons: It takes up a lot of counter space, as it is a one-trick pony, and I thought it was kind of expensive at the time. We use it once or twice a week.

You can google how to cook just about anything in it, there are air fryer sites, youtube videos, and helpful hints everywhere online..... Now Mr. Salinqmind has spotted another contraption, a combination air fryer/oven/toaster for about $180 that he thinks we would get more use out of. A Ninja Foodi, which has good reviews. Not to be confused with an 'instant pot', of which I know nothing.

Last edited by salinqmind; 02-03-2020 at 02:38 PM.
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Old 02-03-2020, 03:57 PM
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May I suggest just getting a basket for your convection oven, or if you want cook them on the oven rack directly. That's what is most likely holding you back. I have something like this one for my oven which works well https://www.amazon.com/UPGRADED-Delu...-garden&sr=1-7
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Old 02-03-2020, 07:25 PM
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I'll second kanicbird's suggestion. We used to have an air-fryer and then my husband got me a multi-function Breville toaster oven that took over that task. It comes with a basket that replaces the usual cooking rack and a roaster pan with a rack that will air-fry pretty much anything you want. The French fries I used to make in the air-fryer come out just as well using the toaster oven basket, and the oven came with a recipe for Korean-sauced chicken wings using the roaster pan and rack that are really good. If you already have a convection oven, you should be set - just make sure the air can get under the bottom of the item you are trying to air-fry. Also agitate/turn the item(s) you are air-frying half way through cooking to assist with the air flow.
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Old 02-03-2020, 08:14 PM
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If your microwave has a convection mode, it's a lot smaller space than then a wall oven, and mine seems to do a good job "air frying" food.
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Old 02-03-2020, 08:30 PM
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Definitely, yes. We do all sorts of stuff there. Wings, ribs, steaks, meatballs, springrolls.
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Old 02-11-2020, 10:49 AM
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We make amazing bacon in our air fryer all the time. Also, frozen hash browns come out really good.
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Old 02-11-2020, 01:35 PM
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My parents bought a fancy Ninja air fryer and gave me their old one. It's an older rotary model, the kind with an interior arm that turns and moves the food around. I've used it a couple of times. It works okay I guess, but the arm tends to smash a lot of what you put into it. I'll probably get rid of it soon.
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Old 02-12-2020, 04:15 AM
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Nothing is going to beat twice fried home cut fries, IMHO. But the air fryer is pretty darn good for a lot of things. I even let my wife cook steak in there and it wasn't ruined.
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Old 02-12-2020, 09:25 AM
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We got one and frankly I just don't see us using it often. For one, we really don't make foods that we'd want to "air fry" often. But to me the biggest con is the "basket" is absurdly small for nearly any practical usage. My wife tried to re-heat leftover pizza but how do you do that when you have to stack pizza ontop of each other? Maybe if I want to make 3-4 chicken nuggets or a small amount of fries for one of my kids I guess. But considering the cooking time, cleaning of the basket afterwards, and the end results - I'll just toss them on a baking sheet in the oven on convect and make enough at once to feed more than 1 child.
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Old 02-13-2020, 06:35 PM
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I'm considering buying one. Any opinions on cooking fish ? I see there are lots of hits on Google for cooking fish in an air fryer but I trust you fellow Dopers for some honest input. Also would like to hear more about keeping an air fryer clean and brand recommendations.
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Old 02-13-2020, 07:36 PM
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Great for Panko southern fried chicken, baked spuds are great, reheating pizza very good, yep I use mine at least once a week.
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Old 02-13-2020, 11:09 PM
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We make amazing bacon in our air fryer all the time. Also, frozen hash browns come out really good.
Just got one and the jury is out, but I made brussel sprouts with bacon in it that were wonderful
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Old 02-14-2020, 07:24 AM
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I love our Power Airfryer XL. I make French fries at least once a week, playing around with different types of potatoes and different styles. Big steak fries are my current favorite. I've also made broccoli, brussel sprouts, shoestring carrots and parsnips, etc.

It does have a big footprint, but we have a huge pantry area in our basement so it lives alongside our rice cooker, waffle maker, vacuum sealer, four crockpots, etc.

ETA: when I first got it, my gf questioned the idea, given that our oven does convection baking and roasting. She asked if we really needed it. I answered with, *cough* *crem brle torch* *cough*

Last edited by kayaker; 02-14-2020 at 07:27 AM.
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Old 02-16-2020, 05:20 PM
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I hope they are worth it! I bought a Ninja 5.5 QT. today. Just finished washing it, probably won't try it out 'til tomorrow. Main thing I hadn't considered was overall height. I have cabinets that overhang the counters and the Ninja is about 1/8" too tall to fit under them. Also, my house was built back when people didn't have a gazillion electric kitchen appliances so there are a limited number of outlets where I will be able to cook with it without cooking the wall and cabinets. One of the reasons I bought it was to be able to cook fish and other smelly stuff out in the screened in back porch so it doesn't fill the house with cooking odors. I watched some YT videos on using an air fryer and the Ninja is different than the ones I saw on YT that had a separate "drawer"/basket. The Ninja is all one piece with a thing that goes in the bottom of the cooking "pot" to allow air flow under the food. Anxious to try it.
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Old 02-16-2020, 07:00 PM
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OK did the test last night, Panko and spice mix on chicken legs. Two in the oven took 3 times as long and no where near as crispy.

I had soaked the legs in buttermilk and hot sauce for a few hours and even with that the oven lost.
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Old 02-21-2020, 08:34 PM
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So, have cooked so far...breakfast sausage patties (excellent), potato sliced into french fries (OK), pre-sliced Ore-Ida brand crinkle cut french fries (turned out really great) cod filets, first batch good, second batch great. My idea of isolating cooking smells to the porch doesn't work as well as hoped. Bringing the cooked food inside transfers the majority of the odor. Eh, no big deal. I'm really liking it so far. I'm learning a little each time.
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Old 02-21-2020, 10:00 PM
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I'm wondering if the Ore-Ida pre-cut crinkle fries are blanched. I didn't do that when I sliced up potatoes and air fried them. Blanching seems to be a thing.
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Old 02-22-2020, 05:54 AM
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I'm wondering if the Ore-Ida pre-cut crinkle fries are blanched. I didn't do that when I sliced up potatoes and air fried them. Blanching seems to be a thing.
I don't blanch my potatoes, but I do soak them in water, then allow them to completely dry before Use.
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Old 02-22-2020, 06:09 AM
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I don't blanch my potatoes, but I do soak them in water, then allow them to completely dry before Use.
Soaking, then drying your potatoes helps get rid of a lot of the starches and surface sugars that lead to mealy fried potatoes. Personally, I like to soak my home-made potatoes, pan-fry them, then toss them in the freezer before frying them in the air fryer. Freezing them helps get rid of even more moisture than frying, and there's a danger of sort of boiling your potatoes if they're too wet. You don't really need to whole freezing process if you're going to fry them normally the second time, because a second fat fry will knock a bit of surface water off by itself.

Much like cooking a steak that hasn't been patted dry: you don't get that surface maillard reaction going, and it winds up looking grey and being less tasty, air frying wet potatoes ends up leaving them limp.
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Old 03-06-2020, 07:08 PM
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Originally Posted by romansperson View Post
I'll second kanicbird's suggestion. We used to have an air-fryer and then my husband got me a multi-function Breville toaster oven that took over that task. It comes with a basket that replaces the usual cooking rack and a roaster pan with a rack that will air-fry pretty much anything you want. The French fries I used to make in the air-fryer come out just as well using the toaster oven basket, and the oven came with a recipe for Korean-sauced chicken wings using the roaster pan and rack that are really good. If you already have a convection oven, you should be set - just make sure the air can get under the bottom of the item you are trying to air-fry. Also agitate/turn the item(s) you are air-frying half way through cooking to assist with the air flow.
A little late, but I originally had a dedicated Air Fryer which I loved, but it took up space and would get "put away" and forgotten. Last time I brought it out the electronics were screwed up and it didn't work.

Not too much longer we were cleaning out the nook where the toaster lived and I realized I had the perfect space for a Breville multi-function with Air Frying. Not cheap, but I use it for something or other at least once per day.

So far today... toasted a bagel, air fried a brat for lunch, cooked a frozen pizza, and will probably make some fries in a bit.

Takes up more space, costs more, but gets used constantly and I wouldn't go back for anything. I don't think I've used my regular oven in several weeks.
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Old 03-06-2020, 10:26 PM
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My daughter got me the same Power Airfryer XL Kayaker linked and really like it. I won't go so far as to say I love it, but it wasn't wasted money.

Works great with wings and most frozen foods. Some foods like cheese sticks come out better if you microwave them for half to three quarters the recommended time and then put them in the fryer to crisp them up.

One thing it does do well is reheat take-out fries than never taste quite as good once they've started cooling off on the way home. Don't have to eat them in the car any more.

It also did a great job with the batch of scotch eggs I 'fried' up.
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Old 03-07-2020, 01:11 PM
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So, have cooked so far...breakfast sausage patties (excellent), potato sliced into french fries (OK), pre-sliced Ore-Ida brand crinkle cut french fries (turned out really great) cod filets, first batch good, second batch great. My idea of isolating cooking smells to the porch doesn't work as well as hoped. Bringing the cooked food inside transfers the majority of the odor. Eh, no big deal. I'm really liking it so far. I'm learning a little each time.
Got my Ninja for Xmas. Pretty good so far, with a couple of notable exceptions. Pressure cooked corned beef, inedible, artichoke using a recipe online, inedible and lo mein was an unmitigated disaster. II'll try corned beef again, just cooking it longer, artichokes back on the stove and I'll call out for lo mein.

But I did beans and ham last nite, wonderful in 35 min. (presoaked) Fabulous chicken wings. Jury is out on it, but I think I will buy another crock pot for some old favorites. the one thing that ticks me off is when a recipe says PC for 35 minutes (like the beans) but it takes a good 20 minutes to come up to pressure. Throws off my timing.
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Old 03-19-2020, 03:10 PM
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One thing it does do well is reheat take-out fries than never taste quite as good once they've started cooling off on the way home. Don't have to eat them in the car any more.
Wait, wait...
What's wrong with eating the fries in the car?
That's why I buy the extra order of fries...

And a July 2019 article from WireCutter that I just stumbled across suggests a convection toaster oven is better than an air fryer because the greater surface-area allowed in the convection toaster oven permits the fans to spread the heat more evenly across the food, providing more thoroughly-cooked end products.

This would suggest an air-fryer provides better quality results than a convection oven, but worse quality than a convection toaster-oven. The convection toaster oven is also, according to the blog linked above, preferred for its larger capacity and greater versatility (could you bake a 9-inch cake layer in an Air Fryer?) while remaining small enough to set on a kitchen counter-top.

Note that the article is distinguishing convection toaster-ovens from toaster-ovens, the latter lacking the fan to circulate the hot air which distributes the heat more evenly.

The selling point of the Air Fryer was that it's healthier than a deep-fryer because it uses only a tablespoon of oil. But if reducing the oil in your cooking is an actual goal, then eliminating it completely via a convection toaster-oven is a step better. Me, I deep-fry for the crispiness of deep-fried food and I use the toaster-oven or microwave oven for other things. Each has its applications, but the air fryer seems to fill a niche which was never vacant.

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