I've heard a lot recently about air fryer being a healthy alternative to traditional deep fryers. Instantly, deep fried french fries and chicken come to mind. Air fryers work by circulating hot air around the food. I got first-hand experience with air fryers with the Bella Electric Hot Air Fryer. For started, I air fried homemade french fries from freshly cut potatoes (as opposed to store bought pre-cut frozen french fries). I've tried thin cut vs thick cut fries. Next, I had to try battered shrimp... again hand battered at home with defrosted shrimp. Lastly, I wanted to try fried chicken.
Overall, I find that the air fryer does a okay job of creating a fried foods. However traditionally fried foods are without doubt much tastier, but also unhealthier.
My Opinion on Air Fryers
- Low Yield - Expect to cook in small batches. I find that if the basket is overloaded, that reduces the surface area and the food is less "fried". For me, this 2.5L basket was enough to fry food for a couple of people. Air fryers are not practical for large parties. I also find that most pictures depicting air fryers show a basket full of french fries, but the picture is very deceptive. The best way to cook fries is in a single layer in small batches.
- Not All Recipes Set and Forget - Not all foods are set it and forget it. For example, many french fry recipes require you to take the basket out while cooking to shake the basket of food.
BELLA 1500W Electric Hot Air Fryer, 2.5 L
The is the air fryer that I purchased during Christmas 2017 holidays. I didn't do much research, but did verify that it got fairly 4.4 stars out of 5 from Amazon. Here's so opinions that I've found semi-irritating, but none of them are deal breakers.
- Be sure to remove all the styrofoam from inside the air fryer and stickers from the outside.
- There are air vents in the back, which contributes to heating up the kitchen on cold winter days.
- The basket is completely removable, which makes cleaning it very easy.
- The timer on top is like a traditional egg timer, noisy like one too. It doesn't integrate with the basket, so the timer continues to count down if the basket is removed. It does integrate with the temperature control, so if the timer ends, the heat shuts down.
- The exterior of the unit is all plastic. It doesn't ever overheat, even on the highest temperature.
- To protect your countertop, I recommend purchasing a large coaster to place the basket when removed.
- To protect your hands, the basket is kind of deep, I recommend purchasing a pair of tongs to remove or mix food during cooking.