Psst…we have a secret: fried food does not have to be an empty indulgence. In fact, that crispy crunch we know and love could be enjoyed in every meal– minus the grease-covered fingers and overwhelming guilt. All you need is one machine powered by air.
In a world where we can roll any food in batter and submerge it in boiling hot oil, it’s almost impossible to ignore the delicious delight of indulging in fried food. Yet, its health risks are hard to escape from our minds. Eating deep fried food is linked to illnesses like heart disease and obesity, making it a guilty pleasure that should only be consumed in moderation. That is, until the air fryer came along bringing texture and taste comparable to that of our beloved deep fried faves.
We know what you may be thinking: How could food be fried by air? Does it taste good? And most importantly, is it really a healthier alternative? We’re here to answer those questions and fill you in on the wonders of how this machine works.
How Do Air Fryers Work?
Think: combine a conventional oven with the results of a deep fryer.
Here’s how the magic happens. As opposed to a deep fryer that submerges the frying basket in sizzling oil, air fryer baskets are suspended into air. While no oil is necessary, some may still choose to use oil spray on their food to amplify the crunch and prevent food from sticking to the bottom of the basket. All you have to do is pull out the basket to place the food inside and set the air fryer to the correct temperature and setting. As the basket is pushed back, it is surrounded by a fan of rapid circulating air commingled with high temperatures. With full access to heat on all sides, your food is air fried to perfection. To reduce oil absorption even further, the machine has a grease-catching container underneath.
And the result? A crispy outer texture, a chewy inner bite, and no greasy residue - a perfect, fried treat each and every time!
What Makes Air Fryers Healthy?
Reduces amount of acrylamide in food
Deep-frying food in oil can trigger the production of acrylamides, a compound that forms due to high-heat cooking methods. Acrylamides have been linked to serious illnesses such as heart disease and cancer. The good news is, while air frying is still cooking at very high heat, it reduces the amounts of acrylamides in foods. One study even found that potatoes cooked in an air fryer reduced acrylamides by 90%.
Helps cut calories
Cutting calories has never been easier or tasted better. Because there is essentially no oil used when cooking in the air fryer, calories could be cut by 70%-80%. Let’s put it this way: using a teaspoon of oil in the air fryer is 40 calories, while using a tablespoon for frying (or let’s face it, way more than a tablespoon) is at least 120 calories. And when we think of deep frying, we’re talking buckets of oil, and countless calories.
Reduces some harmful effects of oil frying
The excessive oil that deep-fried food cooks in could potentially produce toxic, inflammatory compounds that lead to the development of chronic diseases, including cardiovascular health issues.. And the re-use of oil in a deep-frying setting could cause further harm, as it depletes the food of its natural antioxidants and nutrients while it is being cooked. Ingesting less antioxidants and more harmful substances could hinder the body’s antioxidant defense system, and lead to possible health issues. Without the use of oil, an air fryer helps to preserve your food’s nutrients.
So, is air frying the healthier alternative? When compared to the deep-fryer, our air-powered friend takes the gold– embodying all the wonderful goodness of fried food while steering clear of inflammatory risks.
Now, let’s move on to the last (and arguably most important) order of business: the food!
What Can I Make with an Air Fryer?
The better question is, what can’t you make with an air fryer? The possibilities are endless.
To start, you could place any food you would normally put in the oven or a deep fryer into the basket of an air fryer to cook it. Foods like chicken, fish, steak, vegetables, and potatoes could all be seasoned and placed in the basket to be cooked for any meal. Or, you can pop frozen items like chicken nuggets, pizza, mozzarella sticks, onion rings or french fries into the machine for crisped bites.
If you want to take your air-frying culinary experience to another level, there are countless concoctions that can be created and placed in the basket for air-fried goodness. Our gluten- and grain-free cauliflower wraps are nutrient packed foundations that, when air-fried, can form the delicious crispy texture parallel to fried food. The wraps could be incorporated into air fryer recipes for all your means - breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Here's a peek into a full day’s worth of some of our favorite cauliflower-wrapped, air-fried recipes:
Air Fried Samosa: Give this Indian cuisine a makeover using sweet potato egg wraps to hold potatoes, peas, onions, and spices. Paired with a cool Greek yogurt sauce, the air-fried bites will give you a light and crisp lunch.
Hot Pockets: Yes, you heard us right– except not the frozen snack you microwave in a cardboard tube, but the homemade low-calorie meal. Stuff our cauliflower wraps with cheese, pizza sauce, and any vegetables you desire, wrap them up and place them in the basket for a grease-less crunchy wrap, and a gooey cheesy filling.
The air fryer has recently surged in popularity and for good reason. When it comes to having a healthier, well-balanced diet, there’s nothing better than recreating our favorite indulgences in lighter ways. And, how wonderful it is to have a machine that enables food (and calories) to literally pop into thin air!