If you're delving into the world of small appliances, you have probably wondered about the popular air fryer. You know they're convenient, can make your meals healthier, and are great for a quick dinner, and you may wonder, "should I buy a new air fryer or used?"
Read on to find out what we think about the best way to procure an air fryer you'll love.
Why Are Air Fryers So Popular?
While convection ovens have been around for a long time, the air fryer is relatively new. According to the New York Times, the first big boom of the basic air fryer happened in 2017 in the USA. Since then, the appliances have gained even more acceptance and use.
During the COVID pandemic, when home cooking became even more popular and necessary, small appliances like air fryers became a mainstay in the American kitchen.
There are several reasons air fryers have become popular over the past few years. Let's take a look at some of them.
Air Fryers Resemble Convection Ovens of Days Past
If your mother or grandmother wanted a meal cooked quickly, she might have turned to a convection oven. Air fryers use the same basic technology, so even though they're new, they are also familiar.
An air fryer works by using hot air to cook different foods. Even in the 1960s, when convection ovens became popular, it was known that air was a healthier way to cook.
Thus, your older relatives would likely support your use of an air fryer to speed up and enhance your cooking process.
Air Fryers Don't Take Up Too Much Room
If you're looking to add to your repertoire without something that takes up too much cooking space, an air fryer is a great option. Most will fit in a little over one square foot on the counter, which is often less room than common appliances like toaster ovens take up.
Air Fryers Speed Up the Cooking Process
If you need to get a meal on the table quickly, an air fryer is a great option. Where a traditional oven might take 45 minutes to fully cook chicken wings, for example, most air fryers can manage the task in under 20 minutes.
With a short cooking time, you'll be able to get dinner on the table more quickly after a busy day of work, school, or household activities.
Air Fryers Are a Healthier Option for Cooking Fresh Food
The great news is that air fried foods are healthier than those cooked with methods that use a lot of oil, such as deep frying. Since you can just use a spritz of olive oil to coat the air fryer basket, the food will soak up less oil and fat, making it a lower-calorie choice.
Air frying also makes food crispy and appealing, so you might be more successful at getting your family to eat more vegetables and other foods they might typically balk at.
Air Fryers Come With a Variety of Options
While these appliances can handle a lot, the air fry function isn't the only way most air fryers can cook food. You might find that yours has functions for roasting (great for brussels sprouts!), baking (perfect for potatoes), or frying up frozen foods.
Even if you only have a basic model, air frying itself is versatile and allows you to be creative.
How Can I Save Money on an Air Fryer?
The main reason you might be considering a used air fryer is likely to save money. A new air fryer can cost one to several hundreds of dollars.
Another reason to consider buying pre-owned is for environmental reasons; many people choose to purchase a used item that might otherwise go to a landfill.
Consider Any Air Fryer
One of the most important things to keep in mind is that air fried foods will be less expensive (and less unhealthy) than fast food. So, if you're looking for a way to save funds, buying an air fryer will likely help you meet your goal regardless of whether you buy new or used.
Consider a Used Air Fryer
If the choice is between a used air fryer and no air fryer, we'd recommend getting the used product. Air frying is such a versatile way to cook, and it will go a long way toward helping you add to your collection of kitchen appliances without taking up too much counter space.
However, we do have some caveats to keep in mind:
- Check the heating element. This is one of the first parts to fail on many air fryers, so it's important to double-check.
- Look at the air fryer baskets. These should be clean and free from rust. If there are rubber components, be sure these are clean underneath.
- Try to get the user's manual. Air frying isn't difficult, but each machine is a little different, so you will want to be sure you know how to use the one you purchase. You can often find these online if you don't have them in your hand.
- Press the different buttons to ensure they work. Plug in the air fryer and use the digital controls to ensure functionality.
- Take a close look at the plug. It should not be frayed or compromised in any way.
Consider a New Air Fryer
Many people prefer a new kitchen appliance when looking for ways to improve their cooking. Here are some considerations to remember:
- Most expensive isn't necessarily the best. Air fryers come in a range of different price points, so there's no reason to automatically go for the most expensive one. Look at the various options available and read plenty of reviews before deciding.
- Remember the other appliances you already have. Many people already have toaster ovens, and most have a conventional oven. You might not need all of the bells and whistles on more expensive models; just buy the air fryer that has the features you need.
- Consider your counter space. Air fryers in general don't take up too much space, but if you already have several countertop appliances, determine how much room you have and choose a model that will easily fit.
- Look for sales. The best way to save money on an air fryer is to wait for the one you want to go on sale. Consider Black Friday or Amazon Prime Day to be good times to look for a new appliance.
What Are Some Great Air Frying Tips?
Once you purchase your air fryer, whether new or used, it will be time to start experimenting with it as you learn how to air fry food.
Frying Food in the Hot Air Fryer
Remember that fried foods are much healthier when cooked in the air fryer. You aren't going to be using a lot of grease, so use a light hand.
You'll want to first coat the air fryer basket with oil. Cooking oil spray is an easy option; you can also use a paper towel to spread a light spritz of olive oil on the basket.
Prepare your food the way you normally would. For example, with fried chicken, you'll want to dust with flour, dip in an egg wash, then coat with your preferred seasonings and batter or breadcrumbs.
Preheat the air fryer, allowing the hot air to work its magic and heat quickly. Choose the air fry setting and check your recipe for the number of minutes you'll be cooking your fried food for. Once the fryer beeps, it's time to add the food.
Fry the food halfway through the cooking time, then open the fryer and turn or shake it, depending on the size of the pieces. Soon enough, the food will be done and ready to eat!
Try Different Foods in Your Air Fryer
Don't relegate yourself to only chicken wings and French fries in your new appliance! There are a variety of foods you might try once you figure out the basics of air frying. Here are a few:
- Broccoli and cauliflower. Vegetables are delicious when you use circulating hot air to cook them. Just spritz with oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and your choice of other seasonings.
- Whole chicken. If you have a "roast" air fryer setting, you can use that. Otherwise, you can use the air fry setting. A whole chicken will take about an hour; you'll want to flip it during the last 10 or 15 minutes, though, not halfway through.
- Potatoes. You can cut potatoes into chunks; air fryers are great at making crispy potato wedges. You can also bake them by cooking them for about a half hour, then adding a few more minutes if they're not soft.
- Tortilla chips. Air frying is a great way to prepare fresh tortilla chips. Brush store-bought corn tortillas with oil, cut them into six wedges, and air fry them for about five minutes. Much healthier than deep frying!
Cleaning the Air Fryer
Keeping your air fryer clean is important.
Let your fryer cool off. Right after cooking, the temperature will be too high to handle it safely.
You'll want to scrape any food bits out of the air fryer basket. Check your owner's manual to see if the basket is dishwasher safe; if not, use a soft cloth and mild detergent.
Wipe down the outside of the appliance and the heating element with a damp cloth.
It's safest to unplug your appliance when you're not using it. The exception is if you have it on a plug for smart home devices; in that case, you can keep it plugged in.
New Air Fryer Vs Used: Which Is Best?
When determining whether a new or used air fryer is best, you'll want to keep in mind your preferences, your budget, and whether you can find a used one that works and includes the owner's manual.
Safety should be a primary concern, so if you're buying used, look for intact cords and working dials and buttons. Also, check the fryer basket for rust and be sure it's clean.
If you're looking to save money on your air fryer, don't be afraid to look for deals. Even if you're buying a new one, keep in mind that you don't have to spend an extraordinary amount of money.
Versatile air fryers are a great addition to any kitchen. Cooking will be easier, and your diet will become healthier. Enjoy crispy vegetables, a whole chicken or chicken wings, your favorite side dishes, and even French fries. Bon appetit!
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