Over the past few months, I often listened to friends go on and on, while I wondered, “Do I need an air fryer?” I’d heard of all the amazing recipes you can make: sweet potatoes, fries, salmon, chicken, veggies etc. I have friends who swear by theirs, using it multiple times a week to cook healthier versions of otherwise fried foods.
I DIDN’T WANT TO BUY INTO THE AIR FRYER HYPE
To be honest, I didn’t want to buy into the hype. We live in a small space and the thought of bringing a big appliance in seemed daunting and unnecessary. We’d have to store it somewhere inconvenient and would end up never actually pulling it out to use it.
But, here I am, posing giddily with the air fryer I’ve used no less than 5 times in the past week and a half. So, yeah, I dove headfirst into the hype — and all of our social distancing cooking is thankful for it.
SO, REAL TALK: DO I NEED AN AIR FRYER?
Okay, so, yes, yes, you do if you do a lot of cooking and enjoy fried food…as well as having the latest in kitchen appliances and do not have a convection oven. Our air fryer from Power XL is so easy to use and super easy to clean (another one of my main worries!) — and, yes, we found an easily accessible spot for it in our pantry closet. It’s within reach and I’ve been pulling it out every couple of days.
From what I’ve read online, this is the deal: air fryers are essentially convection ovens, meaning they circulate the air differently than a normal oven does. Our oven does not have a convection setting, so this is groundbreaking for us. It helps us get a crisp on foods without frying them in the skillet — all we need is a quick spritz of cooking oil.
An air fryer makes the biggest difference when you’re cooking unhealthy foods that you want to be a bit healthier, i.e. cook them without significant oil. Think fries, wings, chicken thighs, fritters, all of those frozen appetizers you buy from Trader Joe’s, etc.
POWER XL AIR FRYER VORTEX REVIEW
We have the 3 Qt. Power XL Air Fryer Vortex. I considered the 2 Qt., wondering whether the smaller size might be best for our small space, but sprung for the 3 Qt. after doing a bit of research online and realizing that, for 2 people, the 2 is just a bit too small.
The setup couldn’t be easier. You literally just take the pieces out of the box and there is no assembly. You have the main body, the cooking tray, and the grill pan. Super easy.
I struggled for a minute or two to figure out all the buttons on the top, but that could have been easily remedied by reading the instructions. The cliff-notes version is: you have the temperature setting on the left, time on the right, and, in between, you have several shortcut temperature and item settings. Their defaults do vary slightly from what I’ve found online, but most of the science here includes checking regularly.
Generally, I’ve found items take a bit longer than I expected to cook, but they get a crisp that isn’t possible just using the oven. It’s definitely the closest you’ll get to deep frying without a few inches of oil.
A FEW AIR FRYER RECIPES WE’VE TRIED
So far, we’ve done all sorts of food in the air fryer — we’ve even reheated food in it (highly recommend). Here are a few of the recipes we’ve tried and loved:
This week, I have asparagus, chicken thighs, and an at-home blooming onion on the docket (that one is going to be a Friday or Saturday project that I’m sure I’ll be Insta-storying). I’ll update this post as I find more recipes!