Air Fryer vs. Regular Fryer: A Comprehensive Comparison

air fryer vs. regular fryer

The first time my husband had me talk about an air fryer, he didn’t think of it as anything different from the regular fryers he’s used to.

Maybe the word ‘air’ seemed too insignificant to add any meaning to the regular fryers he knew.

My husband is a cooking enthusiast and you’ll always find him watching cooking shows on TV and trying out new recipes from time to time. He’s that weird!

Personally, I am fascinated with buying and trying out new kitchen appliances.

One evening I walked in with this sleek appliance that looked like a regular fryer to him. I told him it wasn’t. Ever since that day, our Cosori Max XL Air Fryer has been his go-to appliance.

So in a bid to help you make a clear distinction between these two appliances I decided to write this comparison between an air fryer vs. regular fryer. Let’s first find out what an air fryer really is.

What’s an Air Fryer and How Does It Work?

An air fryer is a small convection oven that can be used on a kitchen countertop. It prepares food by rapidly circulating hot air around the food to aid cooking.

Unlike other methods of cooking where food is submerged in hot oil, air frying food doesn’t involve the use of oil.

Additionally, it is super fast and takes an average of just 15 minutes to prepare meals.

Further Reading:

How Does an Air Fryer Compare to a Regular Fryer?

After developing a passion for cooking which was fueled by the introduction of an air fryer into our home kitchen, my next curiosity was finding out how it compares to the regular fryer.

I set to find out by trying different recipes on the air fryer and comparing results with regular fryers which I had been used to.

Below are my findings after some period using both the appliances.

Similarities

  • Both air fryers and regular fryers prepare food with a crispy and crunchy finish.
  • Air fryers and regular fryers use electricity as the main source of heating to aid cooking.
  • Both are countertop appliances

Differences

  • Air fryers, despite cooking meals within a relatively short period of time, can be time-consuming when preparing a lot of food. This is due to their small cooking basket which takes up a small amount of food at a time.
  • Air fryers are a lot more expensive compared to regular fryers
  • Compared to regular fryers, air fryers are more compact and take up small space on the kitchen countertop. You can even store them in a cupboard when not using them.
  • Unlike regular fryers that cook by submerging food in hot fat, air fryers use hot air technology to prepare meals.

A heating element located on top of the cooking basket produces heat that is evenly distributed on the food by the use of a powerful fan to aid cooking.

  • Air fryers are very easy to clean and are less messy compared to regular fryers that use oil that can be easily spilled around.

Furthermore, most air fryers are made with non-stick coating which is dishwasher safe.

  • Air fryers do not require preheating before preparing meals, whereas, regular fryers might take up to 10 minutes to heat.
  • Food prepared in air fryers tastes different from those cooked in regular fryers.
  • Air fryers are also more versatile compared to regular fryers. They can bake, roast, and even grill food. Some come with accessories that enable you to spit-roast food like steak and chicken.
  • Air fryers are more cost-effective in comparison to regular fryers. They use up very little power.

Are Air Fryers Replacing Regular Fryers?

Some people may be misled into thinking that, given the versatility of air fryers, they are becoming a replacement for traditional cooking methods like deep frying, roasting, toasting, and even steaming.

The first time I learned that air fryers can actually prepare even a rotisserie chicken, I was almost consumed by the same thought.

However, it should be noted that air fryers were not made with an aim to replace regular fryers, but rather, to offer an alternative to other existing cooking methods that have existed for ages.

Personally, I still use traditional cooking appliances like a convection oven, deep fryer, and even a toaster oven in my household.

In fact, my wife has limited the use of an air fryer in her daily preparation of meals to about 3 times a month.

There are circumstances though where you’ll find using an air fryer very ideal.

For example when in a hurry or you are busy attending to other things. Air fryers have this cool auto-shut feature that will enable you to leave the food to cook without the worry of having overcooked food.

Simply set the right cook-time and temperatures, once the food is fully cooked the unit will automatically shut-off.

Which Is Better Between Air Fryer and Regular Fryer?

From the above exhaustive comparison, it is quite evident that air fryers come with way more advantages compared to their regular counterparts.

They are more cost-effective, convenient to use, easy to clean and store, and most importantly health-friendly.

Considering that when shopping for a kitchen appliance these are among the most important factors that you want to consider gives them an upper hand over regular fryers.

However, some who have tried both appliances report that they’d pick regular fryers for their frying needs over the air fryers.

Why would that be the case?

Below are a few reasons why some people still prefer regular fryers over air fryers despite their diverse benefits.

Reasons People Still Choose Regular Fryers Over the Air Fryers

Food taste

If you are used to eating deep-fried food or rather food prepared by traditional methods, that may be either by use of deep fryers or convection ovens, then you’ll definitely notice the sharp contrast in taste when you first eat air fried food.

Some people prefer the flavor in fatty foods and would rather choose to overlook the health risks that are associated with them just to satisfy their taste desires.

Capacity

For those with big families or hold parties from time to time, air fryers might not be the best pick. Their small cooking capacity can be tiring and time-consuming.

On the other hand, regular air fryers, for example, a convection oven can cook food enough for over 10 people at a go.

Associated health risks

Air fryers cook at high temperatures compared to regular fryers. This makes the formation of a very harmful compound associated with cancer called acrylamide very easy.

Additionally, the plastic coatings used in air fryer pans can come off easily when exposed to high cooking temperatures. These particles can in turn mix with food hence, pose further risks to your health.

Research is still also ongoing on other health risks that might be associated with air fryers.

Old is gold

Some people are also simply stuck with old cooking methods like deep frying due to the fear of the unknown. Despite living in a technologically fast-evolving world, they have chosen to remain with their trusted old ways of preparing food.

Air fryers can also be challenging to use for amateurs. One might need a few trials and errors before you know your way around operating this appliance. This is something some people might want to avoid more so the elderly.

Addiction

Preparing food in air fryers is pretty fast. They are also made to use little to no fat in preparing meals. One can easily be addicted to fast food which in the long run can be bad for health. After all air fried food is still fried food.

Frequently Asked Questions

With an air fryer, do I still need a regular fryer?

Yes. Air fryers are just an alternative to other cooking methods and should not entirely be relied upon for cooking needs. For healthy practices, consider incorporating other methods like roasting and steaming through other cooking methods like the use of regular fryers.

Do air fryers consume more power compared to regular fryers?

Air fryers are used for cooking small amounts of food with a reduced cook time of up to 25%. Coupled with rapid air technology, you’ll use very little electricity in preparing food compared to regular fryers.

Can I prepare rotisserie chicken in an air fryer the same way as in a regular fryer?

Some air fryers come with rotisserie accessories that allow you to spit-roast your chicken just the same way you would do on a regular fryer. However, due to limited space in air fryers, they don’t offer as much convenience as would be with a regular fryer.

Conclusion

So far we’ve been able to see how an air fryer compares with a regular fryer. Their similarities and differences and which one of them suits what cooking needs.

If you are contemplating which of these appliances to acquire, I’d advise that you have both of them in your kitchen if you can.

Since you can not entirely rely on just one for your different cooking needs, having both an air fryer and regular fryer will promote a healthy leaving for you and your family.

It would also be wise to switch from your routine cooking like frying food to baking, toasting, roasting, and even steaming to help you achieve a perfectly balanced nutritional intake.

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