Reader Question: I've been looking at air fryers since they came out. Does food really taste as good as deep frying?
Ok, truth time, my friends. No, air fried foods do not actually taste deep fried, even though I'd really, really, really like them to.
So what does air fried food actually taste like? It tastes like extra-crispy oven-baked food.
Here's why: Air fryers are basically tiny convection ovens, which work by constantly circulating hot air all around your food. In an air fryer, the food you're cooking also sits inside a perforated basket, allowing lots of air flow all around your food.
Combined, this results in food that cooks really fast and with lots of crispy edges, which makes it taste delicious! But if you're looking for that crackly, melt-in-your-mouth sensation you get from traditional deep fried foods, an air fryer isn't going to do that. You need at least a little bit of oil on your food to help it crisp up in that way; otherwise, the food just dehydrates and becomes tough, rather than nicely crispy.
THE EXCEPTION! The exception to this is frozen fried foods that you reheat in the air fryer, like tater tots and fish sticks. This food has already been fried prior to freezing, so you're really just heating it up and making it crispy. And boy does it get crispy! Straight from the air fryer, these foods truly do taste super close to fried.
- Check out our First-Timer's Guide to Using an Air Fryer for more info!
Personally, I love cooking in my air fryer (I have this Cuisinart combo-oven; a few other people on the team have the Phillips model). I like that foods get crispier in my air fryer than in my oven. Check out my favorite recipes below!
~Emma, Editor in Chief and lover of faux-fried foods
A FEW FAVORITE AIR FRYER RECIPES!
- Air Fryer Falafel
- Air Fryer Crab Rangoon
- Crispy Air Fryer French Fries
- Air Fryer Chicken Wings
- Crispy Air Fryer Chickpeas
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