I Bought an Air Fryer. Are They Worth the Hype?
If a new small kitchen appliance hits the market, I probably have it. The Ninja? Yep. The The Instant Pot? Yep. I usually will only buy appliances I think I will absolutely use. The Ninja and Instant Pot were no-brainers. I was a little apprehensive about the Air Fryer. I did a lot of research on them and read about the same amount of bad reviews as I did good.
One Sunday afternoon, "In the Kitchen with David" on QVC sucked me in with their Power Air Fryer Elite presentation. I liked the fact that it was a 5.5 quart, one of the bigger ones I've seen. This Air Fyer had been in previews for a couple of weeks before the big presentation and I had gone as far as to put it in my cart twice on QVC.com.
One night, I was hungry for a baked potato. I don't like microwave baked potatoes, so I turned on my oven for ONE measly baked potato. I Googled to see if you could bake potatoes in the Air Fryer and there were several recipes. Score one for the Power Air Fryer.
During the "In the Kitchen with David" presentation, they showed how to air fry bacon. Score two for the Power Air Fryer. I hate messing up my oven with bacon splatters.
I read online that you could reheat leftovers at 300 degrees for 10 minutes in the Power Air Fryer. Score 3 for the Power Air Fryer. I don't like microwaved leftovers.
The Power Air Fryer Elite was only $79.98 with four easy payments. I just couldn't pass it up. I added it to my cart and this time I checked out. There were several colors to choose from, but I settled on standard black. I ordered it on a Sunday and I received it on Friday.
My first impression when I took it out of the box. It's big! It's bigger than a 5-gallon bucket sitting on my counter. If I use it more than two times a week, I'll leave it on the counter. If I don't, it will be put away in my pantry and use as needed.
I read all of the instructions and even browsed some Air Fryer groups on Facebook looking for tips and ideas. One tip was to put aluminum foil in the bottom basket to catch drips. I was glad I did that when I made mozzarella sticks. Which brings me to the first recipe I tried. Mozzarella sticks!
There is a recipe book that comes with the Air Fryer and it shows how to make homemade mozzarella sticks. The recipe called for fresh mozzarella, but I thought about using string cheese. I wish I would have. I bought sliced mozzarella and decided to do discs instead of sticks. I floured the disc, dredged in an egg wash, then breadcrumbs. I put in the Air Fryer at 350 degrees for 12 minutes. It's a good thing I was watching them or I would've had most of the cheese at the bottom of the basket and none in my mozz disc. Then again, who is going to pass up melted cheese no matter where it lands. They were o.k., but I probably won't make them again. They did have a nice crisp coating on them.
My first real meal in my Air Fryer was chicken cordon blue and a baked potato. My favorite baked potatoes are from Steak-Out. The delivery place that specializes in take out steak. They wrap their potatoes in aluminum foil, so I thought I'd try that. I washed my Russet, poked a few holes in the potato and wrapped it in foil. I cooked it on 400 for 40 minutes, but it wasn't done yet, so I kept adding 5 minutes. It took about 55 minutes, but I nailed the Steak-Out baked potato. Delicious!
The bad part about making a whole meal in your Air Fryer is sometimes, you can't do your protein and vegetable at the same time. I couldn't cook my chicken with my potato due to the temperature difference. Luckily my baked potato was smoking hot and stayed hot until my chicken was done.
Here's how I made my baked potato and chicken cordon bleu.
So, what do I think of my Power Air Fryer Elite? I don't think it shaves any time off cooking. If you're getting this because you think you'll have dinner on the table faster, I think you'd be disappointed. Maybe some things would be faster, but so far, cooking times are about the same as in the oven for the things I made.
What I do like:
- I did not have to turn on my huge oven for one baked potato and one piece of chicken.
- Normally, I would fry my chicken cordon bleu in oil to crisp the coating before baking it in the oven. The Air Fryer did a good job making a crisp coating without deep frying it.
- Clean up was fast. The directions say you can put the baskets in the dishwasher, but I would not recommend that. I read several reviews about chipped coating. I wouldn't risk it by putting it in the dishwasher. It was just as fast to put it in a sink of soapy water.
What I'm looking forward to making:
- Homemade pizza. My Air Fryer came with a cake pan and it will be the perfect size for a personal size deep dish pizza.
- Meatballs. I have a great meatball recipe that I use for not only meatballs, but meatloaf patties.
- Parmesan crusted chicken breast
- More baked potatoes!
Like with everything, do your research. There are several different brands of Air Fryers on the market today. I would bet that many stores will be offering some good deals during Black Friday. One good piece of advice that I learned from Blue Jean Chef, Meredith Laurence on QVC, you can make a little in a big pot, but you can't make a lot in a little pot. Go with the biggest size you can find.
Does it live up to the hype? I'm impressed with it so far, but I'm not sure it's the best small appliance I've ever bought. That honor goes to my Kitchen Aid mixer.
UPDATE: I used the Air Fryer THREE TIMES and the fry basket's coating is already peeling. I never washed it in the dishwasher. I only washed it in the sink with hot, soapy water and used a Scrub Daddy for stubborn stick-ons. Several reviews have mentioned the same thing happening. I'm very disappointed and considering sending it back to QVC, but they make you pay for shipping.