Before I say anything here, I want to say that while the links in this post are affiliate links, this is a review of an item that I purchased myself. I was so impressed with it that I had to tell you about it.
UPDATE: 11/20 There's a NEW Cook's Essentials 3 qt. 1500 Watt Air Fryer available! It comes with a pan so you can make cakes or breads it in it as well. If the link doesn't take you directly to it, search for item #K44643. Right now it's on Easy Pay(5) for $19.99 each payment!
UPDATE: TODAY(10/23) there's a new Air Fryer available from QVC HERE: Under $100! Shop Cook's Essentials 5.3qt Digital Air Fryer with Presets on Easy Pay. It's Item #K45538 in case the link doesn't work for you. Just go here and search for K45538.
A while back, I picked up an Air Fryer. I'd looked at them online, but I wasn't totally sure about it. Then one night I was tuned in to QVC and they had a Today's Special Value. It was on Easy Pay and I knew if I didn't like it, I could send it back with no issues, so I decided to take a chance. THIS is the Air Fryer I bought.
That one is no longer available on the website, but they do have this one available: Cook's Essentials 3 qt. 1400 Watt Air Fryer with Recipe Book. It seems to be almost the same but without the preset buttons and the rack.
The concept behind air frying is that you're able to cook foods using convection technology so the food cooks evenly and crisps up even without oil. I have NEVER added oil to any of the frozen foods we've cooked in it. I have added a tablespoon or so to the potatoes I've made in them. (Just cubed, sprinkled with garlic powder, Italian seasoning and some parmesan cheese.)
When I got the air fryer, I honestly wasn't sure about it. I have a tendency to buy kitchen gadgets and use them a few times and then put them away. I'm pretty sure my husband rolled his eyes when he saw the box and maybe even said "Here we go again!" but this air fryer sits on my counter and is used by someone in our house virtually EVERY day. I'm to the point with this Air Fryer that I don't know what I'd do without it! I've even made grilled cheese sandwiches in it!
The first things we made were chicken tenders and french fries. Both were frozen and as you can see, both cooked up nice and crispy. It was definitely as good as any I've had. I usually just put fries in the oven, but they sometimes don't cook evenly or you wind up with some burned and if they sit in the pan, they get soggy. French fries in the air fryer taste better to me than even fast food fries straight from the fryer and the best part is, there's NO OIL involved. You are skipping the frying and all that extra bad stuff that you put in your body.
I just pop the fries, onion rings, chicken tenders or whatever we are having into the basket, set the timer and let it go. No oil is required!
I've even made "fried" chicken in the air fryer. These are chicken legs that I lightly coated in flour. I didn't add oil. The skin from the chicken let the chicken brown up nicely. These were really good, but one draw back with this air fryer is that it's rather small, so I could only cook 3-4(depending on size) drumsticks at a time. I had to make them in batches.
I've cooked hot dogs, home made fries, and roasted potatoes in the air fryer, but one thing I wanted to try was pizza. I did a lot of googling and finally bought some of the premade pizza crusts. The small, individual sizes are perfect. While you preheat the air fryer, add your crust to it so that it will crisp up. Take out the crust, add your sauce and toppings and in about 5 minutes, you have a perfect pizza!
I've made chicken breasts that turned out delicious. They were moist and tender. I marinated them before cooking, so they had a nice flavor. I haven't yet tried steak but I've heard it comes out perfect, too.
The air fryer is a life saver if you're a busy mom and who isn't? You can have a quick side or a whole dinner on the table in no time. (Did I mention I've made cheesy garlic toast in this?) If you have teens, they'll love being able to pop their snacks in here. Bagel Bites, Pizza bites and all the junk they love will taste a lot better in the air fryer and cook up in just about the same time.
1. Use Google! There are a ton of recipes out there to try and a lot of tips as well. The different brands don't seem to work exactly the same way. The Cook's Essentials 3 qt. 1400 Watt Air Fryer with Recipe Book only needs about 2 minutes to preheat, but I noticed other brands need longer.
2. Play around with cooking times. Mine has a french fry, and a chicken button. All I have to do is hit that and it cooks the food just right. If you don't have presets, frozen fries will cook in about 10 minutes at 400 degrees.
3. The basket gets extremely hot! Make sure you don't let the little ones get too close. Yes, I have already burned myself!
4. Make sure you have tongs available to get the food out. (See #3.)
5. Be sure to shake the basket in the middle of cooking. This keeps the food from sticking together and makes sure everything cooks easily. (You don't have to do this for everything, but for fries it is a MUST.)
6. You can make a little handle out of foil to place under some foods like pizzas or sandwiches to make it easier to get them out of the air fryer basket. (See photo of pizza.) 7. Have fun! Experiment with it.
Easy clean up
No oil required
It's small. If you're cooking for more than 2, you may have to cook in batches.
After I started writing this review, I happened to see this CooksEssentials 12 qt. Air Fryer w/ Rotisserie & Accessories. It's a LOT bigger than the one I have and comes with a rotisserie! I need to see this one in action, but if I see a deal on this one, I may have to jump on it.
Do you have an air fryer? Do you love yours as much as I love mine? I'd love to hear from you or to share recipes!