Friday, January 18, 2019

Air Fryer Pros and Cons

2018 was the year of two new kitchen appliances, the Instapot and the Air Fryer.  For my birthday, my good friend Amy Watkins Kensley blessed me with one of these inventions, the Philips HD9220 Air Fryer.  Now here comes 2019 which I have dubbed, “The Year of Fresh Starts”, so what better way to start the year than to air fry instead of oil fry?

New Year’s Day meal was a roast beef with air fried fries; hand cut fries, not frozen.  The 2.5 pound roast was marinated overnight with a few splashes of red wine vinegar.  Why nothing fancier?  I often use red wine vinegar to tenderize meats – elk, venison, beef; it softens the fibers of the meat to make it more tender and succulent.  Oven preheated to 450F, meat lightly salted and peppered, laid upon a roasting rack and into the oven it went.

An hour later, I began prepping the fries.  Four medium sized Russet potatoes were washed, cut into two inch pieces and then immersed into cold water for a half hour.  By the way, the instructions for making hand cut fries is in the instruction manual; a first time try should follow instructions.  After a half hour, the fries were dried in paper towels, then mixed with a teaspoon of olive oil.  Now hold on you’re saying, why am I using oil in an air fryer?

Here is one of the pros and cons of oil frying – the usage of oil.  Generally, when frying potatoes, or many other items, in a pan of oil, the amount of oil used is large (1-3 cups!)  Even draining the food on paper towels does not remove all the excess, absorbed oil.  However, it’s essential to have plant-based oils, such as avocado and olive, in your diet to help maintain brain and hormone health.  An air fryer use of a teaspoon compared to a cup of oil, whether a healthy oil, or not, is still better than pan frying.

Back to my fries, spooning them into the air fryer’s basket (don’t over stuff the basket!), I set the temperature to 355F and the timer for 25 minutes.  The air fryer does not need preheating; basically it’s a “set it and forget it” process.  However, it’s also a trial and error process, so here’s another pro vs. con.  Air frying produces high temperatures rapidly.  Following instructions in the manual makes sense as these are tried and proven instructions in a test kitchen.  Whether high altitude or not, this factor does not affect the cooking temperatures or times of an air fryer. 

Due to the high heat, use a thick wooden cutting board to place the air fryer on; it can crack countertops of tile, marble and even Corian.  Make sure to not have non-heat resistance items near the air fryer, give it lots of space!  Oh, another con is attempting to keep the air fryer on the countertop as one of your everyday appliances.  It’s large and takes up lots of space you might need, or not be willing to give up to one appliance.  I store mine in cabinet space within my microwave cart, just pull it out when needed.

Back to food and the high heat, food can easily be burned; a little char around the edges of ribs or steak might taste good, but who wants to eat a hockey puck, never mind the wasted money!  Recipe sites online, such as Cooking Light (, All Recipes ( and Taste of Home ( can give great ideas, and some recipes have notes to help prevent a ruined meal.  The manual that comes with the air fryer has basics such as fries, chicken wings, small meat and poultry items, onion rings, fish sticks and vegetables.  I found, online, a recipe for Aracini (Italian Rice Balls) and I am so looking forward to making these babies.  Breaded fish and chicken cutlets, even a small roast chicken (3 pounds) can also be made within an air fryer.  Panko (Japanese bread crumbs) are found in many of the recipes for breaded seafood, chicken and pork; helps to make a great crunch on the food.

3 lb. Seasoned, Whole Chicken (cut off wing tips!)

One hour only for a fully roasted whole chicken!  

Ding!  The timer announces my fries are done; spooning them onto a plate, sprinkling a bit of Utah’s Own Real Salt and YUM!  Browned and slightly crisp on the outside, fluffy potato on the inside and no oily residue!  Cleanup?  Let the air fryer cool down first, then remove the basket unit, soapy hot water and done; there was no oil inside the unit either.  The roast was done (medium-rare) at the same time as the fries, so time to sit down, celebrate the New Year with a tasty meal and relax.

This is just my experience with an air fryer and one model; here’s a link to a review site if you want to check out other models and see what people are saying:    Friend, family member, neighbor has one?  Get their advice, or maybe they’ll invite you over for a demo and taste test.  All I know is, thanks Amy for such a great gift, love it!

Mary Cokenour

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