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What the Heck Is an Air Fryer and How Does it Work?
Williams-Sonoma

You’ve heard of an air fryer before, maybe even seen one. But, you’ve never used one before and you’re not really sure what is it. Don’t fret, we’ve got you covered. 

So, what exactly is an air fryer? 

What if we told you there was a machine that could fry foods to light and crispy perfection with little or no oil? It’s called an air fryer, and it’s magical. Plus, it makes frozen French fries taste exactly like you ordered ’em at your favorite restaurant. Intrigued? Here's the lowdown.

Wait, so how does it work?

You’re not actually plunging anything into a bubbling deep fryer. Instead, the appliance is basically a countertop convection oven that cooks your chicken wings or sweet potato fries with electric heat circulated by high-powered fans. 

How do I use it?

Most models have a drawer that pulls out with a metal basket that fits inside. Just toss your food with a couple tablespoons of olive oil (frozen foods don’t need any oil at all), place it in the drawer and shake the basket every five to ten minutes. Our biggest tip: Don’t overcrowd the basket. In fact, the results are best when you arrange the food in a single layer.

Are there any health benefits?

Well, if you’re choosing to cook something in your air fryer (instead of a deep fryer) then you will definitely reap some benefits. This is because air fryers require significantly less fat than traditional deep fryers. And while not all of that oil is absorbed by the food, using an air fryer can significantly cut down on the overall fat content, aka you consumer less. 

Do I have to convert the cooking temperature?

Whether your original recipe is for fried onion rings or baked broccoli, knock down the cooking temperature listed in the recipe by 25°F and keep the cooking time the same. Pretty straightforward. 

Sold. Which one should I buy?

We love the Farberware Air Fryer ($98), Black+Decker Purify 2-Liter Air Fryer ($87) and the Philips Airfryer Avance ($200).

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