5 On Your Side

Ready to join the air fryer craze? Here are some tips to get started

Posted October 16, 2020 4:10 p.m. EDT
Updated October 16, 2020 6:17 p.m. EDT

Many of us love the flavor and texture of fried food, but avoid it because of the fat. That's why air fryers have become the latest craze in kitchen appliances – all the flavor of fried food without the unhealthy fat.

Those who don’t have an air fryer are missing out on golden, crispy french fries, chicken wings and even healthy salmon!

"I just pop that salmon in and it tastes amazing,” said Cosmelye Costillo.

Air fryers are like convection ovens – they cook foods by circulating hot air which creates a crispy surface.

"You can use it for things you would normally bake or roast,” said Paul Hope with Consumer Reports.

CR recently tested multiple models, air frying everything from roasted asparagus, to bratwurst, juicy ribs and even pizza!

While air fryers are easy to use, testers found there was a bit of a learning curve to get the food you love just right.

“Food should be totally dry before it goes in the air fryer," said Hope. "And you want to toss it with a little oil, or spray it with some cooking spray."

You should check it often, and turn or toss foods to make sure they cook and crisp evenly.

Two cautions: Don’t crowd the basket, and don’t use foods that have been dipped in batter.

"The convection fan in the air fryer can actually blow the coating right off,” said Hope.

Clean-up is easy: Just wipe the basket with soapy water.

CR named the $50 air fryer by Farberware a Best Buy.

If you're looking for the perfect air fryer, 5 On Your Side suggests avoiding models that have baskets with lots of nooks and crannies, which can make them harder to clean.

Also, buyers should take a close look at the controls. CR found some models with markings that were impossible to make out.

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