Is an Air Fryer Healthy?
You’ve likely experienced a friend or food blogger raving about their air fryer, but is an air fryer healthy? While air frying has gained a reputation for being a faster and healthier cooking option that doesn’t sacrifice the taste of your deep-fried favorites, how much of this is truth versus myth?
We’re going to break down the facts of air frying, fully explaining air fryer benefits as well as addressing common misconceptions. Read on to learn how air frying compares to baking and frying and determine once and for all — is an air fryer healthy?
Jump to Section
- Is an Air Fryer Healthy?
- Is Air Frying Healthier Than Baking?
- Is Air Frying Healthier Than Frying?
- Air Fryer Benefits
Is an Air Fryer Healthy?
Contrary to what you may have heard, simply using an air fryer does not guarantee that the food you cook is going to be healthy. Like any other kitchen appliance, it depends on how you use it and what specifically you cook. However, it is true that air frying is often a healthier alternative to deep-frying and other conventional cooking methods.
In general, is an air fryer healthy? Due to how an air fryer works, yes, it is usually healthy, but it’s important to note that this is not always the case. A product like the all-purpose Cuisinart Air Fryer works by quickly circulating hot air around the food to brown and crisp the edges, similar to a small countertop convection oven. If you’re looking to get started with air frying but don’t know if it’s worth investing in a unit that does nothing else, we’d recommend this dual-function Cuisinart Air Fryer Toaster Oven that combines the best of both worlds.
When is air-fried food healthy and when is it not? First, let’s consider how air frying compares to baking and frying cooking methods.
Is Air Frying Healthier Than Baking?
Compared to baking, is an air fryer healthy? Both a traditional oven and an air fryer work in the same manner: by exposing food to high temperatures. An air fryer will circulate the air around while a standard oven will directly heat the food from one or two directions. Thus, in terms of healthiness, both methods are about the same.
The one advantage an air fryer may offer over baking in an oven is that it has a grease tray, which can help reduce the amount of excess fat and calories in the food. However, this effect can also be accomplished in a traditional oven; it just requires a bit more effort to set up a baking or roasting method that separates the food from the grease.
Is Air Frying Healthier Than Frying?
When it comes to traditional deep-frying methods, using an air fryer is healthier. This is because an air fryer requires significantly less oil than deep-frying to achieve that same crispy, golden texture. Since you are using less oil, your food is absorbing less, meaning it will have a lower fat and calorie content.
So, is air frying chicken healthy all the time then? Not necessarily. If you’re just using the air fryer to reheat pre-made chicken tenders or chicken nuggets (or anything else for that matter), it won’t be any more or less healthy than if you cooked them in the oven. It might save you time, though. On the other hand, if you are breading your own chicken breasts, cooking them in the air fryer rather than deep-frying them will likely reduce their fat content and provide a healthier alternative.
Air Fryer Benefits
One of the biggest benefits of using an air fryer is how fast and easy they are to use. This relatively small kitchen appliance can help encourage you to cook more at home and consume less processed foods. Because it reduces standard cooking time, you might find yourself turning towards healthier homemade meals instead of takeout when you’re short on time. If you really want to maximize your cooking efficiency, consider investing in a multi-functional air fryer, like the NuWave Brio 4.5 Qt Air Fryer, that can also broil, roast, grill, sear, bake and reheat.
Besides using less oil, is an air fryer healthier in the way it cooks your food? Actually, yes. Air frying produces healthy oils that won’t oxidize at higher temperatures. This can reduce the possibility of toxic acrylamide formation, which generally occurs due to the high-temperatures used with a deep-frying cooking method. So whether you're using your air fryer to prepare entrées like air fryer turkey burgers or just whipping up a high protein snack like air fryer tofu, rest assured you're doing a good thing for your health.
Compared to other cooking methods like standard baking and deep-frying, not only is an air fryer healthy in how it cooks, but it can also lead you to adopt a healthier lifestyle. Ultimately, though, remember that you’ll still need to choose nutritious ingredients if you want to prepare healthy meals with your air fryer. To really maximize the health benefits of your air fryer, try to opt for cooking with low-fat or low-calorie foods in place of those with a high fat or high refined carbohydrate profile.
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