Warning Signs We Need To Throw Away Our Air Fryers

By molly atherton 4 months ago
Picture this: a seemingly harmless kitchen appliance, promising crispy delights with minimal guilt. But what if I told you that lurking behind the golden, crispy façade lies a dark truth? Yes, folks, the air fryer, the darling of modern kitchens, might just be plotting its takeover. In this exposé, we'll uncover the warning signs that scream 'Throw away your air fryers before it's too late!' Buckle up and get ready for a sizzling journey.

You're using it wayyy too often

Ah, the air fryer craze—what started as a kitchen trend has transformed into a full-blown sensation. In the last half-decade, these sleek machines have skyrocketed into stardom faster than a pop idol. Seriously, stroll into any kitchen, and chances are you'll find an air fryer glistening proudly on the countertop, like a culinary trophy.
Image Source/ Reddit
We all know that air fryers have shot to fame in the past five years or so and it just about seems that EVERYONE has one now (that's no exaggeration). If you're one of these, you might have found that you're just about using your air fryer to cook every meal you have. It's an obsession, a religion, a way of life. Nobody can take it away from you now!Original content sourced from Femanin.com

It's become a part of your personality

Ah, the dichotomy of the air fryer enthusiasts versus the traditionalists—it's a culinary battle as old as time itself! For the devout air fryer aficionados, it's not just a cooking appliance; it's practically an extension of their very being.
Image Source/ Birmingham Live
For some people, air fryers are just modes of cooking food. It's a personality trait; they'll do nothing but talk about their air fryer, how good it is. For some, you'd think they'd have shares or get paid for promoting them. Those with air fryers might understand the hype, those without probably think it's all ridiculous and prefer cooking the old fashioned way.

You won't cook a meal without using the air fryer

Ah, the allure of the air fryer, the kitchen magician that makes cooking seem like a breeze. It's no wonder that once you've welcomed this appliance into your life, everything else pales in comparison. Picture this: a quick toss of veggies, potatoes, or chicken into the air fryer basket, a dash of seasoning, and within minutes, you've got yourself a crispy, golden masterpiece.
Image Source/ YourHomeStyle
You might have been using your air fryer to cook loads of meals since you bought it and the obsession is rife. It's so easy to throw some vegetables, potatoes or chicken in the air fryer, so the idea of cooking things normally just doesn't seem appealing. But cooking every single meal with the air fryer will affect taste, creativity and variability in the meals you're eating.

They take up too much space on the counter

Ah, the eternal struggle of space in a cozy, compact living arrangement! The air fryer, while a marvel of culinary innovation, isn't exactly known for its petite size or stunning aesthetics. It's like that well-meaning friend who takes up a bit too much space in your life, especially when space itself is a precious commodity.
Image Source/ Rosanne Rust
Air fryers aren't exactly massive, but they do take up quite a bit of space on your counter or in your cupboard. That's cool in a big kitchen, but it can be a bummer in a smaller space. Most fryers aren't really good-looking, either. So if you're struggling for space in your bedsit, maybe you need to give your air fryer a shove out the door to free up some room.

Your energy bill has shot up

The allure of saving energy and cutting down on those dreaded utility bills—that's where the air fryer steps in with its promise of efficiency and speed. At first glance, its compact size and lightning-fast heating might seem like a godsend in terms of energy conservation.
Image Source/ Reddit
Air fryers are way smaller than ovens and heat up super fast, so most think they save energy (and cash). It's not the case though. Air fryers keep heating and swirling air until the food is good to go. Most models use around 1.4 to 1.7 kWh per hour of use. Depending on how much you're paying for electricity, air fryers can cost anywhere from 18 to 25 cents per hour to use.

It's starting to smell a bit funky

Ah, the dreaded funky smell emanating from your beloved air fryer—the telltale sign that something's amiss in kitchen appliance paradise. There are two potential culprits here, and neither scenario is particularly pleasant.
Image Source/ Reddit
If your air fryer smells a bit funny, it's either because you haven't scrubbed it enough, or it's starting to burn out. Either way, it's a massive pain. Either give it a good clean or if you think there's a bigger issue considering throwing it away. After all, nobody wants to keep a kitchen appliance that might set on fire... that wouldn't be great.

Your food is often burned

Ah, the double-edged sword of speed in the world of air frying! The allure of lightning-fast cooking times is indeed one of the air fryer's most enticing features. However, here's the catch—it's a culinary tightrope walk, especially for those new to the air frying game.
Image Source/ Daily Mail
The thing about air fryers is that they cook super fast, which can make it kinda tricky to nail the timing. It's a real issue in the beginning if you aren't used to using them. The hot temperature makes it super easy to mess up the food and burn it if you're not careful. You'll probably notice that if you're cooking a food for the first time, you're gonna burn it.

Your worried about air fryer cancer

You've hit upon a hot topic in the world of air frying: the murky connection between certain compounds and their potential ties to cancer. Let's unpack this. Yes, while air frying doesn't directly cause cancer, the process of cooking at high temperatures does produce compounds like acrylamide, which have been associated with cancer in some studies.
Image Source/ The Sun
Air-frying stuff doesn't cause cancer, but it does produce some compounds, like acrylamide, that are connected to cancer. So, it's not great, but it's not like you're guaranteed to get cancer from air frying. Acrylamide is known to be linked to cancer though if you have too much of it. The statistics on air fryers causing cancer is quite rare at the moment.

They take longer to cook than deep fryers

Ah, the sizzling showdown between cooking methods—a face-off between the swift precision of the deep fryer and the time-conscious, oil-saving prowess of the air fryer. When it comes to cooking speed, each contender has its own strengths.
Image Source/ The Guardian
Cooking with air takes a little more time than using oil in a regular frying pan. While both types of frying pans have to be preheated and the air fryer does this the fastest, the deep fryer beats the air fryer at cooking french fries. Fries in an air fryer take about 20 minutes, but a deep fryer can get it done in around 10 minutes. So, who's the winner?

Air fryers aren't as healthy as you'd think

Absolutely, the air fryer might wear the halo of a health-conscious kitchen hero, but its powers lie in how it's wielded. It's not a magical wand that automatically transforms every meal into a healthy feast. The truth is, the healthiness of your air-fried creations depends on what you're cooking and how you're preparing it.
Image Source/ Reddit
Using an air fryer doesn't always mean you're making a healthy meal. Using oil and breading or coating to air fry chicken or fish is never as healthy as steaming, grilling, or broiling 'em. It basically comes down to how you use the air fryer and what kind of food you make. French fries, onion rings, and chicken nuggets are not as healthy as air frying marinated chicken breasts or vegetables.

You're still using as much oil

Ah, the age-old debate of oil versus no oil in the air fryer—quite the conundrum indeed! While the manuals might chant the mantra of "minimal oil needed," the reality is, a touch of oil often feels like the secret ingredient to unlocking flavor nirvana in air-fried creations.
Image Source/ Reddit
So, the manuals all say that you only need a tiny bit of oil when cooking in your air fryer but that's one of the most common air fryer mistakes. You can't deny that any cooked food just tastes better with a little bit of oil or fat. Even though the food can be cooked without, it just never tastes as good unless it's been coated in oil beforehand.

Cooking in an air fryer is a guessing game

Air fryers might tout themselves as the epitome of simplicity and ease in the kitchen, but sometimes, reality hits differently. Their promise of hassle-free cooking often meets a stumbling block: the lack of clear instructions for each specific dish.
Image Source/ The Irish Sun
Realistically, air fryers are meant to be simple-to-use and quick-and-easy modes of cooking your food, but it isn't always the case. Air fryers can actually be pretty difficult at times. That's because nothing comes with air fryer instructions on them, meaning you pretty much need to guess how long to keep it in there for, and also what temperature it should be on!

All you do is talk about your air fryer

Ah, the air fryer enthusiasts—the ones who can't help but wax poetic about their beloved countertop wonder. They're the ones you catch gushing over the merits of air frying at every chance, as if it were the greatest invention since sliced bread. They might as well be writing odes to their air fryers!
Image Source/ Orange County Register
If you're one of these, you know you are. Some people just can't stop talking about how much they love their air fryer. Seriously, if it was legal to marry objects, some people would definitely marry this one. It goes without saying, though. If you're talking way too much about your air fryer you: a) need to get a life and b) need to throw that thing out!

You can't cook as much as you'd like in it

Ah, the dinner dilemma—when you're craving a delightful combination like chicken and fries or fish fingers and fries, and your trusty single-drawer air fryer just doesn't quite have the real estate to accommodate both simultaneously.
Image Source/ Reddit
It's all well and good if you're just having chicken for dinner, but what if you want chicken and fries? What if you wanna put together some fish fingers and fries? Well, unless you wanna fork out for one of those stupidly expensive, two-drawer air fryers, you're just gonna have to pile it on top of each other. Trust me when I say, it doesn't always work.

They're just too damn loud

Ah, the serene silence of the oven—there's a certain tranquility in cooking without a soundtrack of whirring fans. It's like a symphony of quietude compared to the bustling noise that often accompanies the air fryer's performance.
Image Source/ BuzzFeed
If there's something great about the oven, it's the lack of noise that it makes (if yours makes lots of noise, I'd definitely get that checked out). Air fryers have to circulate hot air to work right which can make them super noisy because of the loud fan sound. This isn't a problem you'd run into with a deep fryer or regular oven, is it? Decisions, decisions...

They're too small for big families

The range of air fryers available today spans from petite sizes to those mighty XXL models that promise to tackle larger portions. Yet, even these behemoths sometimes fall short when it comes to catering to larger households, especially those with five or more hungry mouths to feed.
Image Source/ Reddit
There's all sorts of air fryers on the shelves these days: little ones, medium-sized ones, and even these big XXL air fryers. Yet, even those big XXL air fryers are too small to cook enough food for a bigger family of five people. The Philips Airfryer XXL can cook enough food for about 3 to 4 people. If you just make fries or a whole chicken, you'll probably have enough for like 5 people.

You're throwing out too much food

Diving into the world of air frying often involves a fair share of culinary experiments. It's like embarking on a flavorful adventure where trial and error are your trusty companions. As much as we wish for an instruction manual to magically appear for every dish, the reality is, you're in uncharted territory.
Image Source/ Reddit
As you start using your air fryer, you'll see that some foods need a bit of trial and error to cook just right, that'll be the case for everyone. As mentioned previously, nothing comes with air fryer instructions on it. This means that you're definitely gonna have to toss some burnt, overcooked, or dried-out foods, so be prepared for that. Nobody likes food waste.

Where do you store the thing?

The sizeable design of many air fryers can present quite the storage challenge, especially for those with limited kitchen space. Stashing away these bulky appliances can feel like trying to fit a puzzle piece into an already overcrowded cupboard or pantry.
Image Source/ Reddit
The big design might also make it tricky to store an air fryer. If you don't have a pantry or enough space in cabinets to stash it, you might have to leave it on your counter (which is just ugly and inconvenient). That means you gotta move it around when you're cleaning up or getting ready to eat, which can get annoying real fast. Think about that before glorifying the air fryer.

Your kids roll their eyes at the air fryer

There's a certain nostalgia attached to kitchen appliances that define eras. For many of us, the slow cooker was that comforting kitchen stalwart, conjuring memories of home-cooked stews and hearty meals that seemed to simmer with love while we were away at school.
Image Source/ Bored Panda
It's true. The air fryer for kids is like the slow cooker for when we were kids. You remember the feeling? Getting home from school, ready for a good meal, when you're mum would tell you that you're having stew or hotpot from the slow cooker. Well, that's how kids feel nowadays about air fried foods, it's just not the same as cooking it in the oven!

Food tastes noticeably different

You're right on the money with that observation! The taste comparison between air-fried and deep-fried foods can sometimes stir up a bit of controversy among culinary enthusiasts. While many find the taste quite satisfactory, others note subtle differences.
Image Source/ Reddit
Most people don't really have a problem with the taste, but some folk out there complain about the taste of food made with air fryers. This is totally true when you compare the meals to deep fryers. The difference is kinda small when the meals are hot but gets bigger when the food cools down. There's also a massive noticeable difference when you heat up leftovers!

Flipping your food is too much work

The flipping game takes on a whole new level of importance in the world of air frying. Unlike the oven, where heat circulates evenly, the compact confines of the air fryer can lead to uneven cooking if you don't give your food a mid-cook flip.
Image Source/ Melanie Cooks
When recipes tell you to flip something in the oven halfway through before, you don't really do it do you? The metal tray heats up evenly anyways so like, what was the point? In an air fryer, though, you gotta make sure to flip your food if you want it to cook evenly. Sometimes the top gets all crispy while the bottom ends up all soggy. It's a bummer.

Dry, dry, dry chicken

When it comes to air fryers, the variety of settings and modes among different brands can indeed be a bit like navigating through a maze. Each brand and model has its own unique way of cooking, which means the same recipe might yield drastically different results in different air fryers.
Image Source/ Reddit
There are all kinds of air fryers that come with different settings and modes. So basically, each brand of air fryer cooks the same food in a different way. Your food could totally get burnt, dried out, or even end up being totally inedible. Make sure you read the instructions booklet before you start any experiments and stick to what the air fryer recipes suggest, okay?

They don't cook everything

You've hit the nail on the head! While air fryers are incredibly versatile, they do have their limitations when it comes to certain foods. Despite their popularity, not every culinary creation can bask in the air fryer's hot-air embrace.
Image Source/ Reddit
Don't believe everything you read! Air fryers can't cook every piece of food out there, only some, so don't get your hopes up. Not everything that can be made in a deep fryer or oven can be cooked in an air fryer. That includes loads of stuff like eggs, cheese, burgers, popcorn, muffins, toast, and baby spinach. Is it really worth all the hassle when it's so limited?

It lets off some nasty smoke

The sight of smoke billowing from your air fryer can be quite alarming, especially if it gives the illusion of an internal inferno. But fear not—this smoky situation, though not common, can be part and parcel of the air frying experience, particularly when certain types of food are involved.
Image Source/ Wales Online
Just like when you're cooking with a regular pan, an air fryer can make smoke and stinky smells if you burn or overcook something. When your air fryer starts smoking for the first time, it can be kinda stressful. That's because it kinda looks like your air fryer is on fire from the inside. But don't worry, it's totally normal for an air fryer to start smoking. Luckily, this doesn't happen a lot. It only happens with certain types of food. Do make sure there's no fire though!

You can't see when the food's ready

The visual aspect of monitoring food as it cooks is a game-changer in the culinary world. Unlike the mysterious confines of an air fryer where your food is hidden from view, the oven offers a transparent window into the cooking process.
Image Source/ Reddit
It's easy blame the first burnt meals and messed up cooking on the fact that you couldn't even see the food while it was frying (gotta find any excuse other than blaming yourself, am I right?). But for real, being able to see the food cooking in an oven makes it way easier to adjust the cooking time or temperature whenever you need to, no hassle at all.

Air fryers take way too much time to clean

Cleaning up after using an air fryer can be a bit of a mixed bag. While they're generally simpler to clean compared to deep fryers, they do require a bit of hands-on attention to keep them in top shape. One of the hurdles in cleaning an air fryer is the fact that not all of its parts are dishwasher-friendly.
Image Source/ eHow
If there's one thing we all hate doing, it's cleaning the dishes and the air fryer just has to be the worst of them all. Sadly, not all parts of an air fryer can go in the dishwasher. You gotta wash some parts by hand. These appliances are usually easier to clean than deep fryers, but they still need some time and effort to keep them in good shape.

The power cord is too short

The length of the power cord on air fryers can indeed pose a frustrating limitation, especially if your kitchen layout doesn't align perfectly with the location of your wall outlet. That seemingly short cord length of around 35 inches (or 90 cm) might be just enough for some setups but falls short for others.
Image Source/ PCMag
it might sound a bit dumb, but air fryers have super short power cables, with most air fryers having a cord that's only 35 inches (or 90 cm) long. Some people might think this is long enough, but if your wall outlet is too far from where you wanna put your air fryer, you'll need an extension cable every time you wanna use it. Now that really is annoying.

They're much more expensive than deep fryers

Affordability is indeed a subjective matter, and when it comes to kitchen appliances like air fryers, the price tag can play a significant role in the decision-making process. Compared to deep fryers, air fryers often sit at a slightly higher price point.
Image Source/ Reddit
Affordability is kinda subjective, and air fryers aren't really that pricey when you think about it. But the thing is, they're usually pricier than deep fryers. Basically, you should only get an air fryer if you're gonna use it all the time. Not to mention that the bigger the air fryer, the more it's gonna cost you in bucks. Those two-drawer ones can be especially pricey.

There's too many to choose from

Choosing the right air fryer can feel like diving into a sea of options, each one vying for your attention with its unique features and price points. The wide array of choices can be overwhelming, leaving you adrift without a compass in this appliance-packed ocean.
Image Source/ South China Morning Post
Which air fryer should I get? That's probably what you've been asking yourself. These days, there are so many air fryers to choose from. So a lot of people get super overwhelmed with all the options and have no clue which air fryer is the best fit for them. Some air fryers are crazy cheap, and others are all fancy and expensive. Nobody wants to go for the more expensive option!

Just use the oven!

Ah, the air fryer conundrum! It's quite the kitchen saga, isn't it? If you're at the point of questioning the role of your air fryer in your culinary life, you might be teetering on the edge of a decision. And let's face it—once you've delved into the world of air frying, it's hard to resist its crispy allure!
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So by this time, you're probably thinking, what on earth do I still have this air fryer for? If you're not thinking that then, tough luck, you've been sucked into the air fryer cult and you're in too deep! If any of these signs spoke to you, get rid of that air fryer. If not, carry on cooking! After all, they do make some pretty tasty dishes, I must say.

How you can 'air fry' without an air fryer

Saying goodbye to an air fryer doesn't mean bidding adieu to the crispy delights it's known for creating. While the appliance might be taking its leave, the culinary technique it popularized can still be emulated without it! Air frying isn't solely the domain of the air fryer.
image source: reddit.com
When it's time to throw out your air fryer because of any (or all!) of the reasons on this list, it's understandable why you still might lament the fact you can't air fry anything anymore - because let's face it, there are a lot of pros to having an air fryer, and it tastes delicious when done right. The good news is you can still manage to get 'air fried' food without the appliance itself!

Improve your cookware game

Investing in the right cookware can indeed unlock the secrets of air frying without relying on a dedicated air fryer. Tools like perforated pans or crisper trays are culinary superheroes in their own right, allowing air to circulate beneath your food while it cooks.
image source: reddit.com
If you're going to invest in new kitchen items, you can instead invest in the right cookware that can give you an air fried effect without spending money on an air fryer. You can buy a perforated pan (perforated crisper tray) which lets the air circulate under your food as it's cooking. You can also get the same result in the oven with an oven-safe cooling rack!

Lay out your food side by side in the pan

How your food is arranged in the cooking pan can significantly impact the final result. When items are piled on top of each other or crowded in the pan, it creates a barrier to proper air circulation, hindering that sought-after 'air-fried' effect.
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If you've been cooking with everything just thrown into the pan, it's likely your food is cooking while being overlapped or piled on top of another piece, which means the air can't circulate properly in the pan. To get an 'air-fried' effect, it's much better to lie items side by side across the pan. If you don't have a pan big enough, it's the perfect time to buy a bigger one!

Cut your food into long strips

You've hit the nail on the head with the magic of the long, thin shape of French fries! Their elongated form isn't just about aesthetics; it's all about maximizing surface area to achieve that crispy, golden brown exterior.
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Have you ever wondered why french fries come in that long, thin shape anyway? And why doesn't this apply to other foods? Well, the fact is, french fries come in that shape to better brown when they're cooking, and there's absolutely no reason we shouldn't be cutting other food into long strips, too! If you do this, it's more likely they'll brown evenly when cooking.

Prepare food to be as dry as possible

The moisture content in food can significantly impact its ability to achieve that coveted crispy, 'air-fried' texture. Ensuring your ingredients are as dry as possible before they hit the heat is a secret weapon in the quest for ultimate crispiness.
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The drier your food is before the cooking process, the better it's going to brown and go crisp, which is what results in that 'air-fried' texture we love! And you can try to achieve this perfectly by making sure your food is as dry as possible when you prepare it for cooking. You'll still need some cooking spray or oil, but don't overdo it - just coat it lightly!

Never forget to flip

Flipping your food halfway through the cooking process might seem like a small detail, but it makes a world of difference when aiming for that perfectly even, browned texture. In both oven baking and air frying, flipping ensures that all sides of your food get equal exposure to the heat source.
image source: The Mirror
We've all been in that scenario when something is in the oven and we forget to flip halfway through - or we just can't be bothered because you wonder what difference it makes when it's warming in the oven anyway. But flipping halfway through is essential for getting that even, browned texture - and it's why air fryers recommend to flip food halfway through the cooking time!

Adjusting the recipe to a conventional oven

Transitioning from an air fryer to a conventional oven requires a bit of adjustment, especially when it comes to cooking times. Air fryers are known for their swift cooking abilities due to the rapid circulation of hot air. When recreating air fryer recipes in a conventional oven.
image source: Cooker Spare Parts
If you're getting rid of your air fryer but trying to achieve the same result in a conventional oven, it's important to note that the exact same recipe and food is going to take longer in a conventional oven. So you're going to need to adjust your air fryer recipes to give them longer to cook in your normal oven, to still achieve the same result! If you take them out too early it won't be the same texture.

The same applies for temperatures

It's not just about adjusting cooking times when transitioning from an air fryer to a conventional oven; temperature plays a pivotal role in achieving that 'air-fried' result. Air fryers operate at higher temperatures due to their compact size and rapid air circulation.
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This doesn't just apply to oven cooking time, either, as the temperatures you would have needed for a certain recipe in an air fryer will now require a different temperature in a conventional oven, so it's important to get this adjustment right if you want the same 'air-fried' result as you always had! A good rule of thumb is that most air fryer recipes suggest 20-25 degrees higher when made in a conventional oven.

And don't forget to preheat!

While preheating might not always be necessary for certain air fryer models, it becomes a crucial step when transitioning to a conventional oven for that perfect 'air-fried' finish. Preheating the oven ensures that it reaches the desired cooking temperature before you place your food inside.
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It's not always essential to pre-heat your air fryer, though some models do come with a pre-heat button. But when you're switching to a conventional oven, it's essential to preheat your oven on top of the recommended cooking time so make sure that your food comes out perfectly cooked and with that air-fried finish! So don't forget to preheat!

Use the convection setting

The convection setting in a fan oven is a game-changer when aiming for that 'air-fried' texture. This setting employs a fan to circulate hot air evenly throughout the oven cavity, creating a uniform cooking environment. Convection ovens, with their ability to evenly distribute heat, mimic the hot air circulation found in air fryers.
image source: BuzzFeed
If you have a fan oven, then you definitely should be using it - the convection setting is what will circulate the hot air around in the oven and help to give that 'air fried' texture. Not all ovens are fan ovens, though, so you'll want to check whether yours is! And if it's not, you can always consider a replacement oven for a fan one if it's due an upgrade anyway!

A toaster oven can be a good alternative, too

When a full oven replacement isn't in the cards but you're yearning for that crispiness akin to air frying, a toaster oven with a convection setting can be a fantastic alternative. Toaster ovens equipped with a convection setting function similarly to convection ovens by utilizing a fan to circulate hot air.
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If you don't have a convection setting on your standard oven, and you're not looking to spend money replacing it, it also doesn't mean hope is lost if you still want to get rid of that air fryer! You can actually invest in a smaller, counter-top alternative, which is a toaster oven that can come with the convection setting that will result in your food being crispier.

Try tearing your food into pieces

Tearing or breaking certain foods, especially those with irregular shapes or textures like tofu or halloumi, into smaller pieces can indeed help achieve a more even and thorough cook, mimicking the results you might get from an air fryer.
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A good way to try and get an even cook for your food and to make it nice and brown on every side like it would be in an air fryer is to tear your food into pieces if you don't want to cut them into smooth strips. A good example of this is tofu or halloumi, which come in a sort of jagged bulk anyway, that you can easily tear apart and then make sure to cook every side.

Understand how an air fryer works

Demystifying the workings of an air fryer reveals that its magic lies in a straightforward concept that can be replicated without the need for the gadget itself. The brilliance of an air fryer is in its ability to swiftly circulate hot air at high temperatures around the food.
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It may sound crazy but when you actually pay attention to the simple concept around how an air fryer works, it can take all the mystery and magic out of this expensive kitchen gadget and make you realize how easy it actually is to get the same effect without using one! An air fryer works simply by quickly circulating all that hot air paired with a tiny amount of oil, with the air and oil working together to cook your food to perfection.

Use the darker, non-stick pans

The choice of cookware can significantly impact the cooking process, especially when aiming for that crispy 'air-fried' texture. Opting for darker-colored non-stick pans, such as black or grey ones, can indeed enhance the browning and overall cooking quality of your dishes.
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If you're cooking in the oven then you can also give yourself a better chance of 'air-fried' food results by using the darker colored black/grey pans which are specifically non-stick. These will cook foods in a better way compared to glass containers or those shiny aluminium pans that food can stick to. This is also because dark pans absorb more heat.

And/or use baking paper

Baking or parchment paper can be a lifesaver when it comes to preventing food from sticking to pans, especially if you're concerned about achieving that perfect crispiness without the hassle of stuck-on food. Lining your pan with baking paper creates a protective barrier between the food and the pan's surface.
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If you're worried about your food sticking to your pan no matter what you choose, or if you don't have any non-stick options, then you're definitely going to want to use baking paper to line your pan to get the best possible condition for cooking, making your food nice and crisp without worrying about it coating the pan and getting stuck there! Never fun.

You'll need to focus on prepping your food

Prepping your ingredients appropriately is key when using a conventional oven to replicate that crispy 'air-fried' texture, especially for vegetables and potatoes. Cutting vegetables and potatoes into smaller, bite-sized pieces maximizes their surface area, allowing for more even exposure to heat.
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If you want to use your conventional oven to try and replicate air frying, you're going to need to set some extra time aside for good prep work, too! You're going to get best results for food like vegetables and potatoes if you cut them into small pieces as possible - bite-size is good - so that you can get that perfect crunch. Cubes with the right amount of oil will work!

Pat the surface of food with kitchen towel

Ensuring that foods with natural moisture are dried properly before cooking is essential for achieving that crispy texture, especially with ingredients like fish or halloumi cheese. Excess moisture on the surface of these foods can hinder the crisping process, potentially leading to steaming instead of crisping when cooking in the oven.
image source: Sites at Penn State
We mentioned earlier about making sure your food is as dry as possible for best results, but we don't just mean avoiding too much oil. Foods that come naturally with excess moisture, like the surface of fish or cheese like halloumi, will need a good pat down before you put them in the oven. Make sure to gently pat across the surface with a kitchen towel to absorb the moisture.

Think of adding dry toppings, too

Getting creative with toppings and coatings for foods like fish can indeed elevate the 'air-fried' results, especially when opting for drier alternatives that enhance the crispy texture. Traditional batters or wet coatings may retain moisture, hindering the crisping process.
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For certain foods like fish, too, you can also get creative with the toppings and coatings you would usually use, because if you opt for drier options, it's going to give even better 'air-fried' results. So if you usually use something like batter, you could try an alternative of dry coatings like panko breadcrumbs or even certain dried cheeses that have been shredded up.

Give your food enough space in the oven

While a conventional oven offers ample space compared to an air fryer, it's essential to avoid overcrowding when aiming for that 'air-fried' effect. Proper air circulation is key to achieving an even and crispy texture, so spacing out your dishes evenly within the oven is crucial.
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A conventional oven is going to give you a huge amount more space than an air fryer does - another pro to not using an air fryer - but that doesn't mean you should cram every item of your family Thanksgiving dinner in the oven all at once! You're going to need that hot air to circulate properly around all the food to get the perfect air fried effect, so spread out the food evenly and don't overcrowd!

Accept that it won't be the same

While an air fryer is exceptional at producing perfectly air-fried food with its dedicated technology, utilizing cooking hacks and alternative methods in a conventional oven or using different cookware can indeed offer the next best thing.
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The key thing to remember here, though, if you're going to get rid of your air fryer and try these cooking hacks is that you're definitely not going to get as good results if you're not using an air fryer. With its many cons, it does produce perfectly air fried food, you can't deny that! But if you don't want to use this kitchen appliance, you can get the next best thing with these cooking tips.