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EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW
If you love Southern fried chicken, samosas, fries or, let’s face it, all three, then you'll love the next generation of fryers – kitchen helpers that deliver a delicious crunch every time. But achieving crispy, mouth-watering morsels doesn’t have to go hand-in-hand with large amounts of oil or a high-calorie count. From benchtop air fryers to the traditional deep fryer, we’re here to help you find the right fryer for you. It’s crunch time in the kitchen!
Using air rather than oil to cook and get that incredible crunch, air fryers provide a healthy way to fry and have quickly become the must-have appliance in every kitchen. In a nutshell, air fryers circulate hot air to cook and crisp food, rather than submerging it in oil.
True multi-taskers, air fryers achieve that brittle outer layer we crave, brown meals to perfection, and can be used to cook or reheat many dishes, including frozen food and desserts.
“They’re fantastic because you don’t have to use much, if any, oil and you still get that deep-fried feel but with half the calories,” says nutrition coach Nancy Cicerone of @nutrionalnancy.
“You can easily replicate a burger that looks, feels and tastes like it’s been cooked with a lot more oil. With an air fryer, you’re staying on track with your health goals. The calorie difference is massive.
“Anything I put in the oven, I put in my air fryer. I use mine to cook chicken tenders, roast vegies and sometimes treats – banana with Nutella, or puff pastry with apples. It’s great because you don’t have to wait for it to heat up.”
"The ultimate home helper for the time poor or those who would rather do anything but clean floors, robot vacuums are a dream come true."
How it works: An air fryer with a pull-out drawer allows full visibility, so you can check how your dinner is progressing. For best results, pull the drawer out and shake it every now and then to ensure even cooking. But it’s not the end of the world if you forget – your dory fillets will still be cooked to perfection.
Best For: Foods that are normally shallow fried or grilled, such as fish, chicken, meatballs, vegies or crumbed foods; cooking frozen food; and reheating leftovers.
How it works: Stirrer-style air fryers feature a built-in paddle that gently lifts and moves your food to ensure even cooking.
Best For: Deep-fried or shallow-fried foods such as chips, crumbed or battered chicken and fish, and baking vegies.
How it works: The basket inside this air fryer will automatically rotate during cooking, which means you can do more than just fry. You can bake, roast or grill – in fact, you can even cook a whole chicken if the capacity of the basket allows.
Best For:Roasting meats and vegies.
How they work: An oven air fryer is essentially a portable, multifunction convection oven for your benchtop. These handy appliances allow you to roast, grill, bake and air fry all-in-one, eliminating the need for multiple appliances.
Best For:Chicken wings, chicken tenders, fries and pizza
How they work: A conventional gas or electric oven with an air fryer setting? It’s a dream come true. Simply tap air fry; preheat; arrange your chips, wings, steak or even tofu on a tray; place it on the rack; and wait while the oven’s air fryer does the rest. The oven circulates hot air, just as a benchtop air fryer does, to provide that satisfying crunch. If you’re after an air fryer that can cook bigger meals, this may well be your best option.
Best For: Everything and anything – from chicken wings and fries, to vegies, frozen food and more.
The traditional choice, deep fryers require enough hot oil to submerge food to deliver crispy, tender and juicy bites. As food is completely covered in oil, it retains moisture – particularly important if you’re making fried chicken!
Old-school fried food fans will likely never part with their deep fryer. It’s what deep fryers do best, after all. Air fryers go a little further – they fry, grill, bake and roast. All with little or no oil. “There is a place for both appliances in the modern kitchen,” says Tania Grillinzoni, The Good Guys Buyer - Portable Appliances. “Air fryers deliver a satisfying crunch that won’t derail your health regime, while deep fryers are hard to beat for that authentic Southern fried chicken fix on cheat days.”
Capacity How many people will you be cooking for? Your answer will determine the capacity of your benchtop fryer. A 0.5-2L air fryer will suit smaller households, while bigger families (or keen entertainers) will find a 5L fryer a better fit.
Controls/settings Fryers have different power settings – the more powerful the fryer, the quicker the cooking time. One of the main controls to look for in a deep fryer is a thermostat, as this will make the difference between amazingly crispy food and soggy fries. Nailing your temperature and knowing when to place your food in the fryer is key.
Other controls to consider are notifications when cooking time is up, and a basket that automatically lifts when cooking is complete.
Get ready to cook some scrumptious fare because there’s a fryer to suit every budget.
Entry-level air fryers start from a 2.5L capacity, and include various cooking modes and automatic switch-off when food is cooked. At the higher end are the latest ovens with air fryer functionality – worth considering if you’re upgrading your oven.
An entry-level deep fryer offers 5L capacity, which is plenty for Friday night fish and chips. More expensive models include features like automatic lid release and basket rise when cooking is complete.
Air fryers: The removable parts make cleaning easy. Use hot, soapy water and a cloth to clean away any grease. Remember to do this after every cook to ensure there isn’t a build-up of oil and food debris, which could eventually start to smell and burn. You can use a toothpick or dish brush to get into any nooks and crannies when cleaning the basket. From time to time, wipe down the entire unit and control panel with a soft, damp cloth.
Deep fryers: These require a deep clean on a regular basis, including the removal of old oil. You can purchase special cleaning solutions for deep fryers to make the process easier – simply mix with water, then “boil” in the fryer to remove the grease. Make sure your fryer is cold before cleaning.
Inspired to rev up your cooking repertoire with a new fryer? See in store or online for expert advice, the best deals and the greatest range of air fryers and deep fryers.
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