Food & Recipes

8 Game-Changing Air Fryers That Make Fried Foods Better for You

All of the flavor, less of the fat.

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When it comes to buzz-worthy kitchen items, an air fryer is right up there with the Instant Pot. If you’re looking for a way to enjoy healthier versions of your favorite fried foods, these handy little contraptions, which have become kitchen staples since their 2010 inception, are made for you.

The best air fryer offers up all the flavor you love, without all the oil you want to avoid. That means you can enjoy french fries, onion rings, fried chicken and more — guilt-free.

How does an air fryer work?

An air fryer replaces hot oil frying with, well, hot air. In traditional deep-frying, food such as meat, poultry, and vegetables are submerged into a vat of hot oil that flash cooks and crisps it up in minutes.

An air fryer, meanwhile, circulates hot air around the food — much like a convection oven — creating that delicious crispness you expect from fried foods. 

How healthy are air fryers? 

When it comes right to down to it, there’s no such thing as truly “healthy” fried food. However, air fryers do make these tasty delights healthier, so you can enjoy them more often.

The biggest difference between air-fried foods and ones that are fried in the traditional way is the amount of oil you use to cook them. It’s recommended that people toss their food in one to two tablespoons of oil before air frying, to help replicate the texture of traditional fried foods. And while cooking your food in such a small amount of oil is obviously a whole lot better for you than dropping into an entire vat of oil, it’s important to remember that moderation is key. 

Not all air fryers are created equal. From air fryer and toaster oven combos, to models that can also serve as a rotisserie or dehydrator, these little machines can pack quite the punch — and there’s one for every kitchen, whatever your needs. Keep scrolling for FIRST’s picks for the best air fryers to help you make your favorite crispy treats in half the time — with half the fat! 

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