First, let’s answer the question at least half of you are asking right now: “What’s an air fryer, anyway?” It’s a convection oven. It’s a small, self-contained convection oven, there’s no actual frying involved, not in the traditional sense, anyway. (Oh and what’s a convection oven? Don’t worry, I got ya: it’s an oven with a fan that sends hot air circulating around to ensure even cooking.)
So why is it called an air fryer if it’s just a countertop convection oven? Because the heat created by these appliances gives you food with a consistency much like fried foods meaning, in proper culinary lexicon, amazing. Foods come out crisped and well-roasted and, with the addition of a bit of oil to the cooking chamber, with that rich, oily (or fatty, depending on what you cook with – and it’s OK to admit you like fried foods) flavor you crave in fries, chicken, eggplant, fish, and so much more.
There are a lot of great air fryers out there. They’re having a moment, really. I’ve tried four or five different models out myself, but the one that has the honor of a place in my pantry is a BELLA Air Fryer that I can teach you to use with fewer than 20 words. Here we go:
Set the heat
Set the timer
When the blue heating indicator light turns off, put your food in
Actually, I could probably have done it in fewer than 10. Let’s try it:
Wait for heating, then put in food
OK 11 words, close enough. To overstate my point, this air fryer is remarkably easy to use, and it works every bit as well as other options out there with fancy digital controls and programmable settings and whatnot. The bells and whistles aren’t always worth it, my friends.
We’ve used our trusty BELLA to cook fries from scratch, faux fried chicken (the chicken was real, to clarify), roasted tofu, baked eggplant, fish fillets, and so many other things that would usually require heaping cups of oil. With the air fryer, I simply drizzle a bit of oil over the foods or else toss them in a baggie beforehand.
Then I set the heat, set the timer, and fry up some awesomeness. Or convection bake up some awesomeness, but you get it.