It doesn’t matter whether you live in a 400-square-foot room in New York City or a sprawling mountain home with a chef’s kitchen — counter space is always a commodity. That’s why, whenever I’m considering a new appliance, I think long and hard about whether or not the functionality outweighs the countertop clutter. I need to know I’ll use it day in and day out.
Admittedly, it’s been a while since any appliances warranted a permanent spot in my studio apartment. The waffle iron ended up stuffed in my cabinet. The rice cooker never even made it out of the box. I desperately wanted one of those upright air fryers — but friends who already had them talked me out of it; due to the limited capacity, they had to cook meals (even meals for two) in multiple shifts, so they’d stopped using theirs entirely.
Then I stumbled upon the Dash Chef Series air fryer oven, and at first, it seemed too good to be true. A microwave-sized appliance that could bake (convection and conventional), broil, toast, cook a rotisserie chicken, and air fry? I went straight into research mode.
I was familiar with Dash’s other cult-favorite appliances (like their automatic egg cooker, which has nearly 20,000 reviews on Amazon), but Dash had just launched this one towards the end of 2019. As a result, reviews were limited and feedback was lacking. Still, this company is known for their unique, well-made appliances at mind-bogglingly low prices, so I opted to give it a shot anyway.
The first thing I cooked was pre-packaged, gluten-free chicken tenders straight from the freezer. I figured they’d be pretty hard to screw up, but I did not expect them to rock my world; if I’m being honest, I couldn’t find an expiration date and they had some freezer burn. And yet, they came out of the air fryer (12 minutes later) crispy on the outside and hot and juicy on the inside.
The next day, I made rosemary roast potatoes. Then, the day after that, I made honey barbecue wings. Then I made my own chicken tenders from scratch. At some point, I rolled a gluten-free Twinkie in butter and threw it in there. I could not be stopped.
Obviously, I’m the most excited about the air fryer function, and I’m assuming this is the draw for most other people, too. In short, it mimics the results of a deep fryer — think a crispy exterior with a melty, gooey, or moist interior — but it does so without the excess fat or grease. Instead of cooking the food in oil, an air fryer uses hot air, which swirls around the ingredients in a circular pattern in order to speed up cook-time.
That said, this appliance has earned its keep because of its versatility. It has entirely replaced my toaster oven, and due to its 23-liter capacity, it’ll ensure that I only have to turn on my traditional oven for holidays. Last but not least, it measures 16.8 inches across and 13.3 inches high — so even though it can fit a 12-inch pizza or several wings at once, it doesn’t take up all of my prep space.
I’ve had it for over a month now, and I’ve been cooking way more because of it. (Even though I work from home and live five minutes from a supermarket, I have to fight with myself to avoid ordering in all the time.) Additionally, in the past few weeks since I took the plunge, the reviews have been racking up, and it seems like other buyers are as happy as I am:
“I cannot express how much I love this appliance. Great versatility with the different cooking options,” one wrote. Another reviewer raved, “It's simple to use and comes with all the pans you need.” So far, it has a 4.4-star rating, even though it’s significantly more affordable than competing brands.
While I’ve yet to find one single appliance that does it all, this is hands down the closest I’ve come — so if you’re looking for something compact to encourage culinary genius, I’ll recommend the Dash air fryer oven to anyone who will listen.
DASH Chef Series Air Fry Oven
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