how does an air fryer work an easy to understand guide to what is an air fryer featuring cosori air fryer, cosori air fryer toaster oven, chefman air fryer, VILIWIN Air Fryer in the blogpost on

How Does an Air Fryer Work? An Easy to Understand Guide

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Air fryers are becoming increasingly popular kitchen appliances. Imagine eating as much French fries as you want without feeling guilty. Well, now it’s possible. It’s not magic and not a dream. It’s an air fryer. Air fryers provide a healthier way to cook food that is usually deep-fried like French fries, onion rings, chicken wings, doughnuts, etc. by using much less or no oil at all. But how exactly does an air fryer work?

In this article, you’ll find answers to questions “what is an air fryer?”, “how does an air fryer work?” We’ll also look at the differences between deep frying and air frying. We’ll consider health benefits of air frying and whether an air fryer can provide healthier fast food options and help maintain a healthier diet. Then we’ll look at the different types of air fryers available on the market today as well as what meals you can cook with an air fryer.

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How does an air fryer work?

Air frying is a relatively new cooking technique as the air fryer was presented by Philips for the first time in 2010. Eventually, air fryers have become very popular in recent years.

air fried potatos image in the article how does an air fryer work, healthier fast food options for healthier living
how does an air fryer work?

So, how does an air fryer work? This method of cooking uses hot air technology to cook food in a fraction of the time it would take with traditional methods. The science behind air frying is based on convection ovens and warm-air circulation, which allows food to be cooked quickly and evenly with minimal or no oil.

Air frying works by transferring heat to food as quickly as possible: there is a fan at the top of your air fryer which blows extremely hot air down to the container with food. This hot air circulates in your air fryer and the oil or fat in the food is then dispersed rapidly creating a crisp coating on your food without using too much oil. As the air fryer is small, compared to convection ovens, food cooks much faster and more evenly.

Now that you know the answer to the question “how does an air fryer work?”, let’s look at the pros and cons of air frying.

Pros and cons of air frying compared to deep frying

Pros of air frying:

  • much healthier than deep frying (less trans fat – less risk of type 2 diabetes, obesity, heart disease and heart attacks)
  • can help lose weight thanks to less calories in air fried food
  • air fried food has similar taste as deep fried food
  • can save you a lot of money in the long run because air frying requires much less oil (15 ml compared to 0.95-1.9 L when deep frying)
  • it’s a fast cooking method
  • needs at least twice less time for preheating than preheating oil for deep frying
  • it’s super easy to clean your air fryer as little or no oil is involved in the process
  • almost effortless cooking process – no need to stay near and watch
  • much safer than dealing with hot oil

Cons of air frying:

  • takes on average twice the time to air fry food compared with deep frying
  • air fried food is less crispy than deep fried food
  • you can’t cook wet battered food in an air fryer because it will drip down and stick to the bottom

As you can see, there are more advantages of using an air fryer than a deep fryer, especially health-wise.

Moreover, even though it takes 15 minutes to air fry French fries compared to deep frying which takes just about 6 minutes, an air fryer is still a time-saving device compared to a deep fryer. It’s because it takes only 3 minutes to preheat the air fryer compared to 10-20 minutes on average to preheat oil in the deep fryer. Also, with an air fryer you can spend the time your meal is being cooked on whatever you want, while with a deep fryer you should be involved in the cooking process to guarantee safety and make sure you don’t burn your food.

And my favorite part, as there is little to no grease after using an air fryer, cleaning it is a breeze.

In case you’re too saddened by the fact you can’t cook wet battered food in your air fryer, try dry batter like bread crumbs over raw beaten egg and flour or this yummy dry batter recipe instead.

Health benefits of air frying

Looking for healthier fast food options because you want to maintain a healthier diet? With an air fryer all frozen fast food that is supposed to be deep fried becomes much healthier.

Deep fried foods are high in trans fats which is super dangerous. Trans fats increase bad cholesterol levels that eventually build up in the walls of arteries. It increases the risk of heart disease and heart attack, stroke, type 2 diabetes. Oil used for deep frying contains trans fat even before heating and every time this oil is used and then reused, the amount of trans fats in it increases.

deep fryer vs air fryer for healthy eating, healthier diet and healthier fast food options in the article on how does an air fryer work on
deep fryer vs air fryer: trans fats vs healthier fast food options – How Does an Air Fryer Work?

Air frying requires less oil which makes air fried food lower in fat and calories. This is especially beneficial for those who want to lose weight, people with heart disease, aging people who refuse to give up fried food, and everyone who wants to avoid health problems associated with high trans fat intake in the future.

Because there is less oil involved in the process, air fried foods can be paired with other dishes that would otherwise be too greasy to eat together like salmon or avocado. Unlike trans fats you should cut down on, salmon and avocado are examples of good fats you should include in your diet. With an air fryer a healthier diet is easy to maintain.

The different types of air fryers available on the market today

Even though you already know the answer to the question “how does an air fryer work?”, it’s not enough to be able to choose your ideal air fryer. With different types of air fryers available on the market today, it can be difficult to decide which one is best for you. From digital air fryers with advanced features to large-capacity air fryers that are perfect for big families, there is something for everyone. Now let’s pick an air fryer best suited for your needs.

How do air fryers differ?

  • single basket, dual basket, air fryer toaster oven, pressure cooker air fryer like Instant Pot air fryer are the main types
  • capacity is measured in quarts (QT) – typically from 2 QT to 10 QT or bigger
  • manual temperature control vs digital screen, customizable cooking presents
  • some models have a removable integrated probe thermometer with real-time temperature updates on the digital screen to ensure ideal doneness for your meals
  • some models also have windows to check your food without opening the air fryer
  • some models include accessories like recipe books, apps with recipes, cooking cheat sheets, accessories

Main types of air fryers

Single basket air fryer, dual basket air fryer, and air fryer toaster oven are the main types. There also are multipurpose appliances like Instant Pot air fryer which combines the features of several kitchen appliances.

Single basket air fryers can be large enough to cook a whole chicken but if you want to cook several meals at the same time in different ways, then opt for a dual basket air fryer.

Air fryer toaster ovens are much bigger than air fryers and would take a lot of space on your counter. You can cook more food including large cakes in them but as there is more space to heat because of the size of an air fryer toaster oven, it takes more time to cook food compared with an air fryer. Advantages of an air fryer toaster oven in comparison with a convection oven they resemble so much are the following: it takes less time to preheat it and it cooks food faster than a convection oven; it takes less space; it’s usually cheaper than a convection oven.

Instant pot air fryer can perform a variety of tasks besides air frying. It can air fry, roast, bake, dehydrate, pressure cook, slow cook, steam, make yogurt maker, sterilize, warm food, etc. It’s also more versatile in terms of temperature range because different processes require different temperatures.

Capacity of air fryers

All air fryers also differ in their capacity with 2 QT being enough for one person, 5 QT for a family of 2-4 people, and 8 QT and larger options for bigger families or cooking several meals at the same time if we’re talking about a dual basket air fryer or an air fryer toaster oven.

Additional features of air fryers

Another thing to look for in an air fryer is the number of additional features. There are simple air fryers with manual temperature control and there are more expensive air fryers with digital displays, customizable cooking presets for air frying, roasting, baking, dehydrating, etc.; shake reminders, removable integrated probe thermometer, easy view window. Some models also include recipe books, apps with recipes, accessories for baking, work with Alexa, etc.

Single basket air fryer popular models

Best basket air fryer overall: COSORI 5 QT, 9-in-1 Compact Air Fryer

This amazing air fryer fits enough food for 1-4 people. Moreover, it offers 9 one-touch cooking functions on a tempered glass display that let you preheat and add personalized Shake Reminders. Dishwasher safe.

FREE bonus:  a cookbook of 30 original recipes by Cosori R&D chefs included.

Best cheap air fryer: CHEFMAN Small, 2 QT

This personal size air fryer is a gem! It has all necessary features just like its bigger counterparts like auto shut-off, manual temperature control and 60-minute integrated timer, detachable and dishwasher safe BPA-Free basket and saves space on your counter and in your cabinet. It makes it perfect for any small kitchen, dorm, office, RV trips, etc.

Air fryer with window: CHEFMAN, 5 QT, Temperature Probe & Easy-View Window

This big air fryer includes a removable integrated probe thermometer and advanced probe technology that effortlessly cooks chicken, fish, and meat to your ideal doneness with real-time temperature updates on the digital screen. 8 customizable cooking presets, auto shut-off, easy to clean.

Air fryer with cutest design: VILIWIN Air Fryer, 4.5 QT

This cute air fryer boasts one touch operation panel with 8 pre-set programs including French Fries, Baking, Fried Chicken Wings, Shrimp, Fish, Steak and Potato. The air fryer also allows you to customize the temperature and time according to your needs. Dishwasher safe, PFOA Free and BPA Free. The nonstick tray is removable and easy to clean. The appliance will meet the needs of a family of 2 to 5.

Best value: KOOC Large Air Fryer with Accessories, 4.5 QT

Two air fryer cooking times cheat sheets and an 8-piece baking and grilling set included. Power cut memory allows you to pull out the basket during cooking to check status/add ingredients easily. Designed with an exclusive cord holder to collect the cord for neat storage.

Bonus: looks super pretty in pink.

Popular XL air fryer with Alexa: Philips Essential Connected XL, 6.5 QT

Its unique and patented “starfish” design creates the fastest and most even results by allowing all food to be exposed to constant, circulating heat. This air fryer can do more than just fry: it also grills, roasts, bakes, dehydrates and even reheats! The digital touch screen comes with 7 presets. All removable parts are dishwasher safe.

Dual basket air fryers

TOP rated XL dual basket air fryer: Ninja DZ401 Foodi, 10 QT, 6-in-1 

With 2 independent baskets, the XL air fryer lets you cook 2 meals, 2 ways, at the same time, eliminating back-to-back cooking like a traditional single-basket air fryer. Large and powerful enough to cook a  6-lb whole chicken and a side. Includes 6 versatile cooking programs: Air Fry, Air Broil, Roast, Bake, Reheat, and Dehydrate.

Dual basket air fryer with windows: Instant Vortex Plus XL, 8 QT

From the makers of Instant Pot! Air fry, roast, broil, bake, reheat, dehydrate, SyncCook and SyncFinish. SyncCook lets you cook both baskets with the same cooking settings; SyncFinish lets you program baskets with 2 different settings to automatically finish at the same time!

Air fryer toaster oven

12-in-1 air fryer toaster oven: COSORI Combo, 26 QT

12 functions for Air Fry, Roast, Bake, Broil, Toast, etc. Explore more possibilities by saving your preferred time and temperature. 2-layer even cooking.  6 heat elements, a 2-speed fan, and temperatures up to 450°F allow cooking up to 30% faster than a traditional convection oven. Works with Alexa!

FREE bonus: recipe book with 30 chef-made recipes, more on the VeSync app.

Pressure cooker air fryer

Instant Pot Duo Crisp 11-in-1 Air Fryer and Electric Pressure Cooker, 8 QT

Air fry, roast, bake, dehydrate, pressure cook, slow cook, cook rice, steam, sauté, make yogurt, sterilize and warm food. Customizable temperature range of 105°F (41°C) to 400°F (201°F) for air frying.

FREE bonus: Includes free app with over 1900 recipes!

How to use an air fryer for delicious meals at home

With an air fryer, you can make all kinds of recipes from breakfast to dinner and even cakes. You can toast bread, cook frozen French fries, chicken nuggets, vegetables, meat, fish, muffins, banana bread, cinnamon rolls and many other foods in an air fryer.

Best practices for using an air fryer at home safely:

  • Set your air fryer on a heat-proof surface.
  • You may want to cover the bottom of the basket with foil, parchment or use special silicone liners for easier food removal and cleaning. Don’t forget that the basket gets hot, so never touch the hot basket without oven mitts.
  • Do preheat your air fryer for the amount of time specified in the manual.
  • Note that all light ingredients like wet batter, salt, pepper, spices, greenery will fry all over the place in your air fryer. Moreover, salt may damage the inside coating of your air fryer. Season your food after cooking or add oil, salt, any seasoning and mix your food before putting it in the basket so that the salt could stick to the food.
  • While you can use your air fryer without any oil at all, if you want your food be crispy, add a little bit of oil. Spray some oil from a spray bottle or add from a teaspoon to a tablespoon of oil.
  • As the temperature in your air fryer is high, use only oils with high smoke point like sunflower, avocado, peanut, canola, sesame oil. Oils with low smoke points can burn your food and even catch fire!
  • Don’t put foods with wet batter in the air fryer because the streams of hot air may blow the wet batter away. Not only the meal won’t meet your expectations but also the batter will stick to your air fryer making it significantly harder to clean your appliance.
  • Try to put your food in one layer because otherwise it may not cook evenly. If there’s too much content, the hot air which circulates in the air fryer may not reach some parts of your food.
  • Shake your food in the process and check if everything is okay, especially when the appliance is new and you haven’t figured out yet how much time it takes to cook certain meals in your air fryer.
  • Use accessories for your air fryer like cooking cheat sheets and accessories for baking that fit your air fryer model.


Air fryers are becoming increasingly popular as they are able to produce food that is healthier than deep-fried food, while still providing the same great taste. Air fryers are great for those who want to maintain a healthier diet or those who are just looking for healthier fast food options. With the variety of air fryers packed with different features on the market everyone can find an air fryer that will best suit their needs. Healthy eating has never been so affordable and effortless!

Now that you know the answer to the question: “how does an air fryer work?”, are you ready to start making healthier choices? Then read another article that will help you decide what’s good for your health and wellness and what’s bad.

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