Everything you need to know about an Air Fryer versus Deep Fryer is right here in this post! Deep Fryer vs Air fryer, tips, tricks and mysteries solved!
If your goal in life is to cook the crispiest chips, the most juicy chicken or mouth watering hash browns, you are going to want to know how air fryers vs oil fryers work and the ins and outs of each.
How Air Frying works
Air Frying works when foods are added to a basket or tray and cooked under an element with air flowing in around, above and below the food.
Due to the nature of air flow in the appliance, foods won't become crispy if they are fully packed into the basket the same way you can load up a batch of fries in the deep fryer.
Foods are best left in one layer, they can be touching and whilst they will heat if overloaded, they won't result in a crispy crunchy texture.
How Deep Frying works
Deep frying works by adding foods (often frozen) to a basket which is then submerged in oil.
For best results, it is necessary to heat the oil before adding the food as it is both the temperature of the oil and the cook time that fry the food.
One of the most noticeable differences between the taste of Air Fried or Deep Fried food is the oil.
If you don't change the oil in the deep fryer often enough, then your food can have an overly oily tasty. To the point where the flavour of the oil is the dominate aspect of the food.
Air Fried foods, on the other hand can have little to no oil and therefore avoid both the aroma and taste of foods that have been fried in oil.
One of the more noticeable features between air fryers and deep fryers is that (almost) all air fryers have a timer which when reaching the end of the cook time, also results in turning off the appliance.
Deep fryers don't have this same timer feature and you have to keep an eye on foods to ensure that they don't over cook.
Air Fryers often come with preset cook times, much like modern day microwaves, where you can select from options such as 'chicken', 'fries', 'seafood', 'cake' and 'meat'.
It is much less common for deep fryers to have set functions as they rely on the heat of the oil to cook the food as opposed to the temperature of the element in the air fryer.
Many air fryers work with a digital display where you can touch the buttons up or down to increase or decrease the cook time for the recipe. Once set, the home cook can visually see the timer of the air fryer counting down till the food is cooked.
With deep fryers, many have a dial which gets turned left or right to initially set the temperature and also reduced it as needed.
Many have indicator lights to show the stages be it heating the oil, ready for cooking or too hot.
One of the biggest areas where the 2 appliances attract food for thought is to do with how you want your food to be cooked.
With the deep fryer, cooking foods in a vat of oil is the only option. Yes the temperature can be turned up or down, but there is no option to cook the food without oil.
With air fried foods, you can choose to use oil or to omit. It really comes down to personal preference.
Many consumers are attracted to air fryer appliances with the knowledge that the foods they cook in there are 'healthier' than deep fried food.
This is indeed true, but there is more to be thought about when considering if air fried foods are healthier than deep fried foods.
You can make the crispiest air fried fries, wedges or onion rings with little to no oil in the air fryer.
The calorie count however, of that food won't only depend on how it is being cooked.
The portion size of the food being consumed will make an enormous difference to the calorie count of the total meal.
If you deep fry a batch of french fries and only eat a handful, the calories consumed would be less than a large size air fried batch of chips smothered with your favourite sauce.
Another thing to consider is how the food is being served from a fully loaded perspective.
You can deep fry potato chips, season and eat, as a quantity there will be a set calorie amount measurable for that portion of food.
On the other hand, you could air fry potato chips thinking that they are 'healthier', however, if you fully load the fries like my Mexican Fries, you need to take into account the cheese, beans, Greek Yogurt and additional ingredients that are part of the total consumption of the food.
A similarity between the 2 appliances is that they both have removable parts for easy cleaning.
Be it the air fryer basket or tray and the deep fryer basket, each appliance is designed so that the whole appliance does not need to be cleaned the same way you need to clean a fry pan after cooking.
Whilst neither of these appliances would be considered compact and portable, they are both dismantlable for cleaning as well as being less fixed in placed than an oven with connections to gas and electricity.
To clean an air fryer, one method is to remove the basket, sprinkle with some bi-carb of soda, let sit, then add a small amount of water to form a paste and scrub clean.
Both air fryers and deep fryer appliances often have brands that advertise them as dishwasher friendly, albeit either the top racket only or prone to rust if any part of it sits in water for extended periods of time.
Air Fryer recipes
If you are looking to convert from being a deep fryer user to an air fryer owner, the following recipes are to give you ideas to try.
Deep Fryer recipes
Along the same lines of thought as above, here are some recipes you might like to try deep frying.
There is no denying a battered sav or Air Fryer Mini Corn Dogs turn out golden fried and delicious from a deep fryer!
My Air Fryer Chips are interchangeable for deep frying without complication.
Recipes that can be air fried but not oil fried
To further expand your knowledge of what you can use the air fryer for, I thought it would be good to share you with some recipes that Air Fry to perfection, yet simply would not work in a deep fryer!
- Air Fryer Roast Chicken
- Snackable Air Fryer Roasted Red Peppers
- Air Fryer Stuffed Jalapenos
- Easy Air Fryer Biscuits
- Simply irresistible Air Fryer Zucchini Bread
Or view the entire collection of Air Fryer recipes on the blog!
Frequently asked questions
Do Air Fryers use oil?
It is optional to use oil when air frying foods.
One reason you might choose to is to ensure foods don't stick to the air fryer basket, ensuring cleaning is not an excessively long period of time.
Another reason it is sometimes advisable to use a small amount of oil is because delicate foods, such as salmon skin result in a more crispy result that without the use of oil.
A substitute for oil can sometimes be parchment paper, however it is not always advisable as it can fly around in air fryer and burn or block the flow of air.
What is better an Air Fryer or a Deep Fryer?
Choosing either an air fryer or a deep fryer is personal preference.
Preference is often determined by a combination of factors such as food taste, cook time, temperature, health and lifestyle, calorie count and ease of cleaning.
What are the disadvantages of an Air Fryer?
Some air fryers can be big and bulky, meaning they don't fit snuggly into the pantry and need to stay out on the bench the whole time.
On the other hand, some air fryers are too small for the task at hand, for example roasting a whole chicken.
Some brands of air fryers can be loud and noisy when in use.
What are the advantages of an Air Fryer?
The advantages of air frying foods most commonly associated with the appliance are the notion that it is healthier and better for you to cook food in an air fryer than a deep fryer.
Air Fryers are more versatile than deep fryers in that there are many foods and recipes that can be cooked in an air fryer which you simply cannot deep fry.
No matter how much hot oil you have, dropping chicken legs into a deep fryer and hoping they will turn out like your favourite fried chicken simply won't work.
You have to prepare foods for deep frying with coating like batter to ensure crispy results.
An air fryer gives you more options for pre set cooking as well as the actual foods that can be cooked in them.
What are the advantages of a Deep Fryer?
Deep fryers do a very good job of cooking foods so they are crispy, crunchy and cooked through.
They work well to quickly cook a batch of fries to pair with the roast family chicken or turn your table into a seafood basket from heaven.
The advantage of a deep fryer is knowing the likely result of cooking very specific foods in them and that they will work each time.
Unlike an oven, a deep fryer is a small appliance which can cook foods without heating up the whole house.
What are the disadvantages of a Deep Fryer?
Notoriously deep fryers are associated with high fat, low nutritional value foods.
Fried foods are seen as unhealthy, high in fat and not good to eat regularly.
Deep fryers can splash oil when over filled, leading to a time consuming and messy clean up!!
Some people however, prefer to own this appliance to save money on home delivery and the taste of their favourite takeaway from the comfort of their kitchen.
Deep fryers don't have the versatility of air fryers, in that you cannot cook as wide a variety of foods and recipes.
There can be excess oil still on the food after it has been deep fried, which needs to be absorbed to reduce an overly oily wet texture to the cooked foods.
Chicken wings cannot be cooked in an air fryer, simply by seasoning and adding them to the basket. For best results, they need to be coated in a batter which will react with the hot oil resulting in crispy, fried chicken.