Size: Counter space is precious real estate, especially when you're dealing with a small kitchen. While air fryers are designed to fit neatly on your counter, consider how much space you have to spare when you go to purchase an air fryer.
It's important not to overcrowd the basket, so consider the size of your family when choosing an air fryer. If you're planning to use your air fryer to cook specific dishes, you may want to go with one that comes pre-programmed with that setting to make life a little easier.
“This airfryer's large, flat basket was key in producing an even crisp on the food's surface,” says Johnson. She found that this air fryer from Philips produced the most reliable crisp on both the French fries and the chicken tenders.
The basket, drawer, and “fat reducer” heat plate are all dishwasher-safe, making for easy cleanup. For less than half the price of the Philips air fryer, this model from Color makes for efficient crisping and even cooking every time.
At 5.8 quarts capacity, Johnson was able to fit 9 to 10 nuggets and two servings of fries at a time. “The basket of this unit is significantly deeper than other air fryers, taking it a little longer to fully preheat and cook food,” says Johnson.
“However, it can fit larger objects (like a small roasting chicken) and taller items.” The sleek LED screen features a number of presets, plus displays for time and temperature.
The only issue Johnson found with this unit was the condensation collected at the bottom of the basket and spilled on the counter when opened. While this is frustrating, it can be easily overlooked for the airfryer's many features and efficient cooking abilities.
Compared to the other air fryers tested, this one worked more quickly than others, helping to cut down on cook time. The large holes of the crisper plate help to catch any fallen crumbs at the bottom of the basket.
We would not recommend this air fryer to larger families, as it only fits one to two servings of food per basket. For anyone living in an apartment or with limited counter space, this compact air fryer from Cuisinart is a great investment.
“This air fryer also functions as a toaster oven and would fit easily under a cabinet without taking up too much space on a counter,” says Johnson. And in terms of cleanup, the removable parts aren't dishwasher safe, and the mesh basket is a little hard to clean by hand.
But there are some other air fryers we tested that performed relatively well, although they had drawbacks that kept them out of the running for the final list. The removable parts are not dishwasher safe, and the temperature only works in increments of 15 degrees F. For these reasons, we didn't pick it as a top choice.
Buy It: Hamilton Beach 5-Liter Digital Hairdryer with Nonstick Basket, $120; Wayfair As cute as it is, sadly Johnson found this compact air fryer to be ineffective in terms of even crisping.
Out of all the air fryers we test, this one took the longest amount of time to fully cook the food. Plus, the small holes in the basket didn't allow for the crumbs to effectively fall to the bottom, resulting in noticeable burnt bits.
Testers made french fries in the Nu Wave 37001 air fryer to find out whether air -fried food tastes like the real thing. That's the golden promise of air fryers, and it probably explains why, in the U.S., about 4 million were sold in just a year.
That represents a tenfold increase in two years, according to the market research firm NPD Group. A fan circulates hot air to quickly cook food in the basket from the outside in.
In the lab, more than two dozen models in our air fryer ratings turned out nicely cooked food, though staffers who sampled the results weren't fooled into thinking they were deep-fried. “Even when we held cooking times and temperatures constant, the results were very similar, with no discernible differences in taste,” says Caught.
“The real difference among air fryers comes down to convenience, so we designed our tests around that.” We evaluate capacity, how easy the controls are to read and use, noise levels, and how much elbow grease it takes to clean a model.
Here's a roundup of the six best air fryers from CR's latest tests, listed alphabetically (not by rank order). It can slow down cooking and keep air from reaching all the food, giving you uneven results.
CR's take: The shape of the Elite Platinum EAF-1506D air fryer makes it seem bigger than it is; its measured capacity is 3.4 quarts. The dials are fairly easy to read and use, but the nooks and crannies of the food basket make it tough to clean.
Its touch buttons and programmed settings are among the easiest to see and use, earning an Excellent rating in our assessment. The exterior’s crevices and the basket’s nooks and crannies take some effort to clean, however.
CR's take: Testers found that the 3-quart Ninja AF100's electronic controls with preprogrammed settings were also among the easiest to see and use, earning a rating of Excellent in our assessment of them. Like the bigger Nu Wave, the Trio has electronic controls with preprogrammed settings that are among the easiest to see and use of the tested air fryers, earning an Excellent rating.
CR’s take: The Nu Wave 37001 air fryer boasts a measured capacity of 5.8 quarts. This air fryer is on the noisy side, earning only a Good rating in our noise tests.
Plus, chances were high that any new countertop appliance would soon join my junk-cabinet graveyard of George Foreman grills, bullet juicers, electric griddles and Tupperware. I had tired of sad, soggy takeout egg rolls that needed broiler time to reach their full crunch potential.
Armed with my air fryer and anticipation, I fired up chicken wings, roasted carrots and broccoli, citrus salmon and moist banana bread. I rescued one of summer’s last peaches from incipient mealiness with a single pat of butter and brown sugar.
Fred van der Was, the 58-year-old “father of the air fryer as we know it, understands that compulsion to try new things as both an entrepreneur and eater. A product designer and engineer based in the Netherlands, he had heard of Chinese-made, smaller convection ovens.
On a recent Zoom call, van der Was walked me through his workshop and pointed out early prototypes. He pitched a short, squat crimson machine using the air -cooking method he had patented to the multinational electronics maker Philips.
“What these buoyant colors can do for your kitchen, for your spirits is just short of unbelievable!” Marketing is rarely subtle, but it is the art of creating or channeling desire into transactions. In 1886, the U.S. Patent Office recognized the first automated dishwasher, the invention of an upper-class housewife who thought her servants weren’t churning out clean dishes fast enough to keep pace with her entertaining.
Air frying is accessible enough that Tanya Harris, a self-confessed former non-cook and ex-public defender, has become a professional food blogger and recipe developer. She wasn’t exactly a candidate for “Worst Cooks in America,” but the Raleigh, N.C., mother of two now laughs about serving a disastrous mess of a lemon meringue pie to her mother-in-law and pasty, unseasoned chicken-breast slabs to her now-husband during their courtship.
She tests recipes on the trio of popular models that her readers are likely to have, but she has eight air fryers and won’t rule out buying more. Harris recommends 5-quart machines for families and adjusting serving sizes as needed (as a singleton, I opted for a smaller one).
But at the halfway mark, she’ll hit pause and then spray the kids’ chicken tenders with a light coating of oil for optimal crispiness, popping the basket back in for the remaining minutes. I hear what she’s saying on that latter point, although I unabashedly use mine for those egg rolls I had been craving, mozzarella sticks and the delightfully less-greasy-but-still-satisfying versions of restaurant appetizers I won’t get now.
Super crispy air fryer chicken wings doused in sweet and salty umami rich Vietnamese fish sauce. Once you start snacking on these, you won’t stop: crispy chickpeas tossed in Parmesan topped off with lots of cracked black pepper.
Light, crisp, sweet, salty, and addictive, you won’t believe these Vietnamese chicken wings came out of an air fryer. If you’re looking for perfectly crispy broccoli with just the right amount of char, it’s time to break out the air fryer.
Ninja ® Hairdryer 20-recipe inspiration guide After evaluating them on performance, ease of use, size, safety, and cleanup, we’re pleased to report that an air fryer just might earn a place among our most well-loved appliances.
It’s not uncommon, as you walk through the offices of America's Test Kitchen, to pass a table of 25 or so staffers silently concentrating on tasting a dozen varieties of olive oil, peanut butter, or soy sauce. If you continue to the main test kitchen, you might find, say, eight slow cookers, each hooked up to a separate thermometer, each of which is connected to a computer, so we can gauge how evenly they maintain a temperature over time (pictured below).
And if there is ever a question, our team will go back and run the tests again, just to be sure. But even when that rigorous (and sometimes seemingly endless) process is over, their work is really just beginning. Sometimes it seems random to the rest of us, but these folks don’t believe in that word, so they keep digging and analyzing, consulting experts all over the world and sending samples to labs for analysis, until they find the keys to the particular puzzle.
Make the shrimp: Preheat the air fryer to 400 degrees for 5 minutes. Arrange the shrimp in a single layer in the air fryer basket without overlapping.
Make the sauce: While the shrimp is cooking, in a small bowl, stir together the marmalade, rum, pepper flakes, garlic and ginger until well combined. Arrange the shrimp on a platter and serve with the dipping sauce on the side.
Calories: 130; Total Fat: 3 g; Saturated Fat: 1 g; Cholesterol: 74 mg; Sodium: 577 mg; Carbohydrates: 14 g; Dietary Fiber: 1 g; Sugar: 11 g; Protein: 11 g. Best of LifehackerBest of Life hacker Whether we’ve made a complicated recipe absurdly simple, illustrated how to survive a natural disaster, or explained a political crisis in terms even your great-grandma would understand, these are some of our favorite stories from the past year.
(Also, my oven does have a convection setting, and it takes twice as long to get those same, gloriously crispy results). If you end up being the proud owner of a new air fryer this holiday season, you should christen it with one of the following.
Claire is the Senior Food Editor for Life hacker and a noted duck fat enthusiast. Whether you are roasting wedges or fingerlings, heating up frozen tots, or making potato pancakes (with far less oil), the air fryer cuts down spud cooking time to a remarkable degree.
Just last night, I used mine to make two small baked potatoes in about 15 minutes, and it made me glad. Your bread will come out uniformly golden and crispy (and infused with fatty flavor).
Luckily, just a minute or so in 400-degree air fryer is all it takes to perk up slightly cold fries. The hot, circulating air drives off moisture and gets any dormant fry grease movie’ and grooving’, re-crisping the potato’s crust.
And while the insides aren’t quite as tender and fluffy as they are when you first take them out of a deep fryer, they are pretty damn close. Crab Rangoon, egg rolls, and chicken wings are just a few of the leftover take-out morsels I’ve revived with mine.
Despite what the marketers and advertisers will tell you, the air fryer was not made for people who are trying to “cut their calories” or “use less oil.” It was made for stoners, dirt bags, and people who enjoy an even lower-effort pizza roll in the wee hours of the morning. Every single frozen snack I’ve put into this thing comes out crispier faster, all without turning the oven on.
(Just set your air fryer to the temperature recommended by the packaging instructions, but start checking for oneness way sooner than you normally would. Claire is the Senior Food Editor for Life hacker and a noted duck fat enthusiast.
In any case, Young recommends it as an exciting tool for adventurous cooks. Air fryers range in price anywhere from $60 to $300, which can feel like a lot if you're not super into fried food (or even if you are TBH).
Using an air fryer isn't as intuitive as something like a slow-cooker, which is why Young says you might want to avoid it if you don't enjoy complicated recipes. “ an air fryer isn't as simple as dipping food into a vat of oil and waiting a few minutes,” she explains.
He also likes that the temperature and timer functions are similar to an Instant Pot set-up, in that you can easily set them and forget them.