CONSUMER REPORTS — It’s summertime and cooking should be easy. Who wants to heat up the kitchen by using the oven or create a mess with hot oil in a deep fryer? There’s a reason that air fryers are one of the most popular countertop appliances. And as Consumer Reports tells us, they’re not just for making chicken nuggets.
Air fryers are like countertop convection ovens. They cook food by circulating hot air, which creates a crispy surface. You can use it for food you usually bake or roast.
CR staffers took some test models home with one goal in mind: to see how they air-fry foods like asparagus, banana bread, bratwurst, avocado fries, miso cod fish, ribs, spring rolls, and even pizza!
So how do you get the best results cooking fresh food in an air fryer?
Food should be totally dry before it goes in the air fryer, and you want to toss it with a little oil or spray it with some cooking spray first.
And check the food often, turning it so it will cook evenly. Give small items like chicken wings and fries a toss from time to time to ensure that the hot air will reach and crisp every surface.
You don’t want to use foods that have been dipped in batter because the convection fan in the air fryer can blow the coating right off.
And resist the temptation to overcrowd the basket. If there’s no fill mark, fill the basket only about three-fourths of the way.
Some air fryers make for easy cleanup. Just wipe the basket down with soapy water.
The Farberware HF-919B air fryer for $70 is a Consumer Reports Best Buy. Testers found the controls clear and simple to use, and it got excellent marks for quietness.
Consumer Reports has two tips when you shop for an air fryer. Avoid baskets that have lots of nooks and crannies, which will make them hard to clean. And be sure to take a close look at the controls, because some have markings that are difficult to make out.