However much we do try to eat healthily, most of us really love our deep fried fries and wings. But, by using an air fryer, we can still enjoy our deep fried favorites - without all the fat!
The air fryer is quite a new addition to our countertop kitchen gadgets and was developed to take the place of our often used deep fryer. In this review, I take a look at one of latest air fryers on the market, the TaoTronics air fryer, to see exactly how this can allow you to still serve up the family favorites but without of the fat content of the deep fryer.
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Start Time: 03/01/2021 3:00 AMPST
End Time: 03/07/2021 11:59 PMPST
Why Is Air Frying Healthier Than Deep Frying?
Although air frying does not replace the ‘healthier’ methods of cooking such as grilling or steaming, it is certainly a much better option than deep frying your favorite foods. Instead of needing to fill a deep fryer with oil to fry chicken wings, you can cook the same quantity of wings in an air fryer with at the most around a tablespoon or so of vegetable or canola oil. Even with this little amount of extra fat, you will still get wings which are crispy on the outside and juicy in the middle, but without the extra calories and fat from the oil needed to deep fry.
In fact, by air frying, you use around 5% of the amount of cooking fat that you would use if you were deep frying the same food. Air frying also removes the buildup of dangerous compounds such as acrylamide which build up in foods that we deep fry.
An air fryer basically uses air in the same way that a deep fryer uses oil. The air fryer has a heating element at the top along with a powerful fan which circulates hot air containing vary fine oil droplets around the food in the basket. This air removes the moisture from the food, which cooks it and leaves it with the crispy finish and flavor that you get with deep fried food. Air fryers also preheat very quickly and will cook and reheat food evenly.
It’s worth noting though that air frying does best suit foods that you would otherwise deep fry – it will not give you the same finish and flavor that you would get when grilling or even oven roasting foods, although in its true sense, an air fryer is still baking and roasting the food.
If you want to cook battered foods, an air fryer may not always give quite as good results as deep frying, especially if the batter is flour based or very wet. You can pre-spray battered foods with oil before cooking in the air fryer to help them crisp and brown better.
What Can You Cook in An Air Fryer?
The air fryer is fantastic for cooking fresh meats such as chicken, chicken wins, pork chops, steaks, ribs, seafoods, vegetables and more. You can also use it for lobster tails, nachos or even our favorite grilled cheese sandwich. You can also round the family meal off with a cake or even s’mores that you have made in the air fryer!
If you prefer your meats basted with barbeque or other sauces, then you can cook in this way, but add sauces in the last few minutes of cooking time rather than at the beginning. If you want to cook vegetables or seafoods in the air fryer, these will also need a little oil adding before you cook them.
If you regularly want to air fry chicken wings or short ribs, it can be worth experimenting as to whether they cook better in one or two layers – or you cook more but turn them occasionally during cooking.
So, now we have seen just how versatile the air fryer can be in making some of our favorite foods healthier, it’s now time to take an in-depth look at the TaoTronics air fryer.
TaoTronics Air Fryer Features
Just What’s in the Box?
When you buy a TaoTronics air fryer, as well as the air fryer, you get a quick start guide and a comprehensive user guide. There is also a recipe book containing 50 recipes which is very helpful if you are new to air frying.
There are stickers on the air fryer reminding you to remove all of the packaging before you use it and then when you first plug it in, the touch screen lights up. From this, you can turn the power on, chose a preset program or manually select the cooking time and temperature.
It is often better to allow it to preheat, then you can just add your food to the basket and press start.
The All Important Features
Measuring 11.73" long by 11.73" wide and 13.39 high, the six quart basket is ideally sized for cooking a chicken large enough for up to six people.
It does weigh around 14 lbs. though, so if you have the space you may find it easier to leave it permanently on the countertop rather than keep having to put it away.
The TaoTronics air fryer uses a 360° air convection system which is powered by a 1750 watt fan and runs from a standard 120v outlet.
The TaoTemp Technology controls temperature and time settings and includes 11 preset program which cover some of the more popular foods such as chicken, fries, shrimp, burgers and bacon. You can also manually set the time and temperature on the touch screen.
The touch screen menu is cleverly angled, so you can read and use it easily without needing to bend over the air fryer.
You can cook foods between 150°F to 400°F and the manual timer can be set for between five and 60 minutes. This means you will need to manually check your food and turn it off manually if you just want to air fry very finely sliced tender veggies or reheat something that may only take a couple of minutes.
It can take just 8 minutes to air fry shrimp or 35 mins for wings. There is also a preheat function and the keep warm function is ideal if your meat finishes cooking before the rest of the meal is quite ready.
And another real plus, against compared with a deep fryer, is the clean-up time needed. Once you have finished cooking in the air fryer, the non-stick basket and frying tray can be rinsed clean or put through the dishwasher. To clean the outside of the air fryer, you just need to wipe it down with a dry cloth. You can also cook with parchment liners for even easier clean up if you wish - just cut one to fit the basket before use.
Air Fryer Safety
As well as the low fat cooking and easy clean up, the safety features of air fryers allow them a real advantage over the old deep fryer.
Unlike deep fryers, there is little risk of you being burnt by hot fat and air fryers do not heat the kitchen up in the way that deep frying does - a definite plus during the summer!
In terms of its safety, the TaoTronics air fryer has overheat protection and an automatic shut off function. Th shut off means that if you want to check on your wings during cooking time, the minute you remove move the basket with its cool touch handle, it will turn itself off. It will also turn off when the program or timer countdown finishes.
It is also advanced ETL listed (tested for electrical compliance and safety) and for complete peace of mind, it comes with a one year warranty from the manufacturer.
The Pros and Cons
Like with any new kitchen gadget, although the TaoTronics air fryer does come with pre-set programs, a recipe book and user guide, it may still take you a little trial and error while you switch your favorite foods from the deep fryer to the air fryer. Depending on what you are cooking, it may not always be the best idea to really fill up the basket, or if you do want to cook a lot of fries or wings in one go, then extend the cooking time and remember to give the basket a regular shake, or manually turn the foods, to help them cook consistently.
Even if you are struggling a little to get the results you want (such as extra crispy!), do persevere as the amount of fat you cut out of your foods really does make it worthwhile switching from a deep fryer to an air fryer.
As a 6 quart air fryer, it may better suit families, although if you want to air fry whole chickens or larger steaks or meat cuts, then this size is useful for just a couple of people. And of course, if you have folks regularly over for dinner of snacks, its larger capacity is a definite Pro.
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