I got an air fryer for Christmas! Honestly, I'd never even heard of them, but I'm always willing to try out a new gadget!
Before ever opening the box, I did some research - I'd already flipped through the booklet, and knew if that was the limit of what I could make, I was going to need more to try! Through my research, I determined it is actually just a little oven. Basically, a toaster oven in a newer shell.
My initial plan was to try it out every single day for two weeks, the first day of which was 12/26/16. What actually ended up happening is that I've used it four times, and before I ever finished the fourth had made my decision.
Let me say right now that I don't think the product is bad or defective in any way. This is not a case of that at all. This is a case of the product not being right for ME and MY HOUSEHOLD.
Okay, let's start.
Monday, 12/26, roasted carrots - I made some carrots in the thing. The carrots were definitely not cooked through. When I went back to the recipe, I found it was in Celsius. I live in Fahrenheit world. DUH. Obviously, that was on me. I increased the temperature and cooked the carrots and they were done.
Thursday, 12/29, roasted potatoes - I cut up a russett potato and a sweet potato. I cooked them for 10 minutes, shook the basket, then cooked for another 15. They were done! They were yummy! They filled the basket, and were only enough for me.
Thursday, 12/29, mug cake - Yup, you can take a microwave mug cake recipe and (using a glass mug!) bake it in the *ahem* fryer. It takes longer, but it bakes up deliciously. Again - only enough for one.
Friday, 12/30, fried chicken - Actually, "baked fried chicken". What I mean is, any "fried" chicken recipe that's going to work in here is already created with an oven in mind. You cannot take your deep fried chicken recipe and put it in this machine and expect it to come out the same as it does in oil. I would've liked to use it to cook our potatoes, too, but I have this thing where I like to eat all my dinner on one plate in one sitting, and you can only cook one thing at a time in the air fryer. Oh, and I cooked two pounds of chicken and had to do it in three batches, for a total of one hour and fifteen minutes - a full 45 minutes longer than if I'd just thrown it in the oven.
SO, here's my review:
-SUPER EASY clean-up. Literally, hit it with some hot water and a dish scrubber, dry it off, you're done.
-Automatic shut-off! Even though it's plugged in, the oven turns off as soon as that timer dings. No worries about forgetting about it or not hearing the timer and burning your food.
-Fairly versatile. You can, in fact, cook chicken, steak, fries, cake, fish, and everything it says in it.
-Small size. Maybe it's just mine, but it's too small to feed a family of 4 even if you're only using it to make a side dish.
-Limited capabilities per use. You can ONLY cook chicken OR steak OR fries OR....you get the drift. If you want steak AND fries, you still have to turn on your oven.
-Quiet timer ding. THANK GOODNESS it shuts off the heat when the timer goes off, because if you're not in the same room,you won't hear it!
-Not actually a fryer. I think my BIGGEST complaint is I feel it's false advertising. You have all these companies making these "air fryers" and making money off of them, but it's NOT a fryer - it's a circular toaster oven with a fryer basket instead of a baking sheet.
Despite the greater number of cons than pros, this is, as I said, not a bad product. In fact, I think it would be a pretty great little machine for a person living alone, or perhaps two people. Oh, or a person who maybe has memory problems or is just generally not somebody you want operating big oven/stove or even a toaster oven. It is not, however, intended for use when you want to fry/bake more than one thing at a time or for more than two people.
Oh, and if you wondered what kind I was given, it is this one:
I don't find that terribly relevant for my review, though, as they are all essentially the same device.