Air fryers work by rapid air cooking — evenly circulating hot air to cook fresh or frozen foods, which gives them the same crunchy bite and moist interiors produced by conventional deep fat fryers, all while never submerging them in cooking oils or fats. In other words, the air is the oil!
I love air frying so much that I’ve developed my own Todd English air fryer. But you can use this book with any basket air fryer.
PARTS OF THE AIR FRYER
Inside the air fryer unit is a removable heating chamber and a cooking basket. To take the cooking basket out of the heating chamber, just press the release button and lift it out.
Many air fryers also come with a removable rack, used for keeping meats off the bottom of the basket, or for steaming items with a little liquid underneath. If you’re lucky, you have an air fryer like mine, with a pizza pan that can be used for cooking pizza (naturally) and as a baking tin. If you don’t have a pizza pan especially for your air fryer, you can use a glass, silicone, or metal oven-safe dish instead. No matter which you use, place it in the basket before cooking. (In order for the air fryer to operate, the heating chamber — with the cooking basket in it — must be secured in the air fryer.)
To cook items in your air fryer, it’s really as easy as throwing them in the basket and selecting the time and temperature! Some air fryers have presets (for instance, on my air fryer, you can select ‘Bacon’, and it will automatically cook for 15 minutes at 190ºC). But if your air fryer doesn’t, or you’re cooking something there isn’t a preset for, you can find a handy chart of common foods and their cooking times and temperatures in my book The Air Fryer Cookbook. Spraying a little nonstick cooking spray on the items first is usually a good idea, as it will help them to crisp up. When cooking items that you want crunchy on all sides, it’s also usually a good idea to pull out the basket halfway and turn the items, or simply shake the basket to toss them around a bit.
It only takes about 3 minutes for an air fryer to preheat. In fact, if you want, you can simply add 3 minutes to the cooking time and throw everything in without preheating. I told you it was easy!
AIR FRYER SAFETY TIPS
Air fryers are powerful machines, so make sure you stay safe.
- Air fryers get HOT! Especially if you’ve added oil or steaming liquid to the pan. While your food cooks, liquids will accumulate in the cooking chamber, so always use caution when removing the basket. After the cooking cycle is complete, the basket will be very hot! So after removing it, don’t put it down anywhere that can’t handle heat — it can burn your worktop.
- Before cooking anything, make sure all the ingredients are inside the air fryer basket, to prevent any contact with the heating element.
- During the cooking cycle, hot air/steam is released through the air outlets. So keep your hands and face away from them, and don’t place anything on top of the appliance during operation or otherwise cover the air inlets or outlets.
- Be safe! Don’t use the appliance if there is any damage to the plug, electrical cord, or any other parts. Don’t use the air fryer (or plug it in) with wet hands, and don’t leave it unattended while it’s in operation. Unplug the fryer after when it is not in use.
TAKING CARE OF YOUR AIR FRYER
WHERE TO KEEP YOUR AIR FRYER
I like to keep my air fryer handy on the kitchen counter, but wherever you end up using yours, make sure it’s a flat, even and stable surface. Make sure to leave at least 10cm of free space around the back, sides and top of the appliance for a clear air flow.
CLEANING YOUR AIR FRYER
Always wait 30 minutes for the air fryer to cool down before handling or cleaning it. You should clean the air fryer after every use by wiping down the outside with a moist cloth, cleaning the heating chamber and cooking basket by hand with soap and water in the kitchen sink, and cleaning the inside of the appliance with a damp (wrung-out), nonabrasive sponge, wiping away any food debris and grease. Never clean any part of an air fryer with metal kitchen utensils or abrasive cleaning materials because they can damage the nonstick coating. If there’s food debris stuck to the basket or bottom of the pan, simply soak it in hot, soapy water for about 10 minutes to loosen it before cleaning. If necessary, you can clean the heating element with a wet cleaning brush to remove debris (again, just make sure it’s completely cool first!).
AIR FRYER COOKING TIPS
Air fryers are really easy to use, but here are some tips for making sure you get the most out of them!
- Any food that can be cooked in a microwave or oven can be cooked in an air fryer.
- To give food a crispy texture, spray cooking oil or nonstick spray over the ingredients before adding them to the basket. Alternatively, you can add a small amount (3–4 tablespoons) of oil to the pan before cooking. (Never overfill, as this will damage the air fryer.)
- Smaller ingredients usually require a slightly shorter cooking time than larger ingredients. Shaking smaller ingredients halfway through the cooking time ensures they’ll be evenly cooked.
- To steam food, add a small amount (3–4 tablespoons) of liquid, such as water or broth, to the pan after adding the ingredients. (Never overfill, as this will damage the air fryer.)
- You can also use an air fryer to reheat food by setting the temperature to 150°C for up to 10 minutes.
by Todd English
Air fryers are hot new kitchen appliances that use forced hot air to "fry" foods without oil. This is a huge boon to home cooks who love the flavour and texture of deep-fried foods, but hate the fat, calories, mess, and danger that accompany frying foods in a pan of hot oil. Air fryers are sold at most major retailers, including Argos, Tesco and Amazon.
Air fryers have been road-tested by major websites but there is no mainstream cookbook on the market for consumers.