Air Fryers – Crispy Fried Goodness w/out the Grease

This week I want to profess my love for air fryers. It may make my George Foreman grill jealous but I don’t care.

What is so great about them?

They allow me to enjoy fried foods without them being deep fried in a vat of cooking oil.  This makes it a much healthier alternative than conventional fried foods. It is also much easier to setup, cleanup and put away.  No batches of hot, dirty oil to dispose of here.  It also is cheaper and faster than going to fast food joints and arriving home with cold soggy fries.

How does it work?

Air fryers are nothing more than portable convection ovens.  The use heat and air circulation to cook food faster and more evenly, unlike a conventional oven that relies solely on heat to bake food from the outside in.

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This is why many of them are round. It helps facilitate even cooking using a cyclonic flow. There is a fan pushing the air around the basket that is being warmed by a heating element in the unit.  You can think of it like a countertop tornado or hurricane without all the destruction, just pure fried food bliss.

Air fryers are an evolving market

As this appliance continues to evolve, I see more and more models with ever increasing capacities showing up on the market.  Many of the newest ones ditch the circular design for square or rectangular designs that boast larger cooking baskets or trays.  Some are countertop ovens. Any and all appliance makers have an air fryer or two in their product line these days.

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I am also seeing more traditional appliances like pressure cookers, toaster ovens and crockpots incorporate air frying technology into their products as well like this InstaPot Duo below. The air fryer lid is interchangeable with the standard pressure cooker lid.

Air Fryers

Next time you are at the store, check out the Ninja brand product line. It seems almost every item now includes an air fryer feature regardless of the devices primary function as a toaster oven, pizza oven or countertop oven.

Ron Popeil saw it coming

In 2018 I began seeing more advertising around this product category.  It’s funny considering that Ron Popeil (yes the maker of Mr. Microphone, the Pocket Fisherman and Showtime Rotisserie) had come out with a countertop Air Bake Oven over 15-20 years earlier but they never really took off until recently.  It had a clear cooking basket so you could watch your food as it cooked. Below is the closest image I could find to the one I remember Ron selling on late night infomercials.

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How I got my air fryer

At the time I was considering getting a pressure cooker when I came across the Gourmia 5qt Air Fryer (GAF575) at Costco.  It was a sale on for only $39 before Christmas in 2018. That was less than half the price of the InstaPot I was looking at. It turned out to be one of the better impulse buys I have made over my lifetime.

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Making French Fries

Touch Interface

The unit I got had a small digital readout for time and temperature (alternating). It uses a simple touch based interface and includes 8 one-touch presets for:

  • Fries
  • Chicken
  • Steak
  • Bacon
  • Fish
  • Shrimp
  • Pizza
  • Bake

I can also adjust the time and temp manually using the + or – touch controls based on what I’m cooking and how much.  The max temperature is 400 degrees F with a max cooking time of 30 minutes.  I know that doesn’t seem very long but convection cooks much faster than a traditional oven bake. The majority of items I cook take 5-13 minutes.

5 Quart Basket

The basket holds up to 5 quarts of food and there is a small stainless steel floating rack you can use to elevate your food or have 2 layers of food cooking.  There is also a removable fry tray (for cleaning) in the bottom so that your food has hot air circulating underneath it.  This also acts as a juice / grease filter for anything that drips off the food so it can pass to the bottom of the basket vs. your food sitting in it.

Non-stick coating for easy cleanup

The entire inside uses a non-stick coating to make cleanup easier.  Make sure to use wood, plastic or silicone tipped utensils in the basket. This way you won’t damage the non-stick surface and have it flaking off into your food.

What do I use it for?

You can use air fryers to make almost any fried food you love (sorry fried ice-cream).  I use it mostly for French fries, hash brown patties, fish, pork chops and chicken.  Occasionally I will also use it for mozzarella cheese sticks, fried pickles, egg rolls and coconut shrimp.  Everything comes out crispy on the outside and delicious on the inside.  No more soggy fries baked in the oven for me.

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Seasoned French Fries
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Hash brown patties
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Fried Tilapia
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Breaded Pork Chops

Everything pictured was cooked perfectly and tasted fabulous. 

Does it work for frozen goods?

Absolutely! While I’ve tried making my own fries from potatoes, it’s much easier and less time consuming to use the frozen ones from the store. I’m finding more and more frozen goods that have directions for air fryers with regards to temp and time in addition to ovens and toaster ovens.  If not, there are many guides online with information on time/temp for air fryers compared to a traditional oven.  Check the user guide that came with yours.  Mine had a settings chart in it for many common foods.


While you can lookup recipies online, every unit should come with a basic cookbook to get you started.  Mine had one called the ‘No Oil Frying Cookbook’ that contains 30 delicious recipes, many of which I still need to try.


If you haven’t tried food from an air fryer yet, you’re missing out.  If you have, you know what I’m talking about.  It’s just another tool in my kitchen toolbox and rates right behind my George Foreman Grill which I wrote about earlier this summer.

Last Updated on October 28, 2021