If you wish to embrace healthy eating, air frying is a method you should consider for your cooking. Air frying is a cooking method that offers delicious foods and crunchy deep-fried foods using little to no oil.
The method works by quickly circulating superheated air from various angles. This results in even browning on all sides and a crispy and delicious flavour.
Until recently, air frying required that you invest in an air fryer. However, you can now get ovens on the market that come with a built-in air fryer.
Both an air fryer and an air fryer oven will come in handy in preparing healthy and delicious foods. But they have a variety of differences that you should consider before deciding which one to buy.
So, do you need an air fryer or an air fryer oven in your kitchen?
What Is an Air Fryer?
An air fryer refers to a smaller version of a convection oven. There are two models of an air fryer which include an air fryer oven and an air fryer basket. Both models work the same way, though the various parts of the devices may be in different places.
The temperatures may be different for the two devices, and they may also differ in their food placement.
An air fryer may be an excellent option if you wish to cook your food quickly. It works by circulating hot air around your food.
This enables your food to cook without using oil. Most air fryers have the heating element placed above the food.
Additionally, you may not need to preheat the oven like convection ovens. As such, it saves you a lot of time in addition to ensuring healthy eating.
What Is the Difference Between an Air Fryer and an Air Fryer Oven?
Although an air fryer and an air fryer oven work in the same way to cook your food, they both have their advantages and disadvantages.
Before you can consider which one to buy for your kitchen, you should ensure you understand their differences. In addition, see our 'Air Fryer Vs. Dehydrator' review in case you need your food to last longer.
What Is an Air Fryer Oven?
An air fryer oven refers to a full-sized oven with an integrated air fryer within the oven cavity.
The air fryer oven makes it possible to enjoy air-fried delicious meals irrespective of the range, including electric, induction, or gas.
The device uses a high-powered fan to circulate hot air around the oven at high speed, resulting in crunchy and crispy foods.
One of the best benefits of an air fryer is that it encourages healthy eating. The device uses little to no oil while cooking your food, resulting in crispy and delicious foods with a crunchy texture.
An air fryer oven offers the same benefits as a stand-alone air fryer but with added advantages, including:
- The device helps to save on valuable space in your kitchen. The air fryer is integrated inside the oven, which eliminates the need to purchase extra appliances for your kitchen.
- An air fryer oven is one kitchen appliance that works harder for you. It comes with other features apart from an air fryer, including Fast Steam Cleaning, Smudge-Proof Stainless Steel, and Even Baking with True Convection.
- An air fryer oven offers a large capacity for cooking. As such, it helps you to save time by helping cook more food at once and ensuring there is enough for the whole family.
What Is an Air Fryer Basket?
An air fryer basket, also known as a countertop air fryer, is a conventional air fryer with a free-style basket. The results of cooking using an air fryer with a basket mimic the results of deep-frying.
With an air fryer basket, the heating mechanism helps to circulate the heat around your food rapidly.
The countertop air fryer comes in various sizes, ranging from 3 to 5 quarts. A 5 quart appliance would be best for a family of 1 to 2 people.
Is an air fryer basket the right kitchen appliance for you?
A countertop air fryer is the perfect kitchen appliance for you if you are cooking for a few people and you air fry regularly.
Other benefits of cooking using an air-fryer with a basket include:
- Most air fryer baskets are available at a variety of price points, depending on the size and features. Therefore, you can purchase one without going beyond your budget.
- The countertop air fryer will not take much space on your countertop, and you can store it away after you are done.
- Air fryers basket has a smaller capacity than an air fryer oven. As such, you can cook small batches of food faster.
What Foods Can You Cook Using an Air Frying Oven?
You can use an air frying oven for cooking a variety of foods, including:
- Onion rings
- Chicken wings or tenders (see 'Best Air Fryers for Chicken Wings' here)
- Sweet potato or french fries
- Zucchini fries
- Pepperoni pizza rolls
- Mac 'n' cheese
- Brussel sprouts
How Is an Air Fryer Oven Different From an Air Fryer Basket?
The heating method in a convection oven is the same as that of air fryers in that they both work by circulating hot air around the food.
However, an air fryer basket has a smaller capacity, meaning both the food and the appliance heat up much faster. The small size of the kitchen appliance also ensures that the food is close to the heating elements, situated at the top of the appliance.
On the other hand, a convection oven has heating elements on both the top and bottom sides of the kitchen appliance. The preferred placement of food in a conventional oven is on the middle rack. As such, your food is not in close proximity to the heating source.
Another difference between the two kitchen appliances is in the way the heat circulates. They both use a fan to help distribute the heat for even cooking. However, the fan in an air fryer basket is situated directly beneath the heating element, and it operates at a greater speed.
The air fryer basket also does a better job of making the food crispy as the basket allows hot air to penetrate while the oil falls into a perforated tray below. Therefore, you require less tossing and turning throughout the cooking process.
Air Fryer vs Air Fryer Oven: Which One Is Healthier?
Using air fryers for cooking your food doesn't offer healthier foods in the real sense. However, if you are trying to cut down on calories, an air fryer basket may do a better job as it prevents food from sitting in and absorbing extra oil.
French fries prepared in an air fryer basket will be healthier than the deep-fried french fries stepped in oil to achieve the desired texture.
However, the health considerations between the two kitchen appliances are a moot point. If you don't use oil in cooking or heating food such as chicken nuggets (see 'Best Air Fryers for Chicken' review), fries, etc., all an air fryer basket offers you is a crispier snack. It also saves you the trouble of turning it in during the cooking time.
Tips for The Best Air Fryer Oven Foods
Air frying can be an art form, just like any other type of cooking. As such, you can employ the following tips to ensure you end up with the most delicious and crisp results:
- Ensure you use the right tray. The correct type of tray will allow air to circulate around the food, creating faster and crispier results. Using a baking sheet on a rack or two below the tray helps to prevent crumbs from getting to the bottom of the oven, where they can burn and smoke (check out also how air fryers compare to baking ovens).
- Ensure you have the right recipe. If you want to get the best cooking results, double-check your recipe to ensure you get the best results. Also, ensure you use the correct time, temperature, and the correct amount of oil. If you don't use oil in your cooking, the food may not be as crisp. On the other hand, too much oil will turn the food soggy. Additionally, you should use cooking oil and sprays that can withstand the high temperatures in the air fryer oven, like peanut oil, avocado, etc.
- Avoid overloading the tray or pan. If you overload the pan, the ingredients will be packed close to each other. As such, hot air may not reach all the edges of the oven and produce the perfect crispiness.
Whether you are using an air fryer oven or an air fryer basket, you will cook faster than when using a conventional oven.
Additionally, an air fryer oven can cook foods faster than an air fryer oven. The time taken will vary between different machines and the type of food you are cooking.
An air fryer basket has the capacity for more food, making it ideal for a family of about five people (see also 'Best Air Fryer for Family of 4' post). On the other hand, an air fryer oven could be a perfect choice if you are cooking for two people.
If you want a versatile kitchen appliance and save space in your kitchen, an air fryer oven will be an excellent choice. Besides the air fryer feature, the oven has other features, including Fast Steam Cleaning, Even Baking with True Convection, etc.