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Air Fryers

Air Fryer Vs. Dehydrator | Our Guide to Why You Should Have Both Appliances

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Have you heard anybody talking about an air fryer? Probably you've heard a friend or family member talk about one and how they use it in their kitchen. Air fryers have grown in popularity, making them a choice for many cooking enthusiasts.

What about food dehydrators? Have you ever heard of one?

Best Air Fryers for Chicken Wings

If you are not familiar with air fryers and food dehydrators' kitchen appliances, they can look very similar to you.

If you want to cook healthy and delicious food, the two kitchen appliances come in handy. Whether you want to lose weight or try out some new recipes, you can use air fryers or food dehydrators for the purpose.

But what's the difference between the two, and which one should you invest in?

airfryer

What Is an Air Fryer?

Companies are manufacturing several devices geared towards making your life in the kitchen easier and more fun.

One such device is the air fryer.

Air fryers are kitchen appliances that enable you to cook delicious food that looks and tastes like fried food. The air fryers use hot air and little to no oil to cook your food. The air frying cooking method keeps your food moist from the inside and gives it a crunchy texture.

The kitchen appliance resembles a convection oven, and you can look at it as a smaller version of the oven. Just like a convection oven, an air fryer contains a heating element situated at the top of the device (see also 'Air Fryer vs Air Fryer Oven' article).

how it works

Additionally, an air fryer comes with a fan that helps circulate the hot air even underneath the food to ensure even cooking. The food in an air fryer is put in a fryer-style basket, allowing the air to penetrate while the oils drop on a tray.

The fast circulation of hot air ensures your food has a crunchy crust, similar to deep-fried foods, but without using a lot of oil (see air fryer versus deep fryer).

What Can You Cook Using an Air Fryer?

One of the reasons cooking using air fryers stands out from the rest is its versatility. The air fryers allow you to prepare various tasty recipes as it does the job on your behalf and, more importantly, getting one won't break your budget.

Some of the things you can cook using air fryers include:

  • An air fryer can help you to cook delicious and crunchy french fries
  • You can also use the appliance to prepare delicious veggies. By using a little oil, the hot air in the air fryer cooks the veggies to perfection while giving them a crunchy taste. You can also cook mushrooms, eggplants, chickpeas, okra, broccoli, carrots, and beans.
  • Additionally, you can use the kitchen device to heat leftovers. Baked dishes and pizza don't feel hard if you heat them using an air fryer.
  • You can also use the device to cook onion rings with liquid batter. However, you have to freeze the rings for 10 minutes before you can switch on the device.
  • An air fryer can also cook frozen foods meant to be deep-fried, including tartar tots, frozen wings, and mozzarella sticks.
fries and meat

Pros of Air Fryers

  • An air fryer helps you to cook faster as it only takes a few minutes to cook your food to perfection.
  • The device is energy-efficient as it cooks your food within minutes, and you are done.
  • You can use an air fryer for more versatile applications apart from frying. You can use it to steam, stir fry, roast, bake, and grill. You can also use it for cooking fried chicken (check out air fryers for chicken, or chicken wings review), sausages, and even a whole turkey.
  • An air fryer minimizes the amount of oil used in cooking, leading to healthier meals. You can cook your food without oil and still achieve a crunchy taste.
  • It is easy to use and helps to save space in your kitchen due to its compact design.

Cons of Air Fryers

Nevertheless, an air fryer comes with some limitations. Such include:

  • You may not prepare food for a large family using the appliance due to its capacity

food icon

What Is a Food Dehydrator?

A food dehydrator helps to dry food for an extended period at low temperatures. Food dehydrators remove moisture from the food to make it more shelf-stable and store it for an extended period.

Additionally, the dehydrated food offers the best taste, such that herbs will have a stronger taste and fruits taste sweeter.

You can use a food dehydrator to dehydrate various types of fruits, meat, and vegetables. Food dehydrators come in handy to help you prepare healthy snacks in the comfort of your home.

dehydrate fruit

Snacks made using a food dehydrator are healthier as they don't contain additives or colors. You can also customize the taste of the dehydrated food by adding oil, sugar, salt, etc.

The food dehydrator blows warm air that helps to remove the fluids from foods. The method has been used for a long time, but people would use sunlight to dry the food. A food dehydrator helps to prevent bacteria from growing while also increasing the food's shelf life.

Dehydration is a healthy food-preserving method that has been in use for centuries. If you boil or steam some ingredients, you may lose nutrients such as vitamins and nutrients.

how it workes

During dehydration, the food is cut into pieces or small slices and then arranged on shelves without touching each other. A fan then circulates the food at low temperatures, and you should use different temperatures for different types of foods.

Most dehydrator models are rectangular in shape though you can also get round ones. They also come with stacked or pull-out shelves. The models with stacked shelves feature a small fan at the dehydrator base that circulates the air upwards.

The models with pull-out shelves come with a fan at the back of the device. Experienced users prefer these models as they offer more temperature control.

What Can You Cook Using a Dehydrator? 

A dehydrator helps you to prepare healthy snacks that you can enjoy at the office, home, or school. There are various types of food that you can prepare using a dehydrator, including:

  • You can dehydrate herbs and other delicate types of food at 95 degrees
  • You can also dehydrate veggies at 125 degrees Fahrenheit
  • The appliance can also help you to make granola and fruit bars
  • If you have stale food like pizza, bakery, and cookies, you can use a dehydrator to re-crisp the stale food
  • The appliance is also useful in DIY projects such as potpourri and molds
  • Additionally, you can dehydrate meat first at 160 degrees and then at 130 to 140 degrees to kill any bacteria
  • Foods such as fruits that are water-dense can be dehydrated at high temperatures of 135 degrees Fahrenheit. This helps to preserve and intensify the sweetness of the fruits
family cooking

Pros of Food Dehydrators

When you remove water from the food, you enhance the flavor of the food without adding any artificial flavors and preservatives. Some advantages of using dehydrators include:

  • If you are using the dehydrator to make dried meat, you can add your herbal mix to get your desired flavor.
  • The food cooked through dehydration retains its nutritional level. When you cook food at high temperatures, most minerals and vitamins get destroyed.
  • If you are an outdoor enthusiast, a dehydrator is a must-have appliance. It helps you to prepare dried foods such as fruits and vegetables that you can use later while camping.
  • A dehydrator is a perfect pick for you if you want to try vegan food or a raw food diet. You enjoy your raw food with a little twist that makes it tastier.
  • If you have a dehydrator as one of your kitchen arsenals, you can have an easy time preparing granola and protein bars. These are healthier snacks than store-bought products.
  • It helps intensify the sugar in fruits such that they taste sweeter even if they aren't sweet in real-time.

Cons of Food Dehydrators

  • Food dehydrators can be noisy. High-quality models produce less noise than low-quality ones.
  • A food dehydrator can come with a large footprint depending on size. If you want to prepare a large amount of food, you should invest in a bigger model.
  • Dehydrated food doesn't have the same taste like the food you buy at the store. As such, you may have to adjust to the taste.
  • Food dehydration takes time. Unless you are patient and ready to complete the process, the food might not be completely dry and may not have your desired taste.

Differences Between an Air Fryer vs. Dehydrator

An air fryer cooks food while a food dehydrator ensures that the food is 100% dry. An air fryer has a fan that circulates air to ensure even cooking of the food, while a food dehydrator has a fan that helps circulate air in low temperatures to enable dehydration.

An air fryer has a small capacity and ideal for small families (see 'Best Air Fryer for Family of 4' post), though you can prepare food in batches. On the other hand, a dehydrator allows you to prepare large amounts of food.

woman in the kitchen

A dehydrator offers a potent method of storing food. It enables you to store surplus food and minimize waste.

Final Thoughts 

An air fryer and food dehydrator are both useful appliances that you should add to your kitchen appliances. An air fryer helps you to cook food while a dehydrator dries it for storage. They are both healthy methods of preparing food.

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