Air Fryers have made a bit of a splash in 2020. Thanks to some clever redesign a small convection oven has been rebranded to become one of the hottest home cooking trends of the year. Here’s why I don’t care.
A strong narrative that you’ll see around Air Fryers is about how they are a good gateway into cooking for those who are less experienced. I can see how this may be the case, but it’s kinda irrelevant for me.
I am an avid home cook who bakes sourdough, makes stock from scratch and has a fridge filled with home-made fermented hot sauce. I am even fermenting miso paste in my laundry right now.
So I’ll admit that I was firmly in the sceptic camp when I first heard about Air Fryers. After all, there’s no actual frying happening. It’s just convection baking.
But then I saw it applied to a real world scenario close to my heart, and I was all turned around on the subject. While I can’t speak for every Air Fryer on the market, I now have a firm respect for the Philips Airfryer XXL with Smart Sensing Technology.
Philips Air Fryer XXL with Smart Sensing Technology
WHAT IS IT?
A large air fryer with smart controls and sensors
Easy to use, cooks things fast, easy to clean
A bit loud and pricey
This Philips Air Fryer Was Life-Changing
Referring to an Air Fryer as a life changing gadget probably sounds a bit naff. You may be ready to call bullshit or assume I’m trying to suck up to the PR.
I can’t blame you for that. But hear me out.
Over the past couple of years the health of my partner’s parents has significantly decreased. His mum, in particular, is seriously ill with cancer and started chemo in early 2020.
Living in the Southern Highlands and having to travel to Westmead several times a week for treatment is exhausting for them. They’re not always up for cooking nutritious meals and none of their kids live nearby to help regularly. It’s a concern for us.
When I accepted this Air Fryer for review, I didn’t realise they had just gotten the exact same model. My partner had just returned from a two-week stint with them after his mum got brain surgery. He was delighted when he saw me open the box.
This was because he saw first hand what a difference this made to their quality of life. Being able to chuck in some meat and vegetables into the Air Fryer (which has two layers you can use simultaneously) and have it ready so quickly has been literally life changing for them.
Part of this has been due to the Smart Sensing settings. With some food, a roast chicken for example, you can select that setting and the weight and the Air Fryer works out the cook time for you. You can even apply this to some frozen foods.
Every time we have used this it has turned out perfectly, including frozen and fresh chicken and fish.
Alternatively, you can manually set the temperature and timer yourself. If we were ever unsure on how a cook was going, we would just open up the Air Fryer to take peek.
Our biggest takeaway here is just how fast it is.
We were able to make roasted veggies in well under 15 minutes — the same went for salmon. Kale chips were easy to whip up in around seven minutes.
And an entire roast chicken could be done in under an hour.
This is all partially because of how convection cooking works and also because you’re not dealing with pre-heating times.
This was another stand out for me – we can use this even in summer and not turn the kitchen into a sauna. I like that I can still make a roast for meal prep or a quick bit of fish even when it hot and it doesn’t heat up the house.
Easy to Clean
Similarly, its easy to clean. You can lift out the top rack and pull out the bottom tray to clean with ease. They’re even dishwasher safe. I’ve loved that, but more importantly it has made things easier for the in-laws.
Loud, Bulky, Pricey
While there is a lot to love here, the Philips XXL Air Fryer is a bit loud and bulky. If you plan on using it on the reg, which I have certainly been doing, it will need some dedicated counter space.
And you certainly can’t miss when it’s in use. The Air Fryer makes a distinct whirring noise when its cooking your food. While I would prefer something a bit quieter, this was by no means a deal breaker. I’m now so used to it that I don’t really notice it.
My main negative about the Air Fryer is the price. At $600 its certainly investment, particularly when most homes have ovens available as well.
I must admit, I have become quite reliant on it for mid-week meals in particular. But for me it would still be a luxury purchase.
Although I have seen the flip side of that with my partner’s parents. For them is has been hugely helpful in a time of extreme stress and worry. And perhaps in cases like that its well worth the money.
With that in mind I will stand by my statement that it has been life changing. Maybe not for everyone, but certainly in our family.
Without much effort they can get a balanced meal and that peace of mind means the world to us.
And it’s times like this that I love tech the most — when it makes a difference.