5 Reasons Why are Air Fryers So Popular! Are They Worth It?

Did you know that Americans have bought at least 25 million air fryers in the last 2 years? Well, sales for air fryer cookbooks have also been on a steady rise, with over 900 million units sold in 2021 alone.

It is clear from these numbers that air fryers are becoming more popular, and the trend is expected to continue in the coming years.

But what is making air fryers so popular?

Well, to start with, you will hardly use any cooking oil. Moreover, air fryers cook faster and more efficiently than traditional ovens.

As an experienced air fryer user who has been using them for cooking for the last 3 years, I will show you what makes them popular and why you need one in your kitchen.

What are Air Fryers? How Do air fryers Work?

air fryer popular chicken leg

You may have already heard about air fryers and probably been impressed by some videos of the sumptuous meals they can help you create.

But, do you really know what they are all about and how they work? Here are some quick answers to these and a few other questions you may have on air fryers.

How does the air fryer work?

An air fryer uses hot air to circulate around the food to cook, it is a miniature version of the convection oven that can roast, bake, etc,

Besides being a smaller countertop appliance, an air fryer is also designed to allow you to cook with little to no oil. 

Air fryers provide a simple but effective way of making healthier meals. This and the other benefits we will discuss later on in this article are responsible for the surge in its popularity. And keep in mind that at least 40% of American homes already have an air fryer.

Who invented the air fryer?

The air fryer was invented in 2005 by Fred van der Weij, a Dutch inventor. According to an article published in The New York Times, Fred was looking for a simple way to make french fries crispier without deep-frying them.

Before inventing the air fryer, he had tried several other cooking methods, including a convection oven that made the fries too dry for his liking.

The first air fryer that Fred developed was introduced into the market by Phillips Electronics in 2010. Many other brands have since started producing and selling air fryers, but Phillips still holds the patent.

How much is an air fryer?

Like many other appliances, air fryers have quite a diverse price range. You can get a basic one for as little as $30, but you will have to part with ten times this or more to get an advanced model with extra features and a large cooking capacity.

Besides the capacity and features, here is a list of other factors that will determine the price of an air fryer.

  • Power – The more powerful an air fryer is, the more you pay.
  • Brand – Models from top brands are more expensive. For example, Cosori, Cuisinart, and Ninja air fryers cost more than what you pay for most other brands as these are top-rated and highly reputable companies.
  • capacity – You need to choose a suitable size of air fryer according to your family size, most air fryers are range from 2 quarts to 6 quarts, and a large air fryer has up to 16 quarts which can fit in a whole chicken
  • Type – There are 3 main air fryer types: paddle, basket, and tray air fryers. The type influences price and other things such as appearance.

What can you cook in the air fryer?

Air fryers are versatile and flexible, allowing you to cook most of the foods you would cook in a convection oven. They can bake, roast, and of course, air-fry foods.

You can use your air fryer to make french fries, roast chicken, crispy bacon, burgers, and patties, or even reheat your leftovers.

The best air fryers include several attachments and accessories to allow for different cooking styles. For example, some will have a rotisserie, tortilla stand, skewers, and racks to give you almost unlimited cooking options.

And to crown it all up, most air fryer models come with a recipe booklet. The booklet includes several air fryer recipes to give you some idea of the tasty meals you can cook.

How to use the air fryer? step by step!

Contrary to what the name suggests, air fryers will not fry foods. Instead, they use a heating mechanism and fan mounted at the top section to generate and circulate hot air around the food. The hot air generates a convection effect that does the cooks and browns food.

Here is a step-by-step guide for cooking with an air fryer:

  • Step 1: Preheat the Air Fryer

Some air fryer models will require preheating before cooking. However, it is not always necessary for most others, meaning you can go straight to the next steps below.

  • Step 2: Place the Food in the Basket

You can now add the food to the basket to start cooking. However, you often need to coat it with a little oil to ensure you get a nice crisp. You can also use a little cooking spray.

  • Step 3: Set the Temperature and Timer

Next, you should set the temperature and cooking time for your food. Ensure you follow the recipe recommendations to avoid under/overcooking the food.

  • Step 4: Flip the Food (Optional)

If you are cooking things like burgers and patties, you will need to flip the food when you are at the halfway mark of the cooking to ensure it cooks more evenly.

5 Benefits Making Air Fryers So Popular All of a Sudden

The popularity of air fryers will continue growing into the near future. The global air fryer market is projected to grow to over 1.15 billion by 2026, a significant increase from the current $863.1 million figure in 2022. 

And while several factors are driving this growth, the following 5 air fryer benefits are the key ones:

1. Oil-free cooking

One main factor that drives most people to buy air fryers is healthier cooking. An air fryer uses much less oil than other cooking methods such as deep-frying.

Although for most recipes, it does not eliminate the need for oil, you only need to spray or brush on a fraction of what you would otherwise use. This reduces the number of calories you take in, making air-fried foods healthier.

In fact, an air fryer can use up to 50 times less oil compared to traditional deep frying cooking methods.

2. Fast and convenient cooking

Air fryers are quite powerful despite their size, which allows them to cook much faster than most traditional ovens. Moreover, many models will not need preheating, meaning you further reduce your total cooking time.

The cooking speed is one of the main things I love about my air fryers. Even when I get home late and still want to enjoy some crispy veggies and chicken, I can have everything ready on my dinner table in under 30 minutes. 

You would probably need at least an hour to prepare the same meal in a conventional oven, which can be inconvenient when you are tired and have little time to spare for cooking.

3. more energy efficient

While there is no doubt that most modern kitchen appliances are designed to use up less energy, you can save even more money on your electricity bills by using an air fryer.

To start with, their small size and super fast cooking is a good indication they will not draw less energy even before you do the math.

Your small air fryer oven will, on average, require between 1400 and 1700 watts. The energy efficiency becomes clear when comparing this to the 2,000 to 5,000 watts that a full-size conventional oven draws.

4. Cheaper than conventional ovens

You can get an air fryer for as little as $30, and the price hardly goes beyond $400, even when buying the largest and fanciest model.

According to HomeAdvisor, a conventional oven will cost $360 to $1,800 depending on factors like the size, features, and brand. Some top-tier brands can even cost thousands of dollars.

Hence, it is clear that air fryers are cheaper to own and use. However, it is important to remember that the actual cost of buying and using these appliances still varies greatly from one model to the other.

5. Takes up less kitchen space

No matter how big your kitchen might be, the chances are that it still feels like there is hardly enough space, given the many appliances and all kinds of utensils and fixtures you have in there.

The fact that an air fryer will take up very little of this space gives it a huge advantage over traditional full-size ovens that can easily take up 4 square feet of your kitchen floor space.

Moreover, air fryers are portable and easy to store away, meaning they will not need a dedicated spot in your kitchen. You can always store them in a cabinet or pantry when not in use, freeing up much-needed kitchen space.

Why are Americans obsessed with air fryers?

Americans love their fast foods, and the fact that an air fryer makes it easy to cook them at home makes it a highly popular appliance.

Also, the speed and convenience of cooking with an air fryer are hard to beat. With the average American working over 8 hours on weekdays and spending several more hours commuting, there is hardly any time left for cooking on a working day. And so, an appliance that allows them to cook super fast is sure to be popular.

In recent years more and more Americans have been switching to healthy eating. The fact that an air fryer promises to make healthier foods makes it very popular.

citation: U.S BLS

Are air fryers healthy?

Air fryer manufacturers market them as a healthier alternative to traditional deep frying cooking processes. As discussed in the previous sections, the healthier cooking advantage is one of the main reasons behind air fryers’ surge in popularity.

But is an air fryer actually healthier? Well, science seems to back this popular notion.

According to a study published in the Journal of Food and Nutrition Sciences, air frying is a more suitable and healthier process for frying foods compared to other frying methods. 

The study that entailed frying potato strips using both air frying and traditional frying found that the air-fried potatoes retained less oil. Also, there was less change in the Physico-chemical properties of the potato strips, meaning they retained a higher concentration of important compounds like free fatty acids.

From this study, it is clear that the food absorbs little oil when air frying, which keeps the caloric count low. Also, it does not lose many of the healthy compounds the body needs, making it a healthier cooking method.

Air fryer cancer warning

air fryer chicken wings cancer warning

Research is still not conclusive on whether cooking with an air fryer can increase or reduce your cancer risk.

According to the National Cancer Institute, air frying reduces the formation of acrylamide, which typically results from high-heat cooking methods such as deep-frying. 

However, air frying can still lead to the formation of other substances harmful substances associated with increased cancer risk like heterocyclic amines and hydrocarbons.

The bottom line is there is still a massive research gap on the cancer risk associated with air frying if at all there is any.

Are Air Fryers Worth Buying?

Air fryers are definitely worth it, no matter how you look at them. If you are looking for something you can use to fix something quick to deal with your fast food cravings on a busy weekday when you do not have a lot of time for cooking, you will be happy to have one around.

Also, air fryers are worth the small investment if you want to eat healthier food and save some bucks on your energy bills while at it. If all these are still not enough reasons to give them a try, then an opportunity to try out an interesting gadget is one more reason.

That said, several other factors come into play when deciding if they are worth a try. For instance, a stand-alone air fryer might not be worth it if you are also in the market for other appliances like a pressure cooker or toaster oven. Instead, it would make better sense to go for a pressure cooker or toaster oven with air frying capability.

Best air fryer on the market: Cosori Air Fryer Oven Combo

Best air fryer on the market: Cosori Air Fryer Oven Combo

With almost countless air fryer models on the market and new ones being developed regularly, it is hard to settle on just one. However, from my experience, the Cosori Air Fryer Oven Combo is almost unbeatable as it ticks every box from capacity to ease of use and smart features.

The best-seller air fryer has a square 5.8-quart basket that can hold enough food for up to 5 people, eliminating the need to cook in several batches. Also, it has 13 one-touch functions for even more convenient cooking, and you can be sure of consistently perfect results thanks to the NTC sensor that helps minimize temperature fluctuations.

The air fryer is also smart, with WiFi capability to allow you to control it with your smart devices. And if you are just starting your air frying journey, the manufacturer has you covered with over 100 original recipes included.

One quirk is that, like most other appliances with many plastic components, it will have a strong plastic smell for the first few times you use it. However, once the smell dissipates, there is hardly anything else to complain about.

Final Thoughts

There you have it, a complete overview of what is behind the increasing air fryer popularity. If you have not done it, it is time to invest in one. And the Cosori Air Fryer Oven Combo is just the perfect choice whether you are a first-time owner or want to upgrade what you are using.

Remember to share this article with others and let me know your thoughts about this whole air fryer craze in the comments section below.

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