Experts Say Using Air Fryers Instead of Ovens for Cooking May Not Be the Best Idea

source: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Are you one of those who prefer to use the air fryer over the oven to cook your food? If so, you’re not alone. Air fryers have gained popularity as a healthier alternative to deep frying. However, there are concerns about whether air fryers are truly a cheaper and healthier option than traditional ovens. 

What Is an Air Fryer?

Before diving into the debate, let’s briefly explain what an air fryer is. An air fryer is a kitchen appliance that cooks food by circulating hot air around it. It uses a convection fan to distribute the heat, which allows you to cook food with a crispy texture similar to frying but with significantly less oil. Air fryers have gained popularity for their ability to create healthier versions of fried foods.

The Healthier Alternative?

Many people turn to air fryers as a way to enjoy their favorite fried foods without the guilt. The promise of healthier cooking is a significant selling point for air fryers. They use minimal oil or even none at all, reducing the calorie and fat content of your meals. However, is it truly a healthier option?

According to financial expert Martin Lewis, the answer might not be so clear-cut. In an episode of his podcast, he explained that while a microwave consistently provides heat, an oven takes time to reach its full temperature before maintaining it. This means that ovens don’t run at full power the entire time, potentially making them more energy-efficient than air fryers.

The Cost Factor

When it comes to cooking and being as cost-effective as possible, each scenario may require a different approach. The cost of using kitchen appliances, including air fryers and ovens, depends on various factors, such as the recipe you’re preparing and the number of items you’re cooking.

For example, if you’re cooking a small batch of fries or chicken wings, an air fryer might be a more efficient choice. It heats up quickly and requires less energy than preheating a full-sized oven. However, if you’re preparing a large meal or baking dishes that require consistent temperature control, an oven could be the better option in terms of energy efficiency and even cooking.

source: Getty images

Let’s break down the pros and cons of using air fryers and ovens:

Air Fryer Pros:

  • Quick preheating.
  • Requires less oil for crispy results.
  • Suitable for small batches.
  • Easy to clean.

Air Fryer Cons:

  • Limited capacity for larger meals.
  • Longer cooking times for some dishes.
  • May not achieve the same results as traditional ovens.

Oven Pros:

  • Even heating for baking and roasting.
  • Suitable for larger meals and baking multiple items.
  • Versatile for various cooking techniques.
  • Energy-efficient for long cooking times.

Oven Cons:

  • Slower preheating.
  • Uses more energy for shorter cooking times.
  • Not as suitable for quick, small meals.

Whether you should use an air fryer or an oven depends on your cooking needs and preferences. Air fryers are excellent for small, quick meals with less oil, while ovens shine when it comes to larger dishes and even cooking. While air fryers offer a healthier alternative to deep frying, their cost-effectiveness compared to ovens may vary depending on the situation. It’s essential to consider the recipe, the number of items you’re cooking, and your energy-saving goals before making your choice. Ultimately, both appliances have their place in the kitchen, and the decision should be based on what suits your culinary needs best.