Are you in love with fried food’s texture and taste but worried about its serious health consequences? Air fryers – which entered commercial kitchens about 15 years ago, then became available domestically from 2010 – remove most of the oil from the equation while still delivering that fried-food crunch and flavour.
Essentially mini convection-ovens, air fryers circulate hot air around food, including directly underneath through metal baskets and racks. Their size means they are somewhat more efficient than ovens and radiate considerably less heat, so they’re great for Australian Christmas roasts (if modestly proportioned).
I tested two models that also bake and grill: Philips’ Airfryer XXL and the Russell Hobbs Air Fry Crisp ‘N Bake Toaster Oven, which makes toast too. Both produced good results for frozen, pre-oiled foods including chips and schnitzel, and were remarkably effective for usually oily from-scratch cooking such as roasted vegetables. Though only very lightly tossed in oil, they emerged nicely browned, crisp and soft inside, as if conventionally roasted.
With these appliances’ cooking guides and recipe booklets (and Philips’ Airfryer app), plus time adjusting to this different kind of benchtop cooking, it’s possible to make everything from chicken drumsticks to doughnuts with minimal fat.