Does an air fryer use oil?

by Véronique Raymond
Air fryer

For a healthier and less greasy substitute to deep-frying, many people turn to an air-fryer to maintain a more balanced and healthier lifestyle while not having to compromise on taste or texture.

Known to provide a similar crispy texture to deep frying, an air fryer works by using a minimum amount of oil of up to only a few teaspoons and in some cases, no oil at all!

With an air fryer, no longer are the days of having to wash your hands after eating a packet of greasy french fries or sweet potatoes dripping in fat.

How does an air-fryer make your fried food crispy with so little oil?

Air fryers function by baking ingredients at a high temperature of between 325-400 degrees fahrenheit, powering the hot air to circle around the fryer to create the crisp texture on food.

The technology and power behind air-fryers mean you get crispy fried chicken at a higher quality than fast food chains in your own home without the grease or negative health effects.

What kinds of fat content, cooking sprays or oils should we be using in an air-fryer?

While we always recommend checking the instructions of the specific model purchased, most air-fryers will provide more effective results by using high smoke point oils rather than using fat contents which burn at a low smoke point such as butter, extra virgin olive oil, non-stick sprays or margarine.

Unfortunately, labels on oil bottles or sprays don’t provide their smoke points so it does require a little bit of research online prior to cooking your favorite fried foods.

In general, flaxseed oil, walnut oil and pumpkin seed oil are on the lower smoke point end of the spectrum and could be used as a vinaigrette or dressing instead of heating up to air-fry.

If you do like a buttery taste on your food, we would recommend brushing it on your food after using the air fryer to avoid your fried food from burning.

Nevertheless, due to the impressive results of many air-fryers on the market, users should ideally find the crispiness and taste sufficient without the extra coating of butter afterwards.

Oils with high smoke points mean they can be heated above 400-degree Fahrenheit before it starts to smoke or burn. It’s also interesting to note that research suggests that if you overheat oil past its smoke point, it doesn’t only burn your food, but you also lose the beneficial nutrients found in some unrefined oils.

Therefore, if you want perfectly crispy and unspoiled food, simply avoid using these low smoke point fats in your air fryer and instead, experiment with them elsewhere in your cooking which doesn’t involve heat.

What are the best oils to use in your air-fryer?

In terms of the best oils to use in your air-fryer, this really depends on desired taste, the ingredients which you are cooking as well as simply taking into account the different price point of oils.

The choice of oil should have little effect on the crispy result and texture of the food in the air fryer as long as the oil has a high smoke point. However, the choice of oil does have an impact on taste.

Just as their names suggest, cooking oils are extracted from a particular seed or fruit. For example, olive oil is extracted from olives while sunflower oil is extracted from sunflower seeds.

Just how some people prefer the sweetness of tangerines to oranges, the same applies to oils!

Therefore, it comes to no surprise that people have a particular preference of oil when cooking. For example, some people prefer to cook stir fries with peanut oil or use canola oil when cooking fish.

One of the advantages of an air-fryer is the versatility of oils which can be used which means you can use your air-fryer to experiment with different types of oils.

Discover which taste and results appeal to you most and take into account the ingredients from your recipe. The list of oils we recommend to use in an air-fryer is exhaustive but popular options are olive oil, vegetable oil, avocado oil, canola oil, coconut oil, sesame oil and peanut oil.

Of course, oils don’t just vary by taste but also by price. For a more affordable option, we recommend using vegetable oil while in contrast, avocado oil tends to be more expensive by quantity. However, since air fryers only require a minimum amount of oil per use, this could be an opportunity to discover and experiment with new oils you’ve never used before at a higher price point for those fancier dinner parties.

If you are looking for the best oil to use for those classic fried dishes such as fried chicken or sweet potato fries then we recommend using olive or sunflower oil however, this definitely is trial and error depending on which machine you have purchased.

For cooking beginners who aren’t used to spending time in the kitchen, olive oil is definitely a crowd pleaser since it can be used in a variety of ways to not only marinate ingredients but also to cook different types of vegetables and meat.

So if you’re not comfortable experimenting with different types of oil, olive oil is a simple addition to your pantry to cook delicious types of food and is available at an affordable price point in grocery stores.

Are air frying ingredients actually a healthy alternative to deep frying if you have to use oil?

The health-conscious air-fry user may be asking themself whether or not using oil is actually a healthy choice to bake their ingredients in.

Certain oils have been proven to have health benefits for example, olive oil contains antioxidants which may reduce risk of chronic disease and protect against heart disease while avocado oil has been linked to lowering cholesterol levels and lowering blood pressure.

Of course, moderation is always key when it comes to diet and you should always consult a health care professional before drastically changing your diet.

However, if you are deep-frying foods regularly in a pan of oil, this can lead to negative effects on your health. Not only does deep frying require an obscene amount of oil for few ingredients but studies have shown that if you deep fry foods regularly it can lead to obesity as well as heart disease.

There is no doubt as to why fast-food restaurants that deep fry their foods now must provide nutritional facts and disclose the number of calories for their menu.

Air fryers are renowned to considerably reduce a person’s consumption of oil and unhealthy fats. Even for healthy recipes such as baking vegetables or potatoes in the oven, if you want crispy results, it usually takes much more than two teaspoons of oil to get the desired crispy texture or taste.

Air fryers generally only require two teaspoons of olive oil depending on the quantity of food and the appliance therefore, leading to health advantages and a more balanced diet than deep fried foods.

It therefore comes to no surprise why air fryers are trending among health and sport communities.

Many athletes or health-conscious communities have always had to compromise on taste in order to gain nutritional and health benefits.

Since an air fryer uses less quantities of oil, you can now enjoy fried food without it being detrimental to your health.

It’s also popular among parents who have children who may be fussy eaters who often crave fast food. Now you can cook them their favourite fried dishes or experiment with fried vegetables to help them eat their five vegetables a day.

You can even fry kid’s dreaded vegetables including brussel sprouts to see if they find more enthusiasm to eat their greens!

Is it compulsory to use oil in an air-fryer?

In fact, for most recipes, air fryers don’t require using any oil at all! Don’t be shy to put frozen foods or meats inside the air fryer without any oil and be surprised at the crunchy and crispy results.

For a guaranteed crispy fried texture, we recommend using a small amount of oil for meat and vegetables depending on the model of your air fryer.

However, always make sure to check the instructions included in your air-fryer box.

How do you apply the oil to your ingredients and in your air fryer?

There are a variety of ways you can apply oil onto your ingredients.

For users who want to pay particular attention to the quantity of oil being used, we would recommend spraying or lightly brushing oil onto ingredients to have an equal and controlled spread on all ingredient angles.

Air-fryers don’t include a compartment inside the machine to pour the oil into the air-fryer so there is no need to put oil in the bottom of the fryer to pre-heat.

Simply choose whether or not you want to marinate or spray oil onto your vegetables or meat and toss them in the pre-heated air-fryer basket.

You don’t even need to top up the oil half way through – simply apply the oil at the beginning of the process and let the machine do the work.

For extra tastiness, add a few spices onto your meat or vegetables with the recommended amount of oil! However, make sure not to reheat or apply more oil on recipes which have already been fried.

Rather than making it more crispy, it will instead become soggy and also affect the quality and safety of the meat. Also, pay attention to any foods which have been marinated in a vinaigrette especially on lettuce and other green vegetables, since these risk burning and spoiling any other food inside the air-fryer.

Overall, an air-fryer uses only up to two tablespoons of oil which is drastically less than deep frying leading to health benefits. You can even decide to not apply oil and still have delicious crispy results.

Spray or brush the oil onto your vegetables or meat and simply toss them in the basket inside the air-fryer.

Recipes are so simple to make in an air fryer and quick; perfect for people who want to invest in quick healthy recipes as well as families who want meals which are nutritious and tasty for their children.

No longer will you need to go through drive throughs to pick up your favourite fried snacks.

Simply prepare your ingredients and toss them into the basket without any guilt after indulging in delicious fried food!

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