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Air frying is one of latest healthy food trends taking the world by storm. But unlike zoodles and dessert hummus, this one actually tastes incredible.
Air frying gives food an extra crispy texture on the outside but keeps it tender on the inside, as if you deep-fried it. However, it does this without using a ton of oil. In fact, you don’t need to go stock up on cooking oil at all. The cooking spray you already have in your pantry is enough.
The key thing to know is that an air fryer is pretty much just a small convection oven. The only difference is that instead of baking, it air fries by rapidly circulating hot air around your food. In turn, this creates the crispy texture. Also similar to deep-frying — it cooks food pretty fast.
However, not all air fryers are created equal. There are two types of air fryers: air-fryer ovens and air fryers with baskets. The latter is the most popular because it proves to get food the crispiest. And that’s what we all want, right?
Best air fryer overall: Ninja 4-in-1 Air Fryer
Best air fryer for beginners: COSORI Air Fryer
Best air fryer for the whole family: Instant Vortex Plus 6-in-1 Air Fryer
Best air fryer for the budget-friendly chef: Chefman 2-Quart Air TurboFry
Best air fryer for the stylish chef: Dash Tasti Crisp Electric Air Fryer
1. Ninja 4-in-1 Air Fryer, 4-Quart, $99.99 (Orig. $119.99)
Ninja is known for its high-quality kitchen appliances (ever heard of the Ninja Foodi Grill?). In addition to air frying, its air fryer can also air roast, reheat and dehydrate foods. It has four programmable buttons for each of the functions, as well as buttons for setting your own time and temperature. The Ninja Air Fryer also comes with a multi-layer rack (like a roasting rack) to help you better dehydrate foods. You’ll be especially glad to have this if you like to make chips!
2. COSORI Air Fryer, 3.7-Quart, $84.98 (Orig. $99.99)
New to air frying? The COSORI air fryer has 11 easy preset buttons for cooking all of your favorite foods. The buttons include steak, chicken, seafood, shrimp, bacon, frozen foods, french fries, vegetables, root vegetables, bread and desserts. Simply press one of these buttons and the air fryer will automatically set a temperature and time for you. Of course, once you get the hang of things, you can also choose your own time and temperature for your own recipes.
3. Instant Vortex Plus 6-in-1 Air Fryer, 6-Quart, $89.95 (Orig. $119.99)
The Instant Vortex Plus comes from the makers of the Instant Pot — so you know it’s going to be good. First of all, it has a six-quart basket, which is big enough to air fry food to feed a family of four to six. This is important if you want to cook food all at once and not in small batches. However, again, this one is created by Instant Pot, so naturally it does more than air frying. This air fryer also broils, roasts, dehydrates, bakes and reheats food.
4. Chefman 2-Quart Air TurboFry, $36.99
If you want to try your hand at air frying but aren’t sure you’ll use the appliance all the time, go with the more affordable and smaller Chefman 2-quart air fryer. Its compact size makes it easy to tuck away when you’re not using it. However, just because it’s small doesn’t mean it isn’t powerful. According to its product description, it will give your food an extra crispy texture with at least 98% less oil than traditional fryers.
The Dash Tasti Crisp Air Fryer comes in six colors for matching any kitchen (but aqua is arguably the prettiest). However, besides the color, this is pretty much your no-frills air fryer. Set the time, the temperature and off you go! There are no preset buttons, but like the popcorn button on the microwave, you might not need them.
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