Those who are interested in purchasing an air fryer may question how it differs from a convection oven. If you want the short explanation, an air fryer is really just a compact convection oven that has a catchier name.
Air fryers don’t need oil since convection baking is used instead of direct heat to cook food.
True deep-frying entails submerging the dish entirely in a vat of hot oil. The oil coats the whole surface area, ensuring that every bite is evenly crisp. Regular baking results in less crispiness because it uses hot air to cook, and air is not as effective a heat conductor as oil.
Why Do We Use Convection Ovens?
During convection baking, a fan is installed within the oven, and heated air is blasted around and onto the food. Because of the increased air pressure, the food becomes crispier than it would in a conventional oven (but still far less than an actual deep-fryer).
Thus, air fryers may be thought of as a kind of convection oven. Nonetheless, this does not imply that the two are identical. Now, let’s compare and contrast the two to see how they vary.
Although many ranges include a convection option, we will only be discussing countertop convection ovens and air fryers in this article.
A Convection Oven: What is It?
A countertop convection oven resembles a toaster oven in design, with a rectangular body and a front door that swings open from the base. A convection oven is similar to a toaster oven, except it has a fan that circulates hot air throughout the oven.
Convection ovens may cook food more quickly than conventional ovens because the air within the oven is circulating, a phenomenon known as the convection effect. It speeds up the cooking process and helps the food brown and crisp up on the outside.
Similar to a toaster oven, a convection oven may accommodate a sheet pan on its inside rack (preferably a perforated one to allow maximum air flow). Because of its expansive design, the rack can hold more dishes without requiring them to be stacked.
This is essential, since piled or layered food blocks the circulation of warm air. The food will cook more uniformly if it is spread out in a single layer.
Just what is an Air Fryer?
Air fryers may be thought of as little, portable convection ovens. Many air fryers are vertical, resembling a coffee machine more than a toaster oven. You may take the basket out of the bucket, which has a handle, and put it in the main compartment. Place your groceries in this basket. The cooking process begins as soon as the bucket is inserted into the machine and turned on. Above the heater, where the fan is located, the room is heated.
Now, an air fryer can concentrate a lot of heat on a tiny frying surface since it is compact and the fan is closer to the food. Therefore, a food item cooked in that region will be ready to eat sooner than it would be in a convection oven.
Because of its compact size, however, it can only hold a fraction of the quantity of food that a standard convection oven can. A maximum of two servings may be prepared at once in an air fryer.
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As a result, preparing a dinner for more than one or two people may need many batches to be cooked, which might make serving time longer than with a convection oven.
The limited space in the basket makes it impossible to arrange the contents in a single layer, so you end up having to stack them. However, the convection effect may be defeated by piling your food, which prevents hot air from circulating uniformly around it.
Cooking French fries or onion rings in an air fryer needs frequent shaking of the basket to ensure that all the fries or rings cook evenly, even when used according to the instructions. Therefore, not only does the cooking process take longer (due to working in batches), but the actual physical labor involved is also more.
Arguments for and against using an air fryer
There is no window in an air fryer. Even though it’s not crucial, being able to see your food will help you determine when it’s done cooking.
Compared to a convection oven, air fryers generate far more noise. Philips claims that the decibel level of their air fryer is 65, making it roughly as loud as a household vacuum.
Compared to a convection oven, the cost of an air fryer is higher. Though a high-quality air fryer could set you back $250, a convection oven just costs $150 and can cook far more and tastier food (including toast.)
Space-saving air fryers are a plus. In contrast to the air fryer, which can be stored away when not in use, a convection oven is almost a permanent fixture on the kitchen counter (although because of its height, it might not fit in every cupboard).
Cleaning an air fryer is a bigger pain. Both the perforated basket and the bucket it rests in must be cleaned after using an air fryer. There will be a lot of juices while cooking anything like chicken wings. When using a convection oven, you may simply wipe off the baking dish.