How Does an Air Fryer Work?

When new technologies and products hit the market, curiosity gets the best of people and they want to know how these new things work.

One of those new cooking appliances is the airfryer, which has taken the market by storm in the past few years, both in the US and worldwide.

Much different than Nuwave ovens, which incorporate three technologies into one appliance, the air fryer is simple, safe and very effective at air frying food.

But, how does an airfryer work? Or what is an oil less fryer? Is it the same as a hot fryer? Can their operation be explained in layman’s terms so customers can feel confident about their operation and job at frying food?

All of these questions, and a whole lot more, will be answered in this page about how well air fryers work!

does an airfryer work

air fryers explained

An air fryer, or sometimes called an oil fryer or hot air fryer, can be explained as a modernized, miniature convection oven.

A heating element radiates heat at the top of the electric air fryer, and the super-heated air is quickly circulated around the inside of the unit. The air is blown down the outside of the air fryer, and then it circulates back up through the middle.

The fast-moving, hot air, sometimes referred to as rapid air technology, touches all sides of the food, which quickly removes the moisture from the outside of the food. This process seals the outside layer of the food, thus starting the frying process known as the Maillard reaction.

The Maillard reaction is a chemical reaction between amino acids and reduced sugars that gives food the browned, crisp flavor and texture. This process occurs rapidly around 140 to 165 degress Celsius, or about 280 to 330 degrees Fahrenheit.

Depending on the type of food, oils, fats, sugars and other ingredients used, hundreds of unique flavors can be created by this chemical reaction.

Given the popularity of fried foods, it is the highly desirable effect that people are trying to replicate with an air fryer, but with less oil than normal deep frying.

The air flow and temperature are monitored closely in an air fryer, and self-regulating systems adjust automatically to maintain the proper cooking environment that the air fryer is set to. In addition, timer and automatic shutdown features are great safety features for oil less fryers.

To see, and I mean visually see, how an air fryer works, check out this awesome video!

Now that we have explained the basic operation of air fryers, let’s talk about other topics you will want to know about before purchasing an air fryer.

advantages of air fryers

Air fryers have a lot of cooking advantages when compared to deep fryers and convection ovens. While they each will always have their own niche in the cooking world, the air fryer can do a lot of the same things are the other appliances, and usually much faster and healthier!

We really go into great depth about the advantages and disadvantages of air fryers in our page here, but we’ll provide the highlights for you to see here.

  1. Air fryers are easy and safe to use
  2. Air fryers are simple to clean
  3. They are efficient and inexpensive to operate
  4. Hot air fryers use less oil compared to deep fryers
  5. Air fried food has less calories and fat
  6. Air fryers look great and don’t take up much countertop space
  7. Air frying doesn’t make your house stink like deep fat frying does

disadvantages of air fryers

As great as all of those features and benefits sound, there can be some drawbacks to using and buying an air fryer. A lot of these fall into the ‘opinion’ or ‘personal preference’ category, but they are worth noting since many reviews on websites like Amazon.com, Wal-Mart.com and Bestbuy.com say the same thing.

  1. Air fried food tastes different than deep fried food
  2. Air fried food is not as crunchy as deep fried food
  3. Easy to burn or dry out food
  4. Air fryer takes longer to cook than a deep fryer
  5. Air fryers cost too much
  6. Air fryers can’t cook enough food fast enough for large families

air fryer prices

Prices for air fryers vary between about $75 and $300. Some of the factors that affect the price are listed below.

  • Brand name
  • Size or capacity of the air fryer
  • Features, such as a digital display and preset cooking times and temperatures
  • Includes a cookbook or manual
  • Warranty

When researching to determine if air fryers work or not, we found that customers very overwhelming happy with the performance of their air fryers. But what does that have to do with price?

We found that most of the negative reviews and complaints came from air fryers there cheaper, typically under $75, weren’t from name brand manufacturers, didn’t include a cookbook or manual, and sometimes didn’t even offer a warranty.

So even though you can get an air fryer for under $100, it’s probably safer to stick with one in the $100 to $300 range, and make sure you research and read customer reviews so that you know what you are getting!

To help save you a lot of time and frustration, we’ve compiled this list of the best air fryers to buy!

air fryer health benefits

Honestly, it’s hard to call any fried food healthy! However, when comparing traditionally deep fat fried foods to air fried foods, there’s no comparison in terms of which is healthier!

As discussed earlier, the Maillard effect is induced by the hot temperature that food is cooked at.

With deep fryers, the hot environment is a pot of hot cooking oil, usually peanut, vegetable or oil olive. This oil cooks the food very quickly, but a lot of the oil is also absorbed into the food. Lots of oil means lots of fat and calories too!

In contrast, an air fryer uses super-heated hot air as the cooking environment. In order to prevent foods from drying out, sometimes up to a tablespoon of oil is added when air frying. This small amount of oil will be distributed to all of the food within the air fryer, so overall, there’s not much oil absorbed by the food.

Hence, when compared to a deep fryer, an air fryer produces much healthier food that has a similar taste, texture and crunch that everyone is looking for with fried foods.

what can you cook in an air fryer?

That’s a very common question because you want to know how versatile this new, hot product is, right?

The great news is that you can cook just about anything in an air fryer! To show you some of the food categories that air fryers can cook, we’ve included a list for you.

This is by no means the only things you can cook in an air fryer, but as you can see, you can cook just about anything in an air fryer.


We really hope that we’ve provided a great overview of how air fryers work, their advantages and disadvantages, how much they cost, if they are healthy or not, and even the kinds of foods you can cook with them!

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave a comment below and we’ll try to respond as soon as we can!


cook food in an air fryer

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