Do air fryers make food crispy without oil or is it almost as good but not quite?

Frying food without using oil is one of the most exciting cooking hacks which becomes easy to do because of the air fryers. These smart cooking devices circulate heat at high speed to bake, grill or fry any foods without using any cooking oil. So, foodies who’re crazy about fried foods like you often ask do air fryers make food crispy.

To answer this question, manufacturers technically claim that air fryers can offer you perfectly fried food using very little amount of cooking oil, foodies opine that perfect frying is about to impossible without submerging foods into oil and home chefs are cooking crispy fried chicken using their air fryer.

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Seems to be a bit confusing, right? But, there’s no confusion that air fryers offer healthier, faster and easier options for frying foods than any other fryers which helps this trendy kitchen appliance impress the cooks. So, let’s see what air fryers can actually do.

How much do air fryers make food crispy

As I know, fry and crisp are two different things. Air fryers can’t fry because it’s true that to fry a food you need oil. Hot oil can transfer heat much faster than boiling water or hot air. So, original frying needs to submerge food in hot oil that allows the food to soak a large amount of oil. Since the oil can transfer heat very fast, it makes the food crispy because of the Maillard effect. But, it doesn’t mean that there’s no other way to make the food crispy.

On the other hand, air fryers cook food using a circulation of hot air around the food at a very high speed. Instead of getting sink in the pond of hot oil, food goes in a perforated basket when cooking in air fryers that ensures proper contact of your food with the hot circulating air.

This hot moving air also creates the Maillard reaction when the temperature reaches near 300°F inside the perforated basket that helps air fryers produce a crispy layer on your desired food. So, there’s no confusion that air fryers can also make the food crispy.

But, the only thing you may miss in the air fried crispy foods is that perfect golden color which anyone can get from traditional deep frying. Anyway, getting that picture perfect mouthwatering golden brown color isn’t impossible when frying your satisfying foods in an air fryer.

How to bring that dream color to your food in an air fryer

dream color to your food in an air fryer

As you know, air fryers cook your food using the super hot moving air instead of immersing the food in oil. This frying method can easily make the food crispy but that amazing color is actually the product of the cooking oil which is nearly impossible to get without oil.

That’s why most air frying recipes suggest to use a bit of cooking oil. Manufacturers also allow you to use oil though it shouldn’t be more than 3 tablespoons. So, there’s nothing wrong in using oil while cooking in an air fryer if you want to bring that yummy color.

However, you have to use this little amount of oil aptly. If you just pour it on the food, it won’t evenly work as it can’t ensure proper distribution of that little amount of oil. But, nothing to worry about. A simple kitchen spray bottle will help you do the job perfectly.

Here is not the end, you’ve to add one more thing if you expect the same color because 3 tablespoons of oil isn’t enough to offer that exact color which comes from one quart of oil and that’s where PAM becomes the key. A little amount of PAM spritz will give you that covetable golden colored fried food. It also will make your food more crispier. If the color is still yet to be satisfying, then either avoid the following mistakes or use a pair of golden glasses.

Mistakes to avoid while making your food crispier in air fryer

You can’t just turn your air fryer on, simply throw the foods in its basket and expect that satisfying golden brown color with a sounding crunch. Besides the above cooking hacks, you need to consider a few more things if you don’t want to burn your food while making it crispier.

You overcrowd the fryer basket

Air fryers fry foods using a constant flow of super hot air which circulates around the food to make it crispy as well as evenly cooked. So, these fryers need enough flow of air which becomes restricted when you overcrowd the fryer basket.

The solution is very simple if you want real crispiness. You can divide your foods into several small batches. You should never fill your fryer basket more than half way. If the basket is overcrowded, it’ll result in half burnt, half undercooked and not evenly fried foods. So, take your time to make all of your foods crispy.

You don’t give your fryer enough room to vent

As you know how your air fryer works to give you a plate full of crispy foods. So no matter how small is your countertop, you’ve to make sure that there’s around 5 inches of space on all sides and above your air fryer at least while frying. This space will ensure enough air flow to the fryer. Moreover, never use your air fryer near the stove and always place it on a stable, flat and heat-proof surface to avoid any fire hazards.

You fry in the air fryer without cleaning it

A messy air fryer can’t give you that appetizing golden color. Also it can cause health hazards and fire hazards. Food residues and oil left behind in the fryer may create smoke or even burn next time you use it. A dirty fryer may create a number of other problems from stinking foods to making your kitchen smell bad. So, don’t forget to clean your air fryer after every use. You’ll be happy to know that cleaning an air fryer is easier than cleaning an instant pot.

You don’t preheat your air fryer

It’s a miracle to make your desired foods crispy without submerging them in hot oil. So, you’ve to follow a secret cooking hack to make your air fryer work like a deep fryer. Instead of throwing some food in and switching on the fryer, you should preheat it before you start frying. This will make your air fryer work better to bring the maximum crispiness to your fried foods.

You just set it and forget it

Unlike instant pot pressure cookers, air fryers require manual observation. Air frying is simpler than oven frying or deep frying. But you have to check the temperature of your foods to make sure proper cooking, you have to flip the foods to make them crunchy on both sides and you have to check smoke staying close to your air fryer. Instead of making it crispier, overfrying will burn your food and black smoke provides a signal that food is burning inside.  So, you should never set your fryer and forget it to make foods crispy.

Foods that easily become crispy in an air fryer

You may cook almost anything in your air fryer but not everything will become as crispy as frozen chicken nuggets or frozen french fries do. This is a limitation of this cooking appliance. Mostly breaded or dry seasoned foods are best to cook in an air fryer. The day before yesterday, I just became surprised with the audible crunch coming from the air fried zucchini sticks.

Essentially, air fryers won’t impress you if you cook doughnuts, battered fish, onion rings, corn dogs, beignet or foods dipped in liquid batter in it. But, there are several other foods that offer a crunchy layer with golden brown color. Mini calzones, potato chips, mozzarella sticks, buttermilk fried chicken, chocolate chip cookies, brussels sprouts, chicken wing, churro bites, apple chips are only a few to name.

Original frying vs Air frying – which is Crispier

Original oil frying food always offers the more crunchy bite. In terms of taste and crispiness, nothing can replace it. So, it’s very hard to beat deep frying foods with air fryers to bring the same taste and texture.

But, air fryers can offer pretty close crust and following the above air frying hacks you can make it even better. Most food lovers have been positive on the crispness of air fried food. The degree of crunchiness between deep fried and air fried foods is not the same. So, honestly speaking, original frying foods are crispier than air fried foods. Let’s see which one becomes crispier here

Well, air fried foods may not be as crispy…but which is healthier

As a big fan of fried food, you’ve already noticed that air fryers require only 2 or 3 tablespoons of cooking oil which is approximately 80% less than traditional deep fry. And maybe you also know the health hazards of eating oil. Overweight, heart disease, high blood pressure, acidity are some of the most common health issues that excessive oil consumption can offer.

So, it’s 100% sure that air fryers can offer healthier fried foods. Air fried foods are significantly lower in fat than traditional fried foods. It helps to cut calories which is a crucial fact if you want to lose your weight and stay in a great shape. It can also decrease the formation of bad compounds in your body by lowering the dietary acrylamide content of your favorite fried foods.

Do air fryers can fry food fast

Cooks don’t need to preheat their air fryers which helps them save 10 to 15 minutes of their cooking time. Moreover, most of the heat stays inside the fryer as there’s no way to get out and a powerful fan constantly circulates that heat to convey more efficiently to the foods.

So, air fryers can fry your desired food incredibly faster than any other traditional cookware. Air fryers become even more surprising when frying frozen foods. No need to season your frozen food to room temperature. You can directly throw them in the crannied basket of the air fryer. It takes only 20 minutes to cook a medium sized chicken breast in an air fryer.

Do you need to flip food when frying in an air fryer

Some air fryers come with built in food agitator. If yours is equipped with this feature, then you don’t need to flip. But, if there’s no food agitator in your air fryer, then it’s recommended for you to flip your foods on the half way of cooking to make sure that every side of the food is evenly cooked and depending on your meal, you may need to shake your foods more than once.

Can you air fry without oil

It’s possible to fry foods in an air fryer without using any oil. But the taste will be quite different and the foods won’t be crispy enough. Anyway, most fitness enthusiasts don’t use any oil to fry foods in their air fryer as they think that oil may ruin their fitness and shape. So, you can do it if you’re on a fitness programme and don’t want to miss the taste of fried foods.

Final Verdict

Not everybody can bring that golden color and make their food crispy in an air fryer. It’s not as easy as frying a pair of egg in the cast iron griddle. Practice, proper recipe and passion for fried foods are needed to master this cooking hack.

Moreover, not all the foods on this planet are to be crunchy. So, you also have to pick up the right foods to fry in your air fryer. Anyway, finally the answer will be NO if the question is – Do air fryers make food crispy without oil but if you remove the last two words of this question and properly follow the frying hacks I’ve disclosed above then the answer will be definitely YES!

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