Your Air Fryer Is Just a Little Oven That Blows

The air fryer is the hottest kitchen appliance in America right now. Many of us discovered them during the pandemic, as recipes went viral on social media claiming you could fry without the oily mess. This brilliant new device seemingly popped up out of nowhere, or did it? The idea that air frying is a new cooking technique is a myth. Your air fryer is just a little convection oven with a fan system that really blows.

“I would say that an air fryer is a miniature version of a convection oven, where one has specialized the design of the air movement,” said Kevin Keener, an engineering professor at the University of Guelph who studies food technology. “There’s roughly five times faster air movement through an air fryer compared to a convection oven.”

Besides the wind, and the crisping tray, it’s really more of an optimized convection oven than a new technology. Inside your air fryer, a large fan sits above a hot metal coil, blowing air upwards and around the machine. Specialized channels underneath the food basket direct the hot air back at your food – creating a hot wind tunnel, with your food right at the center of it all. It’s a great design, but it’s nothing new.

Many modern homes have convection ovens, which have existed since 1967. Their designs vary, but many convection ovens simply utilize the hot coils above and below your food, with a fan in the middle that circulates air around your oven. You can pick up a crisping tray for $12 on Amazon to put in your convection oven, instead of a $200 air fryer, to create something pretty close.

Now before we go further, many of you out there are putting parchment paper or foil below your food in an air fryer. For this group, your air fryer is really just an oven. By blocking the air flow’s direct path to your food, you are completely

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