When it comes to countertop appliances, air fryers have both passionate advocates and passionate detractors. Air fryers are acclaimed for their ability to quickly fry vegetables, meats, doughs, leftovers, and frozen snacks without using oil, while others consider them overrated and expensive.
According to chefs, cookbook authors, and recipe developers, these are the five foods the air fryer loves and five foods it hates.
Air fryer ads and sponsored influencer posts tout its ability to cook anything without sacrificing quality. Despite our best efforts, the facts don’t support that claim. Cookbook author and recipe developer Anna Vocino recommends staying away from the air fryer unless you like your burgers well done. Grilling red meat with an air fryer is not recommended.
There are differences between air fryers and deep fryers, and some items that do well in a deep fryer won’t work in an air fryer. In many cases, such as onion rings, air frying makes it more challenging to set the batter and make it crispy.
Air fryers make crisp “chips” ideal for snacking, but Polak said the convection oven-style air circulation in these fryers would cause greens like kale and spinach to fly all over the place and cook unevenly. When making kale chips, Polak advised us to use a regular oven.
Wet batter, like cheese, cannot be its best in an air fryer. “An air fryer is NOT a deep fryer. A deep fryer produces an instant outer crust when you cook something like a mozzarella stick. A gooey, cheesy mess is what you get in an air fryer.”
The problem with air-frying bacon strips is their fattiness and size. Brenda Peralta, the recipe developer for FeastGood.com, said bacon is a fatty food, so the fat can drip down and cause smoke or splatter. In addition to producing smoke and odors, it can be hard to cook bacon evenly.