How do you like your french fries? Fat? Skinny? Crispy? Regardless of your particular tastes, I’ve been testing out a new appliance called the Philips Air Fryer this week that could help you create your favorite fries, guilt-free at home. We’ve been testing out the new Philips Air Fryer for the last few nights, and the jury is still out whether the air fryer has earned a permanent spot in the crowded kitchen cabinets. It’s definitely an intriguing gadget and makes amazing french fries with just one tablespoon of olive oil.
We gave the air fryer potatoes a particularly tough taste test. Half the potatoes were cooked in the air fryer while the other half were pan fried in a generous combination of salted butter and vegetable oil. While the pan fried potatoes were good (how can you go wrong with butter?), the air fried potatoes were unanimously voted the best. They were crunchier and tasted much more like true french fries. Just without any of the guilt.
The air fryer is basically a close quarters, high-power convection oven. You place the food in the frying basket and a fan directly below it circulates high heat very evenly and powerfully throughout the air fryer. The controls are so simple, they’re almost overly simple. Two dials set the temperature and the duration of cooking. There is a light indicating that heat is circulating, but not one to tell you when the unit has reached the right temperature. As the accompanying recipes have very specific temperature requirements, having a temperature gage would be a huge product improvement.
Another reason I’m not fully sold on the Air Fryer is because of its small size. The basket holds two large potatoes worth of French fries, enough to feed two or maybe three people tops. Overcrowding the unit makes the heat unable to circulate and all the benefits disappear. Crowded food in the Air Fryer cannot crisp up.
That said, we are thoroughly inspired by the Philips Air Fryer and are playing around with sweet concoctions. Last night we made gooey and extremely messy air fried smores. Tonight, we are going to try sweet dumplings. I have a growing board of Air Fryer ideas over on Pinterest. My kids are determined to make this a dessert friendly appliance, and I’m happy to oblige. We’ll keep you posted on our findings, but for now, the Air Fryer remains in limbo in the basement, still a gimmick and not a necessity.