Air Frying 101

An introduction into Air Frying so that you can feel comfortable and confident making the recipes you find on my site!

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Air Frying 101

Air Frying Basics

In the simplest of terms, an air-fryer is a compact cylindrical countertop convection oven. It’s a kitchen appliance that uses superheated air to cook foods, giving results very similar to deep-frying or high-temperature roasting. Many of us have convection ovens in our kitchens. In a standard oven, air is heated and the hot air cooks the food. In a convection oven, air is heated and then blown around by a fan. This creates more energy and consequently cooks foods faster and more evenly.

Air fryers use the same technology as convection ovens, but instead of blowing the air around a large rectangular box, it is blown around in a compact cylinder and the food sits in a perforated basket. This is much more efficient and creates an intense environment of heat from which the food cannot escape. The result is food with a crispy brown exterior and moist tender interior – results similar to deep-frying, but without all the oil and fat needed to deep-fry. In fact, when you are air-frying, you usually use no more than one tablespoon of oil!

Better still, an air fryer doesn’t just cook foods that you would usually deep-fry. It can cook any foods that you would normally cook in your oven or microwave as well. It is a great tool for re-heating foods without making them rubbery, and is a perfect and quick way to prepare ingredients as well as make meals. To me, it is the best new kitchen appliance that has been introduced in recent years.

Health Benefits

Obviously, because it can produce results similar to deep-frying using a tiny fraction of the oil needed to deep-fry, the health benefits are apparent. When deep-frying, you submerge the food in oil and oil is inevitably absorbed by the food. In an air fryer, you still use oil because oil is what helps crisp and brown many foods, but you really don’t need more than one tablespoon at a time. Instead of putting the tablespoon of oil in the air fryer, you simply toss foods with oil and then place them in the air fryer basket. In fact, spraying the foods lightly with oil is an even easier way to get foods evenly coated with the least amount of oil. Investing in a kitchen spray bottle is a great idea if you have an air fryer.

Quick and Energy Efficient

We all know that sometimes it can take fifteen to twenty minutes to pre-heat our standard ovens. Because the air fryer is so compact, that pre-heat time is cut down to two or three minutes! That’s a huge savings in time as well as energy. In the summer, you can pre-heat your air fryer and not heat up the whole kitchen. In addition, the intense heat created in the air fryer cooks foods quickly, about 20% faster than in an oven, so you’re saving time and energy there as well. No one these days seems to have time to spare, so this should please everyone!

Safe and Easy to Use

Air-frying is safer and easier than deep-frying. Most air fryers have settings for time and temperature. You simply enter both and press start. It doesn’t get much easier than that! When deep-frying, you have to heat a large pot of oil on the stovetop, use a deep-frying thermometer to register the temperature and then monitor the heat below the pot to maintain that temperature. On top of it all, you are dealing with a lot of oil, which can be heavy to move, dangerous if it gets too hot, and is cumbersome and annoying to drain and dispose of. Why bother if you can get the same results so much more easily with an air fryer?

Clean and Tidy

I didn’t earn the “Miss Tidy Bed” badge in brownies for no reason! I love keeping the kitchen clean and tidy when I’m cooking and after I’ve been cooking. The air fryer fits into my world perfectly. It cooks foods in a contained space and that keeps the food from splattering anywhere. Period. You can even cook bacon in the air fryer without making a mess (do remember the tip to put a little water in the drawer below to prevent the bacon grease from smoking). It is simple and straightforward to clean and keep clean, and you know what they say about cleanliness…

Using Air Fryers to Prepare Ingredients

So often, I find myself turning to the air fryer to cook ingredients for meals that might not even call for an air fryer. Don’t underestimate the convenience of quickly toasting some nuts for a salad, or roasting a pepper for pasta, or quickly cooking bacon for an egg sandwich. Ingredients in recipes often come with a qualifier – “walnuts, toasted”, or “bread cubes, toasted” – and the air fryer comes to the rescue, once again saving precious time.

Featured Recipes

Apply your skills with these tasty recipes.

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Nashville Hot Chicken

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Air-Fried Buffalo Wings

Air-fried Buffalo wings are a favorite appetizer, but without all the guilt or trouble that comes with deep-frying. They are...
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Homemade Air-Fried French Fries

French Fries are probably the very first thing that anyone makes in their air fryer and that's no surprise.
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Air Fryer Cinnamon Rolls

These sweet little cinnamon rolls bake in just 10 minutes AND have a super-market shortcut by using store-bought bread dough...
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Comments (41)Post a Reply

    1. I’m afraid not. The water in the bottom of the air fryer will not get hot enough to effectively steam foods because the heating element is from above and not from below. Having liquid in the bottom drawer does help to keep foods moist, but it’s the heat from above that really cooks the food.

  1. I just ❤️ your site all the recipes, videos, along with the helpful tips. You are truly amazing and you make cooking enjoyable. I have learned so much on using air fryers from you. Thank you

  2. This is the most helpful demo I have seen. Gives all the information needed. I have decided to get one to try it.

    Thank you.

    P.S. I do have your Air Fryer Cookbook.

  3. Thank you Meredith! I’m working my way through your Air Fryer Genius cookbook and having great results.

  4. Loved this video! You always explain things well and help to make it easy for all of us. I’m still getting familiar with my pretty blue air fryer from Cook’s Essentials. I love it! I have both of your awesome cookbooks too. I made wings the other night…so delish!

  5. I love my air fryer. Now that I cook for one it makes cooking so much easier. I cook bacon and sausage and freeze. I love cooking meat loaf, pork steaks and fried chicken. I will never cook a grilled cheese sandwich on the stove top again. Love it in my air fryer.

  6. Great video! Have been using my air fryer for a couple of months now and I love it. Learned some new tips & tricks I didn’t know before. Going to try cooking steak after seeing your video. So happy to be a part of your cooking classes – miss you on Qvc but this feels so much more personal!!!

  7. Great video Meredith. I have the same air fryer you used for the video. It was one of the last presentations you did on the Q. We use it all the time for wings, fries, salmon, steak, like you said, if it can go in the oven, it can go in the air fryer. And yes, we have your cookbooks all the way from Comfortable Under Pressure to One Pot Comfort.

  8. Thank you Meredith,I really learned a lot by watching your videos on Facebook and your cooking school.I have an air fryer I used a few times,but after watching your video,it gave me more confidence in making meats in the air fryer.Thank you for all you do for us cooks out here.

  9. Can these recipes be used with the air fryer 360? Also where can I find a fried chicken recipe in your book! I think I’m going to really like this book! I ordered the one that goes with the air fryer 360 but it doesn’t have the all time favorites like this one has,plus it doesn’t tell you what temperature or what setting or which basket to use! Just received it today and already going to try one of the chicken recipes!

    1. Hi Cathy. You can use these recipes with air fryer ovens like the Air Fryer 360, but when the instructions tell you to shake the basket, you will just flip foods over instead. You might find that with the particular oven that you have, you don’t need to flip foods or rotate racks, but you’ll figure that out as you use it. You’ll find fried chicken recipes in both my air fryer cookbooks. Air Fry Everything has a pickle-brined fried chicken recipe and Air Fry Genius has Nashville hot chicken and a simple buttermilk fried chicken recipe. Hope you love the books and the air fryer.

  10. Hi, I love your website. I have learned so much. I also have 2 of your books. Where can I get a spritzer like you use? I have one but it isn’t very good.

  11. I just watched the video above. It’s the first time I’ve seen anything by the blue jean chef, and let me just say-girrrl (woman)…you have an amazing presence and style of communication!

  12. I have a question. I have a cooks essentials 10 qt air fryer model with rotisserie. I have hard time with setting the temperature. Like 400 degrees is 401. 375 is 373. The temp is preset. Any suggestions?
    Really enjoy watching and learning from you
    Thank you

    Mitchell

    1. Hi Mitchell. I don’t represent Cook’s Essentials any more and am unfamiliar with that air fryer, but I expect what you’re experiencing is a conversion of temperature from a Celsius setting to a Fahrenheit temperature. A few degrees here and there will not make a difference to the food.

  13. Love this site and all the info. Always LOVED when you were on QVC. So glad to be able to follow you. I enjoy the cookbooks but really enjoy being able to watch your demos. I love,love,love my air fryer and am
    constantly amazed at how handy it is.

  14. Help!! I love my air fryer — what am I doing wrong in not being able to get a crispy, browned surface on pork chops, chicken pcs., fish fillets? I use the coating instructions from the air fryer cookbook, preheat the fryer, don’t overcrowd, flip the pieces over halfway through and use cooking spray on the surfaces. French fries, no problem! Disappointed I’m not have good results with other items. Any ideas? Has anyone else had this problem? All input appreciated!!

    1. Hi Judith. The first thing I can suggest is to make sure the food is completely dry. Moisture inhibits browning, so pat foods very dry with clean kitchen towels first. Then, mist the food with oil and air fry. Make sure you are using a high temperature if you want to get browning on top. If you still have trouble, the last thing you can try is elevating the food. Some air fryers come with racks which you can put in the basket and elevate the food closer to the heating element in the air fryer, but you really shouldn’t need to do that. Hope that helps a little.
      ML

  15. I just purchased an air fryer and the first website I went to for tips, instructions is “blueJean Chef.. great tips, I guess you will say this lady is on ever review, yes maybe… but I just enjoy you as a individual, a chef and a woman that is not working but doing what she likes to do. #GOBLUEJEANCHEF…. I will purchase your air fryer cookbook. Thanks again…Oh…I still miss you with David V on QVC.

  16. Great 101 on air fryer. Going to try a 2-4qt we’re just 2 looks like fun, I see you have a Phillips but I trust QVC your suggestion on cooks essentials?

    1. Hi Kathleen. I use both the Philips and Cook’s Essentials air fryers. I would recommend the 4 quart air fryer over the 2 quart. It’s a lot easier to make a little in a larger vessel than to make a lot in a little one.

  17. I just bought an airfryer and as m a bit intimidated. I’ve watched you on QVC for years snd you always explain everything and make it seem easy. I’m excited to try some of the techniques that you discussed

  18. Hello Bluejean Chef— I just finished viewing your video regarding air fryers. It was most helpful. My wife had a health issue and I find (as an octogenarian) that I must do things that I had never dreamed about. One of them being doing the cooking. I recently purchased an air fryer and you video was most helpful to me. I look forward to more of the same. Thanks again.

  19. I’m looking for the equivalent of pan frying lamb chops without smoking up the kitchen. Does the air fryer actually manage to keep all the smoke inside?? I realize there is less smoke because of the distance between the collected oil at the bottom and the heating element at the top. But surely there must be some smoke with fatty cuts of meat…? Also, I’d rather not put water in the bottom as I would like to be able to use the rendered fat. Many thanks for your help!

    1. Hi Janet. The smoke in this instance would come from the fat that collects in the bottom drawer – it can get too hot and start to smoke, but at least air-frying prevents splatter from the stovetop landing all over your kitchen. Adding water to the drawer catches the fat and prevents this smoking, but I’m afraid you’re right – it won’t leave you with any rendered fat afterwards.

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