Fried food is a guilty pleasure for most of us. The delicious crispy covering and all that amazing tenderness on the inside makes it all worth the calories and the money but have you invested in a fryer of your own yet? Are you ready to invest in one? If yes! Then this article will be your guide. A complete comparison of the two main categories that are air fryers and deep fryers is given in this article.
You must be thinking, why to invest in a deep fryer when you can simply buy the best quality and tasty fried food from restaurants or takeout. Are you sure that it is the most healthy option? No, it is not, because they fry hundreds of different items again and again in the same oil for weeks which can result in the production of carcinogens.
Hence, a healthier and convenient option for curbing your guilty pleasures is investing in your own fryer.
Moreover, a healthier and beneficial option to deep frying is air frying your food, this is not only less in calories but is also less heavy and protects your insides from all the oil and fat accumulation.
Air fryer vs. Deep fryer (Overall comparison)
Understanding the working of a deep fryer:
Deep fryers have been in the industry for quite a long time now which is why the innovation and level of the feasibility of these fryers have reached a very convenient level.
From small things like French fries to large things like turkey, everything can be deep fried in the fryers nowadays. The only thing that can affect this is the capacity of the fryer.
Basically, as the name suggests, deep fryer has a bath of oil in a heat-resistant material that neither changes composition nor conducts the heat outside. Then there is a mesh basket which is filled with the stuff that needs frying. The basket is then lowered in the bath and the food items are completely submerged in oil for deep frying. This helps in the uniform cooking of the food from all sides.
The cook time of the food is reduced in deep fryers solely because hot oil is an ideal conductor of heat and it allows monotonous cooking of the food from all sides.
This is made possible by complete submerging of the food in the oil. The ideal fried food, which is crispy on the outside and tender on the inside is achieved with this method.
Apart from this, the Maillard effect is also something that takes place in a deep fryer. Which means the heat of the hot oil breaks the sugars, proteins etc. on the surface of the food which results in a golden-brown skin. The water from the layer is also evaporated but the tenderness on the inside is protected, which gives the perfect crispy skin and tender insides.
Understanding the working of an air fryer:
The working of an air fryer is somewhat like the working of a deep fryer instead it uses air for frying. Sounds obnoxious but it really is in the market and does not make your guilty pleasures very guilty.
Like deep fryers, it has a basket for holding the food. Once you are done adding the food, you place the basket back in the air fryer, set the temperature and turn it now.
Now, the Maillard effect is achieved by throwing very hot air on the food. The water from the top layer evaporates and the sugar and proteins are broken down by the high-temperature air. So we get a perfect crispy golden-brown crust with a tender inside.
The air that is thrown on the food goes through the food, bounces off the other side, goes again through the food and the process goes on until the food is cooked. This gives you a perfectly healthy cooked meal that mimics the taste and crispiness of fried food but does not have the gazillion calories and adverse health effects.
Another substitute of the air fryer is a convection oven that also uses air to cook the food items. It has a fan that throws hot air on to the food items.
Comparison between the air fryer and the deep fryer
Now that we are done understanding how both the fryers work, we are going to see the comparison between the main features that help in deciding what fryer suits best for you.
No matter what, healthy or not, taste is what matters the most. Most of us decide to go on a healthy and carb free diet but after a few days return to the work of carbs, calories, and fats. Why? Only because healthy food does not taste as good as the high calorie and fatty food.
Definitely! The deep fried food has an edge to it, the insides are tenderer and the skin is crispier. Where air fried food is 95 percent like the deep-fried food, it can be slightly drier on the inside as compared to the deep-fried food.
Moreover, foods that have a wet batter covering don’t end up cooking very well in the air fryer and can turn out to be very messy.
Most of the people don’t have any complaints and are quite positive about the taste of the food but the crunch on the outside is not very crunchy in the air fryer.
For a better crisp, you can lightly brush some oil on the food, this can give it a crunch better than before but not as much as the deep fryer.
If you set the temperature to the proper level, the tenderness on the inside is perfect but the crunch is not the same for air fryer and deep fryer.
Health is the main focus when you are consuming fried food especially because it is very high in calories and fats. These fats can also accumulate in your arteries.
When comparing both the fryers, air fryers definitely win because they use little or no oil at all. The air cooking makes your food healthier and lower in calories. French fries cooked in an air fries are 80 percent less caloric and fatty than fries that are deep fried.
Moreover, cooking raw meat in an air fryer can also be healthier and less fatty because the cooking causes the excess animal fat to drip out so the total fat content is lower than it was before cooking.
The deep-frying process can also be made healthier by using a less heavy oil and changing the oil every time you fry something but the air fryer is definitely a winner here.
Frying food in an air fryer requires little or no oil.
By little we mean the brushing of oil on the food items and in deep fryer we require at least a liter oil for frying. For frying something as large as a turkey, you will need a minimum of 3 gallons of oil which is not only unhealthy but also adds a lot to the running cost of the product.
The other problem with deep fryers in this aspect is that the oil once used is not recommended to be retrieved. Which is why using it in your food or using it for further frying is extremely unhealthy so the oil used is wasted in a way especially if you have burnt debris in the oil.
From the experience of oil pans, we all know what a mess it can be to clean all the stuff that has to interact with hot oil. Similar, deep fryers require a lot of effort and mess to clean it up.
Cleaning up the oily debris from the basket, the oil accumulated in the mesh of the basket, then the oil that has reached the small areas of the inside of the fryer. It requires a good about two hours to properly clean the deep fryer.
With the air fryer, this is not the case, there is a food basket that needs to be cleaned and it also only needs scraping the debris of the food away. This takes only 5-15 minutes, even if you brush your food with oil, the cleaning process is not tedious because the oil is absorbed by the food and there is no residue.
Working with a deep fryer is nothing less than working with a pan full of oil. You have to stand there in supervision and look out for the food. It does not automatically turn off when the food is ready.
Moreover, the constant checking puts you at risk of getting burnt due to the droplets of oil spilling out of the fryer.
There have been many cases in which people have been burnt dangerously due to the hot oil and also cases where the fire was started because of the spilling of hot oil.
On the contrary, air fryers are safer and convenient. It has a lid cover and you don’t have to check it time and again to see if the food has been cooked. The food gets cooked on its own and you are notified once the time is up and the food is ready.
When both are compared, deep frying takes less time to cook food than air fryers. The heat conduction is very efficient in hot oil which is why it cooks the food in less time and also cooks it uniformly.
Air fryers take time mainly because the heat is not efficiently transported to the food.
If something takes 10-15 minutes to cook in a deep fryer, it takes 20-25 minutes to cook in an air fryer. Frozen potato wedges get ready is 15 minutes in an air fryer and take only a couple minutes in a deep fryer.
You cannot have the best of everything. There are a few things that need to be compromised in every choice you make. Same is the case here, you need to set your priorities.
Do you need healthy food or tastier food?
Do you need a low budget product with a high running cost or do you need something a little more expensive with almost zero running cost?
If you have a health-conscious family or you have a busy schedule then you need to invest in an air fryer but if you want the traditional fried chicken taste the deep fryer is your best friend.