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Are air fryers truly a healthier choice?

Last Modified: 9/25/2019

There’s always one kitchen gadget that seems to rise in popularity around December and top everyone’s holiday wish lists, and this year was no exception. The air fryer, a cooking device that works by circulating hot air around food like a convection function on an oven, has been turning up everywhere! We asked Molly Brennan, RDN, to unpack this trendy appliance and discuss the true health benefits associated with this style of meal prep.

While it’s unlikely the air fryer will drastically reduce the prevalence of heart disease in the United States or cure the vast assortment of ailments linked to nutrition, this method is safer, easier to clean and a great strategy for improving your saturated fat intake.

Less calories and saturated fat

The air fryer’s unique design allows heat to circulate at an extremely high temperature to fry, grill or cook foods with as little as just a tablespoon of oil. Deep frying, on the other hand, involves about 1-4 quarts of oil. According to one manufacturer, air fried french fries contain 70-80 percent less fat than the deep fried version. Less oil also means less calorie dense food.

The taste

Yes, deep fried foods will probably always win this category. Part of the appeal of greasy fried dishes is that they’re rolled in batter and then dipped into the hot oil, giving them an indulgent crunch. This can’t be done in an air fryer. However, you can spray your foods with a bit of oil to develop a little crisp.

The process

To produce a crispy food, the air fryer has a lid that stays on during the entirety of the cooking process. This design, unlike the home deep frying method, allows you to stand beside the device without concern about burning yourself with the hot oil. Additionally, the air fryer uses little to no oil; leaving less of a mess to clean. Bonus: An air fryer can be used to grill, cook and bake foods, whereas a deep fryer can only fry foods.


If you are trying to consume a lower fat diet, open to using your device to prepare a variety of foods, and want a hassle-free cooking experience, then the air fryer may be something to consider.

Recipe roundup

Give your air fryer a try with some of these healthy recipe options.

Airfried Cajun Salmon
Featured on the blog budget pantry

Crispy Air Fryer Brussels Sprouts
Featured on the site Best Recipe Box

Air Fryer Eggplant Parmesan
Featured on the blog Watch What U Eat


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