Love is in the Air…Fryer

Air fryers bring a different solution to satisfy fried food cravings instead of deep-frying in oils. The appliance uses hot air to circulate at a high speed, cooking food as well as providing a nice, crispy layer. We reached out to registered dietitian nutritionist Kylene Bogden at FWDfuel to explain how air fryers work and if they have health benefits.

Is cooking with an air fryer healthier than eating regular fried food? Why or why not?

Bogden: “Yes, especially when compared to typical fried food from a restaurant! Sure, you are saving a significant amount of calories by using an air fryer but the biggest benefit is the fact that you are not consuming inflammatory oil, rich in Omega 6. (Hint, we want more Omega 3!)”

How do air fryers provide a different experience for cooking at home?

Bogden: “Not only is using an air fryer quick and easy, but it provides a really unique crispy texture that is typically only achieved by a deep fryer.”

Is the cost of purchasing one of these cooking appliances worth it?

Bogden: “If you are a lover of fried foods AND you are willing to put the time into preparing food at home, the answer is yes! Many of my clients find that they are going out to eat less now that they have an air fryer. Less money spent + less inflammatory fat consumed = BIG WIN!”

Are there any concerns consumers should address before buying these products for their own home?

Bogden: “I would strongly advise that you consider biting the bullet and paying a little extra for an air fryer that is not made primarily of plastic. It is well documented that repeated consumption of food prepared in heated plastic is hazardous to human health.”

How should consumers clean/maintain their cooking appliances to ensure food safety?

Bogden: “An air fryer is best cleaned with a sponge and soapy, hot water. Be careful what utensil you use to scrape off food, otherwise you will scratch the metal. Although most parts are usually dishwasher safe, it is typically faster to hand wash. My recommendation would be to soak the tray immediately after serving as you sit down to eat.”

Is there anything else you believe consumers should know about regarding food safety?

Bogden: “If you are using your air fryer for multiple rounds at one meal, be sure to set an additional timer for yourself on your phone to make sure to retrieve the last batch that was made! It is a fairly small, closed contraption, therefore making it easier to leave food behind. Suddenly, 4 days later you start to see flies and you may need a power washer to get off the crusted food!”

When using new cooking appliances, consumers should be aware of foodborne illnesses related to poor cooking practices. Francisco Diez-Gonzalez, Professor and Director of the Center for Food Safety at the University of Georgia, shared some tips for consumers interested in purchasing new food technology appliances.

Dr. Diez-Gonzalez: “An air fryer is a technology that uses hot air to cook food. Like any other type of cooking technique, the main concern is that the product reaches the appropriate temperature to kill potentially pathogenic microorganisms. The best way to verify the temperature is using a cooking thermometer checking the food itself.”

Bogden also shared her favorite recipe—air fried Brussels sprouts–to use in the air fryer. You can find more recipes on Kylene’s Instagram.

The health benefits of cooking your favorite fried foods in an air fryer provide guilt-free snacks and meals for foodies everywhere. It’s important to keep in mind food safety precautions when cleaning/maintaining your cooking appliance.