DMc: I’m opening up this air fryer you won last year in that Amazon giveaway.
TMc: That’s a marketing misnomer. It doesn’t actually fry. It’s a small convection oven with a shaker basket.
DMc: Opening it anyway.
Some context: we have a full-size gas stove with convection bake and roast settings, and a very nice KitchenAid countertop oven (we call it the Little Guy Oven) with several specialty settings including a convection option. It’s not like we don’t have hot-air-swirly-baking solutions galore up in the McKitchen, is my point. That’s the main reason I had never opened up the freebie air fryer. Anyhoo.
DMc was on a phone call with McMom when she mentioned that our niece had brought her an air fryer and they were using it to cook up breaded chicken and shrimp from the frozen appetizer section of the store, and it was soooo easy! Naturally DMc took this as a challenge to be met given that I had an air fryer still in its box stashed in the guest room closet. So, we opened it. DMc promptly got all inspired for scratch-recipes, still under the mistaken impression that this device worked like an actual oil fryer. I scanned the manual to confirm my suspicions, smiled indulgently, and recommended he try out some potatoes first for a frame of reference. I then mentioned it would be a really excellent experiment to grab some appetizer-type snack foods from the freezer case at the store and see how we liked the cooking experience versus the Little Guy Oven.
Confession time. If you’ve met me, you know this was all about me getting to Maximum Frozen Snacks for Supper territory. I LOVE appetizers. I could live on appetizers. I have grudgingly tried dinner entrees at our favorite Tex-Mex restaurant, then immediately flipped back over to making a half-order of Nachos Locos with a cup of Serrano Queso my supper. With a Margarita, of course. When left to my own devices ordering Chinese food for delivery, I’d end up with a bunch of cartons full of BBQ ribs, egg rolls, and crab rangoon. Entree? Who needs one? Unless it’s pizza. Then all bets are off.
Experiments were performed. Judgments were made. Spoiler alert: I was mostly right. Again. It’s a heavy crown, y’all.
So! Here is my personal summary of the Air Fryer: it’s a third convection oven that is perfectly suited for any item that I’d rather just shake around every 5 minutes than take out and flip around with a spatula on a baking sheet. It’s wonderfully suited to frozen popcorn chicken, onion rings, and tater tots. It makes really good scratch potatoes if you cut them properly and are prepared for super-yummy homefries versus french fries. So yes, I like it enough that I made a permanent home for it on our counter top. However, I absolutely have zero intention of being the one to try scratch recipes in it when the logistics clearly would be considerably less problematic on a cookie sheet covered in non-stick foil. Just sayin’.