Air Fryer vs. Deep Fryer vs. Convection Oven: What’s the Difference

Let’s look at the fryers first.
A deep fryer requires the food to be completely immersed in oil whereas with air fryers you might use only a tablespoon of oil, and sometimes none, in order to cook your food.
When using a deep fryer the oil penetrates the food’s outer layer and this results in a thick crispy crust, but as air fryers require little to no oil, the possibility exists that the food could be dryer when it’s cooked than food prepared in a deep fryer.

When you buy a deep fryer, that’s all you’ll be using it for. You can deep fry anything you want that can fit in there, but you can only deep fry it. Air fryers are different as you could use other methods of cooking: you could grill or even bake in your air fryer.

When using a deep fryer, having to dispose of a lot of cooking oil can be difficult, whereas an air fryer uses so much less and will make it much easier to clean up.

Deep Fryer vs Air Fryer: Which is best for me?
Now that you have a basic understanding about the two appliances, you need to determine which one is best suited to you.

1. Healthiness

When it comes to deep fried food, no one pretends that it’s particularly healthy – the food is literally submersed in oil which adds a lot of extra fat. With an air fryer it’s possible to cook without any oil, which is obviously the healthier option. So, in this category the air fryer wins.

With that said, there are ways in which you can reduce the volume of fat in your food if you’re set on getting a deep fryer. One way is by ensuring the cooking oil is at the optimum temperature to minimize the amount of fat in your meals.

In the instance that the oil isn’t hot enough, the exterior won’t be as crispy, and the outer crust is what stops the oil from seeping inside the food while being fried. And if the oil is too hot, the exterior crust will form too fast and too thick which will prevent the food cooking properly on the inside. Which means you’d need to leave it in the oil longer to get it cooked through, which in turn means the oil has more time to soak into the food.

One thing to remember when deep frying is to take the food out of the oil as soon as it’s cooked to limit the amount of time the oil is in contact with it.

2. Flavor
If you’re after good tasting food, the deep fryer holds the key. Air fryers can create a crispy surface similar to that of a deep fryer, but it can’t come close to the consistency achieved by deep frying something. Also take into consideration that food cooked in an air fryer might be drier as it basically boils the food in its own juices which could then escape in the form of steam.

In this category, the deep fryer is your champion.

3. Multipurpose

If you’re looking for something to fry your food, the deep fryer will do just that – it fries and gives you a deliciously crispy exterior. The air fryer can do more than just fry – you can get different accessories for it that will let you roast or grill your food. It’ll even bake your desserts for you. So, if you’re looking for multiple functions from your one appliance, you should go for the air fryer.

In this instance, the two are tied – it just depends on what you want.

The bottom line:
If you’re not concerned about the health side of the argument and crispy deep fried food makes your heart sing and your tummy happy, then the deep fryer is for you.

If you’d prefer an appliance that has more functions that just frying and you’re willing to give the full taste a bit of a miss in favour of a more healthy meal, then you should definitely choose the air fryer.

Fryer vs Oven

The conventional oven produces heat from their elements, whether electric or gas. The heat slowly disperses through the oven space to cook your food from the outside in. Convection ovens, on the other hand, works faster because it utilizes a fan – similar to what the air fryer uses.

The difference is that air fryers don’t work with an element to create heat – they use rapid air technology, which does what the name implies, it heats them up faster than any oven. The air fryer is also much smaller than an oven which allows them to distribute the heat evenly, making your food nice and crispy without having some parts turn brown faster than others.

Back to the question of health.

So, is it healthier to bake food in an oven or frying them in an air fryer? Remember, that you don’t need to use any oil with an air fryer – the appliance heats up so much that your food will get crispy without the oil. Have you been able to do that in your oven? We haven’t, not even in a convection oven.

You should understand this next part though. If you’re using the same quantity of oil (a small amount or none at all) when cooking in the air fryer or in an oven, they would both be equally healthy. Nothing changes in the nutritional values in the food, only the method of cooking is a bit different.

Air Fryer vs Convection Oven

So, what exactly is the difference between an air fryer and a convection oven? Technically, the air fryer is a smaller version of a convection oven. Contrary to its name, an air fryer doesn’t actually fry your food – it cooks your food with convection baking.

You see, with deep frying the food is totally submerged in boiling hot oil which covers every millimeter of the food which helps it get evenly crispy. When you’re baking, the food is noticeably less crispy, and this is because an oven surrounds food with really hot air which doesn’t conduct heat as well as oil does.

Let’s look at some other features:

1. Heating Elements
In an air fryer the heat comes from above, but in some convection ovens it comes from both the top and the bottom which concentrates the heat more and cooks your food faster.

2. The Fans
An air fryer has a large fan that moves faster than that of a convection oven. One of the manufacturers claimed that the fan in their air fryer operates at a 30% higher speed than that in their convection oven.

The air fryer’s fan is directly below its heating element on the top of the appliance, whereas for a convection oven it’s positioned at the back.

3. Accessories
Air fryers have accessories that are perforated that won’t hinder the circulation of hot air which allows for fast even cooking where little to no tossing is needed. These accessories include trays, racks, kebab skewers, and baskets. Due to their larger size, convection ovens have a wider range of options. You can find accessories like bread racks, skewers, steaming trays, frying trays, lid holders, spits for rotisseries, standing chicken racks, both high and low racks, tongs, and even egg holders.

There are also several items you might already have in your kitchen that you can use in an air fryer or convection oven.

4. Size
An air fryer is considered a countertop appliance, which can be stored in a cupboard when not in use – however, due to its height it may not fit in all cupboards. Convection ovens vary in size – from the size of a small microwave up until a full-sized conventional oven. The smaller models will fit on a countertop; however, it would stay there as it’s too big to move and store in a cupboard.

This countertop size for both appliances allow for more rapid heating and positions your food nearer the heating elements which also helps to cook your food faster. There are a few convection ovens which now have a setting to allow air frying as well as some microwaves and pressure cookers.

Another thing to keep in mind is that because the air fryer is smaller, it can cook less food at one time. So, consider how many people you will be cooking for because you can do a maximum of 2 servings at one time.

Now you should have enough information to help you decide which appliance will serve your purpose and make your kitchen just that much better.

Happy cooking!

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Last update on 2021-04-07 / Most affiliate links and/or Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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