Air Fryer: a Situational Buy

Basta sa Bahay weighs on the air fryer debate: it’s better to frame an air fryer buy on the cases when it is and isn’t the best cooker for the job.


My air fryer is the Kyowa 3.2L. Dimensions are 34.2cm length (includes the pot handle as it sticks out), 28.7cm width, and 33.4cm height, and it costs me ₱3,200 during a sale. First note that it takes space vertically and area-wise on your kitchen counter, and second, that air fryers are not expensive nowadays. 

The pull out basket is 13cm in height and 19.5cms in diameter. My version is solid on the sides and has grid hole drain on the bottom. The basket rests and snaps to a pull out tray that catches oils and liquids. Both are easy enough to clean. Think of the basket as the volume that needs to be heated. It's a small volume and that's where you get your energy savings.

I have knobs for both temperature and a timer. The unit's heating turns off when it reaches target temperature, and turns on again when it follows below. It cooks by heated air at the food. The convection that happens means that the temperature is distributed throughout the basket, but this is more effective when you have less food. 


Cooking is an area where, since there are so kinds of food and preparations, there is not one thing for the job.

Air fryer: the subject of this review shines most with foods that can be overcrowded and are simpler to prepare. In these cases it will save both time and electricity. Take care to consider dimensions based on how big your meals. You can go for square basket designs or 7 liter or more if you need it.

Oven: In my opinion shines best as a spacious convection-cooking appliance: think cookies and big meats like whole chickens or crispy pata. Requires pre-heating and a lot of electricity to heat up the big space.

Induction cooker with pans: The most common and the catch-all. Will usually require oil or water to cook.


Here are three dishes that I often cook with my air fryer:

French Fries: Arguably the food the air fryer is perfect for. Deep frying is NOT an option for me because of the amount of oil it uses. In a convection oven, you would spread it out a pan, but you have a whole oven to heat up (hence it uses more electricity). In air fryer, you can crowd fries in it pot, and then just take it out and shake it to redistribute the fries--- no messy oil to drain, no need to arrange it on a tray.

Hotdogs: Again one of those situations where you can just pop it in. You don’t need to heat up a pan and pour oil or water. This will cook in less than 5 minutes. This is also one of those foods that does not need to be shaken: for some reason it can cook evenly.

Nuggets: These you will have to redistribute by shaking, and you can’t crowd is as much as fries, but otherwise this is a quick cook and you come out with golden crispy nuggets.

So, in general the best things to cook are those that you can crowd, and take minimal preparation. In these cases, you cut prep time even more--- you don’t have to preheat an oven or use oil or water. At most is the need to take it out to shake and redistribute. The air fryer is an energy saver if the meals cook are smaller. In this case you embrace the small basket design because it means you heat a smaller area. However, if you have big meals, you will end up cooking in batches, and you should probably consider a bigger convection oven for this.


I know there are cool Tiktok or Instagram accounts showing all the amazing things you can cook on an air fryer. However, consider what you need to prepare in order to adapt to cooking in an air fryer. So in the more than 2 years I’ve had an air fryer, these are foods I will use a traditional pan.

Spam: This is a I-would-have-thought food, and I did try it, but I would cook spam in a pan. Spam is just one of those of foods where you need to control the cooking, and the contact between meat and pan is the best way to do so. First, when I air fried it, I ended up with uneven cooking. Second, you can’t crowd it in the air fryer (I fit at most 6 pieces), so in this case you don’t have the time savings of cooking one batch. I ended up having to pull out the air fryer pot again and again to check. So, pan-frying is the best for me. It’s quicker than an oven that you need to preheat, and you can control the browning better because it’s out in the open.

Canned Tuna: For obvious reasons, canned tuna is in bits and pieces. My air fryer pot has holes in it. But more than that, I cook tuna with either dill or rosemary, and I need the flavor to seep into the oil and into the tuna as it reduces. This is an example where I cannot use “dry” preparation.

Eggs: So, the air fryer enthusiast might use a foil or a small pan to put in, and this is an example of extra adaptation to use air fryer. You end up with more dishes and tools to wash, and more time to prepare. In this case nothing beats just frying it on a pan.

The pattern is, I wouldn’t cook elaborate-cooking foods or foods that should not be crowded in an air fryer. You also just have to consider any extra steps you would need to adapt an air fryer to a food and compare that to just cooking it in a pan.


■■■□ Situational

The air fryer is situational buy. If you tend to cook 1) smaller meals, 2) food that can be crowded, and 3) food that uses a simple and dry preparation, this might be perfect for you as you can reap energy savings, make quicker meals, and prepare less oily food. However, if you have a big household or tend to make meals that require elaborate preparation, this isn’t the appliance for you. Basta sa Bahay's recommendation considers that any appliance takes up space and costs money, so if use cases are far and few between, this is not a buy.

Online shopping keywords: air fryer


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