If you’re trying to decide between a deep fryer and an air fryer (oil less fryer), but are having a hard time with that, then you’re in the right place. We’re going to break down the battle between air fryers and deep fryers to help you decide which one is right for you.
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What’s the Difference Between Air Fryers and Deep Fryers?
Let’s start at the beginning: What’s different between deep fryers and air fryers? Basically, deep fryers require lots of oil as your food has to be submerged in oil to cook effectively. Of course, there’s nothing quite like the taste of deep fried food, right?
An air fryer is a healthier alternative that generally requires 60-90% less oil. This make the food far more healthy and you’ll also find that they’re cheaper to use since you’re not going through oil quickly. While the food is usually crispy on the outside and moist and juicy on the inside, it doesn’t quite have that deep fried taste to it.
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Are there Any Similarities for Air Fryer vs Deep Fryer?
Now that you know the differences, you’ll may want to know what’s the same between these two types of kitchen appliances. They both:
- Come in indoor/outdoor versions (the indoor ones run on electricity, while the outdoor ones usually require a propane tank).
- Take a shorter amount of time to cook food than a conventional oven
- Can be found in a variety of sizes
Air Fryer vs Deep Fryer: Which One Makes the Best Fried Chicken?
More Information about Deep Fryers
There are a number of factors you’ll want to consider when choosing your deep fryer. Here are some of the most important ones:
If you’re looking to buy one, there are a number of factors to consider. Here are some of the most important ones.
Ease of Cleaning (Drain Spout)
Okay, so you’ve just made the most delicious meal with fried cheese sticks (consider using a cheese slicer for nice, uniform sizing) and deep fried shrimp. Now, it’s time to clean up. This can be a breeze, or a nightmare depending on what unit you choose.
The first thing to keep is mind is to let your fryer cool before starting out. It sounds obvious, but it’s worth nothing again that you shouldn’t try to clean a machine with hot oil!
The easiest to clean deep fryers have a drain spout of some kind (very close to the bottom of the well). This allows you to drain the oil with very little effort into a jug of some kind.
The ones that are least easy to clean are the ones without this, where you have to pour the oil out of the machine somehow without spilling it all over.
Ease of Cleaning (Dishwasher Safe)
Another feature to look for if you hate cleaning is whether or not things like the baskets are dishwasher safe. And, some units also come with removable oil wells that you can throw in the dishwasher as well.
This will make clean-up a breeze, as you know if you’ve ever tried to wash cold oil off something!
Single, or Double Basket
If you plan on only cooking a single kind of fried food at one time, then all you really need is a single basket system. However, if you want to cook something like fish and chips, then a double basket system might be a better choice for you.
Of course, you can cook one thing first, and then the next, but that comes with the issue of how to keep the first thing warm. Imagine them both coming out of the fryer at the same time? Delicious!
You’ll want one with a powerful heating element so that the oil will come to the correct temperature quickly and easily. Then, once you add in the food (particularly if frozen), you’ll want it to come back up to the right temperature quickly and easily.
Then, having an adjustable thermostat is very handy. The machine heating function will turn on and off automatically to adjust as necessary.
If you have children or pets in your home, you’ll probably want to have a ton of safety features to make the deep frying with hot oil experience as safe as possible. Some of the things to look for include:
- Breakaway magnetic cord
- Auto shut-off
- See-through viewing window that is lockable to keep an eye on things during the cooking process.
- Maximum temperature control
- Cool touch exterior (for those little fingers or paws that like to touch things!)
If you’re only deep frying for one or two people, then get a small deep fryer. This will save you money on the unit, as well as on the cost of the oil. It’ll also take less time to heat up.
However, you’ll want a higher capacity fryer if you plan to cook larger batches of fried food for a crowd.
Space it Takes Up
If you have a very small kitchen, you’ll want a sleek, compact fryer that doesn’t take up much space on your counter. When you’re done using it, it should store easily in a cupboard.
However, if you have a big kitchen, then you may opt for a bigger one.
Built in Thermometer
We much prefer fryers that have a built in thermometer in them. With these, you can tell at a quick glance what the temperature of the oil is. If you don’t have this, you’ll have to use a separate thermometer, which is a bit of a hassle.
We also loves units that have an indicator light showing when the oil is up to temp.
Oil Filtration System
If you’re serious about saving money when frying foods, then you’ll want one with a built-in mesh filtration system so you can use the oil mulitple times. This makes it an obvious choice for the frugal person.
Of course, you can also filter your oil using a funnel and coffee filter, or cheesecloth of some kind, but it’s easier if the machine does it for you!
Do you Have any Recommendations for a Deep Fryer?
If you’re leaning towards a traditional deep fryer, then you’ll want to consider one of our top choices here: The Best Deep Fryers.
You may also want one that can handle something as big as a turkey. Learn more about that here: The Best Turkey Fryers.
Deep Fryer vs Air Fryer Showdown
More Information About Air Fryers
If you’re looking for buy an air fryer, there are some important factors to consider, although it’s not quite as complicated as the deep fryers. Here are some of the most important things:
Ease of Cleaning
The best air fryers have removable baskets and trays that you can throw into the dishwasher.
If you are cooking for 1-2 people, then this isn’t an issue. However, if you want an air fryer that can cook for your family, consider getting one of the larger ones to save yourself time and hassle.
Most air fryers have a minimum wattage of 1500. The more power, the quicker the heat up and cooking time, so if this is an issue for you, consider one with close to 2000.
Some people prefer to do their cooking indoors, while others love the outdoors. It really depends on your needs and the climate.
Some of these oil-less fryers can double as a food dehydrator because they go as low as 100 degree F. They may even include extra racks to help accommodate this.
What’s your Top Pick for an Air Fryer?
If you think that an oil less fryer might be the right choice for you, you can see some of our top picks here: The Best Air Fryers.
Air Fryer vs Deep Fryer: Which One is Right For Me?
Okay, so let’s get down to it. Which one is better? A deep fryer or an air fryer?
Where the Deep Fryer Comes out Ahead
It really comes down to this for us: if you’re all about the taste, then opt for a deep fryer. Your food will be greasy delicious!
Besides that, deep fryers cook food really quickly. Compared to an oven, it can be up to 10x quicker. And then compared to an air fryer, it’s at least half the time.
When we Love Air Fryers
However, if you’re more health conscious and still want some tasty food, minus all the fat and calories, then an air fryer is what you’ll need.
Another bonus to an air fryer is versatility. As already mentioned, you can cook a ton of different foods in them, ranging from meats to veggies, breakfast foods and even desserts. Try that with a deep fryer!
Another thing to think about is clean-up. With an air fryer, it’s super easy. They’re not really that messy in the first place, but after you’re done, most of them have parts that can just be thrown into the dishwasher.
Finally, safety can be a bit of issue with deep frying, especially if you have little kids or pets. If this is the case, you may want to opt for an oilless fryer.
All the other factors? They’re less important.
Can an Air Fryer Replace a Deep Fryer?
Air fryer vs deep fryer? Can one replace the other?
In short, not really. Most of the negative reviews for air fryers have to do with people thinking the food will taste like it’s deep fried, and then being disappointed when it’s not like this.
While an air fryer does make food that often tastes better than if it were pan fried or cooked in the oven, it certainly doesn’t have that taste and mouth-feel to it that something deep fried does.
However, it’s a versatile kitchen appliance that can be used to cook a ton of different foods so we think it has a place in most homes.
Subscribe for Delicious Deep Frying and Air Frying
Okay, let’s be real here for a second. If you’re the kind of person who is ALL about deep frying and air frying, then you’re certainly going to want the BBQ Box in your life. Seriously, the second we signed up for our subscription it was a bit of a game-changer.
They will deliver premium, hand-curated BBQ sauces, rubs, snacks, wood chip samples and recipes straight to your door each month. Sounds awesome, right? It is and it’s the perfect way to try new flavours and ideas to level up your BBQ, air frying, outdoor deep frying and grilling game. These guys certainly know what they’re doing and we think you’ll be as impressed with their choices as we are.
Do you want to find out more about BBQ Box and find out how you can get signed up for a subscription? Head over to the company website to find out more about them and get a discount on your first box:
Have your Say about Air Fryers vs. Deep Fryers
What’s your top pick between an air fryer and a deep fryer? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think. We’d love to hear from you.
Also be sure to give this article a share on Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter. It’ll help other deep frying enthusiasts, like yourself find this useful resource.
Last update on 2020-10-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API