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Learning to Use an Air Fryer

 
Anne Miller
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Dear hubby gave me an InstaPot and our daughter gave me an air fryer for Christmas.

I thought it would be fun to document my learning progress like a project.

This one will be for learning to use an air fryer.

This is the air fryer:



Sam's Club Link


I ask our daughter to bring me 10 pounds of potatoes and she gave me 10 pounds of potatoes and a french fry cutter for Christmas.  I now have 20 pounds of potatoes.  I am glad they last a long time in storage!

To demonstrate the air fryer, our daughter cut up two big potatoes in the french fry cutter and used the olive oil spritzer that she also bought me to spray oil on the french fries.

I asked her if there were spritzers that were refillable and she showed me some on Amazon.

I found a stainless steel  spritzer and a silicon brush on ebay:



Ebay Link




Ebay Link


Tried making toast using the Owner's Manual instructions and it didn't work so I just made up my own instructions which worked.

Then I baked a potato using the Baking mode.  I don't think it was as good as the ones baked in the regular oven.

Today, my project will be to cook hamburger patties in the air fryer and french fries.

I will report how the hamburgers turned out later.

Does anyone have this kind of air fryer?  Any tips?



 
Nicole Alderman
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I think every air fryer is a bit different. Mine seems to be at least 50 degrees F higher than my normal oven. And things bake faster in it than recipes say they will.

Since my house is always humid, the only way I can make crunchy treats is in my air fryer. It's important to use either "Convection Bake" or "Air Fryer" settings to get things crunchier. Basically--from what I understand--the difference here is the amount of air blowing (at least on my machine).

Normal bake mode = no air blowing around (heat only on the bottom?)

Convection bake mode = some air blowing around (heat only on the bottom?)

Air Fryer mode = lots of air blowing around (heat only on the bottom? Maybe it's also on the top? I haven't checked recently)

Toaster = no air blowing around, heat on both top and bottom

Broil = no air blowing around, heat on just the top

With mine, it seems the toaster temperature can be controlled. So if I've turned down the oven temperature and then go to toast something, then it won't toast very well. And if I had the oven up to 450F and then turn on the toaster, it toasts my toast faster than I'd like. So, I try to have the oven temperature set to 350F when I toast.
 
Tina Hillel
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I can't wait to see how it works out for you!  My sister has an instant pot and loves it.  I am attached to my 4 (different sizes though) crock pots and not sure I want to go that route. But the air fryer...I've been VERY tempted by.  This time of year, it's no problem to have the oven on.  Rolled some veggies in bacon grease, salt and pepper and roasted them and they aren't too bad crispy wise.  It would be nice to have an alternative when I don't want to raise the temperature in here.  But I also don't want to have a dust catcher.

Congrats on the gifts๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿ‘
 
John Weiland
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Pretty much have Nicole's experience and we may actually have a similar/same air fryer (Cuisinart TOA-60).  Like the one in Anne's first post of the thread, it has baskets and also has trays.  For Xmas, I gifted the house with stainless steel baking trays that match the slots in the oven walls so that they are supported the same way as the tray that came with the oven when purchased.  They are working very well!  As with Nicole's experience, I find it just takes getting used to.  As I'm typing, I have a basket of air fryer potato fries in at 325 degrees (F) for 20 min.  I find the recommended 400+ degrees too hot...fries come out a bit overly done on the outside and underdone on the inside.  But this too is a matter of fry thickness....another variable in one's kitchen experiments.  Baking....again, experiment.  Seems better in my hands to use 300 degrees normal bake setting for drier batters/dough and sometimes air-bake for wet batters.  But I've done cakes, cookies, baguette, muffins, quick breads, etc. all to satisfaction.  So it's pretty versatile with some experimentation to find the 'sweet spot' in terms of setting, time, and temperature for acceptability to you and your family and friends of the cooked result.
 
Nicole Alderman
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Yep! I have a Cuisinart TOA-120--I think we chatted about it in another thread. (I was going to mention my model, but didn't want to get and go look up the info )
 
Anne Miller
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Lesson 2 or Day 2: throw away the recipe book!

Seriously, I will use it for a reference guide only.

I decided to forego the french fries until today.  I am glad I did. I also am glad that I decided to not do bacon in the air fryer.

The recipe book said

Turn the Function Dial to Air Fry/Grill, set the temperature to 450' F, and set timer to 20 mins. Preheat for 10 mins.
... cook burgers for 5 mins. After 5 mins., flip burgers ...



450' F is way too hot.  The burgers were, according to dear hubby overcooked after just putting in 4 burgers and immediately flipping them then removing them as quickly as possible. Maybe that took 1-2 mins.

I thought the burgers were juicy and delicious.

I am going to cook the french fries at 350 to see how that works.

Next week when I cook burgers, I am going to try 350' F.

I got my first convection cooker in the 1990s, it was one of those glass bowl looking things.  I loved doing burgers and french fries.  I put the potatoes in the bottom and the burgers on a rack above the potatoes. The grease from the burgers helped cook the french fries.  And being a glass bowl in was easy to clean.

It looked like this:




Ebay Link

I sold it on eBay when we sold our homestead.

Then for Christmas 2010, dear hubby bought me the convection oven that I really liked.  Unfortunately, it is buried in storage.

When we moved in 2013, I was using one of those rotisserie ovens, which I have been using like a toaster oven because I didn't like the fan bake.

Something like this:


Ebay Link

I suspect that this new air fryer will be used just like that one: toast, chicken leg quarters, cornbread, and pizza.

After cleaning the grill plate and washing the air fryer, I may continue using the George Foreman grill for the burgers.

I'll report in the french fries tomorrow.
 
Anne Miller
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Location: USDA Zone 8a
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Lesson 3 or Day 3

Nicole, thanks for the great lesson!

Tina, I am a big crockpot fan, too!  I have two of them.

John, thanks so much for the hints.  This is going to be one of those learning experiences! Trial and error!

The french fries tuned out great!

When our daughter made them, she followed the instructions in the book: soak the cut-up potatoes in a solution of baking soda and water.

Does anyone know why they recommend soaking the potatoes?  And why add baking soda?

I skipped that part.  I just don't have the strength to use the french fry cutter so I cut the potatoes a little thicker.

The instructions said to set the temperature at 400' F and heat for 10 mins.  I sprayed the potatoes with the olive oil and put them in for 15 mins. flipped them over and cooked another 15 mins.  They turned out great!

It might be a while before I do another lesson.  We were given several packages of smoked brisket which we will be having for the next few days.

My next lesson will be chicken leg quarters and I want to try fried chicken.  I will let everyone know how it turns out...
 
Robert Ray
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Insta pot yogurt every week. Air fryer still in the what do I do with it area.
 
Nicole Alderman
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I'm thinking maybe the baking soda is to help them be crunchy? In pretzel recipes, you dunk the uncooked pretzels into boiling baking soda water for a minute. And then when you bake them, they're browner and crunchier. I think the soaking is to remove some of the starch? It does seem to help when I make fries, but I usually don't bother.
 
Anne Miller
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Thanks, Nicole

I bet you are right about the baking soda.

And probably about the soaking.
 
Anne Miller
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Lesson 4 and 5:

For Lesson 4 I made an apple pie.  It turned out fairly well except it was more like a cobbler.

I have a book that I have had for many years called "Cooks on Vacation" or something like that.  Easy recipes suitable for camping and vacations.  The recipe was called "Quick Pie".

Lesson 5 was fried chicken and I was not impressed.  It really wasn't too different from my usual baked chicken except that the meat was stringy and I could not really eat it.  I don't know if it was the chicken's fault or the air fryer?

I make toast every morning which seems to take a longer time than with my previous oven.
 
Ryan Adobe
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I recently got an 8 quart instant pot with an air fryer lid, and I use it every day.

I've used the pressure cook feature the most, it's great for rice of course, and making anything with meat or legumes. We have lots of ground beef right now so I've been browning the meat on the saute setting, adding onions, spices etc, pressure cooking for about 5 min. I recently also made rice at the same time by putting the rice in a little pot on the high trivet, on top of the beef mixture below, then pressure cooking for 7 with a 10 minute release, it was amazing (and amazingly fast and easy).

As for the air fryer, I've used it to cook steaks (beef and lamb), which were great, 5 minutes each side for med rare. I pressure cooked a chicken then air fried it, also amazing but I forgot to tie the legs so it fell apart when I was trying to flip it to get the other side crispy, I wouldn't want to just air fry a chicken though.. I haven't tried french fries yet, but I do have some potatoes, so maybe I'll do that next. I have air fryed lots of stuff from frozen, like perogis and pot stickers, and they are decent but I like them better pressure cooked, it's faster and they come out soft (so they soak up more sauce) and don't stick to the bottom as much. Something else I haven't tried yet, but think will work really well is squash seeds, I hate heating up the big oven for them, but I do anyway cause they're so good. I bet they will come out perfectly and cook really quick with the air fryer.
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