Consumer Reports: Air Frying without the Air Fryer

Now that restaurants are closed to dining in, most of you will want to start getting creative with dinner.

Sales of air fryers are hot. People love the idea of crispy "fried" food that's supposed to be a bit healthier because very little oil is used.

But what if you don't have an air fryer?

Consumer Reports has you covered.

So what's the deal with air fryers?

These popular countertop cookers turn out chicken wings, french fries, shrimp and other traditionally fried foods without using a lot of oil.

You can spend from $50 to over $300 on one. But here's the good news: You don't have to!

Consumer Reports says air frying isn't magic.

"An air fryer is a mini convection oven. All you need is a little bit of oil in the food, and then hot air circulates around to crisp it up. The basket, suspended inside, allows for that air to move around," says Perry Santanachote from Consumer Reports.

And that basket might be too small. After testing 25 air fryers, CR found many of them might require multiple batches to feed your hungry family.

But fear not - Consumer Reports says your kitchen may already possess the power for air fried food -- the convection setting on your oven!
"Your food will brown best if you use a dark-colored pans. Because it absorbs more heat than light-colored or glass pans and then that heat will radiate back out to brown your food even more," says Santanachote)

And your oven can handle much more food than a typical air fryer's basket can.

Don't have a convection oven? Consider a toaster oven with a convection setting.

Some newer models even have an "air fry" setting... letting you get the same crispy results as an air fryer, without spending the bucks.

Consumer Reports reminds us that air frying isn't just for nuggets and mozzarella sticks... give it a try for everything from asparagus to zucchini.
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