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We all love the crispy and crunchy texture of deep-fried foods, but deep frying—especially at home—leaves a lot to be desired. Once those delish chicken wings or French fries are devoured, there’s a stinky, greasy mess to clean up and a lot of oil to properly discard. (Not to mention, consuming deep fried foods on the reg ain’t exactly good for the ol’ ticker.)
Air frying has taken the world by storm—a super-heated answer to the culinary quandary of how to achieve deep-fried results without the mess and extra calories. But, through all of the air-fried endeavors, we’ve found that air frying is not the exact one-to-one replacement as many people believe it to be.
So, the chefs set out to develop strategies that play to the strengths of a smart oven air fryer and help you achieve as good—or even better—results compared to deep frying. Follow along and check out the fave air-fried recipes below to rev up your air fryer and level up yourresults.
Both air frying and deep frying are a delicate dance to balance how quickly the crust is cooking and how efficiently the interior is steaming and cooking through to the core. When deep frying, the crust acts as a barrier between the oil and the meat. Below the crust, the water content in meat and veggies is steaming at a rapid rate. That steam escapes through the crust, creating little nooks and crannies that contribute to the final crunchy texture. The hot oil reacts with the escaped moisture, creating air bubbles that keep the oil circulating around the surface of the food. And then, as the water bubbles away, the surface dehydrates, getting deliciously crispy and browned.
But in an air fryer, forced convection rapidly heats the surface of food—almost twice as quickly as the convection heating that happens in a standard oven. Since we’re relying on air circulation and radiant heat here, the interior has less time to steam and cook through before the surface dehydrates and burns.
The best way to compete with the air fryer’s super convection, is to divide and conquer by baking breaded items, like chicken wings, first and then using an air fryer to finish the exterior to crispy, golden brown perfection.
ChefSteps is here to help you go from curious to confident in the kitchen. With a deep knowledge of traditional methods, the team digs into the science and techniques behind cooking to teach you not only how to cook, but why these ingredients and methods work. We make mistakes so you don’t have to, and regularly turn those cooking traditions upside-down to find new, more efficient, and fun ways to make your favorite foods.