A complete how-to guide to air frying

Air fry your Friday favourites… and so much more.

Fish and chips on a Friday. A lovely treat, but it’s not as cheap as it used to be, is it? And with the price of potatoes set to rise by around 30%, and the cost of fish taking a battering too, your weekly takeaway bill is only going in one direction. But you don’t have to miss out. Get yourself a versatile air fryer and you can recreate ‘fakeaway’ versions of your family favourites at home, and save money in the long run. You could use your main oven or a deep fat fryer, of course, but air frying is quick, healthy (you hardly need to use any oil), uses less energy than your oven and you can cook so much more than fish and chips. Buy a Dual Air Fryer and you can even cook your fish and chips at the same time. Yes please to mushy peas!

How does an air fryer work and why should I buy one?

What is an air fryer? Well, put simply, it’s a compact oven with a built-in fan. By circulating really hot air around your food at high speed using Rapid Air Technology (sounds impressive, right?), an air fryer will ‘fry’ your food using a fraction of the oil you’d normally use for deep frying. So not only is it quicker than cooking food in your oven, cutting down on your energy use, it’s healthier too. While you’ll need to make an investment up front (if you haven’t already fallen for air frying), when you think of all the money you’d normally spend on takeaways and eating out, it’ll pay for itself in no time. And don’t forget, everything you buy from us is backed by our 3-year guarantee, so you’ll know your money’s been well spent.

Why else should I buy an air fryer?

Still need convincing? Here’s a few more tasty reasons: golden crispy-battered fish and crunchy on the outside fluffy on the inside chips, home-made chicken or vegetable nuggets ready to dip in your favourite sauce, eat-with-your-hands chicken wings (made with your own special blend of herbs and spices – sorry, Colonel), burgers, buffalo cauliflower bites, Chinese-style crispy duck (there’s never enough pancakes, is there?) – and so much more. You can even make cupcakes in an air fryer, so dessert’s sorted too. And all without switching your oven on or using loads of oil.

What else can I cook in an air fryer?

Have we mentioned chips? Chunky chips. Skinny chips, French fries. Sweet potato fries and wedges. Vegetable chips, anyone? The humble chip comes in all shapes and sizes, and an air fryer will cook them all to perfection, with the same crisp texture and taste you’d get from deep frying. And with only a teaspoon of oil. You can also really up your chip game by experimenting with flavoured oil, like chilli for a cheeky kick, or dust with herbs or spices. Is it lunchtime yet?

As well as all the delicious food we’ve already talked about above, you can also use your air fryer to make pork chops, healthier steaks, salmon fillets, and juicy chicken breasts. And if you enjoy pub classics like scampi or onion rings, you can cook them from frozen using no oil at all. Told you air frying was versatile. Before you ask: yes, you can cook fish fingers too. Now, where’s the tartar sauce?

Do air fryers save electricity?

As air fryers cook quite quickly compared to your oven (with no preheating time) don’t have as much internal space to heat up and aren’t usually on for as long, they are generally cheaper to use than your main oven. Good news if you’re trying to use less energy at home.

Can you put foil in an air fryer?

If you want to keep your air fryer cleaner or stop flavourful juices dripping away, the short answer is yes. But only in the basket, where it will be weighed down with the food you’re cooking, and ideally, don’t cover too many holes in the basket as that will hamper the air circulation and stop your food cooking as evenly. Also, don’t put foil at the bottom of your air fryer as you don’t want it blowing around and coming into contact with the heating element. Perforated parchment paper is probably a better bet if you have to use anything at all.

How do you clean an air fryer?

Because you use virtually no oil during cooking, air fryers are relatively easy to clean. On most models, the crisper drawer and tray can be removed and simply hand-washed in hot soapy water. To clean the base unit and control panel, wipe with a clean, damp cloth and dry thoroughly before storing. Job done.

Which air fryer is best for me?

Well, you need to ask yourself some questions. What’s your budget? How many people will you be cooking for? Do you want to cook two different kinds of food at once? How much space do you have? Do you need to do more than air fry? We’ve gathered together our collection for you below so you can compare them and make up your mind. Let’s begin.

Best air fryer for cooking two dishes at onceLakeland Dual Air Fryer

Lakeland Dual Air Fryer (available mid-August)

What’s better than an air fryer with one basket? An air fryer with two baskets. The beauty of a dual air fryer is that you can cook your fish and chips at the same time – and because the baskets are independently controlled, they’ll be ready at the same time too. Time-saving and energy-saving – how good is that? But it’s not just for fish and chips – you can whip up all your other ‘fry day’ favourites too. And make bread, scones and cupcakes. There are eight preset programmes to choose from on the digital touchscreen display to make things really easy. Everything from roast potatoes to egg tart to shrimp. We’ve even made a full English breakfast in it.

Best air fryer for small kitchensLakeland Digital Compact Air Fryer

Lakeland Digital Compact Air Fryer

It may be small but this compact machine still makes up to 450g of chips with hardly any oil, so it’s ideal for smaller kitchens or if there’s only two of you to cook for. With an easy-to-use digital LED touchscreen control panel, it has 5 pre-programmed functions – poultry, steak or meat, bakes, fresh fries and veg, frozen fries and veg, and a manual option too. It even beeps to let you know when dinner’s ready.

Best air fryer for everyday useLakeland Digital Crisp Air Fryer

Lakeland Digital Crisp Air Fryer

If you’ve got more room in your kitchen, this versatile model will see you right. It comes with 8 presets and heat settings that can be changed from 80°C to 200°C to suit a huge variety of foods, including pizza, steak and chicken – your main oven might even start to gather dust. There are adjustable time and temperature settings to suit your preference – the timer lets you keep an eye on progress and will beep when your food is ready. And, in case you miss the beep, the Auto-off function will safely turn off the machine to stop your food overcooking and drying out.

Best air fryer for the Sunday roastLakeland Air Fryer Oven

Lakeland Air Fryer Oven

An air fryer you can cook a whole roast chicken in? Count us in. As well as cooking all your usual air-fried favourites, this 12 litre air fry oven comes with a rotisserie attachment so you can air fry your Sunday roast chicken too. With a selection of other helpful accessories (including a dehydrator) and 10 preset programmes, there isn’t much it can’t cook. And because it uses little to no oil, it’s a healthier (as well as energy-saving) way to cook for your family. Check out the Breville Halo Rotisserie Air Fryer for an alternative.                                                                   

Best multifunction air fryerInstant Pot Duo Crisp & Air Fryer

Instant Pot Duo Crisp & Air Fryer

You could have lots of different machines taking up loads of space in your kitchen – or you can get an Instant Pot to take care of (almost) everything. With one-touch presets to take the guesswork out of cooking, customisable temperature and time settings, delay start and keep warm functions, this 11-in-1 culinary box of tricks comes with two lids – a pressure cooker lid to pressure cook, sauté, slow cook, steam, sous vide and keep warm, and an air fryer lid to air fry, roast, bake, broil (grill) and dehydrate

Let’s get cooking

French Fries – Serves 4

A delicious classic, follow this simple recipe for a plate of perfectly crisp-yet-light French fries that are so good, everyone will be fighting over the last one. We made these in the Lakeland Digital Crisp Air Fryer.

Ingredients:french fries

  • 4 large potatoes, washed and dried
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp sea salt

Instructions:

  1. Use the Fresh fries and vegetable setting on the air fryer.
  2. Cut the potatoes lengthwise into 1cm slices. Lay the slices flat and cut lengthwise again into 1cm pieces.
  3. Lay potato pieces on paper towel and roll them around to dry off any excess moisture.
  4. Toss the potato pieces in a bowl with the oil.
  5. Lay oiled pieces in the basket. Make sure they do not stick together. They can be layered as long as air can get through.
  6. Place into the air fryer. Air fry at 200°C for 10 minutes, shaking once halfway through the cycle. Season immediately with salt (or whatever you fancy) when they are done.
  7. Lastly, and most importantly, enjoy!

Other ways to save energy when you’re cooking

With the cost of living biting hard, you might be looking for more ways to save energy by not switching on your main oven. We’ve got lots of other options for you to consider. Try slow cooking – it’s great for making the most of cheaper cuts of meat and batch cooking to build up a freezerful of nutritious meals to feed your family. Read our blog on how to make the most of every ingredient and cut down on food waste.

Use your microwave if you’re only cooking for one – and we don’t just mean heating up ready meals. You might just be surprised at how versatile your microwave is, especially with the help of our microwave cookware. It’s worth considering a multicooker too. These multitasking marvels can do all sorts in the kitchen – from cooking rice to making cakes, and whipping up curries and casseroles.

And finally, a long-standing customer favourite, the Remoska does almost everything your oven can and uses only a fraction of the electricity.

For lots more ideas to spend smart and live well all around your home, click here.

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