What is an air fryer?
Many of us are compulsive shoppers who end up collecting kitchen appliances for which we have no space or particular use. However, an air fryer is a purchase you will not regret because it’s the perfect tool for every occasion. It cooks your food quickly and evenly, using its heating mechanism which circulates hot air into the fryer-style basket.
It is very similar to using a mini convection oven, but the main difference between the two is that an air fryer only has its heating element on its top side and has a large fan to go along with it. This fan is responsible for spreading the heat throughout the basket.
Typically, the capacity of an air fryer varies from 3.4 quarts to 6 quarts. The price can range between $70 and $300 dollars, depending on the model you buy.
Why should you use an air fryer?
An air fryer is a healthier alternative of using a deep fryer. Air fryers use little to no oil which essentially makes the food healthier. It reduces calories by 70% to 80% and has significantly less fat. This is because many deep-fried dishes require up to 3 cups of oil, but air-fried foods need only about 1 tablespoon; thereby reducing the use of oil by 50 times.
As a result of using less oil, the food even tastes better because it is no longer coated in a layer of grease. It’s also crispier and juicier than it would’ve been in a deep fryer as the food absorbs less oil.
It’s also a safer option as compared to a deep fryer because you don’t face the safety risk of burning yourself with a large container full of hot oil. Although an air fryer does heat up, the risk of oil splashing on you or getting burnt by scalding oil is much lower. Other than this, all the cooking is enclosed so you’re unlikely to hurt yourself in the process.
An air fryer is also a time-saving solution for frying food. This is because air fryers take relatively less time to heat up; where deep fryers take approximately 10 minutes as preheating time, air fryers only take three minutes. Furthermore, you don’t have to waste time scrubbing grease covered containers as most parts of an air fryer are dishwasher safe and relatively easier to clean.
Recipe for air fried drumsticks
- 8 chicken drumsticks
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp fresh pepper
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- Place the drumsticks in a bowl and drizzle them with olive oil.
- Add all the spices and herbs into the bowl and evenly coat the drumsticks.
- Preheat your air fryer at 400°F for approximately 3 minutes.
- Place half of your drumsticks in the air fryer for 10 minutes at 400°F.
- After 10 minutes take the basket out and flip the drumsticks and let them cook for another 10 minutes at the same temperature.
- You can use a digital thermometer to check the internal temperature of the chicken. If the temperature is below 165 degrees, let it cook for another 5 minutes. (the temperature can vary depending on the size of your drumsticks)
- As soon as the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees, turn off your air fryer and take the basket out.
- Serve hot.
Tips to keep in mind while making drumsticks in an air fryer
- Do not forget to preheat your air fryer: many people overlook this step but it can actually help reduce your cooking time.
- Don’t overcrowd: give your food enough space so that the heat can circulate easily otherwise it might leave your drumsticks under cooked in some parts. Cook in small batches for evenly cooked and crispy food.
- Spray your drumsticks: lightly spray your drumsticks with oil on them while air frying to prevent them from sticking to the basket.
- Grease your basket: along with spraying the chicken you must also spray your basket to avoid sticking. Greasing the basket also makes it easier to clean because you don’t have to scrub the food remains off of it.
- Avoid aerosol cooking sprays: many nonstick cooking sprays have additives in them which can spoil the nonstick coatings on some of the baskets so you should avoid using them. An alternative to this is to buy a spray bottle and fill it up with your own oil.
- Keep it dry: pat down your drumsticks with a paper towel before placing them in the basket to avoid splattering.
- Invest in a good quality digital thermometer: a digital thermometer is essential in any kitchen especially if you own an air fryer. Without it, it can be extremely difficult to tell if your chicken is cooked properly.
Cleaning your air fryer
Unlike your traditional deep fryer, an air fryer is relatively easier to clean. With an air fryer you don’t face the problem of greasy utensils and oil splatters on everything around it as the cooking is enclosed. The only thing you have to wash is the basket and the tray underneath it, both of which can easily be put into a dishwasher. However, you should clean your air fryer thoroughly every time you use it.
Steps to follow
- Unplug your air fryer from the socket and leave it aside to cool down.
- Clean the outside of the appliance using a damp cloth.
- Remove all its components and clean the inside with hot water and a cloth or sponge.
- Any food stuck to the heating element on top of the basket can be cleaned with a dry brush.
- Any removable components of the air fryer (basket, tray and pan) are dishwasher safe, so you can either choose to place them in the dishwasher or wash them by hand. Any grease can easily be removed by using dishwashing soap. If the components still remain greasy, you can place them in soapy water for about an hour.
- Once all the components have been cleaned and dried and the air fryer has cooled down, store it in a clean and dry place.
- Do not use an abrasive sponge to clean the utensils as this will damage its nonstick layer. Instead, use a soft sponge or soak them in water as directed above to soften the remains.
- Do not submerge the main unit in water because it’s an electrical appliance and you will burn it. When you’re cleaning the inside make sure the cloth you’re using is damp and not dripping wet. The heating element and fan shouldn’t be cleaned with water, otherwise you will run the risk of ruining it. The brush you use to scrub off the remains needs to be clean and dry to avoid causing damage.
- If you want to avoid your basket from getting too greasy, you can place a small piece of aluminum foil or baking paper under your food. However, you need to be careful with it because if it covers the entire tray it will prevent air from circulating properly.
- If your air fryer starts to smell, you can put half a lemon inside the tray for half an hour and then wash it.
Air fryer maintenance
Besides cleaning regularly, your air fryer requires some basic maintenance to make sure it functions smoothly. These are the steps you can take:
- Inspect the chord for any damage before plugging it in. A damaged or frayed chord can cause serious damage hence you should inspect it before each use.
- Make sure the surface you place your air fryer on is leveled and cleaned. An uneven surface can result in the air fryer losing balance and falling, potentially causing damage to the machine.
- Make sure the air fryer isn’t put too close to other appliances and objects. Air fryers need space to adequately vent steam and hot air while it’s cooking. A closed space can cause the air fryer to overheat. In order to prevent this, your air fryer should have at least 4 inches of space around it and 4 inches of space on top of it.
- It is very important to inspect all the components before every use, especially if you haven’t used your air fryer in some time. If any of the components are damaged, contact the manufacturer and get them replaced before using them.
- Check your air fryer for dust and food remains before using it. If this isn’t done, you risk spoiling the next thing you cook in it. Also, the food remains might harden if they’re not cleaned out and won’t be easy to take out later.
Making drumsticks in an air fryer is an extremely easy and time efficient task. You will have a juicy and healthy snack ready for yourself in no time. You can pair your drumsticks with any dip sauce and sides such as potato wedges and coleslaw. It’s time to wow your friends and family with this quick and easy recipe.