Air frying vs. baking: What’s the best cooking method? — CNET


Air fryers are a preferred different to conventional frying and baking. 

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Fried meals tastes good. I’ve firmly held this perception my whole life, and I am unable to be satisfied in any other case. Nonetheless, I will admit dunking breaded meals into searing sizzling oil is maybe not the healthiest culinary method: scrumptious, however not nice for you. Enter the air fryer. This standard different provides a crispy completed product with out the unhealthy oil.

However, individuals have been serving up hen wings and bagel bites from ovens and toaster ovens for many years now. So which technique actually makes one of the best meals?

Here is a have a look at the professionals and cons of convection ovens, air fryers and toaster ovens.

Air fryers: One-trick ponies or specialty must-haves?

Air fryers work by circulating sizzling air round your meals. That is the identical method conventional convection ovens take, however there are a couple of key variations. 

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Whereas a full-size convection oven and an air fryer each use a fan to maneuver sizzling air round, an air fryer circulates the air extra quickly inside a small chamber, rushing up the cooking course of. Air fryers additionally make use of a basket to extra evenly flow into sizzling air across the backside of your meals.

Common air fryers just like the Simple Chef HF-898 can value as little as $66, and match proper in your countertop. Air fryers are more healthy than deep frying and there is no threat of an oily mess. Do you have to purchase one? In all probability not, however that is dependent upon what you are cooking.

We have tested air fryers before and located that whereas they do what they declare, most meals come out simply pretty much as good or higher in a traditional oven. 

Nonetheless, sure meals are usually better-suited for air frying. Breaded meals like mozzarella sticks, hen nuggets and jalapeño poppers are inclined to fare higher than one thing like baked hen wings or burger patties.

Convection ovens: Time-tested, mother-approved

You probably have a full-size convection oven in your house and do not eat a whole lot of frozen, fried meals, an air fryer could be a tougher promote. 

Convection ovens use comparable know-how and, in lots of instances, produce equally good or better-tasting meals than a countertop air fryer. In case your oven does not embody convection, an air fryer may assist bridge the hole in the case of crispy cooking.

How have you learnt in case your oven makes use of convection baking? Test the again wall. Convection ovens embody a fan constructed into the rear of the oven. They’re accessible in gasoline or electrical and lead to good, even baking. Some ovens embody each common (fan off) and convection (fan on) modes. Some higher-end ovens embody “true” or “European” modes, the place a heating factor surrounds the fan for extra-heated air. 

You will not get a basket for circulating air beneath your meals, however utilizing a roasting rack or pan goes a good distance in replicating the air circulation.

Capability is yet another huge consideration. A full-size oven will be capable to cook dinner rather more meals than a normal air fryer. When you’re internet hosting buddies or cooking for a big household, an oven will get rid of the necessity for a number of batches. 


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There are many smart convection options for your countertop, too. When you’re serious about good meals recognition, the June Oven is your finest wager for AI that helps you cook dinner particular dishes to perfection. Amazon launched its personal $250 countertop convection oven (that is additionally a microwave). It delivered nice complete chickens in our testing, works with Alexa voice instructions and may scan packaged meals for customized cooking.

No, convection shouldn’t be a cool new solution to cook dinner your meals. And sure, an everyday oven makes use of extra power and takes extra time to preheat. Nonetheless, convection baking outperformed air fryers in a lot of our style assessments, particularly in the case of meals that is not breaded or frozen. Out there for a brand new oven? Our oven buying guide is a good place to start out.

Toaster ovens: A mediocre intermediary

Need each operate in a single tiny field? Say hi there to the toaster oven. This wild card equipment claims to take action a lot with so little. Optimized for snacks and appetizers, toaster ovens could be helpful for some meals. 

Small batches of meals like pizza bites, mozzarella sticks and even cookies do nicely sufficient in a toaster oven. You may select from specialty modes for sure meals like cookies or pizza, and a few fashions even embody air frying. Our present favourite is the $150 Panasonic FlashXpress, a toaster oven that aced our assessments and boasts 1000’s of nice buyer critiques. 

When you get into issues like precise toast or a pizza large enough for a couple of particular person, toaster ovens aren’t the most suitable choice. Put your toast in a toaster and your pizza in an oven. That is how you may get one of the best outcomes. 

That is to not say toaster ovens aren’t price it. They definitely provide extra performance than an air fryer. They preheat quicker and use barely much less power than a full-size oven, and you do not have to blow your price range to buy one. 

When you’re on the lookout for a less-than-full-size equipment, I would go for a toaster oven with an air-fry possibility earlier than buying an air fryer solo.


In case your house does not have a full-size oven, a toaster oven is the way in which to go. Strive one with a built-in air fryer operate and you will get essentially the most versatility to your buck. When you already personal an oven, particularly one with convection, you will not be blown away by an air fryer’s efficiency. 

When you’re a fan of breaded, frozen meals, having an air fryer saves time and power in contrast with a convection oven and cooks practically as nicely. 

Like so many elements of a kitchen, deciding so as to add small home equipment comes down to non-public components like price range, counter area and the way typically you cook dinner sure sorts of meals. Every of those home equipment have professionals and cons. On the finish of the day, one of the best equipment for you is one that you’re going to use essentially the most. 


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First printed on April 1, 2019 at 5:02 p.m. EST. | Air frying vs. baking: What’s one of the best cooking technique? — CNET


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