Air Fryer vs Deep Fryer: Which is Better for Crispy Fried Food?

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Air Fryer vs Deep Fryer: Which is the Better Choice for Crispy, Delicious Food?

Published on May 28, 2024

Are you trying to decide between an air fryer and a deep fryer for your kitchen? Both appliances can cook up crispy, delicious fried foods, but they work in very different ways. In this article, we'll dive into the key differences between air fryers and deep fryers to help you choose the best option for your needs.

What is the Difference Between an Air Fryer and a Deep Fryer?

The main difference between an air fryer and a deep fryer is the cooking method they use. Air fryers circulate hot air around the food to cook it, while deep fryers submerge the food in hot oil. This leads to some key differences in how the appliances work and the results they produce.

How Do Air Fryers Work?

Air fryers like this model from Elba use rapid air circulation technology to cook food. A heating element and powerful fan circulate hot air around the food at high speeds. This cooks the food quickly and crisps the exterior, similar to deep frying but with much less oil. Most air fryers only need about 1-2 tablespoons of oil to cook a batch of food.

How Do Deep Fryers Work?

In contrast, deep fryers like this one from Philips cook food by completely submerging it in hot oil, usually between 175-190°C. The hot oil cooks the food very quickly and makes it extra crispy. However, deep frying also adds a lot of oil to the food, making it higher in fat and calories compared to air fried food.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Air Fryers vs Deep Fryers?

So how do air fryers and deep fryers stack up? Here are some of the key pros and cons to consider:

Air Fryer Pros

  • Uses much less oil than deep frying (1-2 tbsp vs 1-2 liters)
  • Produces crispy food with less fat and calories
  • Many models like this digital air fryer from Faber have preset cooking programs
  • Often come with dishwasher-safe parts for easy cleanup
  • Versatile - can also bake, roast, grill and reheat food

Air Fryer Cons

  • Typically more expensive than deep fryers
  • Food may not get quite as crispy as deep fried
  • Can take longer to cook food compared to deep frying
  • Limited capacity compared to larger deep fryers

Deep Fryer Pros

  • Cooks food very quickly
  • Produces ultra-crispy, restaurant-quality fried food
  • Large capacity - models like this 7.2L deep fryer can fry big batches at once
  • Simple to use - no programming required

Deep Fryer Cons

  • Uses a lot of oil, which can be expensive
  • Makes fried foods that are high in fat and calories
  • Messy and smelly - oil can splatter and linger
  • Takes up significant counter or storage space
  • Difficult to clean - oil must be strained and fryer cleaned after use

What Types of Food Can You Cook in a Deep Fat Fryer Vs an Air Fryer?

Another consideration is the types of foods each appliance can cook. Both air fryers and deep fryers are great for foods like:

  • French fries and potato wedges
  • Chicken wings, tenders and nuggets
  • Breaded shrimp, fish sticks and calamari
  • Onion rings and other breaded vegetables
  • Egg rolls, samosas and spring rolls
  • Donuts, apple fritters and churros

However, there are some foods you can deep fry that don't work as well in an air fryer, such as:

  • Battered foods like tempura and onion rings
  • Delicate foods that may blow around, like leafy greens
  • Wet, liquid-based foods like corndogs or mozzarella sticks
  • Large cuts of meat like fried chicken or pork chops

So if you want to cook a wide variety of fried foods, a deep fryer may be a better choice. But if you mostly want to make healthier versions of classic fried snacks and sides, an air fryer like this 12L model from Delighto can handle the job well.

How Much Do Air Fryers and Deep Fryers Cost?

Cost is another factor to think about when choosing between an air fryer and deep fryer. In general, air fryers tend to be more expensive than basic deep fryers.

You can find small deep fryers for as little as RM100-200, while a basic air fryer usually starts around RM300. Larger, high-end air fryers like this 7L model from Sharp can cost up to RM1000 or more. However, an air fryer uses much less oil, so it may save you money in the long run compared to a deep fryer.

Which is Healthier: Air Frying or Deep Frying?

If you're looking to make your fried food a bit healthier, an air fryer is the clear winner over a deep fryer. Air fried foods contain significantly less fat and calories than deep fried foods, since they only use a small amount of oil.

For example, a serving of air fried french fries contains about 4-6 grams of fat, while the same size serving of deep fried fries contains about 17 grams of fat. Over time, swapping deep fried foods for air fried can make a big impact on your total fat and calorie intake.

Do Air Fried Foods Taste as Good as Deep Fried?

One common question about air fryers is whether the food tastes as good as deep fried food. While air fried foods can get very crispy and delicious, most people agree they don't taste exactly the same as deep fried.

Air fried foods tend to have a slightly drier, less greasy texture than deep fried foods. The flavor also doesn't infuse into the food in the same way as with deep frying. However, many people find air fried foods to be a very satisfying alternative with great crunch and flavor. Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference.

The Bottom Line: Should You Get an Air Fryer or Deep Fryer?

So which is the better choice: an air fryer or deep fryer? It really depends on your needs and preferences. An air fryer is ideal if you:

  • Want to enjoy crispy fried foods with less fat and calories
  • Like the versatility of being able to fry, bake, roast and grill
  • Don't mind paying a bit more upfront to save on oil costs
  • Have limited kitchen space for another appliance

On the other hand, a deep fryer may be better if you:

  • Want the most authentic, restaurant-quality fried taste and texture
  • Need to cook large batches of fried food quickly
  • Don't mind the mess and lingering smell of frying with oil
  • Have a tight budget for kitchen appliances

Whichever you choose, both air fryers and deep fryers open up a world of delicious possibilities for crispy snacks, sides, and meals. Pick the one that fits your lifestyle and taste buds and enjoy! And be sure to check out senQ's selection of top-rated air fryers and deep fryers for great options at every price point.