Can The Philips Airfryer Actually Fry Stuff?

Deep-fried food tastes so good, but involves way more oil than is likely to be good for you, not to mention the always-looming possibility of a major fat fire. The much-promoted-recently Philips Airfryer claims to offer "great tasting food with 80% less fat". But what does food from an airfyer actually taste like? Over the past week, Lifehacker has been testing it to find out.

Pictures by Ben White

When the test Airfryer arrived, several of my colleagues from the Sugar Network were immediately sceptical. "How on earth can you fry something without oil?" they asked. The answer, of course, is that you can't. The device uses a combination of fan-forced hot air and a grill plate to heat food through. In effect, it's like a very small fan-forced oven that resides on your bench, with a pull-out basket with a handle for the food.

While the Airfryer comes with a recipe book, there's little doubt that cooking fries is its main target. Frozen readymade fries are recommended, mostly because these already have a light application of oil which means they crisp more effectively than plainly sliced potatoes. You throw them in the basket, switch on the timer to fire up the fryer, give them a quick shake halfway through, and 12 minutes or so you've got fries. You can deal with up to 750 grams of food at a time, though the results are better if you don't totally fill the device. Because of the fan, it's also seriously noisy.

The first batch of thick-cut fries we tried came out OK, but I honestly can't say they were any different to the results you'd get if you put the same product in an oven. A couple didn't actually heat through properly, and there was no sense of them being anything other than reheated. It wasn't a terrible outcome, but it didn't seem anything like frying.

The outcome with a smaller portion of thin-cut and pre-seasoned curly fries was a lot better. The results were substantially crisper, and the collected Allure office staff demolished them within a couple of minutes. The lesson is clear: this device suits thin fry fanatics much better.

I also ran a couple of other foodstuffs through the airfryer for testing purposes. Chicken nuggets were another big office hit, and actually cooked quicker than they would have in a conventional oven (8 or so minutes versus the package recommendation of 15), and with much better crispness than the traditionally lazy microwave alternative. A veal steak turned out OK too, though I prefer the output of my George Foreman Grill for that kind of cooking — it retains the juices better. At the insistence of Kotaku editor Mark, we also tried some haloumi; this came out OK, but was slower than doing it on a BBQ or in a frypan.

The unit is large enough to dominate the space in our office kitchen, looking a bit like a rogue ice cream maker. Cleaning after making chips was pretty straightforward, though you need to wait for the device to cool quite a bit before attempting to wipe it out. Cooking the veal steak resulted in a lot more mess.

The bottom line? For $329, I don't personally eat enough fried food to have this make sense as a purchase. If your kitchen already has a fan-forced oven, it would also be highly questionable.

However, if you live in a small unit without a built-in oven and want something that can move house when you do, or you really do eat a lot of oven fries, it would make a lot more sense. Students ahoy!


Comments

    Interesting! But, it isn't truly deep-fried food, and the big question: How does it taste?! It's also very pricey, considering other standard deep fryers available.

      I recently bought a deep fryer for $50. I love it. IMO food will never taste as good without the fat content - the reason junk tastes so good is that it's bad for you. And you can't trick your brain. :)

      Do the fries taste deep-fried?
      “Look – nothing is going to replace that deep-fried taste, so no, they don’t,” said Ramsay honestly.
      “But, the Airfryer uses a tablespoon of oil and the chips come out crisp on the outside and tender on the inside – they’re a healthier version, and they taste great.“

    Does that mean that for best results, you are better off glazing food with some oil (probably giving the food to be cooked with a quick spray of oil from an aerosol)?

      The manual recommends adding a drizzle of oil to some foods, but certainly not all.

      No! Simply deep fry in oil of your choice.
      Enjoy guilt free. Remember one thing --
      Moderation is the key.

    while at Myer's yesterday we thought we'd check out the Tefal Actifry (which is another that's being plugged a lot lately) and at the similar price tag of the philips ($349) - my only thought was the chips better be bloody good.

    I can't see the justification, when there's a pretty good chicken shop at the end of the street :)

      I replaced the Tefal Actifry with the Phillips AirFryer. The Tefal Actifry was a waste of money...didn't work well and it stirs everything to fry it...so no battered or fragile foods, hard to clean. LOVE the Phillips AirFryer. Have made both fresh and frozen fries in it. Don't have to have a batch of hot, usafe grease/oil when I want a few french fries. You can cook all kinds of other items in it. Makes a killer grilled cheese sandwich and nachos. Great for crisp cooking frozen convenience foods...taquitos, pizzas, corndogs. Way better texture than the microwave and crisper than the toaster oven. Great way to refresh leftovers. My husband can actually use it himself and likes it so much we are sending one to his Mom for Mother's Day.

        Hi just purchased my air fryer so not tried it yet but would be interested to know how you did the toasted cheese sandwich in it. And also gave you done frozen breaded scampi in it.

    Seems rather pointless. You're not frying your food here you baking it essentially. You wouldn't be able to cook say a doughnut in this. At the same time I can't imagine anything you could cook in this you couldn't cook using a fan-forced oven.

    Would be interested to see how it goes roasting coffee? It would hold a larger volume than my popcorn popper, but follows a similar principle.

    Chips in the Tefal one are great- and that's from my Father who may in fact be the fussiest chip-eater in the world.

    "Looking a bit like a rogue ice cream maker" ! LOL

    http://www.perfectfry.com/products/spinfresh/
    not sure if this is the same (but obviously for commercial) but I saw Jamie offer this to the fast food shop on his new show last Friday could be something similar
    my point is if this method is good enough for commercial cooking then it's definitely good enough for home cooking... only if it's exact
    y the same method though

    We bought one on line for $269 delivered, and it is fantastic, we make chips using our own grown spuds and tablespoon of olive oil to coat the chips. They come out nice and crispy,The unit only takes 3 minutes to heat up and only uses 1450 Watts of power better than an owen using at least 3000 Watts.

    i luv the airfryer its rily economical n healthy!!!!!!!!!!!

    Hi All,

    I bought my airfryer few days ago and so far found it good. I've picked it as a case study for my product-design course, and I'll appreciate if you some of you can spend few mins sharing your experiences so far with the Airfryer--less than 2 for sure. Your few answers will be of immense help to me (plus its a good karma). The questions are at- http://abhinavjain.polldaddy.com/s/airfryer

    Thank you all,
    Best,
    -AJ

      We did not only love they way the Phillips airflyer delivered delicious meals and snacks so quickly, but how it looked. We nicked named ours Darth Vader.

      Everyone in the family dropped a bit of weight.

      It then stopped working, so not sure if it was me, or the tremendous amount of stress we caused it. We gave it a total pounding. Was very happy with the results and totally miss Darth.

      Have never tried any other brand, but I reckon that giving an airfryer is worth a go.

    I have just purchased a Airfryer, but the receipe book doesnt tell you that much. I hear you can do bacon and eggs in it so can anyone tell me how to do the eggs. Also how to cook a piece of pork or crumbed prawn cutlets. This woild really help me.

    Hi ,so how would snitzels go in the air fryer?as they taste great deep fryed

      They come out nice and crispy http://www.airfryerviews.com/ .The unit only takes 5 minutes to heat up and only uses 1000 Watts of power better than an owen using at least 6000 Watts.

    So far the Phillips has performed as advertised although I have not made chips in it since I have a T-Fal actifry that makes very good chips with a much larger capacity than the Phillips. The Phillips is very good for frying an frozen breaded foods I have tried. Egg rolls, chicken nuggets, breaded frozen fish, shrimp, scallops, crab cakes, etc. They do taste deep fried with a crispness you cannot get in a convection oven and at much less time. Mine has a basket which does away with cleanup as long as you just lightly spray the food with oil, like Pam. The actifry is also an excellent machine and stirs as it cooks. And has more volume. It is good for fried food that needs to be stirred regularly and you can't cook things like meatloaf in it but you can cook chopped up meat, veggies,and other foods together all at the same time. Then transfer to a pan and add your favorite sauce. Cooks much better and quicker than pan frying with no stirring. Just set the timer. It is quite a luxury to have both but they complement each other nicely. A very lazy way to cook for those of us that are single and just want to set a timer and forget it. Drawback of the actifry is no temperature, just hot. Phillips has temperature control but does not stir and has a smaller capacity. If I could only have one it would be the actifry but the Phillips is an excellent addition for the foods I mentioned earlier that you can't cook well in the actifry. The actifry with a regular deep fryer would be a good combo also but then you have the disadvantages of deep frying again.

    I bought one when they first appeared. Found it useless. Food wasnt cooked properly. Chips not cooked through. Its back in its box in the cupboard. I bought a deep fat fryer. Perfect.

      what a shame Pauline.. I only bought mine yesterday and today I cooked some fries in it.. they were the best crispest fries I have had in a long time and only took 10 mins.. I used the frozen store bought thick fries.. yum.. I could go another round.. going to try something different tomorrow.. give it another go.. :)

    I tried cooking steak, chops, chicken legs over one week each time it made so much smoke we had to put our aircondotioner on to clear the smoke . We returned it for a refund.

    I bought the Philips HD9230/26 Digital AirFryer a year ago from Amazon. Overall, this is the perfect airfryer I ever used in my life, it features the Rapid Air Technology and fry almost everything I need. I get it for $299 and used it for only 8 times in a year. I use it to make french fries and I think $299 I can buy many packs from MCD.

    Speaking about the performance, the Philips HD9230/26 Digital AirFryer is perfect. http://www.amazon.com/Philips-HD9230-26-AirFryer-Technology/dp/B00H8OATGG/?_encoding=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=ur2&tag=malaysiaminil-20&linkId=5QJ4EAYUSHMDUPKC

    Although I didn't use it very much, I gave it to my nephew who use this airfryer to run a mobile store that sells fries and it helps a lot to his business. he use it more than 10 times everyday now and it's proven that it is durable!

      I own a Philips AirFryer and use it often to enjoy French Fries, Fried Plantains, Chicken Wings, Chicken Fried Steak, Homemade Sweet Potato Tater Tots, you name it! IT'S AMAZING! Everybody should have one! Just saying
      You can see here: How does it work? http://airfryerreviews.co.uk/oil-less-fryer/

      Last edited 08/04/15 1:04 pm

    hI,

    We want to buy one. Can this Air firer be used for frying POORI's? A typical Indian fried bread recipe?
    Can I make Bhajji's/ Pakoda's?? in the same.
    Pl comment.

    can I cook just bacon in the air fryer

    Yes, Philips Airfryer can fry. Defiantly they can.

    The Philips Airfryer is at your side to offer healthier food than any other fryers in the market. There is a good small fan with the fryer. The chips are very wonderful- the topmost we have ever tasted.

    They say greatness comes in small packages. Well, that’s certainly true for this nifty, little kitchen appliance. The Philips is one of the smaller members of the fryer family we’ve tested. It’s made of plastic and comes in a sleek black color.

    It has an easy to use digital control screen where the timer and temperature control buttons are clearly visible- http://www.fryerly.com/best-philips-viva-digital-airfryer-review/

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