So just how successful is Philips' new extra-large Airfryer at "frying" hot chips? In a bid to find out, we conducted a blind taste test of four brands of oven chip cooked in both the fryer and a regular oven. Here are the results...
Like its regular-sized predecessor, the Philips Airfryer XL uses hot air and a grill plate to heat food through in a manner similar to a fan-forced oven. It's essentially a bigger and more versatile version of the original Philips Airfryer which we reviewed back in 2011.
The XL model boasts a 1.2 kilogram capacity which is enough room to fry a whole chicken (stay tuned for a possible taste test coming soon.) The device is also suitable for grilling, roasting and baking -- but today's article is all about the hot chippy.
When Angus reviewed the original Philips Airfryer he wasn't terribly impressed by the results which he likened to a normal oven chip. To make things more interesting this time around, I cooked four varieties of chip in both the Philips Airfryer XL and a regular oven. I then invited five family members to partake in a blind taste-test, including a six-year old chippy connoisseur. (In all photos, the 'air-fried' chip is the one on the left.)
McCain Super Quick Fries
Our first batch of air-fried McCain Super Quick Fries tasted terrible due to overcooking. However, as this was the first time we'd used the device we gave it a second chance and fried up a second batch. Our second attempt was much tastier and was declared superior to the oven version by all five taste-testers.
Birdseye Super Crunch Wedges
This was another clear winner for the Airfryer, with 100 per cent of our taste-test group picking the air-fried chip as their favourite. That said, we had to check on the frying process a few times prior to serving as they took longer to cook than anticipated.
McCain Sweet Potato Superfries
This was the least successful of the four brands we tried -- the Airfryer burnt the outer ridge of each chip, yet they were still a soft and mushy on the inside. Despite this, 3/5 of our blind taste-testers still preferred the air-fried chip.
Winner: Airfryer (just)
Birdseye Crinkle Cut Fries
Again, the air-fried chip was preferred by all of our judges.
If you prefer a crispier chip with a fluffier inside, the Philips Airfryer XL is pretty hard to beat; especially when compared to a regular oven. The results are also a lot more consistent, with all chips cooked through at roughly the same time.
One thing we noticed during the testing process is that the Airfryer XL forces you to fly blind the first time you attempt to cook a particular brand of chip. Because it heats chips faster, the recommended cooking times on the packaging don't apply. You're therefore forced to learn by trial-and-error. (The included cook book offers some general hints but they're not particularly useful.) However, this is only an issue if you regularly buy different chip styles and brands.
All in all, we'd have no qualms recommending the Philips Airfryer XL to any serious chip lover. The only downside is that you'll likely end up eating a lot more chips due to the faster cooking process and tastier results.