Air fryer vs. deep fryer

The allure of golden French fries, succulent chicken tenders, and irresistibly crispy buffalo wings have made fried dishes a beloved mainstay in kitchens everywhere. 


While traditional deep frying has enjoyed longstanding dominance in the culinary arena, a modern contender has emerged—the air fryer. This innovative kitchen appliance promises to replicate those cherished crispy textures but at a mere fraction of the calorie content. Thus, the battle of the air fryer vs. deep fryer has ignited.

Join us as we delve into their differences, weigh the advantages and drawbacks of each, and help you pinpoint the perfect fit for your home frying needs.

Choosing between an air fryer or deep fryer

When it comes to delivering that coveted crispy finish, air fryers and deep fryers have their strengths. However, considering their unique characteristics can help you identify which aligns more closely with your culinary priorities.

● Ease of use – Air fryers are generally considered more user-friendly, often including additional pre-programmed functions such as roasting, baking, and grilling, making the cooking process much easier. Deep fryers, on the other hand, require large quantities of hot oil, regular cleaning, and high temperature management. With an air fryer, you won’t need to worry about disposing of fry oil after cooking.

● Health quotient – Air fryers shine as a healthier cooking method. Since the appliance uses circulated hot air to “fry” food, it requires significantly less oil than a deep fryer—cutting overall calories by an average of 70 to 80%.

● Budget considerations – Pricing of an air fryer vs. deep fryer varies significantly. In general, high-quality home air fryers are more expensive than home deep fryers. That said, with deep fryers, the recurring expense of replenishing oil can add up over time—something that’s worth factoring into your budget.

● Space and design – While it depends on the individual model, air fryers tend to be more compact, designed to fit comfortably on kitchen countertops. They’re also fairly easy to clean and maintain. Conversely, deep fryers often take up a significant amount of space and can be challenging to clean thoroughly after extended use.

● More features – Unlike traditional deep fryers, air fryers include other features, such as broiling and baking. These extra features provide more versatility, so you can prepare more than just deep-fried meals.

Overall, air fryers stand out as a streamlined, health-centric, and often cost-effective alternative for creating crispy culinary delights when compared to traditional deep fryers.

Can an air fryer do everything a deep fryer can?

In terms of variety, air fryers are certainly more versatile. Apart from an air fry setting, high-quality air fryers, like Breville’s Joule® Oven Air Fryer Pro, may also have features like: 

● Toast

● Broil

● Pizza

● Bake

● Bagel

● Roast

● Cookies

● Slow cook

● Reheat

● Keep warm

● Dehydrate

Since the hot air circulation cooks food from all angles, air fryers are programmable for a variety of cooking methods. At the same time, most traditional fried foods like fries, wings, fried chicken, or mozzarella sticks are easily (and perfectly) cooked with an air fryer microwave.

However, the air fryer does face a few culinary challenges. Particularly, recipes requiring a wet batter, such as tempura or beer-battered fish, can be tricky. In an air fryer, the batter might not solidify quickly enough, and the strong circulation of hot air can send it splattering around the chamber, potentially creating more of a batter-blown spectacle than a delicious meal.

See related: Air fryer vs. microwave

Does air frying taste as good as deep frying?

Taste is certainly a determining factor for many in the air fryer vs. deep fryer debate. Since flavor perceptions are inherently subjective, deciding which one has the "better taste" largely depends on individual palates.

That being said, there are distinct differences to consider that could influence your decision:

● Flavor – Deep frying immerses foods in rich oils, bestowing a distinct, indulgent flavor. In contrast, air fried food offers a taste that many describe as cleaner or more authentic due to its reduced oil content.

● “Crunch factor” – When it comes to achieving that perfect crunch, deep fryers have historically had the edge. However, modern air fryers have come a long way. Many can now produce a remarkably crispy exterior, especially when a light spray of oil is used before cooking.

● Overall experience – For those accustomed to deep-fried foods, there might be an initial adjustment period when switching to an air fryer. Still, many may come to prefer the less greasy (but still crispy) results of air frying over time.

Air fryers thus present a lighter, healthier option, providing the fried crispiness you know and love without the oil saturation of traditional frying. Meanwhile, conventional deep frying remains unrivaled for certain dishes that demand that rich, indulgent flavor only deep oil immersion can create. 

Exploring both techniques might just help you discover your ideal balance in the flavorful universe of fried cuisine.

Cook crispy with Breville

At the end of the day, the choice between an air fryer vs. deep fryer boils down to personal preference. For those focused on healthy eating, yet still a tantalizingly crispy option, the air fryer emerges as the champion. But for the purists who savor the conventional deep-fried taste and texture, a traditional deep fryer will suit you best.

No matter your frying fancy, Breville caters to both worlds. When you shop Breville, you can choose from a variety of high-quality kitchen appliances like our Smart Oven® Air Fryer Pro, which boasts 13 pre-programmed settings, and our impeccable Smart Oven® Air Fryer, which guarantees a consistently perfect deep fry every time.



1. Cleveland Clinic. Air-Frying: Is It As Healthy As You Think?

2. Health My Lifestyle. Air Fryer Vs Deep Fryer.


Air fryer vs. deep fryer: Which is best for you?