What to cook with air fryers and toaster ovens
Convection and radiant heat both lend themselves to certain types of cooking and specific types of food. Just like you know not to boil pasta in a cast iron skillet, it’s helpful to be aware of the certain applications where a toaster oven shines over an air fryer, and vice-versa. So, be sure to check the manual and how to use a toaster oven.
Turn the dial on your toaster oven if you’re trying to:
● Broil – If you need unidirectional heat to rain down on your dish, a toaster oven is the right tool for the job regardless of whether you’re browning the cheese atop nachos or finishing a pan-seared filet.
● Reheat, toast, and melt – Yesterday’s leftover lasagna, a slice of bread, or a freshly constructed sandwich are all prime candidates for the toaster oven. The small kitchen appliance is a more cost-effective and quicker alternative for prepping single dishes versus heating up a full-size oven.
● Bake basics – Frozen food and less complex meals, such as roasted vegetables, can bake perfectly in a toaster oven. Generally, however, more complex baking tasks are best left to the range.
Converse to toaster ovens’ more limited applications, air fryers are widely celebrated for their diverse wealth of uses. People continue to find new foods to air fry daily, and mouthwatering modern recipes range from crispy food, like Korean chicken, to vanilla custard apple cake. Generally, people fire up their air fryers when they want to:
● Replicate deep frying – The main pull of standalone air fryers is their ability to achieve fried food levels of deliciousness without needing a deep fryer. Full-size fryers are cumbersome, create a lot of splatter, and require gallons of oil to operate. Meanwhile, air fryers can achieve similar results for familiar fried food favorites, such as French fries, falafel, and funnel cake.
● Achieve maximum crispiness – Air fryers are renowned for their ability to add a crisp, golden finish to any food. From polenta fries to potstickers, any dish that’s best served crunchy is well-suited for air frying.
● Cut fat and calories – Another compelling draw for seasoned air fryer aficionados is the number of calories they save from cutting out excess oil. While the exact nutritional value of foods varies by recipe, air fryers can reduce calorie counts by as much as 80% versus other forms of cooking, such as deep frying.
● Get creative – Air fryers, while in the same realm as convection ovens, are indeed a new type of cooking device with yet-undiscovered applications. Home chefs have been testing the limits of their imaginations by pushing out pizzas, pastries, and even pavlovas using air fryers alone.
● Make their lives easier – Aside from being savvy alternatives to deep fryers, air fryers also make the job of baking easier than traditional ovens. Even in convection-powered ranges, cooks need to flip and rotate food throughout the cooking process to ensure even doneness. With air fryers, however, home cooks can simply set it and forget it, then come back to perfectly cooked cuts of meat, vegetables, and baked goods.
Air fryers are versatile machines that can do many of the same jobs as a range, deep fryer, and even toaster oven. In fact, many new models of countertop ovens combine technology from these different types of devices to offer a wide variety of cooking functions.