While the Instant Pot may go down in history as the trendiest small appliance of all time, we have the humble-yet-game-changing airfryer in a very close second place. You’ve probably heard that these futuristic-looking machines can help you enjoy fried foods with a fraction of the oil, but that doesn’t mean you understand how they work. Or anything else about them, really. Even though our Phillips airfryers sell like hot cakes (deep-fried hot cakes?), we decided to round up some of the most frequently asked questions we hear and put the answers all in one place.
Here are the answers to all your airfrying questions—plus some you didn’t even think to ask.
What exactly does an airfryer do?
Technically speaking, airfryers do not fry your food—because the food is not submerged in oil. But they do give that crispy crunch that you’d expect for, say, a French fry or a mozzarella stick. This means that the biggest benefit to using an air fryer is that you can “fry” foods using little to no oil. Like, a tablespoon or less. And the airfryers from Philips, which is our preferred brand, even capture excess fat using TwinTurboStar technology (more on that later.) Simply put: Airfryers work similarly to convection ovens.
So wait, if I have an amazing convection oven already, why would I want an air fryer?
We hear you. The last thing any of us have room for is an unnecessary appliance that’s going to take up room in our cabinets or on our countertops. But airfryers are not redundant to your convection ovens. They’re like convection ovens in that they have a state-of-the-art heating element and a powerful fan that blows air around. However the air in an airfryer is swirled very quickly in a circular fashion, which means it does a better job reaching every nook and cranny of your food and creates a crisper crust.
Is it healthier to use an airfryer?
For sure. Especially a Philips airfryer, which has two main differences compared to other machines: that TwinTurboStar technology and a unique starfish design at the bottom of the pan. The former swirls the air around extra-quickly and extracts excess fat. The latter helps circulate the air even more (360 degrees!) and helps capture that fat. (Other airfryers have a flat-bottomed pan, which have a decreased airflow and often churn out food that’s burnt on the outside and undercooked on the inside.)
Is an airfryer good for feeding a crowd?
Go for the Philips XXL and it is! This model can cook an entire chicken or up to two bags of French fries in a single session. (Yet it has a small footprint so it won’t take up too much space on your counters.) Plus, it doesn’t need to preheat and it works four times faster than your oven, so you can feed a bunch of people very quickly. That entire chicken? It’ll cook in just 20 minutes.
How long does it take to preheat to, say, 350 degrees?
No time at all! Literally. You do not need to preheat the Philips airfryers. Just put your food in and you’re good to go.
Are airfryers annoying to clean? What’s the best way to clean an airfryer?
Cleaning a Philips airfryer is not complicated at all. And it’s way easier than cleaning an actual deep fryer! Start by cleaning the inside of the machine with hot water and a non-abrasive sponge. Wipe the outside with the same sponge. (You’ll want to avoid using steel wool, steel scouring pads, or harsh detergents, as the interior pieces has a nonstick coating that can scratch if you’re not careful.) The oil pan and the fry basket are dishwasher safe and can also be hand-washed in warm, soapy water. Make sure all the pieces are dry before you reassemble your airfryer.
Does Williams Sonoma sell accessories for making other things in the air fryer?
We sure do! We have a grill pan accessory for frying or searing meat, fish and veggies; a baking kit for baked goods; and a party kit that includes a rack so you can double your fryer’s capacity. And we just launched a pizza kit for making pizza!