Chez Moore took delivery of a new appliance last Friday, a Philips AirFryer. What’s an airfryer, and is it worth having, I hear you ask. Well, I’m so very glad you asked.
This review is a little different than others I’ve written. I’m going to come clean and admit I’m not the foodie of the house. Hubby is. Added to that, I don’t even prepare the majority of the family’s meals. Hubby does. He’s the primary cook in the home and while I do prepare meals regularly, he’s the driving force behind our day-to-day eating to stay alive diet. I just bake cakes and stuff. So, with that in mind, we’ve done a “She said, he said” review. I’ve given my opinion and a few pars down, hubby gives his. This way you get an authentic viewpoint from a genuine foodie, and my viewpoint as a genuine eater.
The Philips AirFryer is the latest gadget making big promises and demands on us consumers. To sum up the appliance, it’s a small oven that uses “rapid air” technology (don’t you love how companies like to make up this stuff to make it sound like they’ve reinvented the wheel?). It gets hot very quickly, the very hot air blows around the chamber where your food is and cooks it. Its great selling point is the oil-free french fries. It’s positioned as a healthy way to eat “fried” foods – without frying the food in oil.
The first thing that occurred to me once I got it out of the packaging was its size. It’s bulky. It doesn’t fit easily into any of my kitchen cupboards (which are already stuffed to overflowing with tons of appliances and kitchen products). I’m going to have to do some rearranging to find a permanent home for it.
But putting that aside, there are a few pluses that were also immediately obvious. One, it hardly uses any oil but claims to produce golden crispy chips. I wasn’t overly impressed with this because my Kleenmaid wall oven does that too. So I’m not really *gaining* anything. Then I read the manual that came with it.
Big plus? You bet your crispy french fries!
One of the lazy housewife’s greatest sources of disappointment is that her oven doesn’t fit into her dishwasher. Let’s face it, the dishwasher cleans everything brilliantly. I, however, do not clean everything brilliantly. In fact, it’s fair to say I do not clean anything brilliantly. My oven is in a deplorable state. Until now. Well, actually, my oven (which hand on heart I’ve cleaned ONCE since moving into this house two years ago) is still in a deplorable state and destined to remain that way. However, the manual said those three little words every busy “home engineer” loves to hear: IS DISHWASHER SAFE!!
Yes, indeedy. Fellow lazy housewives rejoice. For now an invention has freed us from the scourge of making excuses about our filthy ovens to our husbands. Excuses such as, “Honey, I *would* clean the oven but those chemicals are so toxic I’m afraid I’ll get toxicity syndrome (whatever that is),” or better, “I tried to clean the oven but I didn’t want to risk the residual fumes getting into tonight’s delicious roast lamb”. Of course, to make that one fly, you’ve then got to produce a delicious roast lamb.
So for that fact alone – is dishwasher safe – an AirFryer is a must-have appliance. But I haven’t even told you the best bits yet.
But wait, there’s more!
Are you sitting down? The chips actually ARE crunchy AND delicious!! Truly! I swear. A manufacturer who has actually made a claim that isn’t completely, well, manufactured from thin air. No pun intended. Okay, it was totally intended. Hope it was at least a little funny.
We rushed out and bought some frozen chips. (Editor’s note: in the interests of not bullshitting my readers, my freezer is very well stocked with supermarket-bought frozen fries, so that last sentence is complete crap. I already had them in the freezer). Hubby and I eagerly piled the frozen chips into the basket and set the timer for the required time – 18 minutes. The gadget immediately fired up (not very noisy, either!) and within a few minutes we could smell some delicious chippy smells. Ding! And before you know it hubby and I were feasting on delicious crispy chips (McCain’s oven fries, from memory).
Since then, (Friday) we’ve spent the weekend concocting things from the recipe book supplied with it and I’ve got to say, not one thing failed to deliver. The chicken wings (described in more detail below in “He Said”) were a hit with the kids, including the Princess of Darkness, who is a very fussy eater. The baked vegetables I whipped up to accompany Saturday night’s dinner were simple and delicious. And the best bit? When we were all done with our fun for the weekend, we just put the basket and the chamber in the dishwasher – too easy!
We do have quite a few appliances at Chez Moore, but we’re descriminating about what we buy. The things we’ve bought we use regularly. We have a pie maker (brilliant, brilliant appliance for using up leftover spag bol, satay chicken or basically any old thing you’ve got in the fridge), a jaffle maker, an oil fryer (the least often used of our kitchen appliances), and various blenders and juicers. Only the juicer rarely sees the light of day. Everything else gets pulled out routinely. And I think this Philips AirFryer will too. You don’t have to preheat it (although you can) and it’s just so easy to use and then chuck in the dishwasher.
Speaking of the oil fryer, another advantage this airfryer has over the traditional fat fryer is the smell, or lack thereof. When I use the fat fryer my kitchen stinks for days. And then I have to get rid of the dirty oil. And it requires a lot of oil, litres and litres of it. None of this is a problem with the Philips AirFryer.
If you’re thinking of purchasing one (available from most major department stores), expect to outlay about $330. In the interests of full disclosure, mine was supplied to me gratis. (Thank-you lovely people at Philips).
Things to watch out for: I think there’s a rival product from Tefal called the ActiFryer, or similar. I’ve watched a few clips on YouTube (most in a foreign language I couldn’t understand) and their claim is similar, hardly any oil and crunchy fries. But the fries apparently take 40 minutes. Compared with about 12-18 minutes in the Philips product.
The Philips AirFryer gets two thumbs up from me.
The few things I’ve cooked in the AirFryer – chips (homemade and frozen), frozen potato gems, frozen crumbed fish, ginger chicken wings, and mustard chicken drumsticks and marylands– have been big successes. Frankly, that’s much to my surprise.
When I came home and found the AirFryer sitting the kitchen bench, I was dubious. I suspected it was just another gimmicky kitchen contraption that would only serve to take up valuable kitchen cupboard space.
And when I read through the owner’s manual, it sounded to me like just a repackaged fan-forced oven.
But all doubts are gone. The AirFryer’s a winner.
We’re big chip people at Chez Moore. And – as promised – the AirFryer makes rippers. Crunchy on the outside but still fluffy inside.
We usually heat up frozen chips on a rack in the oven. But I’ve never really been happy with the result – they turn out too soggy. Not with the AirFryer though – they were so crisp you could hear the crunch.
In fact, No.2 son is a well-established chip-ist – he is prejudiced against chips. When I was preparing the homemade chips he was at pains to repeatedly stress that he “only liked McDonald’s chips” lest I get it into my head that he was going to eat these.
But he did, after I urged him to try one. In fact, he said “Dad, I could eat these chippies every day”. And when they were gone her asked for more. When I told him that’s all there were he said “ahhhhh-HHHHH” in disappointment. This from the boy who ate only one or two of the frozen chips that I’d made earlier.
We’ve made the Asian chicken wings from the recipe book provided, which are rubbed with a minced garlic, ground ginger and cumin, salt and pepper. After just 13 minutes in the AirFryer we had – I kid you not – the best-tasting wings I’ve eaten.
It was the moistness that was most impressive. I make marinated wings for the kids often and – again – they are cooked in a rack in the oven. But they are like the Sahara compared to the wings out of the Philips offering.
The other reason I like the AirFryer is certainty of cooking time.
As we know, chicken must be cooked right through or you risk getting sick.
But each oven cooks differently.
While the recipe may say 40 minutes at 180 degrees, my oven may be cooler and not get the job done in that time. (Or it may be hotter and dry out the bird.)
The only way to avoid the pink-inside lottery – particularly if cooking a recipe for the first time – is to cut open the chicken piece at the thickest part to check it’s cooked through.
This is sub-optimal, because you lose your chook’s juiciness all over the cooking board.
But when the AirFryer says it’s 10 minutes at 180 degress for chicken wings, so far they’ve all come out spot on. Ten minutes at 180 and then 20 minutes at 150 degrees for the drumsticks and they were perfect.
Because AirFryers are of uniform size and power, the results are the same and predictable – a big plus for a germaphobe sich as me.
We were so impressed with the initial results we did a grocery shop based on the recipes we liked in the supplied booklet.
Philips, I’m not sure how you manage to “fry” with “air”, but I’m sure glad you do.