Deep Fryer vs Air Fryer – A Head to Head Comparison

Join us for a deep fryer vs air fryer showdown! air fryer vs deep fryer

Alright, it’s go time. You love fried foods but you know that they aren’t doing you any favors in the waistline department. But where else can you get that crispy fried taste you love? 

Along comes this Air Fryer“. You’ve probably heard claims about it being able to fry foods with 80% less oil than a deep fryer. Are these claims true…do these chunky little appliances truly deliver healthier fried foods? You’re probably skeptical, and you have every right to be. 

 The deep fryer and the Air Fryer are ready to square off!  Allow me to be your referee for this little fight. I cooked professionally for 4 years and I know my way around a deep fryer. I’ve deep fried onion rings to candy bars and everything in between. 

On the other side, I have been cooking with Air Fryers for over 3 years now.  I have plenty of first hand knowledge of the strengths and weaknesses of the Air Fryer. So grab your popcorn and let’s get ready to rumble…it’s the Deep Fryer vs Air Fryer!

Round 1: Cooking with Oil vs Cooking with Air – The Fat Factordeep fryer

Common vegetable oil contains 120 calories and 13.6 grams of fat per teaspoon. The home deep fryer requires 1-4 quarts of oil depending on the size. Of course, only a fraction of that oil is transferred to your food. But it’s fair to conclude that the less oil we use, the better.

According to, a 100 gram serving of air fried french fries contains 226 calories and 6 grams of fat. In comparison, a medium size McDonald’s deep fried french fries contains 34o calories and 16 grams of fat. So, we’ll assume that around 1.25 tablespoons of oil is used in deep frying the fries. The air fried fries come in at about .5 tablespoon of oil.

It’s worth noting that the deep fryer can only fry. The Air Fryer is capable of not only frying, broiling, baking and grilling. You will not need to use any oil at all when using these other cooking methods. 

Air Fryers use substantially less oil to fry food, which means fewer calories and less fat. The Air Fryer comes out punching and takes round 1 in the Deep Fryer vs Air Fryer challenge! 

air fryer vs deep fryer


Round 2 – Cooking Time, Capacity and Energy Efficiency

Deep fryers fry food very quickly and efficiently. A serving of frozen chicken tenders would typically take 5-7 minutes to fry. The catch is, it takes quite a while to heat the oil up to temperature. We’ll add another 8-10 minutes to preheat the oil.

Air fryers also require pre heating for the best results. It typically takes 5 minutes for an Air Fryer to get up t0 400f. A batch of chicken tenders would take about 10-12 minutes to thoroughly cook in the Air Fryer.

As far as capacity is concerned, there are many different sizes for both deep fryers and Air Fryers to choose from that will suit your cooking needs.

When all of the preheating and cooking times are considered, the two fryers come out about even. We’re calling round 2 a draw!

Round 3 – Safety and Environmental Concernsred air fryer

Hot boiling oil can be dangerous, even deadly. I’ve seen a few really nasty grease fires in my days cooking at the diner. They’re bloody difficult to put out as well. You really are forced to stand close to your deep fryer while it’s cooking to make sure nothing crazy happens. The chances of a grease fire happening at home are significant, and the consequences are horrific.

Of course, there is the scalding factor too. Anyone who has used a deep fryer has been pelted once or thirty times by drops of boiling oil when dropping food into the fryer. That’s never a pleasant experience. The deep frier also produces toxic fumes from smoking oil…fumes that stink up your kitchen and pollute the environment. 

The Air Fryer uses only circulated hot air too cook. The used hot air is filtered and cooled before it exits the unit. As long as a small space is left between the Air Fryer and the wall, there should be no danger when cooking with the Air Fryer. 

Also, most Air Fryers feature auto shut off timers. You don’t have to attend to the Air Fryer while it’s cooking, which is a wonderful convenience.

There are no known side negative health effects from cooking with an Air Fryer, and there is minimal environmental impact involved. Compare these facts to the slew of safety concerns for the deep fryer vs the Air Fryer, and the Air Fryer takes round 3 in a landslide!

air fryer rd3


Round 4: Taste Testing 

We all know to well how enticing deep fried food can be. The deep fryer can consistently deliver golden french fries and crispy fried chicken. The hot oil quickly quickly crisps the outside layer but leaves the inside juicy and tender. Of course, there are those who do not enjoy the grease soaked food and prefer a drier batter.

The Air Frier does an impressive job of frying dry battered foods, while using much less oil. Wings, fries, and fried chicken are a breeze. The drawback of the Air Fryer is that it does not work with wet batters like beer batter. It cannot heat the wet batter up quickly enough to seal it, and the batter just ends up running off of the food before it is fully cooked. 

Although the Air Fryer does a good job of frying dry battered  foods in a much healthier way, it’s hard to beat that crispy crunch of deep fried foods. In a straight up taste test, the deep fryer edges out the Air Fryer in the 4th round of the Deep Fryer VS Air Fryer showdown. air fryer rd4

Round 5: Cleaning Up 

It’s that dreaded task…that inescapable eventuality. Clean up time! Cleaning up after a deep fryer isn’t fun. Draining oil from a deep fryer can be a pain. Even if you do everything right and you don’t spill any oil, you have to do find a way to dispose of it safely. Scrubbing the pan of cooked on oil is never an enjoyable task either.

The Air fryer on the other hand is simple to clean up after. Most Air Fryer baskets are dishwasher safe. You just have to give the pan a quick cleaning and give the exterior an easy wipe down, and you’re done for the day! You really couldn’t ask for a more low maintenance appliance.

Another trick you can use to make clean up for the Air Fryer even easier is the “parchment paper” method. Just cut out a piece of parchment paper the same size as the bottom of the Air Fryer pan and lay it in. The excess oil and crumbs will stick to the paper and you can just throw it out when your done! It can’t get any easier than that!

The Air Fryer easily takes the cake for clean up in round 5 of the Deep Fryer Vs Air Fryer Challenge. 

air fryer rd5



Round 6: Final Round – The Cost of Deep Frying vs Air Frying

Deep fryers are relatively cheap to buy. You can find them anywhere from $30- $200, but most of the high quality deep fryers can be had for less than $100. Where the cost hurts you is with the oil. A gallon of cheap vegetable oil runs around $6-$8. You can generally use the oil for two sessions, but you run the risk of the oil becoming toxic. 

Even if you use your deep fryer only once a week, you’ll be spending $16-$20 a month on oil, which hurts the cost factor of the deep frier. 

Air Fryers range in price from $60 all the way up to $300. There are some really good values in the $70-80 range. The top of the line Philips models typically run $200-300. The good news is that this is a one time purchase appliance. You don’t need to run to the store and buy a bunch of oil every month. You don’t have to worry about how to dispose of it either! 

Assuming that we are using a middle of the road model, the cost of using an Air fryer vs a deep fryer for a year goes to the Air Fryer. With a stunning knock out in the sixth round, the Air Fryer wins the Deep Fryer vs Air Fryer showdown! 

air fryer rd6


The Recap – Deep Fryer vs Air Fryer

While the deep fryer wins in a straight up taste test, the cons of regularly eating deep fried foods far outweigh the pros. 

The Air Fryer makes it possible to cook fried foods healthier than ever before, and on a budget too! Air Frying is also a safer alternative to deep frying. As Air Fryers continue to gain popularity, I think you will only see them develop into more effective appliances. 

I hope you enjoyed this little Deep Fryer vs Air Fryer showdown! If you don’t own an Air Fryer yet and you’re thinking about bringing one home to your kitchen, take a look at our Guide to the Best Air Fryers of 2018.

Thanks for reading! If you have any questions about Air Fryers, please feel free to leave one below and I’ll get right back to you.

deep fryer vs air fryer


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