How Do Hot Air Fryers Work – The Nitty Gritty

How do hot air fryers work? We’ll find out exactly how air fryers work! how do hot air fryers work

You’ve probably been hearing a lot about these Air Fryers lately. Maybe you have done enough digging to decide for yourself that they really do work. But just exactly how do hot Air Fryers work? What is the trickery behind this shiny new appliance that allows us to “fry” food with 80% less oil?

Well, I’ve been cooking with them for over two years now, and I can honestly say that the Air Fryer is my favorite appliance to cook with. I would be more than happy to show you how they work and why you just might get a lot of use from one! 

How Do Hot Air Fryers Work – A Raging Tornado of Hot Airair fryer tornado

How the heck can we fry food without dropping it in a tub of oil, right? When we deep fry food, the entire food surface is heated quickly all at once. As a result, we get a crispy outer layer with a nice fluffy middle. 

The Air Fryer was developed around this idea…except that instead of oil, hot air is used. And so “Rapid Air Technology” was born. But how is this tornado of hot air produced?   

All Air Fryers use the same basic(and surprisingly simple) concept. There is a powerful heating element at the top of the machine that rapidly creates hot air.

The super heated air is forced down onto the food and blows through the holes in the fryer basket. The hot air ricochets off the bottom of the pan and smacks your food in the bum from the underside. So, all surfaces of the food are being cooked at the same time! 

Well, that’s all fine and good, but why should we care whether or not we use hot oil to cook with or hot air?

Air vs Oil – A Tough Choice, but the Healthier Choice

stewy gif

Internet Confessional – I was once a deep fried food junky. No one understands the temptations of your fried food craving better than I, my friend. So, it is with a heavy heart that we enter into this topic. 

Many of us understand that while delicious, deep fried food is just not good for us at all. I know…it makes me sad too. 

According to an independant study, “Fried foods may influence risk of these diseases through several key risk factors: obesity, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol,” says lead author Leah Cahill, PhD, an assistant professor at Dalhousie University in Canada. “The process of frying is known to alter the quality and increase the caloric and fat content of food.”

None of that sounds very good to me. Diabetes ain’t no joke! I certainly don’t want to drastically increase the likeliness that i’ll suffer a stroke…just because fried food is wicked delicious. And I most definitely don’t want to serve food to my loved ones that is unhealthy for them either! 

On top of the health issues, deep fryers emit smoke and harmful fumes into your home and the environment. You know that nasty smell I’m talking about after you fry up a batch of fish and chips! In general, if it smells bad, it IS bad… your nose knows. 

Luckily, we now have a healthier option. Air Fryers can fry food with 80% less oil than a traditional deep fryer. The taste of air fried food isn’t exactly the same as deep fried food. After all, we are cooking with Air instead of boiling fat. But food cooked from the Air Fryer is still delicious, and you won’t feel the guilt or worry over it that deep fried food brings to the table.


Air Fryer vs Conventional Oven – The New Kid on the block Squares Up Against the Old Stand By 

Air Fryers can also grill food without the use of any added oil. Perhaps your’e thinking, “My oven and stove top can do those things too. Why do I need a new appliance taking up space in the kitchen?”

Like the conventional oven, Air Fryers use heated air to cook your food. The problem with the oven is that if you are cooking smaller portions of food, the entire oven still has to be filled with hot air. This is an inefficient use of the energy that you spend your hard earned money on! Also, if you’re cooking with a pan, your food is getting cooked faster on the bottom than the top. Nobody likes unevenly cooked food!

The Air Fryer produces evenly cooked food because all surfaces are being heated equally. The energy produced by the Air Fryer is much more efficiently used because of the smaller cooking area. Therefore, your food will also be cooked faster than an oven. Granted, the oven has the edge in sheer capacity. But there are several sizes of Air Fryers to choose from, ranging from two to six quarts, which is enough to cook for 4-5 people.

burger and fries


What about pan frying?

The results of pan frying are definitely pretty tasty. There are some drawbacks though. Only one surface of the food is exposed to the heat, so you have to flip your food. If your’e not careful, you can often end up burning your food. I don’t know how many grilled cheese sandwiches I’ve made cajun style – It’s a lot.

There is no need to flip your food when grilling with an Air Fryer. As long as the holes in the basket are not covered by the food, the air will completely surround your food and cook it evenly on all sides. If the entire surface of the basket is covered, just check your food now and then and give it a flip.

The Air Fryer – A Friend to the Environment 

Okay, so the Air Fryer uses rapidly circulated hot air to cook our food…we get it. What happens to the air after it circulates through the machine? Will it stink up my entire house?

The Air Fryer actually features it’s own exhaust system! All of the air circulated throughout the machine while cooking is forced through an exhaust port. There, the used air  is cooled and filtered, then forced out from the back of the appliance. Because we are not using much oil to cook, there is no nasty oil burn off smell as associated with the deep fryer. Only the lovely smells of your food  being quickly and evenly cooked linger in the air!



 A Safer Way to Cook

air fryer gif

If you have read a few of my other articles, you may already know that I cooked in a diner for several years. If any of you, my beloved readers, have also cooked at a restaurant, odds are you witnessed a grease fire or two. These events can range from cute little bonfires on the kitchen tile to all out inferno’s! In the home especially, grease fires can be terrifying. It’s just another drawback to deep frying.

What about the oven? How many times have you or I forgot to turn off the oven, or left a burner on? Maybe one of your beloveds is getting up there in years and frequently forgets to shut the oven off. It happens to the best of us.

The Air Fryer has some really swift features that increase safety while cooking. Most Air Fryers feature an automatic timer that shuts off the appliance after the cooking time has expired. Also, the Air Fryer shuts off automatically when the basket is pulled out, and doesn’t start again until it is put back into the unit.

The hot air that is used for the cooking process in the Air Fryer is cooled before it exits the back of the appliance. There is no need to worry about anything catching fire. Just leave some room between the back of the fryer and the wall.

Wrapping Things Up in a Neat Little Appliance

Hopefully we’ve covered many of the reasons why the Air Fryer is a valuable addition to your cooking arsenal. It’s safe, environmentally friendly, energy efficient, and it just plain cooks great food! There’s no secret processes or questionable cooking methods for you to be concerned about. It’s just a better way of cooking using a simple idea – Circulated Hot Air.

My experience with my Air Fryer has been really great, and that’s why I want to share it all with you! I’d love to help you along your Air Fryer Journey. If you have questions about how to cook with an Air Fryer, I have a nice in depth article on that subject.

If you have heard enough and just can’t wait to start looking at Air Fryers, I’d be more than happy to help you select one that would suit your needs. Check out the Top 5 Air Fryers and explore your options with in depth Air Fryer Reviews . We’ll take a look at the features that may be important to you.

Of course, you can always leave a question or comment at the bottom of the page, and I guarantee I’ll get back with you (or I’ll clean your gutters for a month). Thanks for visiting the Air Fryer Guide!

Avalon bay air fryer

2 comments on “How Do Hot Air Fryers Work – The Nitty Gritty”

    • Jacob H Reply

      Hi Marylou, I think that for the most part, you’ll have to assume that most Air Fryers do use non-stick coating on the pan. Most manufacturers don’t come right out and say what their pans are coated with, but most of the Air Fryers I have used and researched feature non-stick pans which are dishwasher safe. I hope that helps a little. Thanks for stopping by.

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