Chicken Wings in an air fryer

Do Air Fryers Really Make Food Crispy?

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Few things are as delicious as crispy fried foods. But here is the thing though, fried foods are not exactly the poster child for healthy eating. Traditionally you need to deep fry to make it crispy. Unless air fryers have something to say about it. So, do air fryers really make food crispy? 

Any good air fryer will make food crispy but it works best with dry foods. Plus, there is the benefit of using little to no oil which is also healthier. This means you can basically make food crispy and be healthy at the same time. 

There is much more to it though. I will touch on how exactly an air fryer works and makes food crispy. There are also some mistakes you should avoid when using an air fryer. So, keep on reading. 

What Makes Air Fried Food Crispy?

Contrary to popular belief, air fryers do not fry food. They cook food with what is called a convection effect. In fact, they are a more powerful convection oven in a way. That is how you get food that seems like they have been deep-fried with no oil or very little oil. 

You have been hearing me talk about the convection effect for a while now. What is it then? Convection is an efficient way of cooking that involves the circulation of hot air. Air fryers will have a fan on the top which will circulate hot air onto whatever food you put inside them.

This quick circulation of hot air will cook the food and ‘fry’ it to make it crispy and brown. Convection process might also cook food faster and make the surface of the food brown faster. 

This process air fryers use to cook your food is what makes the end product crispy. The hot air that is blasted on top of the food (with the help of little oil) will turn the food brown. 

When you do it perfectly, some high-quality air fryers will make the food golden brown. That is how you get crispy food. 

Some Crispy Foods You Can Make on Your Air Fryer 

Air fryers are great. They are convenient to work with and cook delicious food quickly. Here are some you have to try. 

The idea to remember here is dry food will give you a beautiful crispy exterior when cooking in an air fryer. Besides there are also some great recipes you can find online.

Chicken Nuggets

How about some crispy homemade chicken nuggets? You can get some seriously delicious chicken nuggets with an air fryer. 

The best part is you do not have to buy it from the store. Besides, we all know homemade foods for some reason just taste better. 

French Fries

Crispy French fries are one of my favorite snacks to have. You can easily make them in an air fryer and they will turn out to be just delicious. 

If you haven’t tried making French fries in an air fryer yet you are missing out. Air fryers are great for making super crunchy French fries.  

Crispy Kale 

Speaking of dry foods, vegetables also work really well. If you have kids that refuse to eat their vegetables, maybe you can air fry them to make them more appealing. Like Kale. You can fry it in your air fryer and make crispy kale. 

This is a sure-fire way to make sure your children are eating all their greens. While vegetables can be cooked and eaten raw sometimes, using an air fryer once in a while does not hurt at all. 

Fried Chicken 

Who does not like fried chicken? That was a rhetorical question. Unless you are purely vegan or vegetarian, you probably love fried chicken. They also happen to cook great in an air fryer. 

With the right technique, you will be making some delicious and crispy fried chicken in no time. The skin will be crispy and the flesh will be deliciously tender. Which is exactly what you want. 

Frozen Foods

Cooking dry frozen foods is a non-issue for an air fryer. This is also great news for someone who wants a quick snack. Preparing frozen foods does not take much time. And if you can use an air fryer on top of that to make it, that is all the much better. 

When cooking and frying with an air fryer make sure you do not use a wet batter though. Use flour, eggs and breadcrumbs. This will give you a crunch. We actually have a whole section on what mistakes you might be making and what to avoid when using an air fryer.

Mistakes to Avoid To Make Air Fried Food Crispy And Tasty 

When using an air fryer, a lot of people make some common mistakes that can be easily avoided. Paying attention to these will also ensure your food turns out better cooked and also crispier. 

Not cooking dried foods

Do not get me wrong here. You can cook all kinds of foods in an air fryer. You can cook doughnuts, corn dogs and onion rings that will not be as crispy. 

When cooking these, lower down your expectation a tad bit. Cook foods that work best with an air fryer to get the crispiest treat. 

Filling the basket up too much 

Filling up the basket will not give you the best results. The hot air needs to circulate all around your food. If you fill up your basket then the food will not have enough breathing room. 

Overcrowding the basket will not let your foods cook evenly. And that is the last thing you want. If you have the time, it really is best to make the food in smaller batches.

That way you don’t overcrowd the basket and end up with perfectly crispy and cooked food and everyone is happy at the dinner table. 

Using too much oil (or too little)

When using an air fryer, you need 2 tablespoons of oil at max. When you use excess oil, it will just end up dripping on the bottom tray. 

Why waste oil when you don’t need to? You also do not want to use too little oil either. It is a balancing act at this point. For breaded recipes, 1 or 2 tablespoons of oil are just fine. 

Clean your air fryer 

Cleaning your air fryer after every use is non-negotiable actually. A lot of recipes you will cook in it will leave out crumbs and bits. 

These might ruin the flavor of the next dish you will be cooking. So, just like any other cooking equipment, clean your air fryer after every use. 

Air Fryer Vs Deep Fryer – Which Makes Food Crispiest? 

Air fryers do make food crispy but do they out-crisp deep fryers? Well, the answer is no.  Deep-fried foods will be much crisper than air-fried ones. 

As mentioned before, air fryers don’t really fry food. Rather, they cook it. Only the outer layer of the food where oil is applied gets fried. While deeper inside the food is just cooked through heat. 

While in deep fryers the oil properly penetrates the food and dehydrates it which produces more crispiness. The less water a food contains the more crispy it will be. And that is why deep fried foods are much crispier than air fried ones. 


There you have it. Now you know, do air fryers really make food crispy? They are a great way to cook delicious crispy fried foods that are healthy and also tasty at the same time. Not only that, there are many mouth wateringly delicious recipes that you can try next time you fire up the air fryer. 

Hope this article was able to help you with your queries. Happy cooking! 

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