Do Air Fryers Replace Deep Fryers? (Pros & Cons)

an air fryer and a deep fryer

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We all know how unhealthy deep-fried foods are. So, it’s natural for us to look for healthier alternatives. And in that search, you must have come across a nifty little device called the air fryer. Using less oil, it is a lot healthier than deep fryers. But, do air fryers replace deep fryers well for preparing your favorite foods?

Air fryers are not complete replacements for deep fryers. Although you can use an air fryer for cooking almost any kind of food that is normally cooked in a deep fryer, the taste of the food will not be the same. However, air fryers are healthier alternatives.  

In this article, I will talk about the limitations of air fryers compared to deep fryers. I will also tell you what air fryers are best for, and when deep frying is the better option. Finally, I will discuss which one is a healthier choice and why.   

Limitations of Air Fryers

Air Fryer with chicken and fries

Air fryers and deep fryers both are used for cooking fried foods such as chicken, meat, vegetables, and so on. However, these applications work differently. Foods are completely submerged in hot oil in deep fryers, whereas foods cooked in air fryers require little or no oil at all. There is a device in the air fryers which heats the air. That hot air is used to fry foods.

Hence, it is obvious that the fried foods taste differently based on the fryer you are using. Apart from the food taste, there are other limitations of using an air fryer. 

Here are some limitations of air fryers compared to deep fryers:

  • When you use a deep fryer, the hot oil gets into the food, and you get a crispy outer layer and well-cooked juicy food on the inside. In the case of the air fryer, you will find that the exterior is less crispy.  
  • The insides of the food cooked in an air fryer are drier compared to the deep-fried. It happens because the food is cooked with air and not oil. 
  • Some food has to be cooked in a deep fryer to create the perfect taste and texture such as fried chicken, tempura, and Twinkies. Unfortunately, these foods do not taste the same cooked in air fryers. 
  • Air fryers are not suitable for cooking wet battered food. As the air dryers are not used with oils, the batter of the foods can create a mess. 
  • Another drawback of using air fryers is the cooking time. Compared to deep fryers, it takes two to three times longer to cook with an air fryer.
  • If you have a limited budget, buying an air fryer can be a bit problematic. In the market, air fryers are slightly more expensive than deep fryers.
  • One of the biggest disadvantages of air fryers is the small space inside the fryers. You cannot make a lot of fries at once like the deep fryers. The overall size of both machines is not much different. But air fryers have smaller food trays. 
  • Using and controlling the air heat of air fryers can be difficult, especially for new users. Hence people often complain about too dried or burnt dishes.     

What Are Air Fryers Best For?

If you compare the taste of fried foods, indeed, the food tastes better when made in deep fryers. Interestingly, air fryers have more cooking ranges. You can not only fry foods but also grill them in an air fryer. 

Here are some foods which you can cook with an air fryer:

  • Bacon: Bacon is easy to cook and tasty when you fry them in an air fryer. The fat of the bacon gets out of, and the bacon becomes lean but tasty. 
  • Cooking fruits: like deep fryers, air fryers are also great for cooking fruits like bananas and apples. You can make fruit caramels. Just slice some fruits and put them in the fryer. You can also add honey or oil to cook them.
  • Frozen foods: Air fryers are the best options to cook frozen foods. The foods become crispy and delicious to eat. 
  • Cooking Stakes: Many people think cooking stakes are complicated with an air fryer. But with proper practice and skill, it becomes easier. You have to rub the meat with oil, salt, and other ingredients and grill it in the air fryer.
  • Cookies: Air fryers are favorite to many people for making cookies. You do not have to preheat the machine before making cookies, and so it also takes less time. 
  • Making Chicken Breasts: if you want to have a juicy fried chicken breast, you can cook it in an air fryer. The chicken breasts are cooked well and are juicer compared to oven or stove-cooked ones. 

When Is Deep-Frying the Better Option?

Deep fryer with fries

As you have seen the difference between a deep fryer and an air fryer, you have surely understood that the machines might be similar but do not produce exactly the same results. 

So, you should also have the idea when it is better to use a deep fryer for cooking food. Firstly, deep frying is the traditional way of enjoying fried foods. So, when you are craving the true flavor of fried food, you need a deep fryer.

Secondly, you should consider deep-frying vegetables in extra virgin oil. When you deep fry vegetables, they become high in antioxidants which is good for your health. 

Thirdly, using a deep fryer, you can cook fried foods faster, and make more foods. So, if you want to make a lot of fries in a short period of time, deep frying is the right option. 

Air Fryers Vs Deep Fryers: Which Is Healthier and Why?

Eating delicious and comfortable food may not be your only intention. Consuming food full of oil is harmful to our health. It can also exhilarate health problems like diabetes, high cholesterol, obesity, and heart diseases. Vegetables with extra virgin oil might have positive effects, but too much deeply fried oil harms the human body.

Therefore, if we compare air fryers and deep fryers based on health benefits, without a doubt, air fryers are the winners. 

While using an air fryer, you cook the food with hot air or only a little amount of oil. You can use healthy and safe oil like extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, or avocado oil to fry the foods. As a result, you will not face many problems related to consuming too much oil. 

Moreover, air-fried foods do not contain a high level of calories. Hence, you do not have to worry too much about gaining weight or other health problems related to calorie intake.   

Are Air Fryers Worth It?

Now, the question is should you buy an air fryer or a deep fryer? The choice is simple. If you want to eat tasty and traditionally fried foods, you should buy a deep fryer. But if you want to have the taste of fried food and maintain good health, an air fryer is the right choice.

It is true that the food cooked in air fryers will not have the same taste as the deep-fried foods of the restaurants. But the food is safer and healthier. Furthermore, you can also use an air fryer for grilling and other forms of cooking. It is not possible with a deep fryer.


Now you know whether or not do air fryers replace deep fryers. Air fryers are a much healthier alternative and I highly recommend you get one for healthy eating. But they cannot match the taste of deep fryers. 

While you can use healthy oils to make deep frying healthier, these oils usually cost a lot making air frying the better option health wise. 

Chef Rooney

I like to cook. It makes me happy, and I know it does the same for others. If you ever want to learn how to make a great dish, just ask!

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