From delicious fries to tasty treats, a good fryer can sometimes be the tool that you need to enjoy a perfect meal, and there are a wide range of recipes and options available.
For some users, however, there can be a safety worry that comes alongside using fryers, particularly with regards to concerns over the risk of fire that is so often advertised alongside these tools.
An oil-less fryer can be a great alternative to traditional fire and offer you extra peace of mind and reassurance that you and your family will stay safe and well while still enjoying an array of tasty fried treats.
This article will help you to understand how oil-less fryers work and give you the information that you need to make a smart, informed purchase.
How Do Oil-Less Fryers Operate?
There are two main types of fryer that are typically referred to by the “oil-less fryer” name: the oil-less turkey fryer, and the air fryer. Though there are a number of similarities between these, it is also important to be aware of the differences – one is truly an “oil-less” fryer, while the other still requires a little oil to be used.
The first type of fryer is sometimes referred to as an oil-less turkey fryer. These devices use infrared cooking technology to create crispy, delicious dishes without the need to coat your food in oil.
Despite the name, oil-less fryers do need just a little oil in order to heat and cook your food. To get started, the air is heated up to around 200 Celsius, or 392 Fahrenheit, and this hot air is then circulated around your food using powerful fans.
The higher temperatures and speed of the air then mean that any oil used is vaporized. This can be compared to the air that we breathe, which has a small level of water in it – we will usually refer to this as the humidity level.
With an oil-less fryer, this “humidity” is made up of oil, rather than water, and all parts of the food are touched by the oil – without drenching your food in grease. The end result is crispy, crunchy food, with less of the fat and grease content than traditionally fried food.
Is An Oil-Less Fryer The Same As An Air Fryer?
There are often confusions made between an oil-less fryer and air fryer – the latter are known as oil-free fryers, rather than oil-less, and use hot air to cook your food in a healthier, safer way, using zero oil throughout the whole cooking process.
These tend to be the healthiest options, and are a popular alternative to traditional deep fat fryers.
What Are The Advantages Of Oil-Less Fryers?
Using an oil-less fryer comes with a number of advantages over a traditional oven or other deep frying units, and these include:
More Even Cooking
One of the advantages of an oil-less fryer is that food tends to be cooked more evenly than baking, boiling, barbecuing, and other techniques.
The interior of these fryers helps to facilitate this even cooking, ensuring that air is circulated evenly throughout the cooking space, and keeping the temperature and speed constant.
This is also the reason why most of the oil-less fryers available in the market are relatively small because building a larger design would make it much more difficult to ensure an even distribution of the hot air and therefore will result in a lower quality cooking experience.
Faster, Quicker Food
An air fryer or turkey fryer also often speeds up the time it takes to cook and prepare food, making it ideal if you are following a busy schedule, or do not have time to prepare meals.
Some food, such as fish, takes just 12 minutes to cook in the majority of turkey fryer and air fryer models. A reduced cooking time is good news for busy people!
Oil-less fryers also offer a healthier alternative to your favorite fried dishes, as there is no need to add gallons of oil to prepare dishes.
Though a little oil is included, air fryer and turkey fryer models use much less oil in the preparation and cooking of the dish when compared to a deep fryer, without the need to sacrifice tasty, crispy skin.
Oil-less fryers are also less messy, as dishes are cooked with hot air rather than oil – this means that not only is there less fat in the food, but there is also less mess.
This also offers advantages for cleaning; most air fryer and turkey fryer models will come apart for easy cleaning, and the lack of oil means that there will be less mess or greasy residue to worry about.
Which Oil-Less Fryers Are Best Suited for You?
If you’re looking for the best oil-less fryer for you, you should take into account what you plan to do with it, and the foods that you intend to cook.
As an example, if you want one that is going to get really hot, you will want to avoid models that only heat up to about 190-200°C, as it will likely take too long for the food inside to cook properly.
On the contrary, if you’re looking for something that’s easy to handle and doesn’t require a lot of attention, you’ll probably prefer one that heats up quickly and can be left safely.
There are various models of oil-less fryers on the market today; they all use the same principle to cook food, but differ in their design, size, and other features.
Some have no handles, others have removable lids, all have heating elements on their walls, and many of those also include temperature indicators to show you just how hot your oil is getting.
However, all these differences come together to mean the same thing – frying without any flame or smoke!
You should also consider the shape and size of the unit that you opt for – this may be determined by the living space that you have available – and by the types of food that you are planning to cook; fast food for one will require a smaller fryer that heats up quickly, while larger operations will require plenty of space, as well as speedy heating times.
Types Of Oil-Less Fryer
Oil-Less fryers come in a variety of types, and the main options include:
Tabletop Oil-Less Fryers
These are ideal for smaller kitchens or for individuals wanting to cook in places like living rooms, conservatories, garages, or even outdoors. They are also ideal if you only plan on frying one item at a time, such as battered meat or vegetable dishes.
They tend to cost less money than larger oil-less fryers, and they are usually compact enough to fit anywhere, making them suitable for a variety of locations.
One of the biggest drawbacks of these tabletop models is that they don’t have many adjustable settings, but it’s often worth paying a little extra for this feature because it makes life much simpler. Although not really necessary, they also mostly come with lids that can be removed to save space or to enable cleaning.
Larger Oil-Less Fryers For Commercial Use
If you own a busy takeaway, bar, or cafe, then there’s a good chance you need something bigger than a tabletop model. In fact, larger units are sometimes recommended for professional chefs who are looking for a sturdy unit capable of handling large volumes of food quickly and efficiently.
They are great for restaurants, bars, hotels, schools, colleges, and hospitals because they require very little maintenance, and they offer an airtight seal when closed so spills can be contained. This means that there will be very little mess left behind after they’ve been cleaned.
With their high capacity, you won’t have to worry about running out of oil either, which is why these are perfect for commercial establishments where safety is an issue.
Although they can take up quite a bit of room, they are actually pretty easy to move around once set up properly. Most importantly, they allow you to operate safely, especially if you’re frying foods using animal fats like beef fat or lamb tallow.
Because they do not contain any grease, you know that your oil is clean and free from harmful chemicals. This is important because some people could be allergic to certain substances found in cooking oils.
Another thing to consider is that they are easy to maintain, which allows you to keep costs down while offering excellent value for money.
There are a number of other elements and features that you should consider when purchasing an oil-less fryer, and these include:
It is a good idea to opt for a model that offers multiple options for controlling the temperature; not only is this important for safety, but it will offer greater variety as to the items that you can cook.
Most oil-less fryers will come with timers and alarms – this is useful for helping you to ensure that your food is cooked for long enough, and means that you will be instantly alerted when the food is done.
Most fryers will also automatically turn off the heat or reduce the temperature when the timer or alarm pings, and this is a useful extra safety feature.
Design & Quality Control
Many oil-less fryers feature a dual door design. One side offers access to the heating elements inside the pan while the other provides access to electrical contacts along with the controls.
When used correctly, this arrangement tends to reduce the risk of splatters, making cleanup much less messy.
Another benefit of this type of design is that each section can usually be removed independently. For example, if one element gets clogged, you can simply remove a section for cleaning without affecting the others.
An oil-less fryer or air fryer is a great addition to your plethora of kitchen appliances and allows you to enjoy your favorite fried dishes in a healthier manner, as well as boosting safety in and around the kitchen.