Cooking healthy and delicious food is possible. Whether you’re trying to cook healthier to lose weight or want to get inspired by trying new recipes, you can start this journey by investing in a new useful appliance. The competition arises: air fryer vs. dehydrator. Which one should be your choice?
Companies are manufacturing lots of products that can help make your life easier, so you can explore the most suitable cooking method. Air fryers and dehydrators allow you to cook tasty food without using huge amounts of fat. In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about air fryers and dehydrators, and we’ll also suggest a few good products that you need to check out.
What is an Air Fryer and What Does it Do?
An air fryer is a useful appliance that allows you to cook tasty food that mimics the look and taste of fried food. However, this appliance uses the power of hot air and the least amount of oil to keep the food moist from the inside and give it a crunchy outer crust.
This appliance looks like a counter top convection oven. Its compact size facilitates faster cooking. The top of the machine contains a heating element that heats the air, and there’s a fan that circulates this hot air to guarantee even cooking.
The food is kept in a fryer-style basket, and the fast circulation of the hot air guarantees that it will have a crunchy crust, just like deep-fried food, but without using a huge amount of oil.
What Can You Cook in an Air Fryer?
The best thing about air fryers is that they’re so versatile. You can prepare a lot of tasty recipes with the help of your air fryer, as it does all the job on your behalf. Here are a few things you can cook in your air fryer.
- Air fryers can cook frozen foods that are meant to be deep-fried like mozzarella sticks, tartar tots, and frozen wings.
- They will help you prepare delicious and crunchy French fries.
- You can use your air fryer for cooking any type of protein like chicken breasts, lamb chops, or burgers. Your food can be breaded or not because the hot air will cook it evenly.
- Your air fryer can also be used to prepare delicious veggies. By adding a drop of olive oil, the hot air will cook your veggies to perfection while giving them a crunchy taste. You can cook chickpeas, okra, eggplants, mushrooms, beans, broccoli, and even carrots in your air fryer. The vegetables will be soft but not gooey from the inside and will have a crunchy outer crust.
- Air fryers can be used to heat leftovers. Leftover pizza and other baked dishes won’t feel hard as you heat them in this appliance.
- Some people also use air fryers for baking. You can make them prepare fast yet tasty cookies.
- Some people think that air fryers can’t be used to make anything with liquid batter, like onion rings. However, you can do that if you just freeze them for 10 minutes before switching the air fryer on.
What are the Pros and Cons of Air Fryers?
There’s a lot of hype around air fryers, so you’re probably wondering if this appliance is worth the extra cash. Here are some of the benefits of air fryers.
- Air fryers help you cook healthier meals by decreasing the number of fats used. You can even cook without any oil, and your food will have a crunchy browned crust. Most users spray a little amount of oil, and let the air fryer do all the work. Even if there’s excess oil, it will get drained, and not absorbed by the food you’re cooking.
- You can cook faster. The air fryer takes only a few minutes to heat, and the heat remains trapped inside, cooking your food to perfection. This appliance cooks faster than a stove or an oven because the hot circulates inside a compact space.
- These benefits are also energy-efficient because the food cooks faster. As a result, you will notice that you’re using less electricity when you’re using this appliance compared to an electric oven.
- Although this is an air fryer, you can use it for more versatile applications other than frying. You can use it to bake, grill, stir fry, steam, and even roast. You can also use this appliance for cooking fried chicken, fish and shrimp dishes, roasted and stir fry veggies, sausages, and even a whole turkey if your air fryer is big enough.
- Compared to other appliances, an air fryer is space-saving. It’s suitable for smaller kitchens.
- Even if you have no previous experience with cooking, an air fryer will be extremely easy to use. It will also deliver amazing results. All you have to do is to set the temperature and put the food in the basket, and the appliance will do all the job on your behalf.
Nevertheless, the air fryer comes with a few limitations that you need to take into consideration.
- Due to its compact size, you might not be able to cook everything in the air fryer, depending on its shape and size.
- Air fryers might not be very convenient for larger families, so you might need to cook in batches.
- Although air fryers have a learning curve, they’re relatively easy to use. They allow you to prepare delicious dishes, even if you don’t have much experience with cooking, as you don’t have to keep an eye on the food until it’s ready.
What is a Food Dehydrator and What Does it Do?
A food dehydrator dries food at a low temperature over a long period of time. It removes the moisture from food to make it more shelf-stable, so you can store it for a long time. Moreover, removing the water brings out the taste of certain types of food, so you will find that fruits taste sweeter and herbs have a stronger taste.
This appliance is usually used to prepare healthy snacks at the comfort of your home. You can use it to dehydrate different types of fruits, vegetables, and meat.
Unlike the snacks bought from the store, your dehydrated snacks will be free from colors and additives, so they will be healthier. Moreover, you can customize the way your dehydrated food tastes by adding oil, salt, sugar, or none at all.
A food dehydrator blows warm air to remove fluids from food. This process has been used for centuries to preserve food, but people used the sunlight to dry food. Using a dehydrator, you can increase the shelf life of food and prevent the growth of bacteria.
Dehydration is a potent and healthy cooking practice that has been used for centuries. Some ingredients are rich in nutrients but lose those nutrients when boiled or steamed. Dehydrating preserves the number of nutrients like vitamins and nutrients.
Food is arranged on shelves in a single layer. Food is usually cut into slices or pieces, without touching each other where a fan circulates the food at a low temperature. Different temperatures are used to dry various types of food.
Dehydrators either have stacked or pull-out shelves. The models with stacked shelves have a small fan at the base that circulates the air upwards. Some of these models are round, but most of them are rectangular.
Some models have pull-out shelves where the fan is located at the back of the appliance. More frequent users prefer these models because they offer more temperature control.
What Can You Cook in a Dehydrator?
Dehydrators help you prepare healthy snacks that you can eat at home, school, or in the office. There’s a lot that you can prepare using a dehydrator.
- Herbs and other delicate types of food can be dehydrated at 95 degrees Fahrenheit without being overly dry, so they won’t lose their nutrients or color.
- Water-dense types of food like fruits can be dehydrated at a high temperature of 135 degrees Fahrenheit. This will intensify the flavor and sweetness of fruits.
- Veggies can be dehydrated at a lower temperature of 125 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Meat can be dehydrated first at a temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit then at 130 or 140 degrees Fahrenheit to kill any bacteria.
- A dehydrator can be used to ferment yogurt and prepare dry homemade pasta.
- This appliance can be used to make fruit or granola bars.
- Your food dehydrator can be used to re-crisp stale food like pizza, cookies, and bakery.
- You can also use a dehydrator for DIY projects like molds and potpourri.
What are the Pros and Cons of Food Dehydrators?
By removing water from food, dehydrators enhance the flavors without the addition of any preservatives or artificial flavors. Here are some of the advantages of food dehydrators.
- A food dehydrator will allow you to save money by stocking up on produce that you can buy in bulk and store for later use. Dehydrated fruits and vegetables won’t turn bad or brown because the water is removed.
- When you’re using the dehydrator to make dried meat, you can use your special herbal mix to create your favorite flavor.
- This appliance will help intensify the taste of sugar in fruits, even if they aren’t that sweet in real life. This is an excellent option, especially if you’re trying to lose weight but have a sweet tooth.
- The food you prepare in a dehydrator retains its nutritional level. Most minerals and vitamins are broken when exposed to high heat. Although steamed food is healthy, some of the nutrients will be lost during the cooking process. Dehydrating food is done using low temperatures, so most of the nutrients won’t break down.
- If you’re following a raw food diet or want to try vegan food, a food dehydrator will be an excellent addition to your kitchen arsenal. It’s like having 100% raw food with a little twist that makes it tastier.
- Food dehydrators are a must-have for outdoor enthusiasts. They will allow you to prepare lots of dried food that you can later cook when you’re camping or spending time away from home. You can use dehydrated veggies and meat for various delicious recipes.
- Preparing granola and protein bars will be easy with the help of a dehydrator. These are healthy snacks that you can prepare at home without any effort. They’re healthier than store-bought products because you can have total control over the ingredients. You can also make sure that they’re free from dangerous preservatives, colors, and other additives that you don’t want your family to consume.
However, food dehydrators come with a few disadvantages that you should think about before investing in one.
- Food dehydrators aren’t mute. High-quality models produce less noise than low-quality models, so you should take that into consideration.
- Depending on the size, a food dehydrator can have a larger footprint. Food must be arranged in a single layer, so you need to invest in a bigger model, if you’re trying to prepare a convenient amount of food.
- Dehydrating food takes time. Unless you finish the process, the resulting food might not be 100% dry, so it won’t taste the way you want it.
- The food you dry at home has a different taste and texture than the one you buy from the store. It’s definitely healthier, but you’ll need to adjust to the taste.
What are the Similarities Between an Air Fryer and a Food Dehydrator?
Here are a few similarities between the 2 appliances.
- Both use electricity to produce heat energy to cook food.
- The food prepared is healthy and full of nutrients.
- Both appliances are easy to use and clean.
- There are several settings that allow you to cook different types of food.
- Food is cooked evenly and tastes delicious.
What are the Differences Between an Air Fryer and a Food Dehydrator?
Here are some of the differences that set these 2 appliances apart.
- An air fryer cooks food while a food dehydrator typically takes several hours to make sure that the food is 100% dehydrated.
- An air fryer has a fan that circulates hot air to cook food evenly. A food dehydrator has a fan that circulates air at a low temperature.
- The food you prepare in a dehydrator looks different from raw food. An air fryer creates a crunchy outer crust when you’re using it to prepare food.
- When you’re using a dehydrator, the food will get rid of all the moisture. The air fryer dries the outside to keep it crunchy while keeping the food moist.
- Food from a dehydrator can be stored for several months. Food prepared in an air fryer will go bad in a few hours, just like any other cooking method.
- An air fryer is more suitable for smaller families, but you can prepare food in batches. You can prepare a larger amount of food in a dehydrator.
- The food prepared in an air fryer tastes the same as if it has been cooked using another conventional method like deep-frying or baking. However, the flavor and taste change significantly when you’re using a dehydrator.
- A food dehydrator is a potent way to store excess food. If you’re trying to minimize waste, surplus food will be stored efficiently. Surplus food from the air fryer can be stored in the fridge like any other cooking method.
Reviews of the Best Air Fryers on the Market
If you’re looking for an air fryer, you can check out one of these models.
1. Philips TurboStar Technology Airfryer
This air fryer comes with 5 different settings to cook various types of food. It comes with a quick control app that allows you to prepare healthy and delicious recipes, reducing up to 75% of the amount of fat used. There are more than 200 recipes in the included book that allow you to embark on the journey of air frying.
The 2.75 qt size is enough to fry, bake, grill, and roast 4 servings of food up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. This is an excellent choice for a first-timer because it’s super easy to use. After the food is prepared, the warm setting will help you keep food warm for 30 minutes.
It heats instantly and comes with dishwasher-safe parts, so it’s quite easy to clean. However, the temperature setting increases at large increments, so you might not be able to prepare some recipes. It’s not suitable for cooking large batches of food.
What We Like
- Compact design.
- Dishwasher-safe parts.
- Heats instantly and keeps food warm after it’s cooked.
- Easy to use.
What We Don’t Like
- Not suitable for larger families.
- The temperature settings aren’t that flexible.
2. Ultrean 8.5 Quart Air Fryer
Cooking for your big family will not be a problem, thanks to the 8.5 qt-capacity. This air fryer allows you to cut down on your oil consumption by 85% or even more while serving healthy and tasty food.
You can use it to fry, bake, grill, and roast your favorite meals, and you can also try new recipes from the cookbook. There are 7 cooking presets, so you can do different stuff while your food is being cooked.
It’s an excellent choice for parties and gatherings because you can prepare food for 6 or 7 people at the same time. You can adjust the time and temperature for the best results.
Thanks to the automatic shut – off feature, this appliance will be protected from overheating. All the settings are easy to control, thanks to the LCD display. It also comes with a kitchen glove for more protection.
This air fryer comes with non-stick dishwasher-safe parts. Some people might be annoyed by the beeping sounds, but it’s still a good choice.
What We Like
- Prepares food up to 6 or 7 servings.
- Comes with 7 cooking presets.
- Adjustable time and temperature settings.
- Non-stick and dishwasher-safe parts.
- Touch LCD display.
What We Don’t Like
- The beeping sounds can be too annoying.
Reviews of the Best Food Dehydrators
If you’re looking for a food dehydrator, you can take a look at one of these appliances.
1. COSORI Premium Food Dehydrator Machine
This dehydrator comes with 6 stainless steel trays, 1 fruit roll sheet, and a mesh screen to prepare medium-sized batches of food. You can use it to make fruit leathers, beef jerky, bread crumbs, dog treats, and dried flowers and herbs.
Using the digital controller, you can adjust the time from 30 minutes up to 48 hours to prepare different types of food. The temperature is adjusted from 95 to 165 degrees Fahrenheit and the dehydrator comes with a book that contains 50 recipes.
It’s safe and easy to use, even if you’re a first-timer. The shelves are dishwasher-safe, and the tray liners can be cleaned in the dishwasher before the drying cycle. There’s a memory function and an automatic shut – off feature. However, this dehydrator is rather small.
What We Like
- Easy to control digital controller.
- Time setting between 30 minutes and 48 hours.
- Has 6 stainless steel trays.
- Suitable for beginners.
What We Don’t Like
- This machine is rather small.
2. Magic Mill Food Dehydrator Machine
With 10 stainless steel racks and a mesh screen, this dehydrator can prepare big batches of food. It has a rear-mounted fan that circulates air for even drying. The temperature and timer can be adjusted, and the timer countdown will show you how much time is left before your food is ready.
Setting the time between 30 minutes and 24 hours will help you dry different types of food. The temperature can be adjusted from 95 to 165 degrees Fahrenheit. This dehydrator can prepare up to 11 pounds of food in a single batch, and the transparent cover will help you monitor the drying process.
The hanging rack allows you to prepare delicious beef jerky, while the 2 fruit roll trays to make fruit leather or can be used as a drip tray. You can adjust the height of the racks to suit the recipes you’re preparing.
All these parts are dishwasher-safe and the dehydrator comes with a set of oven mitts. However, the outside part is made of plastic, so there might be an annoying smell for a while.
What We Like
- Can be used to prepare big batches of food.
- A hanging rack for preparing beef jerky.
- All trays are dishwasher-safe.
- Adjustable time and temperature.
- Countdown timer.
What We Don’t Like
- The outside is made of plastic.
Investing in an air fryer or a food dehydrator opens doors to more versatile cooking with the help of these easy-to-use appliances. An air fryer can be used for frying, baking, grilling, and roasting food with a little amount of oil. Your food will taste crunchy as if it has been deep-fried, without the extra calories.
A dehydrator dries the food and removes the water, enhancing the flavor. You can use a dehydrator to preserve produce or prepare healthy snacks, without the additives and artificial flavors.
Whether you go for an air fryer vs dehydrator, you should think about your cooking needs. Pick a high-quality model with suitable capacity, and switch to more healthy cooking.