Deep Fryer vs Air Fryer: Which is a Better Option?  


Last Updated: March 17th, 2023

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From French fries to chicken wings, fried foods are delicious! The crispy exterior and juicy interior are sure to be a treat. Preparing them, however, requires the right tools. If you’re clueless about what to use, this deep fryer vs air fryer comparison is for you. 

For a long time, deep fryers have been popular for frying, but in recent years, air fryers have taken over the market. They can both do the job, but they do so differently. In addition, they have different features, which can make one better than the other. 

Let’s compare the two, so you can decide which one is a better addition to your kitchen. 

Deep Fryer vs Air Fryer_featured

How Does a Deep Fryer Work?

A deep fryer is a common sight in restaurants and other commercial kitchens, including food trucks. However, you can also find models that are designed for home kitchens, which are known for being compact. 

One of the most important parts of a deep fryer is its heating element. The appliance works in several stages. It starts by super-heating oil to approximately 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the oil is hot, food is dipped in the fryer. In turn, it vaporizes moisture while also cooking food. You’ll see bubbles as it cooks, which is moisture from the food. 

How Does an Air Fryer Work? 

Recently, air fryers became amongst the most popular kitchen appliances. They are convenient and versatile. You can experiment with various dishes, which will take only a few minutes to cook. 

The name itself can already give you an idea of how air fryer works. It fries with hot air. The latter is possible through a heating element, which creates heat that circulates around the interior of the air fryer. This hot air goes around food, which is also what cooks it in the process. 

Comparing Deep Fryer vs Air Fryer 

So, which is a better option between the two? To help you decide, below are some of the differences between a deep fryer and air fryer. 

  1. Oil Usage 

One of the main differences between the two is the amount of oil they use. The deep fryer uses more oil. Like traditional deep frying in a pan, you will need to have enough oil to submerge food. In most standard deep fryers, you’ll need approximately 6 to 19 cups of oil. Otherwise, you might not achieve the crispy golden-brown exterior you’re aiming for. 

On the other hand, air fryers are known for using little to no oil, which is also one of its benefits. At the very least, you might need to spray oil. Using oil in an air fryer prevents sticking and makes the exterior crispier. The good thing is you won’t need a lot, which can also make it economical in the long run. 

  1. Health 

If you’re looking for a healthier way to cook, an air fryer is the better option. There are many ways by which cooking in an air fryer is healthy. For instance, it can help cut fat content. As earlier mentioned, a deep fryer uses a lot of oil, which can be a health risk. Some air fryer brands assert that their products can help cut fat content by up to 75%.  

Because it cuts fat content, an air fryer can be an ideal option for those who want to lose weight. Several studies showed that intake of fatty foods can increase the risk of obesity. 

In addition, the formation of dangerous compounds is less likely in an air fryer than in a deep fryer. An example of the latter is acrylamide, which is found in carbohydrate-rich foods, resulting in high-heat cooking. 

  1. Taste 

No one wants to have bland food! If you’ll exert effort cooking, might as well expect something that will excite your taste buds. Hence, when comparing deep fryer vs air fryer, it’s also essential to consider the taste differences of the food. 

Between the two, the deep fryer wins if you’re looking for taste. It creates what’s known as the Maillard reaction, which is also known as non-enzymatic browning. This chemical reaction between a reducing sugar and amino acids provides a distinct flavor and aroma. More than the flavors, it will also add a distinct crunch, improving the overall texture of food. 

Another good thing that makes deep fryers better in terms of taste is that they cook food more evenly compared to an air fryer. 

However, there’s one thing that can affect the overall flavor of deep-fried food – the quality of oil you use. Make sure to use fresh oil. Reusing it can save you money, but the flavor might end up being ridiculous. 

The taste of the food depends on your cooking technique. For instance, when deep frying, you must ensure it is hot enough before putting the food in the basket. Meanwhile, in an air fryer, many recipes will require flipping the food, which will make it cook more consistently and taste better. 

  1. Versatility 

It’s a good idea to invest in a versatile kitchen appliance. You won’t just save money, but you can also make the most of your tiny space. Between the two, an air fryer wins if you’re looking for versatility. While it can differ between brands, many of them are designed to deliver multiple cooking functions. You will find an air fryer and microwave combo or even an air fryer grill combo. Many also have built-in cooking presets, such as bake, roast, and dehydrate. 

Meanwhile, a deep fryer is designed only for deep frying. So, this may not be a good investment for people who like their kitchen appliance to do more. 

  1. Cooking Time 

If you’re always in a hurry to fry food, then you should choose a deep fryer over an air fryer. The oil in the fryer heats up quickly, which can cook food within a few minutes. Once the oil is hot, it will take approximately three to five minutes to fry. Of course, cooking time will depend on many factors, such as the size or quantity. 

Meanwhile, an air fryer can take 10 to 20 minutes to cook food, depending on the recipe. It’s still faster than other cooking methods but slower compared to using a deep fryer.  

  1. Ease of Use 

If you’re looking for a user-friendly kitchen appliance, you won’t go wrong with an air fryer. The latter is designed with simplicity in mind. Most will come with cooking presets, although you also have the option to program the time and temperature as you wish. You can also set-and-forget as they often come with automatic shut-off. 

In contrast, using the deep fryer can be a more involved process. While some will have an automatic shut-off, you still need to be there to take the food out. Otherwise, it will continue to cook in hot oil. 

  1. Safety 

Between the two kitchen appliances, an air fryer is a safer option. Many models are built with state-of-the-art features for your peace of mind. Also, it contains cooking in the interior, making it less risky. 

On the other hand, an air fryer cooks food in extremely hot oil. There is a risk of splatters, which can get into the skin and hurt you. Maintain a safe distance from the deep fryer to minimize the possibility of scalding. 

  1. Cleaning 

One thing that most people hate about cooking is cleaning. The clean-up can be tasking. Between the two, deep fryers are more complicated to clean. The fact that they use a lot of oil means it can be messy. There can also be lots of splatters on the countertop. 

In contrast, an air fryer is simpler to clean and maintain. The drips are easy to contain in the basket or rack. Because it uses little to no oil, cleaning won’t be a headache. Most of them have non-stick coating as well. Plus, many are dishwasher-safe, but take note that not all parts. 

  1. Cost 

The cost of air fryers and deep fryers will vary depending on the brand that you choose. You can find options from not-so-well-known brands for cheap. Those from more reputable manufacturers, however, can be more expensive, but the price is justifiable. 

In most cases, a deep fryer is more affordable. One of the reasons for such is because they’re designed to do only one thing – to fry. On the other hand an air fryer can be a more versatile appliance. You can reheat, grill, roast, and bake, depending on the model. Such can make the higher price worth it. 

Final Verdict

So, which is the better option? 

This deep fryer vs air fryer compared two popular kitchen appliances. If you like deep-fried foods, such as fried chicken, a deep fryer is a good option. Nonetheless, if you want something versatile that can offer a more convenient and safer cooking experience, an air fryer is the way to go. 

At the end of the day, the most important thing is to pick the right brand and model. Read reviews and learn from the real-life experiences of other people. Go beyond price when comparing your options. 

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Thomas S.

Hey there! I've been cooking for myself and loved ones since the age of 18. In our busy world I've always looked for ways to be more time efficient when it comes to preparing food but also creating tasty and healthy dishes. That's when I came accross air fryers a few years ago and eversince I am trying to spread the word of the benefits of these wonderful machines.