Do Air Fryers Need Oil to Cook properly?

air fryer cooking without oil

The same foods with that deep-fried taste, but fried with just air. This is quite a promise to live up to, but that is exactly what air fryers do, they cook with the power of hot air, or convection, and with little to no oil needed.

That’s right, you can cook everything from french fries to chicken wings, without oil. But if you want that little extra flavour and fried finish, you can lightly spray your food first with a low-calorie oil spray.

Foods leave the air fryer just as crispy as if you had used a real deep fryer. But without fat – or at least with significantly less of it.

But opinions differ on the question of how much less fat exactly. Because although the air fryer technically does not need oil to function, oil is and will remain an important flavor enhancer.

Unsaturated oils are also not necessarily unhealthy. On the other hand, the dream of a hot air fryer should also be the dream of low-calorie yet tasty fast food. So what’s better?

Basically, it can be said that it is up to the chef to decide. There are no technical reasons why you should choose one or the other. We have summarized the most important reasons for preparing with and without oil.

Air Frying Without Oil

Of course, the health factor speaks primarily in favour of using the hot air fryer without oil. Finally, one should avoid ingesting deep-frying oil, and it does not help with dieting either. But you still don’t want to do without it.

The idea is therefore to have the same pleasure – or at least something similar – completely without oil. Another advantage of not using oil is of course that the air fryer is easier to clean. Grease stains are rarely a pleasure, even if the right dishwasher can be used to remove them from the fryer basket. Always check with the manufacturer manual to see if your fryer components are dishwasher safe, because some may not be, depending on your model.

Air Frying With Oil

The fact is, however, that the oil helps the fried food (i.e. chips, chicken nuggets, etc.) to become crispy and is also a flavour enhancer. According to many opinions, hot air dishes without oil taste a bit bland. That’s why gourmets often miss the fat. So if you want to get as close to the taste of a real fried dish as possible, you should use some oil. After all, it is comparatively low in fat with the hot air fryer.

How to use oil in an air fryer?

Anyone who decides to use a hot air fryer with oil will inevitably wonder what to do with the oil. Because there is usually no separate compartment in the air fryer for the fat. There is also a very simple reason for this: You shouldn’t pour the oil directly into the device. Instead, you “bathe” the fried food in a little oil beforehand in a separate bowl.

As I mentioned, a great alternative is to use an oil spray – so you use less oil overall to cover the fried food. So you can still save some fat.

Incidentally, the fat should not be put directly into the air fryer, as some manufacturers explicitly advise against it in the operating instructions. This means that you do this at your own risk and you would potentially lose your warranty.

Which Type of Oil For Air Fryer

You do not need your own frying fat or frying oil for the hot air fryer. However, there are still fats that are more suitable than others. Vegetable oils are particularly recommended.

These include, for example:

  • Rapeseed oil
  • Sunflower oil
  • Coconut oil
  • peanut oil

The most important thing when choosing the oil is its heat resistance. Many vegetable oils stand out positively in this property. An exception to this, however, is cold-pressed olive oil. It is better to keep your hands off that when you work with high temperatures.

The same applies to butter, for example. However, if you stick to the listed vegetable oils, nothing stands in the way of deep-frying enjoyment.

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