How Does an Air Fryer Work?

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Written by: Alex Savy
Last updated on

The kitchen life has changed from days of making food on unsanitary stoves to using semi-automatic appliances like an air fryer. But the challenge with embracing new technology in the kitchen is the difficulty in operating them. That’s why more and more people are asking on the internet, “How does an air fryer work?” And it seems like no one is providing answers or at least relatable ones.

Well, that’s my work here; I’ll bring this operational guide to the basic level. We’ll start from “what is an air fryer?” and by the end, you’ll have learned how to use an air fryer. So, sit back, relax, and enjoy this well-cooked guide.

Key Takeaways

  • Air fryers let you fry your food with minimal oil to get a healthier meal. 
  • The fryer has a heat source with a fan. The fan circulates the hot air, so the food is cooked evenly and has a crunchy surface.

What is an air fryer?

An air fryer is a small, well-insulated, very efficient, compact oven with a basket for deep frying. It is very similar to an oven in its functions, but the difference is its heating elements.

Having said what the machine is designed like, the next question we should address is “what is an air fryer made to do?” Since the new kitchen gadgets are designed to replace deep fryers, they fry food in an innovative, more healthy way.

This novel kitchen appliance was first introduced by the electronics company Philips in 2010. Since then, it has gained an excellent reputation for cooking food in a short time with significantly less oil.

The heating elements of an air fryer are located at the top and are accompanied by a powerful fan to heat the food resulting in super crunchy and crispy food in minutes. Air fryers heat up quickly and cook food evenly due to the fan’s concentrated heat source, size, and placement.

How does an air fryer work?

When any new home item is bought, we often allow a breaking-in period. For appliances, the breaking-in period also includes the time you take in learning to operate the gadget. Reading up on answers to “How does an air fryer work?” like you’re doing here is a great attempt to shorten your learning curve.

Figuring out how an air fryer works is kind of an intuitive process. Air fryers use heated air that contains fine oil droplets to extract moisture out of the foods. The resulting products possess similar characteristics to convectional fried foods, though significantly low amounts of fat (1).

Like a traditional oven, the food is heated by a heating element with air circulation aided by a built-in fan. The food is placed inside a perforated basket, enabling the heated air to circulate evenly around the food. The food is placed close to the heat source and is blown by hot air up to 200 degrees celsius at high speed.

Let's be real. You're not actually frying your food. The fryer works like an oven but can replicate a deep fryer's results. That's why they're advertised as a healthier option for people.

Air fryers have been proven to be a more efficient way of cooking food evenly in a short time. However, since food is cooked by circulating hot air in a small, confined area, it is best to prepare foods in smaller bits without overlapping.

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Compared to other conventional options of cooking in an oven, air frying creates a more tasty, crunchy crust with lower risk of obesity.

How to use an air fryer

Figuring out the answer to our main question of “How does an air fryer work? is all about learning. And really, all you need to learn is how to use an air fryer.

But before we start learning all about operating your new cooking appliance. Here’s what to do after purchasing a new air fryer:

  • Open the box and take apart all removable components. This includes a removable basket and a grate or perforated tray at the bottom of the basket.
  • Place the air fryer on a heat-resistant surface, at least ten inches from the wall. 
  • Run the air fryer empty for at least eight minutes to let it off-gas before you cook anything. When done with this, you are now ready to cook food.

Don’t have one of these cool new cooking appliances yet? Looking to buy a new air fryer? Check out our list of the best air fryers in Canada.


Here are the steps on how to use an air fryer;

  • Step 1 - Place food in the basket.

Open the frying basket and arrange whatever you want to fry. Ensure the food to be cooked is patted dry before being placed in the basket, and the frying basket should not be overcrowded.

  • Step 2 - Brush with oil (Optional)

Add a negligible quantity of oil using an oil brush. However, you do not add oil when cooking non-veg meals because the air fryer will utilize the fatty oils from the food to cook it.

  • Step 3 - Set the specs

Depending on what you are cooking, set the air fryer temperature gauge and timer. The user’s manual of the fryer will help with pre-designed schedules for different foods.

  • Step 4 - Toss the food

After some minutes of cooking, open the air fryer basket and toss the content. Tossing the content will ensure hot air touches every side of the food being cooked.

  • Step 5 - Add flavor

If you want to add flavor, beauty, or taste to your food, add any seasoning of your choice and other decorative things to make your food delicious and sumptuous. Then, put the frying basket back in the air fryer.

  • Step 6 - Take cooked food out

When the air fryer timer hits zero, the food is ready, and it is time to feed your taste buds with your crispy meal. Many fantastic air fryer recipes that you can try are available online.

What are the benefits of using an air fryer?

Air fryers are healthful alternatives for making fried foods. But how good is cooking with an air fryer? When properly used, air fryers offer many benefits:

1. Help reduce the risk of disease from deep-fried foods

Consuming oil from traditional fried foods can lead to several adverse health conditions. But using air fryers removes calories and fat from the cooking process, which reduces a person’s risk of diseases.

2. Promotes weight loss

Obesity is often associated with high intakes of fried foods. This is because deep-fried foods contain a high amount of fats and calories.

Air fryers help to promote weight loss by reducing the intake of unhealthy oils. Hence, air-fried foods are your best bet if you need to shed some weight.

3. Air fryers reduce the formation of toxic acrylamide

Deep frying in oils can cause toxic compounds such as acrylamide to develop in certain foods. These toxic compounds may have links to the development of various types of cancer. But by adopting air frying, the risk of having acrylamide in foods is lowered (2).

4. Air fryers are safer than deep fryers

Deep-frying can pose a safety risk because there is the risk of splashing, spilling, or accidentally touching hot oil. But with air fryers, these safety risks are avoided. This makes it safer to use than deep fryers.

I use an air fryer to maintain a healthier diet without giving up my favorite foods. The air fryer lets me enjoy the food without the guilt or the added risk of heart disease.


Are air-fried foods healthy?

Yes. Air-fried foods are healthier than any other cooking method if you stick to using 1-2 tablespoons of plant-based oil with the proper seasoning.

What kind of foods can be cooked with an air fryer?

Air fryers, once understood, can be used to cook all sorts of fresh food like veggies, salmon, potatoes, chicken, pork chops, and steak. However, since it uses dry heat, think of foods that cook with dry heat(baking, roasting, and frying) against those cooked with wet heat.

 Do air fryers need oil?

Air fryers need none or a small amount of oil to cook food. Its high heat and convection technology cooks your food faster and gives your food a crispy finish even with no oil.



So, next time you meet someone asking how does an air fryer work? You’ve got enough information to enlighten them. Learning all about the new age kitchen equipment isn’t all there is. You should try your hands on one of these machines and experience the difference for yourself.

Do you have any other questions about how air fryers work and why they work the way they do? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below.



  1. Maria del Rocio Teruel, Michael Gordon, Maria Belen Linares, Maria Dolores Garrido, Araya Ahromit, Keshavan Niranjan. (2015). A comparative study of the characteristics of French fries produced by deep fat frying and air frying. Retrieved from
  2. M Sansano, M Juan-Borras, I Escriche, A Andres, A Heredia. (2015). Effect of pretreatments and air-frying, a novel technology, on acrylamide generation in fried potatoes. Retrieved from

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