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Air fryer vs deep fryer: which one is better?

Do you love fried foods but wished there was a healthier alternative? This is where the air fryer has attracted a lot of attention. There has been a lot of hype about how it can make healthier fried foods because it uses little to no oil in the cooking process. Maybe you’re considering getting an air fryer or a deep fryer. So, which one should you buy? In this post, we’ll compare air fryers and deep fryers to help you make the right decision for your lifestyle. Keep reading to learn more!

Differences between an air fryer and deep fryer

Air fryer vs deep fryer: how do they work?

You may have wondered what is air frying? And whether is it a similar form of frying as a deep fryer? Because the name is quite confusing, it is even known to some as an air deep fryer! Well, the answer is that they are two different types of cooking methods.

An air fryer works by using hot air to cook your food with little to no oil. The fan inside blows the heated air around your food thereby cooking the food. This method allows the air fryer to heat up very quickly and cook the food evenly. This appliance comes in varies sizes and it sits on the counter. Read our guide on “What capacity air fryer do I need?” to find the right size air fryer for you.

On the other hand, deep fryers use about 2-3 cups of oil to completely submerge food in hot oil for frying. This appliance is made of a base, a container to hold the oil, and a basket for adding food. After adding your favorite foods to the basket, you lower them into the hot oil. Deep fryers come in different sizes, from very small countertop deep fryers that can cook one or two pieces of chicken at once, to larger commercial-grade deep fryers that can cook a dozen chicken wings at once.

air fryer compared to deep fryer

Air fryer vs deep fryer: efficiency and convenience

How to save time cooking daily meal prep tips are always handy if you have a busy lifestyle. Ideally, you would want an appliance with minimal effort and supervision. This is where the air fryer is a better choice.

When cooking with an air fryer, you simply put the food in the air fryer and select your settings, and press start. Some air fryers even have pre-programmed settings, like the NuWave Brio with 100 pre-set programs, which means you can access the settings with just one button. The Consori Air Fryer Toaster Combo even allows you to control your cooking with your voice if your hands are not free. Cooking with an air fryer requires minimal monitoring of the food (if any at all) because the food is cooked evenly from all directions. At most, you might take out the basket to shake the fries around or flip a piece of meat.

Deep fryers, contrarily, require full monitoring of the food from beginning to end. You need to test when the oil is hot enough to cook the food. Then you will need to slowly place the food into the oil. Finally, you will need to monitor when the food is ready and then take it out. This means you will need to be over the stove during the whole cooking process.

Deep fryer vs air fryer: taste

Now we know how cooking with an air fryer takes less time and effort than using a deep fryer. But what about the taste? Is an air fryer comparable to a deep fryer in terms of taste?

Deep-fried foods are usually crispy outside and tender on the inside. This happens because most of the moisture can escape through pores in the outer layer of the food, leaving the inside mostly dry. Then, when the food soaks in the hot oil, the moisture will be locked inside. This is what gives deep-fried foods their distinct texture and taste.

When food is cooked with an air fryer, the hot air makes the outer layer crispy while keeping the core tender. The crispiness is different from that made in the deep fryer though. Air fried food has a thin layer of crispiness on the outside therefore, if you want that crunch texture, the deep fryer is still best. However, as cooking with an air fryer requires little to no oil, your food will not have that oily taste either.

airfryer calories

Air fryer vs deep fryer: nutrition

The level of food nutrition retention is key to your body getting the healthy nutrients it needs. Nutrients if food gets lots mainly through direct contact with high-temperature heat, heated oil, or boiling water for a long period.

Therefore, in terms of the level of nutrient retention, the air fryer is better than the deep fryer as the food is only exposed to heat. Food in the deep fryer, on the contrary, is submerged in high-temperature heated oil.

Air fryer vs deep fryer: health

Air frying food is better for your overall well-being when compared to deep-frying it. Deep-fried foods add extra calories and fat as the food is submerged in the oil and, if it is not drained properly, it will be consumed. The calorie intake is higher when using the deep fryer because of the type of food and recipes that are made with the deep fryer. Recipes made in the deep fryer usually involve some form of batter, either wet or dry, so that the food can get that crunchy texture. This outer batter soaks up the oil so the oil intake is higher.

On the contrary, using an air fryer for cooking helps reduce your calorie intake because it uses little to no oil at all for cooking. Most recipes only need one to two drops of oil. And when you make French fries, nuggets, or any dry crumbed food, you don’t even have to add oil at all. So, if you like to have crispy food regularly but you are worried about the calories, the air fryer will be a great choice.

Air Fryer vs Deep Fryer: what food to cook?

You can cook pretty much anything in an air fryer that you can cook in a deep fryer. However, since an air fryer does not submerge the food in oil, the wet batter should not be placed in the basket as the batter will be splattered all over the inside.

air fryer good for health

Air fryer vs deep fryer: cooking time

When it comes to cooking times, an air fryer is faster than a deep fryer with regards to pre-heating. Air fryers do not need to be pre-heated but some believe that pre-heating would make the food better. If you prefer to pre-heat, it would only take around 2 minutes with the air fryer.

Pre-heating the oil in the deep fryer is essential to cooking the food. Depending on the appliance, it can take anywhere from a few minutes up to 30 minutes to get the oil at the right temperature.

The actual cooking time in the air fryer is slower when compared to the deep fryer as most recipes take around 15 to 30 minutes to cook whereas the deep fryer can cook the food in a few minutes when the right temperature is reached.

Air Fryer vs Deep Fryer: functions

The air fryer was made for easy cooking and comes along with different functions like grilling, roasting, broiling, baking, and dehydrating. Multifunctional air fryers can even include rotisserie, pressure cook, and toaster oven functions. This gives you a lot of choices on how to cook your food daily.

Whereas the deep fryer has one sole function and that is to deep fry your food in oil.

Air fryer vs deep fryer: cooking capacity

When deciding on the air fryer to buy, it is important to get the right capacity air fryer. This is to avoid having to cook food in multiple batches. Air fryer capacities range from small to extra-large. Then there are multifunctional air fryers like the Nuwave Bravo XL that can have a capacity of up to 30 Quarts (28.39 Liters). Read our “What capacity air fryer do I need?” to give you a guide on the right size air fryer.

Non-commercial deep fryers range from 1 Quarts (0.95 Liters) to 26 Quarts (24.61 Liters). So, it’s key to identify how often and how many people are you cooking for to get the right size deep fryer.

Air fryer vs deep fryer: safety

If you’re thinking about getting an appliance that can give a similar crisp to deep frying without the hassle, we recommend getting an air fryer because it’s much safer than a deep fryer. Air fryers are much safer because they don’t submerge the food in oil, so there’s no risk of splattering hot oil that leads to burns. Especially when kids are running around in the kitchen, deep-frying could be a safety hazard.

Furthermore, since air fryers use little to no oil, there’s way less chance of your food catching on fire if you leave it unattended. Another advantage of an air fryer is that it uses smart technology to automatically turn off if it detects that your food is done cooking. Deep fryers don’t have this technology, so you need to set a timer for them or risk overcooking your food.

An air fryer is easier to clean than a deep fryer because little or no oil is used therefore there is less grease or oil to clean. All you need to do is wipe down the appliance after use with a damp cloth, hand wash the detachable parts, or pop it into your dishwasher if it’s dishwasher safe.

Deep fryers are harder to clean since you need to dispose of the oil after each use. This can be a pain because you need to find a way to dispose of it without spilling it, and you might have to go through multiple steps to do so. Then you need to clean the appliance which will require hand washing the individual parts and soaking in hot water for at least 30 minutes. So, the cleaning can take some time and if you use this appliance regularly, it means you end up using a lot of time cleaning up.

Easy cleaning with air fryer

Air fryers vs deep fryers: cost

Air fryers are typically more expensive than deep fryers because they use advanced technologies like sensors that automatically turn off the appliance when it detects that your food is done cooking (smart technology). Air fryers are also full of helpful features, like timers and temperature controls. In addition, air fryers are more versatile and have a lot more functions than deep fryers.


So, if you’re wondering whether to get an air fryer or a deep fryer, we recommend the former because there are more benefits of an air fryer compared to the deep fryer. Air fryers are safer, easier to clean, have higher nutrition retention in food, and have a lower calorie intake compared to food cooked in the deep fryer. Plus, you can use them for different functions that will save you on buying different appliances. This appliance is great for eating healthy with a busy lifestyle.

However, if you want that battered crunch then there is no alternative but to use the deep fryer. As the deep fryer was invented to solely deep fry foods that give them that crunchiness.


T fal Deep Fryer with 3.5 liter oil capacity
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