Best air fryers for quick, tasty meals revealed

Air fryers have proven to be one of the most handy kitchen appliances on the market and while they’re known for making healthy alternatives to your fried favourites, some models can also be used to roast, steam, grill and bake your food.

Taste.com.au’s Senior Food Assistant, Alison Adams, was originally sceptical of the cooking gadget but has become a convert of air fryers.

“Not only are they true to their original mission statement – frying in only a small amount of oil – air fryers are truly handy in many other ways,” she says.

RELATED: We Try: The Philips Premium Air Fryer XXL

They’re great for small batch cooking and she’s so far used her air fryer to make banana muffins, a four-ingredient Nutella brownie, pork belly, haloumi fritters and fried rice — “all with great success”.

BEST AIR FRYERS GUIDE

Itching to get your hands on an air fryer? We don’t blame you. Here are our top picks of the bunch.

BEST DEAL ON AIR FRYERS
Instant Pot Vortex Mini Air Fryer, Amazon Australia, $89.95 (RRP $149)

The Instant Pot multicooker has been a cult favourite since its release, but now its creators have branched into further benchtop appliances including air fryers. And if you’re looking for one that’s sleek, chic and not too big, their Vortex Mini is for you. It comes in black, red or white, features four preset cooking programs to air fry, bake, roast or reheat, and offers EvenCrisp technology for crisp and tender results every time.

“I’ve been wanting to buy an airfryer for a while but didn’t want something big and bulky. This unit is a great size and easily cooks enough to feed 2 people. I found the set up really simple and the instructions included are super easy to follow. If you’re wanting to try out an airfryer for the first time before making a full time commitment, this is a great device,” wrote one of many five-star reviewers.

Right now, you can score the red at 50% off during Amazon’s Big Smile Sale.

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Tefal Easy Fry Grill Deluxe Air Fryer Black/Silver, Myer, $249 (RRP $349)

This is the first two-in-one air fryer and grill that offers a healthy alternative to regular grilling. Tefal’s dual technology includes a die cast aluminium grilling plate to cook your steaks to seared perfection.

It also has the traditional air fryer functions which includes eight automatic cooking programs, a digital control panel and timer function, as well as a 3.4L capacity.

Five-star reviews of the two-in-one air fryer say it leaves food “crisp on the outside and tender and moist on the inside”.

“My life will never be the same again,” another five star reviewed raved.

What’s even better is that the Tefal Easy Fry currently has $100 off its normal price at Myer.

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Ninja Air Fryer Deluxe, The Good Guys, $249

Featuring six Auto IQ functions, a digital timer, and dishwasher-safe parts to make cleaning a breeze, the Ninja Air Fryer Deluxe makes cooking fast and easy. It has non-slip feet to keep it upright on your benchtop, a 5.2 litre capacity, and the ability to cook at temperatures between 40 to 240 degrees Celsius for a super crispy, golden brown finish. You can choose from six preset programs (Max Crisp, Air Fry, Roast, Bake, Reheat, or Dehydrate) and adjust the temperature and time as needed.

It has a very impressive 4.5-star average rating from over 100 reviews, with one happy buyer writing “Absolutely love my Airfryer. I have used it every single day since I bought it. I’m amazed how many different foods I can cook in it … The Ninja [has] a smooth opening basket, is so easy to clean and has a great range of cooking options in temperatures. Love it”.

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ADVWIN 6.5L Air Fryer, Amazon Australia, $99.90

This ADVWIN Air Fryer is a great pick for households of five to eight – perfect for families! The touchscreen design is super easy to operate, and the non-stick Teflon food basket is dishwasher safe to make clean-up a breeze.

Consistently high ratings prove the appliance is worth your dollar. One reviewer called it “the best online purchase I have made,” adding “This air fryer is so quiet when it is on you hardly notice it is on and it cooks so quick. I can do a batch of frozen fries in 15 minutes at 180 degrees. Excellent quality made product, it is not flimsy and not heavy”.

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Kitchen Couture 4.2 Litre Air Fryer, Appliances Online, $206 (RRP $349)

Take more than $100 off the RRP of this air fryer which has been discounted by Appliances Online.

The touchscreen menu makes for easy cooking, while the detachable basket makes for easy cleaning. Advanced air circulating technology creates a healthy, fast and easy way to cook, with seven preset modes on offer and automatic shut-off for safety. The 4.7-litre capacity makes it ideal for smaller households or up to four people.

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BEST LARGE AIRFRYERS

Healthy Choice 13 Litre Digital Air Fryer, Amazon Australia, $149

This dome-shaped air fryer is perfect for cooking a roast dinner for the family. It features six cooking presets for meat, poultry, fish, baking chips and pizza, as well as coming equipped with a baking cage, tongs, rack and chicken rotisserie.

The digital control panel allows you to set a temperature range from 60°C to 230°C as well as a one to 60 minutes timer.

The large window on top also means you can easily keep an eye on your food while its cooking — perfect if you tend to get nervous about overcooking meals.

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Kitchen Couture 14 Litre Digital Air Fryer, Catch, $139.95 (RRP $599)

If you’ve got a large crowd to feed, this 14-litre Kitchen Couture Air Fryer is more than up to the task. It features triple cooking modes: 360-degree food rotation, oven-style heating, and hot turbo air circulation. There are 10 cooking presets for convenience, or you can manually set the temperature (up to 200 degrees Celsius) and time controls (up to 90 minutes) to your liking. Six bonus accessories are included to make it a truly versatile appliance – you get an oil tray, rack, filter, rotating cage, rotisserie fork and cage tong. What more could you want?

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BEST DELUXE AIR FRYERS
Tefal 4.2L Easy Fry Deluxe Digital Air Fryer, Amazon Australia, $224.06

For an airfryer that would look oh-so slick sitting on your countertop, you can nab this 4.2L model from Tefal. It can cook up to six portions of food in one go and has a timer as well as eight different preset modes so you can fry, roast, grill, bake and more in the same machine. It also comes with a digital touch screen for easy use and zero fuss cleaning, and has a temperature range of 80 to 200 degrees Celsius.

Best air fryers for quick, tasty meals revealed

A satisfied reviewer said “Have experimented with fish, chicken, steak, vegetables etc and haven’t had a failure. Everything tastes better cooked in my Tefal Easy Fry. Easy to understand control panel and love the preset menu. Super easy to clean”.

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Instant Pot Duo Crisp + Air Fryer, Amazon Australia, $303 (RRP $389)

The legendary Instant Pot has added a new cooking function to this multi-cooker’s already impressive line-up. It’s got a total of 11 one-touch cooking functions, including pressure cook, saute, steam, slow cook, sous vide, warm, roast, bake, broil, dehydrate, and of course air fry. The impressive 1500W heating element means you can cook frozen foods straight from the freezer with little preheating time and Instant Pot states the appliance will get it done 70 per cent faster too.

And if you’re not yet convinced, the early, glowing reviews should push you over the line. As one shopper wrote: “(It’s) replaced every other appliance I had and works better than all of them combined”. High praise indeed.

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Philips Air Fryer Premium, Amazon Australia, $359 (RRP $399)

Using patented Twin TurboStar technology, this beloved Philips Airfryer separates and captures excess fat for food that’s crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. It’s 20 per cent more compact than previous models while maintaining a spacious capacity that can fit up to 0.8kg of fries.

It has an average 4.7 star rating, with one five star reviewer writing “We bought this for our young adult son who moved out of home a few years ago. He loves it and uses it every night he is home. For someone not used to cooking he has embraced it as it is simple to use and cooks his food quickly”.

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BEST BUDGET AIR FRYERS

Kitchen Couture 4L Digital Air Fryer, Amazon Australia, $119.95

This lightweight air fryer features a sleek design, and a detachable, non-stick Teflon-coated basket that allows for easy cleaning – and its sub-$100 price makes it a steal. Rapid air circulation technology cooks and crisps food in no time, and temperatures can be adjusted from 80 to 200 degrees Celsius with an automatic shut-off function when the cooking cycle is complete.

A five star reviewer wrote, “The Air Fryer just so amazing and so easy to use, also no headache for cleaning as well. I have been using everyday, also found that it such an great cooker for cooking the steaks too”.

Devanti 7L Oil Free Air Fryer, Myer, $151.25

The Devanti 7L Air Fryer offers 1800 watts of power so that cooking can be done efficiently with less odour. It has an auto shut-off function, 80 to 200 degrees Celsius temperature range, and a non-stick, dishwasher-safe cooking basket.

Reviewers are fans of its value for money, with one writing “I brought the Devanti Air fryer a few weeks ago. It is amazing, huge basket which is great for a family, cooks fast and makes everything crispy with fat and oil drained off. I will be purchasing a few more for Christmas presents for a few of my family members. Such a great product!”

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BEST-RATED AIR FRYER
Philips Airfryer XXL Premium, Bing Lee, $569

The Philips Airfryer XXL Premium has scored a stunning five-star average rating from over 200 reviews with high praise for its ease of use and ability to create great tasting meals. Its 7.3 litre capacity means you can rustle up 1.4 kilograms of chips in one go or whip up a whole roast chook with ease. All of the fryer’s removable parts are dishwasher-safe too, and the higher price tag gets you additional nifty features like the option to save your favourite dishes for speedier cook times, a keep warm mode, Smart Chef programs and Smart Sensing technology.

A reviewer on Bing Lee gave it five stars and said it’s worth the extra spend, noting, “I had researched many, I wanted a brand that was of quality. I do not regret paying extra and getting this product. It is easy to clean, cooks amazing”.

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BEST MULTIPURPOSE AIRFRYERS
Ninja Foodi Grill, Myer, $469

Don’t have space for a BBQ? Fear not, because this could be the next best thing. Ninja’s four in one appliance lets you air fry, grill, bake and dehydrate while it’s Smoke Control Technology will keep the smoke out of your kitchen and away from the fire alarm.

It also comes with a ceramic-coated crisper basket, cooking pot and grill grate, for you to make a medley of meals, snacks and desserts.

A reviewer left five stars, and commented “Amazing product have used to cook multiple things from a roast to fries, to chicken. Highly recommend so easy to use and easy to clean”.

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BEST AIR FRYER OVEN
Breville The Smart Oven Air Fryer, Appliances Online, $456 (RRP$599)

While it’s not the cheapest air fryer on the list, Breville’s Smart Oven Air Fryer could be a great alternative to a pricier built-in oven. Even if you’re not the most confident person in the kitchen, the machine uses a smart ‘Element IQ System’ to eliminate oven cold spots and maintain an even temperature throughout the entire oven. It also comes with 10 preset cooking functions including toast, pizza, roast and reheat and warm settings.

One five-star reviewer said “I love using my smaller oven and love how fast it bakes. The smaller area takes so much less time to produce the desired results. I’m often eating the results in the same time it would have taken my wall oven to heat up”.

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HOW DO AIR FRYERS WORK?

Similar to a mini convection oven, air fryers use hot air that’s rapidly circulated around your food to cook the ingredients. Thanks to their size, however, they’re a lot more user friendly and easier to clean than an actual gas or electric oven.

“The secret of the air fryer is that the air circulates at a rapid rate, so food is quickly sealed on the outside keeping the inside tender,” notes Alison.

WILL FOOD COOK EVENLY IN AN AIR FRYER?

It certainly will. “The temperature remains constant so food cooks at the same rate – no need to keep checking the oven to see if it’s browning evenly,” says Alison.

While they’re much healthier than traditional frying methods thanks to their lack of added fats, some recipes do recommend people coat their ingredients in a small amount of oil before cooking, although this can be omitted based on personal preference. If you are using an oil, a light coat of cooking spray works best.

ARE AIR FRYERS A GOOD WAY TO GET KIDS INTO COOKING?

The ease and simplicity of an air fryer makes it perfect for introducing your children to the fun of cooking.

“No need to turn the oven on for the kid’s fish fingers or chips and it’s safer than an oven for teaching those kids how to fend for themselves. The first time my eight-year-old put some chicken nuggets in the fryer and set the timer to 12 minutes and fed himself – I was sold,” says Alison.

For more kitchen upgrades, check out our round up of the best cast iron pans and Dutch ovens, as well as the rice cookers worth adding to your kitchen bench.

Plus, why not read up on our reviews of the affordable coffee maker that delivers barista results, and the latest, most powerful Dyson cordless vacuum.

Or, take a look at news.com.au Coupons – for deals from major brands including Harvey Norman, Woolworths and Dell.

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