Open oven with food cooking inside of an air fry basket

Air Fryer vs. Deep Fryer: What’s the Difference?

Fried foods are crispy and flavorful, and with the right tools you can make them in your own kitchen. When shopping for a frying appliance, it is important to understand the differences between air fryers and deep fryers. Read through this guide to learn more about deep frying vs. air frying to determine which option is right for you.

What is deep frying?

Deep frying is a cooking method that submerges food in hot oil or fat to cook at high temperatures, creating browned and crispy results. The oil in deep fryers is kept at a high temperature to help cook the surface of food quickly.

Chicken strips cooking in an air fryer basket Chicken strips cooking in an air fryer basket

What is air frying?

The air frying method cooks food by heating air and rapidly circulating it through and around food using a fan within the appliance cooking chamber. The hot air crisps and browns food using little to no additional oil.

What is the difference between an air fryer and a deep fryer?

The main difference between an air fryer and a deep fryer is the amount of oil used for cooking. Deep fryers heat oil or fat to high temperatures to cook while air fryers cook food with rapidly circulated hot air and little to no oil.

Stainless steel KitchenAid® gas range surrounded by white cabinets Stainless steel KitchenAid® gas range surrounded by white cabinets

Do I need a separate appliance to air fry or deep fry?

Air frying can be done either using a countertop air fryer or an oven with air fry capabilities. If you want to deep fry foods, you will typically need an appliance specifically designed for this cooking method.

Finger pressing the Air Fry button on a stainless steel oven Finger pressing the Air Fry button on a stainless steel oven

Air frying vs. deep frying

Consider the following comparisons between air frying and deep frying to better understand which method will work best for you.

Which saves the most time?

The cook times of both deep and air fryers vary depending on what you’re cooking. Once a deep fryer has reached the proper temperature, the hot oil can cook food as quickly as 3–5 minutes. Air fryers typically take between 10–20 minutes to heat and cook your meal. Cook times vary depending on the food being prepared, so be sure to consult the packaging of what you’re cooking.

Though a deep fryer cooks food faster than an air fryer, it also requires more preparation and attention during the cooking process. In many deep fryer recipes, food needs to be dipped in a wet batter, so you have to consider the time it takes to prepare the batter and dredge each item. Typically, with air frying you can simply place your food in the appliance and select the temperature and setting, then you can let the air fryer do the rest. Deep fryers need to be monitored throughout the cooking process to avoid hot oil splashes and burnt results.

Which choice is better health-wise?

Air frying can be a healthier alternative to deep-fried foods as it uses a fraction of the oil that is used when deep frying. Air fryers use the combination of hot air and only about one to two tablespoons of oil to promote caramelization, whereas deep fryers require at least four to six cups.

Person filling an air fry basket with chicken strips and fries Person filling an air fry basket with chicken strips and fries

Which tastes better?

Whether you prefer the taste of deep or air fried foods depends on your individual taste. Deep fryers will give a traditional taste and are best for thick or wet batters, as wet batter may drip through the air fryer basket before it sets. Foods with dry exteriors work best in an air fryer and can still create crispy, caramelized foods using a fraction of the oil.

Which is best overall?

Determining which cooking option is best depends on your cooking needs. While deep fryers offer traditional flavor, air fryers and ovens with air fry features provide more versatility to try additional cooking methods like baking, broiling and more.

You can air fry a wide variety of foods, from homemade french fries to salmon or steak filets. Maytag® ovens with air fry capabilities offer flexibility so you can air fry, roast, broil and bake your family’s favorite meals.

Shop for Maytag® Ranges with Air Fry

You can dig into crispy, healthy alternatives to your favorite fried foods with the help of a Maytag® range with air fry. With additional features like Fan Convection Cooking and High Temp Self-Clean, Maytag® ranges are designed to make cooking and clean-up easy.

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