Is an Air Fryer a Healthier Way to Fry?

Are air-fryers too good to be true? Are they worth the price tag?

Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS
2-minute read

Regina writes:

"I was thinking about getting an air fryer and wanted to see what you thought them. I realize fried foods aren't the healthiest things on the planet, but I thought this might be a good alternative when I crave a French fry!"

Convection fryers, such as the Phillips Air Fryer or the T-Fal Actifry, use swirling hot air to create the crispy, browned texture that you get from deep-fried foods, but with only a fraction of the oil. Not only do you consume much less oil (and calories), but you aren't left with a quart or two of used oil to throw away. 

At the Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo I recently attended, researchers from Miami University presented results of a study comparing conventional deep-fried French fries to convection-fried and oven-baked (which is how I generally do it). Both the oven-baked and convection-fried potatoes contained (and used) much less oil than the deep-fried ones. To my surprise, however, the convection fries contained only half as much oil as the oven-baked—just 1 Tablespoon per batch.

When it comes to French fries, these appliances definitely offer a better option than heading to the drive thru. However, they're not cheap and I don't know about you, but I don't have space in my kitchen for an appliance that only gets used occasionally. (I also don't need an excuse—or justification—to eat fries more often.)

I think I'll stick to oven-baked fries! But if money and space aren't a problem, this might be fun to have. Just promise me that you won't be eating those convection-fried potatoes instead of your vegetables!

About the Author

Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS

Monica Reinagel is a board-certified licensed nutritionist, author, and the creator of one of iTunes' most highly ranked health and fitness podcasts. Her advice is regularly featured on the TODAY show, Dr. Oz, NPR, and in the nation's leading newspapers, magazines, and websites. Do you have a nutrition question? Call the Nutrition Diva listener line at 443-961-6206. Your question could be featured on the show. 

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