If you happen to look for an oven appliance, you might have come across a convection oven and an air fryer. A convection oven is well understood, because well, it’s an oven. On the other hand, an air fryer does not immediately ring any bells. And yet, when you look for an oven, an air fryer is one of the recommended items.
So, what is an air fryer? In short, an air fryer acts the same way as a typical convection oven. And no, the air fryer does not fry anything—it’s just a quirky name. While in practice, they act similarly, but each of them has perks that the other is missing.
Air fryers and convection ovens cook food quicker than traditional ovens. That’s why both of these items have become more and more popular. At one time, they are the top-recommended item on Amazon to gift.
So before you go ahead and buy any ovens, consider what makes each item unique first. You might find the other more suitable for your needs. That said, let’s explore each item and see where you can use them.
So, What Is a Convection Oven?
Convection ovens, as the name implies, are a modern take of the traditional ovens. To simply put, a convection oven uses a fan and exhaust to allow air to circulate.
Together, the fan and exhaust blow hot air towards the food, then the exhaust vents it out. As a result, the food is cooked thoroughly, evenly, and quickly. Convection ovens decrease the chance of browning or overcooking the food.
With a convection oven, you can toast, roast, bake, or simply just dehydrate food. Cooking is done more efficiently with a convection oven. So if you have a recipe specifically made for a regular oven, you might need to look up a convection oven conversion guide.
How About an Air Fryer? What Is It?
The same as a convection oven, an air fryer also uses a fan to circulate hot air. But instead of the huge-boxy appearance we are accustomed to, we instead have an ergonomic portable design.
How portable? A typical air fryer you can find in stores is only about 11-12 inches tall. You can easily put them on a table when in use and store them away after. The air fryer has a fryer basket or perforated tray to help better circulate hot air and decrease cooking time.
Air fryers are very easy to use, and it’s like using a microwave but with more controls. You can cook food without using much oil as you typically would on a regular dish. And this is precisely why it was popular as soon as it came out.
So what can you do with an air fryer? Pretty much the same as the convection ovens, albeit in a much-limited way. You can toast, roast, or bake, but remember that you don’t have much space.
For the more serious home cookers, its small size is a deterrent. They don’t like how it limits your cooking in such a small space.
What Are the Main Differences Between Convection Ovens and Air Fryers?
As I have previously mentioned, air fryers are quite small. Air fryers are portable and can easily be store away after use. On top of that, its small size allows for the food to cook quickly compared to convection ovens.
However, convection ovens give you the luxury of cooking in a wide-open space. I would imagine that trying to roast a whole turkey on an air fryer would be a hassle.
A convection oven cooks food from the top and bottom. Also, there is a wide gap between the heating fan and the food. On the other hand, the heating fan of an air fryer is located directly on top. With this approach, the heating is much closer and more concentrated. As a result, you can cook food much quicker.
Due to an air fryer’s limited space, there isn’t much room to cook. To make it simple for the average user, air fryers need some additional accessories. They can include trays, racks, air fryer baskets, and skewers if you want any kebabs. You can likewise choose to acquire some baking pans or tin cans to be placed on racks.
For convection ovens, your usual kitchen supplies will suffice since they have a lot of space.
Are Air Fryers Better Than Convection Ovens?
Air fryers can cook food much more efficiently than convection ovens, and they don’t take up much space in your kitchen. Air fryers also feature perforated racks. These perforated racks allow fat and oil to drip put while cooking. As a result, it gives makes the food a lot crispier but yet lacking in calories. This feature alone caused the rise of air fryer sales.
However, it’s not all positives. Its small size—while a feature many find ergonomic—does not help at all if you plan to cook several meals at once. On top of that, air fryers are infamous for their noisy sounds. Although, many manufacturers currently consider this as working progress.
Foods Best Cook on Air Fryers
Yes, you can cook foods on air fryers using a lot less oil. But you cannot possibly use an air fryer for the sole purpose of that? From snacks to main dishes to desserts, there are a lot of dishes you can make with an air fryer. Here are a few of them:
- Chicken: These air fryer chickens are quick and easy to make. All you have to do is add some spices such as salt and pepper. Afterward, set the air fryer to 380° and cook for 12 minutes. You can add any sauce you want.
- Steak: Season your steak with salt and pepper. Next set your air fryer at 400° and cook for 12 to 14 minutes, flip the steak halfway through. Serve the steak with whatever herbs or sauce you want to add.
There are just a few examples you can work with. If you have any more questions or thoughts on this topic, feel free to comment on them below!