Air Fryer Vs Oven

Published On: January 15, 2024

With 2023 being “The Year of the Air Fryer” perhaps it’s time to review why, for so many, it has become the go-to kitchen appliance and compare it to the good old oven. The question we’re all asking is “does the oven still have a place in the kitchen”? The answer may surprise you.

Both convection ovens and air fryers cook food by circulating hot air around your food, but the air fryer’s size is what changes the outcome of what you’re preparing, especially when compared to a regular oven. The size and efficiency of air fryers provides them with certain advantages in relation to:

Air Fryer

Time

Due to the way they work, most air fryers should be set to around 20°C cooler than regular ovens, with the overall cooking time reduced by about 20-25%. This time saving is one of the reasons that so many people seeking convenience are moving to air fryer cooking.

Health

When cooking fattier foods such as sausages or kebabs there will inevitably be fat released during cooking. In an oven, this is captured by the baking tray but in an air fryer, the fat drains into the basket below the cooking grill. That means you’re less likely to consume the saturated fat from the dish when air frying, an oven in comparison will absorb more of these fats in the cooking process.

What is also evident is that the speed at which air fryers cook and the convenience seem to encourage people to cook from scratch which of course does offer health advantages. In fact, according to a growing body of scientific evidence cooking from scratch can improve diet quality, weight loss and diabetes prevention.

Mess

Many air fryer grills and baskets are dishwasher safe making the clean up quick and far less effort as they do not need to be hand washed. As you tend to wash the air fryer after each use your kitchen is likely to smell cleaner too. The oven will have to wait for its regular deep clean which is likely to allow build-up over several months. This can lead to old cooking smells lingering where oven cooking is the primary way of baking and roasting food.

Energy

Due to the fact that air fryers can cook at lower temperatures, Instant Brands Air Fryers predicts that it can help households save up to 80% on their energy bills. With research (undertaken by Unconventional Connections in 2022) analysing energy use findings.

Cost

Most air fryers run at 800-2,000W – and the Energy Saving Trust has calculated the cost of cooking with one, using a 600g chicken breast as an example, is about 16p per use. That’s great value, adding up to £58.40 per year if you use it once a day. Or £116.80 if you’re air-frying both your lunch and evening meal. When it comes to baking cakes, or bread an air fryer is unmatched. For example, who wants to turn their oven on to bake banana bread in a 1lb loaf tin? It simply doesn’t make sense. An air fryer has a far smaller and cheaper capacity to heat in order to bake a small cake or loaf.

Flavour

An air fryer can cook crispy foods so much better than an oven, from crispy chickpeas to roast potatoes, from granola to chicken. That’s partly due to the high temperatures and efficiency but also thanks to the fact that you can shake the air fryer basket to get that even crispiness on whatever you’re cooking.

Oven

This is all well and good, but should we keep our ovens? Do we even need them? the short answer is yes because they’re larger and have a greater capacity.

Limited Capacity

Air fryers can cook practically anything, although there are some limitations with space when cooking a larger meal. An oven is inherently larger than an air fryer giving you the space to spread your food out. Due to their smaller footprint compared to ovens, this means wings and other items need to be cooked in batches, which might be inconvenient depending on how many hungry mouths you must feed.

Batch Cooking Benefits

If you are trying to save money through batch cooking, then the air fryer is not your friend. Even the larger models will struggle to fit in more than enough bacon or a pasta bake (which yes, you can cook in an air fryer) for one dinner sitting. Although air fryers probably have the edge when it comes to taste, texture, speed, and efficiency as well as cost-savings, the oven still has its place. When you next have guests over or want to cook a roast dinner, you’ll be glad you have both.