The Best Air Fryers for Gluten-Free Fried Food
Craving crispy, crunchy fried food that’s gluten free and celiac safe? Done!
Today’s hottest trend in gluten-free living is the air fryer. This little kitchen appliance opens up a delicious world to everyone hungry for gluten-free fried food.
We first heard about air fryers from our readers, who were calling them life-changing. So we rushed to investigate.
Air fryers cook foods incredibly fast and get them crispier than your oven or stovetop. The results are, well, amazing. We’ve been putting all kinds of foods in our air fryer and we’ve been thrilled with the results. We’re definitely sold.
We surveyed our readers: About 44 percent of respondents (a self-selected group, to be sure) own an air fryer. Of those who don’t, almost 40 percent want one. This kitchen appliance category is growing quickly.
What Is an Air Fryer?
Think of air fryers as mini convection ovens. They circulate hot air to “fry” food, making it deliciously crispy with minimal cooking oil. (In fact, if you use more than just a little oil to coat an item, it will start smoking!) An air fryer doesn’t completely replace a deep fryer. For example, you can’t make deep-fried ravioli or fried donuts in an air fryer, but it can quickly “fry” items like French fries and chicken nuggets using less oil for healthier eating.
Air fryers aren’t just for frying. You can bake in them, too. What can’t they do? We found that vegetables can quickly over-cook and that results are iffy when air-frying foods coated in egg-replacement and gluten-free bread crumbs. Each air fryer has its own quirks, so it may take a test run before you find your groove.
Which Brand to Buy?
We tested a handful of the top-selling air fryers, as well as brands that are the most easily available. They ranged from middle-of-the-road units to those with all the bells and whistles. The prices ranged from $69.99 to nearly $300. Note that you may find below-retail pricing from online sellers.
Our Gluten Free & More survey found that most readers who own an air fryer purchased either a NuWave (the As Seen On TV brand) or a Philips. Philips ranked high in our testing; we also found some standouts that our readers didn’t mention.
Our recommendation? If you’re looking to make French fries or chicken tenders, it’s not rocket science (it’s air frying after all). Most units did the job regardless of price. If you’re looking for specific features (large capacity, rotisserie, wifi enabled), look for those specifics in each model. If you’re looking for a top-of-the-line fryer from a trustworthy brand, go with Gourmia or Philips. These brands are high-quality, innovative in their design and offerings, and have a wide variety of fryers to fit a range of needs. However, Kalorik stood out as a brand to watch, performing very well when tested. If you’re looking for an air fryer under $100, get the GoWISE or Black + Decker air fryer.
Looking for More?
Mind the Shake: If you’re air-frying French fries, chicken nuggets or other frozen items, make sure you shake the food or turn it over halfway through. We discovered this the hard way: Our chicken nuggets burned on one side and were gooey on the other. To avoid this, look for an air fryer with a rotisserie-type spinning vessel.
Apartment Living: If counter space is tight, check out Black + Decker’s new Large Capacity Air Fry Toaster Oven. It’s space-saving design combines a countertop toaster oven with an air fryer, offering bake, broil, toast, keep warm and air-fry functions.
Check Capacity: In GF&M’s survey, some readers wished for a larger-capacity air fryer than the one they’d purchased. For those needing more, check out Philips Airfryer XXL. Its 3-pound capacity can prepare food for six people. It can cook two full bags of fries and even an entire chicken!
Need More Help? To get the most out of your air fryer, check out cookbooks and ebooks on the topic for recipes and tips. Note that most contain recipes that aren’t gluten-free, so you’ll need to adjust flours and other ingredients accordingly.
Written by Erica Dermer, originally published in Gluten Free & More.