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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Emmeline Saunders

Are air fryers worth it? Ultimate test for cost, speed and calories as TikTok goes wild

A whopping one in three of us already own one, and another fifth of the population are considering buying one in the next 12 months - so just how has the air fryer taken such a hold in our kitchens?

Billed as the greatest culinary innovation since the microwave, the air fryer - essentially a portable oven that uses fan technology to quickly circulate hot air over the food in its tray - is said by advocates to be a cheaper, faster and healthier way of cooking, compared with the conventional oven.

It uses less oil for cooking, reducing calories by up to a whopping 80% compared with deep-fat frying.

Turning out anything from fluffy pancakes and steaks to pizza and pastries, the air fryer undergoes its ultimate test in Friday's Channel 4 show, Air Fryers: Are They Worth It? Putting various models through their paces, families will attempt to create a full Sunday roast in their air fryer to see exactly what all the fuss is about.

And with a range of programmes - steaming, grilling, baking, dehydrating, searing, sauteing and slow cooking - the humble air fryer, which fits on a small countertop, might just be the solution to all of our kitchen nightmares.

Denise saw air fryer recipes on Tik Tok (Ricochet)

Show host Denise van Outen is already a convert and was convinced to try one out after seeing recipes posted on TikTok. “I found it fascinating seeing how air fryers work, the science behind it,” she says. “It was interesting that they are already developing combination air fryers, incorporating them into other cooking devices.

“I think eventually, like the microwave, most kitchens will have one and we will start seeing restaurants only use air fryers. It will take over one day.”

So how does the air fryer stack up against the oven? Let’s take a look…


Using a baked potato as a test subject, the air fryer performed better than an electric oven - cooking a 300g potato all the way through in less time than it took the oven to preheat. It cost just 14p to bake the potato, compared with 40p in the oven. This adds up to £37.24 a year to heat the air fryer next to £223.54 for the oven - but the microwave still beats both as the most energy-efficient appliance, costing just £21.20 a year to run.

Many kinds of food can be prepared in them (Getty Images)


As the air fryer uses much less oil to cook food, some people believe they’re a healthier option. Lab results showed air-fried doughnuts contained 21% fewer calories than deep-fried ones, and chips were 22% less calorific.

Even healthier food showed a difference: cooking an aubergine in the oven added 65% more calories compared with baking it in an air fryer.


Forest Green Rovers FC - the world’s first vegan football club - serves more than 1,000 portions of chips to fans on match days, and is switching out its deep fat fryers for commercial air fryers.

A blind taste test at The New Lawn showed the majority - 52% - of customers preferred the taste of air-fried chips to deep-fried ones, and head of operations Dane Vince believes it’ll save the club £4,000 a year to make the switch.

The show airs on Friday night (Ricochet)


Denise teamed up with the Good Housekeeping Institute to test out three air fryers at different price points - the Amazon Basics (£55), which has a 4-litre capacity and single drawer; the Salter Dual (£120) with its double drawers and 7.4-litre capacity, and finally the Russell Hobbs Satisfry Air & Grill Multi Cooker (£150), which boasts a 5.5-litre capacity and one drawer.

The team cooked chips and cupcakes in each one according to the individual manufacturer’s instructions, and found the Russell Hobbs was most consistent at getting a golden glow on the fries and an even rise on the cakes. “You might need a bit of trial and error to get the best results,” explains Denise.

But can it cook a roast?

Two families of five went head-to-head to find out which appliance was best at making a full Sunday dinner from scratch with all the trimmings.

The Saroya family from London Colney, Herts, prepped a large chicken with stuffing, roast potatoes, carrots and peas for their 8-litre air fryer, while the Robbins clan from Mossley, Greater Manchester, created the same meal inside their electric oven.

The results showed the oven took 105 minutes in total - while the air fryer cooked the entire meal in 60 minutes, which adds up to 39 hours a year if the Saroyas switched to making all their Sunday roasts in their air fryer.

*Air Fryers: Are They Worth It? airs tonight at 8pm on Channel 4

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