An air fryer is a super useful appliance that is a staple in every kitchen nowadays. It promises to be a healthy alternative to your deep frying habits, making food guilt-free. However, you need to be extra careful in matters of health which might make you wonder, “does an air fryer use radiation?”.
Since air fryers are countertop appliances, people believe them to work on the same principle as their microwaves– by using radiation. This article is going to be your expert guide to whether or not an air fryer uses radiation and everything that you should know before purchasing one, so keep on reading!
The good news is that no, air fryers do not use radiation for cooking food as a microwave does. Instead, they work more like a traditional convection oven, circulating hot air around food to cook it.
Air fryers do use radiated heat; however, it is not the same as radiation. The said heat quickly circulates the food and cooks it up.
How does an air fryer work?
An air fryer is basically an amped-up countertop version of an oven and works on the principle of circulating hot air around food to cook it.
The entire process occurs due to a scientific reaction called the “Maillard reaction”. This reaction is the reason why we get that crispy brown texture over foods, without the usage of oil, through an air fryer.
To be specific, at very hot temperatures (provided by the extremely heated air circulating in an air fryer), a reaction occurs between an amino acid and reducing sugar in the food, leading to crust formation.
The cooking chamber of an air fryer radiates heat from a heating element near the food, and a fan circulates the hot air. Air fryers reach temperatures as high as 140-165°C (280-330°F), which is the perfect range for the Maillard reaction to occur.
Does an air fryer cause cancer?
Some air fryers produce a toxic and potentially carcinogenic (cancer-causing) substance called Acrylamide. It is an odorless, white, crystalline organic solid with a melting point of 84-86°C.
A test was performed on 10 different models of air fryers, and some air fryers were observed to be producing a toxic and potentially cancer-causing chemical called Acrylamide.
Acrylamide was classified as “probably carcinogenic to humans” by The International Agency for Research on Cancer and recommended minimal intake.
The test performed found the air fryers to contain Acrylamide at levels ranging from 102mg/kg to 7038mg/kg, among which six models contained Acrylamide above the European Union benchmark level (500mg/kg).
In a repeat test using the model with the highest level of Acrylamide, the results showed that the acrylamide content of the food significantly dropped to a level that is within the EU benchmark level, which was achieved by reducing the cooking time and temperature.
So do keep that in mind when using your air fryer. Also, read the manual provided with your air fryer too, in case the manufacturers have mentioned how to deal with this issue or what temperatures to look out for when cooking.
Is an air fryer healthier than a microwave?
Yes, air fryers are way healthier compared to microwaves. Microwaves use radiation which can be harmful, while air fryers work simply by circulating hot air around the food. Also, cooking food in a microwave might require oil, whereas food in an air fryer cooks with little to no oil, which is super healthy!
Mentioned below are some advantages and disadvantages of air fryer and microwave oven.
Advantages and disadvantages of an air fryer
|Easy to clean||Quite expensive|
|Easy to use||Too small for large families, doesn’t have much cooking space|
|Safe to use||Can burn and dry food out|
|Meals require less oil to cook||Power cable is often too small|
|Doesn’t take up much space||Too many options are available to find out which is the right one for you.|
|Meals are low on fat and calories – being a healthy alternative to deep-fried foods.||Food in an air fryer tastes different than deep-fried food.|
Advantages and disadvantages of a microwave oven
|Convenient and fast||You have to be conscious of what materials and utensils you place in it, as not everything is microwave-safe|
|Much cleaner than other cooking methods||Limited capacity, too small for large families|
|Time and temperature can be managed to ensure food doesn’t burn or overcook.||Not able to cook a wide variety of foods|
|Very economical and consumes much less energy than gas burners and conventional ovens.||You can overheat food leading to soft and soggy meals.|
Can you skip oil while cooking in an air fryer?
Yes, you can totally skip oil while cooking in an air fryer. Simply put your seasoned food in the air fryer basket with no oil, set the time and temperature, and let the air fryer do its thing!
The reason behind this is simple. An air fryer was developed as a healthier alternative to deep-frying which means there is no oil required to cook food whatsoever. The hot air that is circulated inside the air fryer crisps up the food without the need for any oil.
Can I use an air fryer on non-frying recipes?
Yes! You can use an air fryer for different types of dishes. Many air fryers come with recipes that are not frying-related. Read on below to see all the yummy things you can make in an air fryer!
You can bake many goods such as chocolate chip cookies, shortbread cookies, sugar cookies, vegan pop-tarts, homemade muffins, cinnamon biscuit bites, lava cakes, apple pie, sugar dough dippers, fried apple chips, custards, bread, banana bread, doughnuts, chocolate cake, lasagna, and quiche.
However, you might need to purchase some accessories such as a non-stick baking dish, a layered rack, or a pizza pan that are safe to use in an air fryer for baking.
All sorts of vegetables that can be grilled can be roasted in an air fryer. However, the vegetables need to be cut into small pieces to be cooked evenly. This includes vegetables like green beans, asparagus, fresh mushrooms, cauliflower, baked potatoes, broccoli, and corn.
Other items that cook well in an air fryer include hard-boiled eggs, homemade chips, egg rolls, frozen french fries, most meats, coconut shrimp, toasted sesame tofu, chicken strips, fish sticks, ravioli, and pumpkin seeds.
An air fryer also allows you to dehydrate food in order to preserve it. Moreover, you can even put frozen foods in an air fryer to defrost them and cook them up perfectly.
The foods we mentioned above aren’t all that you can make in an air fryer because this appliance opens up endless possibilities! Always do your research before cooking your favorite dish because there are high chances that it can be prepared in an air fryer.
Related FAQs to air fryers and radiations!
Does an air fryer use a lot of electricity?
No. Compared to other kitchen appliances such as ovens and stoves, air fryers use much less electricity. In fact, energy saving is one of the many benefits of an air fryer.
Is it OK to use aluminum foil in an air fryer?
Yes, aluminum foil can be used in an air fryer, but it should only be put in the basket. Acidic foods react with aluminum, so they should be avoided with ingredients such as tomatoes, lemons, and citrus. A parchment paper is a better option instead of aluminum foil as it does not interfere with the cooking process.
For further information on this topic, here is a dedicated article on the topic!
Final thoughts on an air fryer using radiation
Air fryers are incredibly convenient appliances that have a number of health benefits. However, there are still some misconceptions that people have as an air fryer is a new appliance that resembles a microwave oven due to the quick and easy cooking process.
Thanks to this article, all the myths related to the risks of cooking in an air fryer are busted, and you can get back to safely cooking in an air fryer asap!