Which Instant air fryer is best?

From the same manufacturer as the iconic Instant Pot comes the Instant air fryer. It’s not a special kind of air fryer that fries food instantly, it’s a regular air fryer made by the Instant brand. 

You can expect the same reliable quality and ease of use as you’d get from an Instant Pot, but it cooks food with a delectably crispy exterior. If you’re looking for a versatile appliance that can do more than just air fry, the Instant Vortex Pro is a great choice. 

What to know before you buy an Instant air fryer

Capacity

The capacity of your air fryer will dictate how much food you can cook at once. If you usually only cook for one or two people, then a compact fryer with a capacity of 2 to 3 quarts will do. However, if you cook for four or more people, then something with a capacity of 5 quarts or more is a better fit. The downside to opting for a larger model is that it is bigger all around and will take up more counter space. 

Other cooking functions

Instant air fryers do more than just “fry” food. Since air fryers are technically types of convection ovens, this lets them cook food in other ways too. You can expect at least four cooking functions: air fry, bake, roast and reheat. However, higher-end versions have even more functions, including toasting, broiling, dehydrating and proving dough. 

If you choose a large fryer with a range of cooking functions, it can stand in for a variety of other appliances, including toaster ovens, countertop convection ovens and dehydrators. So, even though it takes up more kitchen space than a compact model, it actually saves space if you also would have bought even one of these other appliances. 

Digital control panel

Air fryers made by Instant have easy-to-use digital control panels. These display all the preset cooking programs as well as the temperature and time settings that you adjust either using the dial or the plus and minus buttons, depending on your chosen model. These controls are not only simple to operate, but the whole panel is easy to wipe clean. 

What to look for in a quality Instant air fryer

Adjustable temperature

These fryers have adjustable temperatures, generally between 95 and 400 degrees, but check the model you’re considering for specifics. Some foods cook better at a higher temperature than others, while the lowest temperatures can be used to keep food warm for short periods. 

Dishwasher-safe basket

What’s great about Instant air fryers is their baskets are dishwasher-safe. This takes some of the pressure off when you’ve finished your meal and it’s time to clean up after yourself. That said, the nonstick coating may last longer if you wash it by hand. 

Quick preheating

Another great feature of Instant brand air fryers is that they take just a few minutes to preheat. You can start cooking much sooner than you’d be able to if you were waiting for an oven to preheat. 

How much you can expect to spend on an Instant air fryer

Basic models start at around $50, while the largest and most versatile versions cost up to $200. 

Instant air fryer FAQ

Is air-fried food healthier?

A. Air-fried food isn’t healthier than deep-fried food in terms of nutrients, but it does contain fewer calories and less fat. If you’re not particularly concerned about calorie content, you might like the fact that air fryers are generally easier to use and less messy than deep fryers. They also don’t produce as strong cooking smells and leave no cooking oil to dispose of. 

What can’t you fry in an air fryer? 

A. Technically speaking, air fryers are convection ovens. They can produce food with a crispy exterior that’s similar to deep-fried food, but they don’t actually fry anything. Without hot oil to seal the exterior of whatever you’re cooking as soon as it hits the fryer, it isn’t possible to cook foods with wet batter. The batter will slide off before it cooks through. 

It can also get messy if you try to cook anything cheesy or with too much loose seasoning in an air fryer. The convection currents can blow it around the cooking chamber and create a big mess.

What’s the best Instant air fryer to buy?

Top Instant air fryer

Instant Vortex Pro

Instant Vortex Pro

What you need to know: This big, powerful appliance can air fry, broil, bake, roast, reheat, dehydrate, toast and prove dough. 

What you’ll love: You can easily adjust the temperature from 95 to 400 degrees using the plus and minus buttons, and it preheats quickly. It has a large capacity but a relatively small footprint. It comes with a range of pans and a rotisserie basket. 

What you should consider: If you won’t use any of its functions other than the air fryer, you should opt for a cheaper model. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top Instant air fryer for the money

Instant Vortex 2-quart 4-in-1 Air Fryer

Instant Vortex 2-quart 4-in-1 Air Fryer

What you need to know: With its compact design and small capacity, this is a great choice for small households or for occasional use.

What you’ll love: It can air fry, bake, roast and reheat. The nonstick basket is dishwasher-safe. The compact size is countertop-friendly. You can choose from four colors: black, white, red and aqua.

What you should consider: It’s only large enough to cook for one or two people. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Instant Vortex 5.7 Quart Large Air Fryer

Instant Vortex 5.7 Quart Large Air Fryer

What you need to know: This multipurpose air fryer is big enough to cook for three to five people. 

What you’ll love: It’s simple to use with a digital control panel and a dial to adjust the cook time and temperature. It has four cooking functions: air fry, roast, bake and reheat. It preheats quickly, and the basket is dishwasher-safe.

What you should consider: The alarm that lets you know when the food is done is quiet, so it’s easy to miss. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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Lauren Corona writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
 

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