Air Fryer Vs Deep Fryer Detailed Comparison [Which Is Best]

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While deep fryers have been in the kitchens for quite some time, air fryers are relatively new and modern.

With the presence of more than one option, most home cooks find it hard to make a choice.

In light of this confusion, today, I decided to compare air fryers vs. deep fryers.

We will have a look at both fryer types and gauge their suitability according to many aspects.

The main difference between air fryer vs deep fryer is, air fryer circulates powerful heat inside its chamber to cook food. In contrast, a deep fryer submerges food completely in oil. The food absorbs heat energy from the oil during the cooking process.

Air Fryer Vs Deep Fryer Detailed Comparison [Which Is Best]

ParameterDeep fryerAir fryer
Calories countHighLow
Oil usageHigh oil usageLittle to no oil usage
Cook timeFaster cookingRelatively slower
CleaningDifficult to cleanEasier to clean
Taste (crispiness, even cooking)More crispy and evenly cooked (contingent on personal preference)Less  crispy and evenly cooked(contingent on personal preference)
Health statusLess healthy food (risk of various illnesses)Healthy food
VersatilityLess versatileMore versatile

Calories Comparison Chart

The calorie chart for the Air fryer and the deep fryer is provided below. Remember that the exact number can vary depending on serving size. Still, the chart below can give you an idea of how many calories you consume when food is cooked in each appliance.

Air Fryer Vs Deep Fryer Calorie Comparison Chart

You can reduce your calorie intake by 70-80% by removing deep-fried food and replacing them with air-fried foods.

Cooking in an air fryer requires one to two tablespoons of oil. The same is not true about deep fryers. In deep fryers, you have to submerge your food in the oil for thorough cooking.

Using this much oil adds excessive calories to your food. For instance:

  • An eight-ounce chicken breast prepared in an air fryer has 163 calories.
  • Whereas when cooked in a deep fryer, it has 247 calories.

Additionally, air fryers come with precise thermostats and quickly adjust the oil’s temperature when food with a bit of oil is added. The food does not absorb oil and comes out crispy and full of flavor.

Deep fryers cannot adjust their temperature quickly, and the food drenched in oil absorbs excess fat.

My Verdict: An air fryer is a clear winner when comparing air fryers and deep fryers based on the calories they impart to your food.

Cooking Time Comparison

Deep Fryer Time Settings

Deep fryers cook much faster than air fryers. It takes less than 20 minutes to cook the whole broiler chicken, cut up into pieces, in two batches.

You can also put a whole chicken in the air fryer, but a smaller one. Also, most people use the air fryer to make chicken wings, chicken breasts, or cook a cut-up chicken.

Depending on the size, cooking one batch can take 20 to 25 minutes.

Setting Timer on Philips Air Fryer

Do the calculation, and you will see that you will require more than one hour before you are ready to serve three to four people. However, there is one other thing to consider, and that is the preheat time.

An air fryer takes three to five minutes to preheat, whereas a deep fryer can take 10 to 15 minutes to attain the required cooking temperature. However, once the oil is hot enough, it will prepare your food in minutes.

My Verdict: Though the preheat time can give some concession to air fryers when it comes to cooking time, a deep fryer still cooks faster than an air fryer.

Which Is Healthier

Eating delicious fried food is one way of overindulging yourself. But it is not always healthier, especially when food is made through an unhealthy cooking method.

We have two ways to cook fried food: air frying and deep frying.

Deep-fried food can have as much as 24% fat and is a leading cause of obesitycardiovascular issues, high cholesterol, Type-2 diabetes, etc. Whereas food cooked in the air fryer can have as little as 3% fat.

Also, in deep frying, the oil temperature can go much higher than the internal heat of an air fryer. So there is a chance of acrylamide (carcinogen to humans) formation during deep frying.

Some evidence suggests that acrylamides are formed when carbohydrate-rich foods (French fries and potato chips; crackers, cookies, and bread) are cooked at high temperatures, such as in a deep fryer.

Now, the question is how you can reduce oil absorption by food?

The outer coating is what keeps the oil from penetrating the food. Ensure the oil is hot enough before adding the food for deep frying.

If the oil is not amply hot, the outer layer will not crisp up, and food will absorb more oil. Also, take the food out as soon as it is cooked. This way, the oil won’t get enough time to seep into food. 

These tips can reduce oil absorption, but you cannot completely avoid oil seeping into your food in deep frying!

My Verdict: When it comes to health concerns, an air fryer is always a superior choice. Air frying is healthier than deep frying because food is cooked with less or no oil. Also, there is no risk of acrylamide formation.

Air Fryer Vs. Deep Fryer Taste

While testing deep fryers and air fryers, I cooked various foods, from fried chicken and French fries to jalapeno poppers.

Results of Chicken Cooked in Deep Fryer

Deep-fried food turned out crispier and evenly cooked as the food remained fully submerged in the oil throughout the cooking process. Deep-fried French fries were fluffier from the inside, and the browning was even.

While the air fryer could not give the food a thick, deep-fried crust, it tasted crunchy when I finished cooking.

Plus, when it came to taste, I found that food cooked in air fryers had a better taste and texture.

As for even cooking, one way to promote uniform cooking in an air fryer is to shake and turn the sides of the food midway.

My Verdict: While the food cooked in both appliances tastes differently, both make food flavorful in their way. Besides, when it comes down to food tastes, it is more about what your taste buds like. So, there can be no definite answer. I liked the taste of air-fried food more; it can be quite the reverse for you.

Air Fryer Vs. Deep Versatility

Both air fryers and deep fryers make crispy food. But, some recipes can only be made in a deep fryer. Batter-coated food such as marinated coated chicken and cake doughnuts are better deep-fried.

But in the end, a deep fryer can do one function— deep fry the food.

On the contrary, almost any recipe that requires a deep fryer can be made in an air fryer. It can also bake, grill, roast, and perform other tasks along with air frying.

Even if you bring an air fryer for one task, let’s say making chicken wings, your best air fryer for chicken wings will also help you make steaks, French fries, Tuna, salmon, etc. Additionally, you can also reheat food in the air fryer.

My Verdict: An air fryer can make different types of foods and can perform many functions that a deep fryer cannot. Therefore, for versatility, an air fryer gets more points.

Air Fryer Vs. Deep Fryer Cost

The cost of an air fryer ranges between $50 to $250. Of course, there are some exceptions, and you can find an air fryer that tilts to either side of the cost bracket.

But generally, you can get a good air frying unit while staying in this bracket. You can also buy good deals, especially during the Black Friday sale.

Deep dryers are a little more affordable unless you want to pick a premium deep fryer. Their average cost ranges from $40 to $200, and you can find many good deep fryers for $50-$60.

My Verdict: The difference in the cost range of the air and deep fryers is not much. But if you consider the added functions that an air fryer brings (bake, broil, grill, etc.), an air fryer is a winner and gives value for your money. Also, when the oil cost increases, you will realize that paying all this money for just one function (deep frying) makes a deep fryer a little more expensive.

Air Fryer Vs. Deep Fryer Cleaning

Cleaning Air Fryer Basket and Heating Element

Air fryers are much easier to maintain and clean than deep fryers. Air fryer accessories such as a crisper plate, basket, and drawer are generally dishwasher safe.

If you feel lazy, put the dirty air fryer parts into the dishwasher, and you will get done with them in a few minutes.

Air fryer accessories are mostly non-stick; you can also hand wash them in a warm water soap mixture with a soft sponge.

Deep fryers need more extensive cleaning. Oil often leaves ugly stains inside and outside the unit if oil spills and splatters are not cleaned properly. After every use, you must remove the oil and clean the unit thoroughly to avoid build-up and smell.

My Verdict: As far as ease of cleaning and maintaining the unit is concerned, an air fryer is much easier to keep clean than a deep fryer. The outside doesn’t get dirty, and the non-stick material of the air fryer basket makes cleaning a breeze.

Air Fryer Vs. Deep Fryer Oil Use

Little to no oil is used in air frying. For example, you need only a couple of teaspoons of oil to cook a basket full of fries. 

Additionally, in the case of an air fryer, there is no need to dispose of any leftover oil. To make cleaning even more hassle-free, you can toss a piece of foil in the basket before arranging food. The foil will catch food dripping and oil.

For deep frying, you must submerge food in a pool of oil. Standard deep fryers use between 6 and 19 cups of oil, depending on its size. 

Managing leftover oil is the biggest hassle when using deep fryers. You cannot decant it down the drain or throw it in the bin. Instead, you have to put it into a recyclable container and then dispose of it.

My Verdict: Using an air fryer is more hassle-free than using a deep fryer. There is no excessive use of oil, so there is no need to dispose of any leftover oil.

Air fryer Vs. Deep fryer – which should you buy?

An air fryer is a much superior choice when comparing an air fryer to a deep fryer. Deep fryers are a handy appliance, mainly because they are relatively more affordable and cook food much faster.

However, an air fryer is a clear winner regarding overall setup, maintenance, oil use, health and safety, versatility (roast, grill, bake, and more), and calorie intake.

Can an air fryer replace a deep fryer?

In most cases, yes. But not in all! Air frying produces a crispy texture on the food, similar to deep frying. But saying that an air fryer can completely replace a deep fryer in all situations will be an exaggeration. Also, there are certain foods, such as batter-coated recipes, that only an air fryer can make.

Does air-fried food taste as good as deep fried?

Whether air-fried food tastes as good as deep-fried depends on your taste buds. Some people prefer the distinct flavor of fat; for them, air-fried food can never compete with deep-fried food. But if you despise fatty foods, you will prefer air-fried foods more.

Air Fryer Vs Grill Which Is Good For You?

Wrapping Up!

Who does not like fried food? It is palatable and crispy. The allure of tasting delicious and crispy food encourages you to open your wallet and invest in high-quality frying appliances such as deep fryers and air fryers.

For comparing an air fryer vs. a deep fryer, I looked at various aspects before concluding. Deep fryers make crispy food and cook in less time. But they can never be a choice when making healthy food. Deep-fried food increases the risk of various fatal diseases. Therefore, they are a big no for health-conscious people.

On the contrary, an air fryer scores much higher regarding health, versatility, value for money, ease of cleaning, and more. Therefore, an air fryer is a superior option in this comparison.