Air Fryer Vs Deep Fryer

Fried foods are a guilty pleasure for many people. They are tender on the inside with a delicious crunchy outside.

What is there not to love about fried foods? For one thing there is the unhealthy aspect of the excess oil used to fry them.

So if you love fried foods, but you don't love the unhealthy manner in which they're cooked, what are your options?

You could always just cut back, limiting your intake. Are there any other options. According to the makers of air fryers, you can get the deep fried taste without the unhealthy amount of cooking oil.

This article will be discussing the differences between deep fryers and air fryers. I'll be investigating whether or not an air fryer is a legitimate replacement for a deep fryer.

First I'll briefly go over how each of the two appliances work. Next I'll discuss some of the key differences between the two. Finally, I'll wrap up with the main reasons you would purchase either a deep fryer or an air fryer.

How do deep fryers work?

Hamilton Beach Deep fryer

Deep fryers can be used to prepare a variety of different foods. They can be used to make small things like french-fries or potato chips, to larger items like chicken wings. Some deep fryers even have to capacity to cook an entire turkey.

They work by flash cooking food in hot oil. The food is usually placed in a basket, and then lowered and completely submerged into a bath of hot oil.

The hot oil is a very good conductor of heat and because the food is submerged it cooks on all sides at the same time. This reduces cook time from methods like pan frying because you don't have to cook one side at a time.

Deep frying foods produces, what's called the Maillard effect. This is a reaction that breaks down the sugars and proteins in the surface of the foods making them golden brown.

Deep frying also removes all the water from the outer layer of the food making it crispy and trapping the moisture inside.

How do air fryers work?

Air fryers work by using super heated air to cook the food. A fan at the top of the fryer blows air down through a heating element. The air passes through and around the food which is placed in a basket similar to that of a deep fryer.

The air bounces off of the bottom of the air fryer and back up through the food. The hot air cooks the food on all sides, and also produces the Maillard effect, resulting in a crisp outer crust.

You can find a more in depth explanation on how air fryers work here.

French Fries

What are the differences between air fryer and deep fryer?

  1. Deep fryers require enough oil to completely submerge the food. Air fryers can use a tablespoon or even no oil at all to cook foods.
  2. The oil used to deep fry can penetrate the food deeper, so it would have a thicker and crispier crust.
  3. Because air fryers use little to no oil, some foods may come out dryer than what you would find with a deep fryer.
  4. Deep fryers are strictly for frying foods. With an air fryer you can use different methods of cooking like grilling. You can even bake desserts with an air flyer.
  5. Air fryers use little or no oil, so clean up is much easier than with a deep fryer. Also having to dispose of large amounts of cooking oil can be a hassle.

making dino nuggets in air fryer

Air Fryer vs Deep Fryer: Which one is better?

So now that you know a bit more about how each of these two devices work, the next question is which one is the better choice.


If your top priority in fried foods is the taste, then you would want to go with a deep fryer. Although air fryers can produce a crispy exterior similar to a deep fryer, there's nothing that can replace the real deep fried consistency.

Also with an air fryer you may find certain foods come out more dry than they would if you used a deep fryer. Overall in the category of taste, the deep fryer is the definite winner.


The main concern with deep fried foods is usually health. Because the foods are fully immersed in some type of cooking oil, there is an excess amount of fat added to the foods.

With an air fryer you don't have to use oil at all or you can just use a fraction of the oil you would normally use, reducing the level of fat in the meal.

You also have plenty of air fryer recipes on Corrie Cooks and all over the web. So the possibilities are endless.

When it comes to health, the air fryer wins this category. However, there are ways to reduce the amount of fat in your meals if you prefer a deep fryer.

One of the key ways you can lower the amount of fat in deep fried meals is by making sure your cooking oil is the proper temperature.

If the oil is not hot enough, the outer crust will not be as crisp. The outer layer is what keeps the oil from getting into the inner layers of the food while it is cooking.

If your oil is too  hot, the crust will form quickly and more thick, making it harder for the inside of the food to cook. You will likely have to leave the food in longer to make sure it is thoroughly cooked. This gives more time for the oil to seep into the food.

Another tip is to remove the food as soon as it is done cooking. This will also limit the time the oil has to seep into the food.


If you want an appliance that can do more than just fry foods, then you'll want to go with an air fryer. You can purchase accessories that will allow you to grill and roast foods. You can even bake desserts with an air fryer.
You can also get an Instant Pot with Air Fryer Lid and enjoy all the options in one kitchen appliance.

If you want a device purely for deep frying and you want that crispy deep fried finish, then you'll definitely want to go with a deep fryer.

So for this section it's a tie.

green beans in air fryer

Air Frying vs Deep Frying - The Bottom Line

If you are in love with deep fried foods and aren't too concerned with the health aspect then get a deep fryer.

If you want a device that can do a bit more than fry foods, and can skip on a bit of the taste in favor of a less fatty meal, then go with an air fryer.

Which is the best Deep Fryer?

Following our research, the best deep fryer is the T-fal FR8000.

Which is the best Air Fryer?

After checking many products, we found out that the best air fryer is the GoWISE USA GW22621.

Do you have recipes?

Sure. Check out these air fryer recipes for many tasty ideas.

You can also try these Instant Pot Air Fryer Lid recipes for even more options.

4 thoughts on “Air Fryer Vs Deep Fryer

  1. So here's the answer: It depends! 😛

    No, really, it depends on the Air Fryer's brand, some will work just fine, others will shrink the food if you try to use them as a deep fryer (the water disappears, so things will cook fine, but you'll find yourself eating much smaller portions!) - so you have to shorten the time. Others just can't reach the temperature of the deep fryer, so you have to leave them for longer. Cheap brands will have you put the food for one side half the time, stop the process, and put the other side, etc.

    Unfortunately, the only way is to experiment, some people give up frying on air because they don't want to keep "wasting food" in the process of experimenting, but it's necessary because all air fryers work differently so they can't just give instructions that work for all of them.

    The best way to proceed is to get both a deep fryer and an air fryer, to compare them (lest, how are you going to know how food is supposed to taste? Deep fry it to get a baseline, then adjust the air fryer until you get comparable quality.) If you can.

  2. I just got an air fryer, and during a shopping trip last night, I was looking at some food that is meant to bevdeep fried (in this case, corn dogs). It's instruction were to preheat the oil to 400° and cook for eight minutes.

    My question is this: generally, would those same instructions apply when using an air fryer?

  3. Thank You! Finally a comprehensive comparison of the two devices w/o bias towards one or the other! Just to let you know I wanted an air fryer badly, but based on cost and outcome of the dishes it prepares I'm going with the deep fryer!

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