Why Every Parent Needs an Air Fryer

Why Every Parent Needs an Air Fryer

We bought what I would consider to be a first generation air fryer a few years ago. It was fine, in that it cooked food crispy and but not particularly quickly, AND it was tiny. You could seriously only fit a couple of chicken tenders in it at a time, and it took 20 minutes to cook them, so it wasn’t efficient, either.

For Christmas this year, we tried again, only with a much bigger 5.7 quart fryer and it is a game changer. On busy nights it pairs perfectly with some frozen, not-the-healthiest-but-mama-doesn’t-have-time-for-kale food (lookin’ at you, Lean Cuisine pizza!)

On relaxing days, I spend hours experimenting with it, frying up all manner of things I wouldn’t have even considered frying.

Why Buy an Air Fryer

air fryer benefits

What is an air fryer?

At its core, an air fryer is a convection oven, using hot, circulating air to cook your food. The differences are nuanced but important, however.

An air fryer is typically shaped in more of a cone or dome, making the hot air circulate faster. This allows the outside of the food to crisp up while still cooking the inside quickly, preserving the juiciness while adding a perfect crunch. It also cooks faster than a countertop convection oven.

Most of the countertop ovens I looked at cost about twenty percent more than a similarly sized air fryer as well, and I’m not quite sure why. Convection ovens can typically go over the seemingly upper limit of 400 degrees that an air fryer has, but “frying” temperatures are usually between 350 and 400 degrees, so this isn’t surprising.

The best air fryers on the market have broad bottoms, allowing for a maximum amount of food cooked at once while still retaining the “frying” properties they boast. Because of this somewhat conical shape, they tend to take up less space than countertop ovens.

Benefits of Cooking with an Air Fryer

An air fryer cooks food faster than an oven would typically, and because it doesn’t require oil as a cooking medium, the food is lighter calorically and healthier in general.

As I mentioned earlier, you can toss in a layer of frozen chicken tenders, or fries, or whatever else you have on hand and dinner is ready in like 10 minutes.

On the model we have (Magic Chef), the timer is also effectively the “on” switch, so if you set it for 10 minutes, it shuts itself off in 10 minutes. There’s no “oh no I forgot the food” moments where you find that your salmon is blackened a bit more than you’d like; once the timer is up, it shuts off.

Fresh burgers come out juicy on the inside without flipping and splashing grease, and it reheats food more evenly (and pleasantly) than a microwave, though it takes longer.

Consider how microwave-reheated leftovers from a restaurant never taste as good, and you don’t typically want to preheat your oven just to heat up some chicken tenders. An air fryer is like your oven and your microwave had a baby and it was born being better than both of them (in certain applications). Reheating food is one of those applications!

Things to look for in an air fryer

Hands-down the most important attribute – and I cannot overstate this – is the size of the available cooking space. You can really only get the crispy benefits of the air fryer if your food isn’t stacked up on top of itself, so a single layer at a time is what you’re shooting for. This requires a decent sized basket so you’re able to cook quick, large batches. Ours is 5.7 quarts and it’s great for our family of 4, but if you have a bigger family or a party, something even larger might be ideal for you.

Ours is also manual, but there are digital ones out there as well that offer a wide range of preset cooking times and other fun add-ons.

Make sure you get a removable basket as well. Our first one didn’t have a removable basket, just this weird black insert that kinda held the food over the bottom of the fryer but not very well. The one we have now is a removable metal basked that clicks into the base and allows for total air circulation and for drippings to fall completely away from your food.

Finally, consider price when buying one. This isn’t a brand-new technology where higher price commands respect or the latest advancement. At its core, this is a very focused convection oven that fits on your countertop. Our Magic Chef was about $80, and it’s great. The only thing that you really need to pay extra for is a bigger model.

Why does every parent need an air fryer?

You’re still not convinced? Well, let’s recap then:

  • Cooks food quickly and crispy while retaining juiciness
  • Economical, especially if you’re considering buying a countertop oven
  • Heats faster, cooks quicker, and crisps up food better than an oven
  • Helps you make busy weeknight meals faster and easier
  • Reheats food so much better than a microwave
  • Healthier than deep frying by a significant amount
  • Doesn’t require oil to cook most foods

Obviously consider your needs before picking one up, but if you’re on the fence about buying an air fryer, I hope this helps you see that they’re not a fad kitchen gadget. It saves us time, calories, effort, and money and it will for you, too!

Do you already have an air fryer?

Comment below, I’d love to know YOUR favorite thing to cook in it!

15 Turkey Day Time Savers

15 Turkey Day Time Savers

Save time on Thanksgiving Day (and any holiday) by implementing a few of these quick tips. After all, the holidays should be about spending time with your family, not your oven.

Disclaimer: The links below may be affiliate links, which means I may earn a comission should you click through and make a purchase. This in no way impacts the opinions I give.

Here are a few of my Thanksgiving Day time savers:

Making mashed potatoes?

Use Yukon Gold potatoes and leave the skin on. Then use your apple slicer to cut them so they cook faster! Just like with apples, you’ll want to make sure you cut an end off so it sits flat on your board.

If your children (or significant other) insist on skinless mashed potatoes, boil them whole and the skin will rub off. Just stick them in an ice bath and let them cool down first! Second-degree burns do not make for a fun Thanksgiving.

Sweet Potatoes are even easier!

Microwave your sweet potatoes to save time and stove top space. Just poke with a fork a few times and microwave 5-7 minutes. For a quick and delicious dessert option, you can then slice open, top with marshmallows, and stick in your broiler for 30 seconds.

And with potatoes, comes the gravy!

Put your gravy in a thermos so it’s off your stove and out of the way but still stays warm. Pour into a gravy boat just before serving.

Don’t waste time fighting for fridge space!

Clear out the dressings and condiments and store them in an ice-filled cooler in the garage.

Pre-Cut Veggies VS Cutting Them Yourself

Weigh the cost of prep time versus the cost of buying pre-cut and cleaned ingredients from your grocery store’s salad bar. Sometimes the cost of letting someone else do it is worth it!

And if you’re planning to use ginger (a great addition to many different dishes) you can peel it quickly and easily by using a spoon.

Print out your recipes!

Don’t risk destroying your tablet as you swipe through various recipes. Print out what you need and use painter’s tape to secure to cabinet at eye-level. Better yet, tape them up in the order you plan to cook and use post-it notes in between if there’s something that needs to be done prior to starting a recipe (like preheating the oven or boiling water).

Overcooked Turkey Problem?

Did your bird cook just a little too long? Moisten your turkey meat slices by drizzling a bit of warm chicken broth over them.

Have a houseful of guests coming that love to “help”?

Have tasks planned ahead of time for those that just insist on assisting. Child-wrangling, table setting, hors d’oeuvres serving, and wine glass filling are all great options to keep people busy and out of your way.

And if you want your house to smell great without the fear of someone knocking over a candle, have a pot of hot water, orange peels, and cinnamon sticks simmering throughout the morning before you start cooking.

Put your slow cookers to use (borrow if you need to)!

Figure out how much space you’ll need for prep work and then use whatever you have left to lay out those crockpots. There’s countless delicious dishes you can make and it’s so nice to just set it and forget it.

Skip the Mixer!

Wear latex gloves to mix by hand without getting yourself and your sink covered in food. This is especially great for creaming together butter and sugar if you’re making cookies.

Speaking of butter…

Forget to take your butter out prior to sitting down to dinner? Heat up a drinking glass by running warm water over it or by putting it in the microwave for a few seconds then place it upside-down, over the butter. The butter soften quickly and will now be the right consistency to easily cut and spread.

Don’t forget dessert!

If you plan to bake cookies, bake them ahead of time and keep them moist with apples! Store them in Tupperware along with an apple wedge and the cookies will draw in moisture from the apple, ensuring they taste fresh from the oven once your guests arrive. If you are storing them for more than 24 hours, replace the wedge as needed.


Thanksgiving Day shouldn’t be a time of chaos, so hopefully with these quick tips you’re able to enjoy the day and spend time with the ones you love. 

Save