AIR fryers have cooked up a storm this year – but could you use yours to make your family’s Christmas dinner?
Demand for the quick-cooking, energy-efficient kitchen gadget shot up by 3,000 per cent in 2022.
How will the air fryer fare when cooking up a festive feast for four?[/caption]
Their popularity has soared due to low running costs and the promise of healthier chips.
Research by energy firm Utilita found air fryers cost £55.71 a year on average to run, while an electric cooker came in at £335.57.
But how will they fare cooking up a festive feast for four?
From crumbling puds to turkey in no time, Katy Docherty put a Wilko 2.5L air fryer, costing £40, to the test
Check cooking times of your own air fryer as they vary.
I thought this was going to be a disaster but all was fine[/caption]
COOK TIME: 1 hour
YOU NEED: One small (1.7kg) frozen turkey crown; 2 tsp oil; 1 tsp salt; 1 tsp sage
METHOD: Let the turkey crown defrost overnight. When ready to cook, first figure out how to fit the bird into your air fryer.
Remove what is left of the wing bones with a boning knife and remove any giblets. Fold the breast under the bird to make a tight heart shape and rub sage and salt on its skin.
Put the turkey into the air fryer for 30 minutes at 200C. Using two forks, turn the crown over to brown for another 30 minutes, watching for splashing oil. Check juices run clear and leave to rest while cooking the rest of your meal.
VERDICT – WIN: I thought this was going to be a disaster but all was fine.
Removing the wing bones was a pain but once done it fitted easily and snugly in the air fryer.
They taste more like potato wedges and miss the flavours you get from goose fat or dripping[/caption]
COOK TIME: 40 minutes
YOU NEED: Six medium Maris Piper potatoes, peeled and cut into eighths; 2 tsp oil; 1 tsp salt
METHOD: Place the potatoes in a bowl, drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt. Mix until lightly coated then place on your rack or basket in the air fryer.
Set temp to 200C and timer for 20 minutes. After time is up, take them out, give the basket a shake and, using tongs, ensure none is sticking to the rack.
Pop in for another 20 minutes, depending on desired crispness.
VERDICT – FAIL: They taste more like potato wedges and miss the flavours you get from goose fat or dripping. Not for roast potato purists.
COOK TIME: 15 minutes
YOU NEED: 10 frozen sage and onion stuffing balls
METHOD: Plonk the balls straight into the fryer rack from the freezer.
Cook at 200C for 15 minutes, occasionally giving them a good shake.
VERDICT – WIN: A Crimbo meal must, stuffing can be a bit of a mess to make.
Using frozen made life ten times easier and they were so simple to cook through in the fryer.
Parsnips and carrots
The carrots tasted great but were a little crunchy while the parsnips were very dry[/caption]
COOK TIME: 20 minutes
YOU NEED: Four parsnips and four carrots, all peeled and sliced into equal batons; ½ tsp honey; ½ tsp oil; salt; sprinkle of dried thyme
METHOD: Coat your parsnips and carrots in honey, oil and salt and give them a shake.
Put the parsnips and carrots in the air fryer on 180C for 20 minutes, shaking the basket every now and again. Then pop them in a serving dish, season and drizzle with honey.
VERDICT – FAIL: A bit of a letdown but edible. The carrots tasted great but were a little crunchy while the parsnips were very dry.
Their blasting in the fryer meant you couldn’t tell they were glazed.
They are crispy and crunchy and are a bit like very, very tasty broccoli[/caption]
COOK TIME: 15 minutes (with 30min prep)
YOU NEED: 500g Brussels sprouts, halved; 1 tsp oil; 1 tsp garlic salt
METHOD: Soak the sprouts for 30 minutes first or they will be hard as bullets.
Drain and pat dry with a kitchen towel then coat in oil and salt. Cook at 200C for 10 to 15 minutes. They should be crispy and a little charred.
VERDICT – WIN: These are sprouts but not as you know them. They are crispy and crunchy and are a bit like very, very tasty broccoli.
Some might even say these put your Aunt Ethel’s soggy sprouts to shame.
Most certainly a resounding success.
Pigs in blankets
COOK TIME: 12 minutes
YOU NEED: Ten pigs in blankets
METHOD: Place the piggies on the rack of your air fryer and cook at 200C for 12 minutes.
Shake every minute or so as if you were cooking under the grill.
These will cook quicker than in the oven so keep an eye on them.
VERDICT – WIN: These cook incredibly fast – half the time they would in the oven.
And they are so satisfyingly crisped and brown I’m not sure I’d cook pigs in blankets any other way now.
They also give out a great aroma as they fry – really getting you in the Christmas mood.
Pop a few in the fryer after Christmas shopping and you will soon have a delicious mince pie[/caption]
COOK TIME: 5 minutes
YOU NEED: Mince pies, as many as you can fit in the air fryer.
METHOD: Remove the foil from your mince pies. Turn the fryer to 160C and put pies on rack. Cook for five minutes.
VERDICT – WIN: Pop a few in the fryer after Christmas shopping and you will soon have a delicious mince pie. So easy the kids could do it (under a watchful eye).
Yes, it smells nice and tasted OK but the problem is it looks just awful and was a total pain to do[/caption]
COOK TIME: 10 minutes
YOU NEED: 1 Christmas pudding
METHOD: Remove the pudding from its container or box. If yours is in a plastic bowl, use scissors to cut this away or prise it out.
Plonk the Christmas pudding on the rack of your air fryer and allow to cook for ten minutes on 200C.
You’ll smell when it’s done – just be careful removing it from the basket.
VERDICT – FAIL: I’m not sure disaster really sums up how this went.
Yes, it smells nice and tasted OK but the problem is it looks just awful and was a total pain to do.
Cutting it out of the packaging, I nearly sliced my fingers off. Then it was already in pieces by the time it made it into the air fryer.
Taking it out of the machine was even more hassle and made the pud crumble even more.
Microwave it instead.