Why I Am An Air Fryer Convert and I Think You Should Be Too

(AD Gifted) I’ve known that air fryers exist for a while and they were something I was briefly interested in buying, mostly because people rave about them all over social media, but in the end I dismissed them as something I didn’t really need or have space for. It turns out I was wrong. HealthKick offered me one of their 5.5l Family Size Digi-Touch Air Fryers to review and I am totally won over. This machine has pride of place on my kitchen counter (next to my kettle) and over the last few weeks I have been using it more than my oven! 

Front view of the health kick air fryer showing the touch screen
HealthKick Family Size Air Fryer (received to review)

What Is An Air Fryer?

The first thing I should admit is that I completely misunderstood what an air fryer is. I wasn’t sure exactly how they worked but I knew they used less oil than a deep fat fryer so I thought maybe they distributed the oil more through the cooking or something. Nope. An air fryer is much more similar to a fan oven so you don’t add oil to it at all. If you want a taste similar to fried food then you can shake the food in oil before adding to the basket, but the food is cooked with hot air that is circulated making everything cook and crisp quickly.

Different brand air fryers all work slightly differently, but with the HealthKick version food is placed in a basket (4.8l food capacity) in a drawer and blasted with hot air to cook it. You can open the drawer to check on the food and the fan and heat automatically pauses before getting it quickly back up to temperature again when you close it. 

Open air fryer drawer showing perfectly crisped spring rolls
You can cook different foods together at the same time

6 Reasons Why Air Fryers Are Brilliant

No Preheating

Ok, you can preheat them if you want, but you often don’t need to because it gets up to the required heat so quickly. The HealthKick instructions recommend preheating for 3 minutes or adding on a few minutes cooking time, but either way 3 minutes is much faster than my oven can get up to temperature. As someone who gets easily distracted I struggle with preheating my oven because I forget to check it and waste a load of energy while it is sitting there ready to cook, but empty, so not having to preheat is brilliant for me.

Air Fryers Cook Quickly

I cooked the fine cuisine of chips and chicken goujons straight from the freezer and they were ready to serve in 15 minutes. The exact same food takes nearly 25 minutes in our oven plus the extra time required to preheat the oven, that means I can get a dinner for my 3 children ready in half the time.

Air Fryers Are Energy Efficient

The intensive cooking of air fryers uses a surprising amount of energy for a compact appliance and if I compare wattage of the air fryer (1700w) and my oven (1.8kw) they are quite similar, but the key difference for most of the food I cook is due to the faster cooking time, shorter preheating and automatic switch off when the timer is up it means the air fryer is using electricity for a much shorter time. This means it uses less electricity than cooking the same food in my oven, which is good news for the environment and our bank balance. I also suspect that due to better insulation and it's small size it doesn't use maximum power for as long as my oven.

A caveat to the energy efficiency comparison between ovens and air fryers is the capacity of the appliances. My oven has a much larger capacity (by more than 50 l) so if cooking something large or lots of food then I can cook more food in my oven at the same time, making it more efficient, but often I am not fully utilising the space in my oven making it more energy efficient to cook in the air fryer.

Air Fryers Are Versatile 

Most food I cook in the oven on a daily basis I can cook in the air fryer instead. I don’t just mean those quick freezer beige foods like chips and chicken nuggets or even homemade chips (although I have cooked all these in my fryer since I received it).  There is so much more cooking potential than that including cake and cookies and quiches! Because the HealthKick air fryer doesn’t move the food while cooking (unlike a popular competitor) it gives you lots of flexibility on what you can cook in it.

The HealthKick fryer cooking basket is big enough to fit in an oven safe round dish so you can cook foods that don’t retain form and unlike a microwave you get a crispy topping (or crispy all round depending on what you cook). I have cooked lasagne, pasta bake, croutons and enchiladas successfully in mine. 

A pyrex glass dish with enchiladas cooked in an air fryer
My version of enchiladas cooked in an oven proof dish in the air fryer

Home made french fries in the air fryer basket
Homemade french fries cooked in the HealthKick Air fryer

It Is Compact, But Spacious 

The HealthKick Family Size 5.5l is a great size for my family of 5 and I think smaller families or couples will love the flexibility the large basket gives them too. There is enough space to cook chips for the 5 of us although, any food that is layered does need shaking a few times during cooking to ensure even browning.

It Can Be Healthy 

A cooking appliance is only as healthy as the food you cook in it, but the air fryer has potential to help you cook healthier foods. It says that the air fryer uses "80% less oil" which I assume is a comparison to a deep fat fryer, but I would compare it more to oven cooked food. The only oil on food will be what is added before cooking and due to the basket excess fat runs off during cooking so it doesn't sit in it meaning less oil remains on food than even cooking in the oven. You can also get a crispy finish to food without adding any oil due to the way the air is circulated, but I find a little oil improves the flavour.

The HealthKick 5.5Ltr Digi-Touch Air Fryer (Family Size) Review

Model Number: K3401

The HealthKick Air Fryer is easy to use, you just turn it on and select one of the preset options eg chips or steak, or you can manually set the time and temperature. You do this on a touch screen digital display which is really easy to wipe clean. The stainless steel top and front and black sides look really smart, although obviously like all stainless steel it shows up finger prints easily.

The HealthKick 5.5l Digi-Touch Air Fryer is available to buy from a range of places including Robert Dyas and Amazon (affiliate link).

Taking the frying basket out of the drawer on the health kick air fryer
A safety catch means you can't accidentally take the cooking basket out when checking or shaking food

My hand held above the air fryer basket to give an idea of size
The size of the HealthKick cooking area (compared to average size woman's hand)

Why buy the HealthKick Air Fryer?

The basket is securely clicked into the outer tray which makes it easy to take the food out to check on it, as well as to shake it if required, but it is also quick to release the basket for when food is cooked if you want to tip it out on to a plate without the excess oil tipping out. To do this you slide the button guard and press the button underneath before lifting the basket out by the handle.

Rapid heatwave technology means that the cooking basket heats up really fast, even after you open it to check on the food it will get back up to temperature quickly so it doesn't affect cooking time.

The preset options make it really easy to get the time right for different foods when cooking them for the first time, but you can add a bit more time (or end early) if you want too. There are also lots more cooking time suggestions in the instructions.

Not sure what to cook in your air fryer? The HealthKick model comes with a recipe booklet which has a wide range of suggestions from home made chips, grilled fish and banana muffins. There is also a leaflet on food, health & nutrition.

Cleaning The HealthKick Air Fryer

The air fryer should be cleaned after each use once it has cooled down. You can clean the outer basket and fry basket in hot water with mild detergent and a non abrasive sponge or you can put them in a dishwasher.

I love the HealthKick air fryer and I have been totally won over. I was sent this item to review, but all thoughts are my own.

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