Air Fryer Vs Deep Fryer | Which Is Best?

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The air fryer has swept the nation, and it’s not slowing down. There’s a very good reason for that and we think it has at least a little bit to do with how much easier it is to make “fried foods” in the air fryer vs deep fryer.

If you like crispy fried foods, like French fries and onion rings, but don’t want to dunk your food in all the oil that’s necessary to cook in the deep fryer, then an air fryer is definitely best.

air fryer vs deep fryer

Air fryers might produce a similar result as a deep fryer, but it’s a very different process. The air fryer uses circulating air to crisp up food with minimal oil on the surface, while the deep fryer requires you to submerge the food in hot oil to cook it.

The biggest difference is in the amount of oil the food needs to cook. If you’re looking to be a bit healthier with your way of eating, or you really don’t want to bother with all that oil, then the air fryer is absolutely the way to go.

Air fryers and deep fryers both have their pros and cons, and they both have a place in the kitchen. What works for some might not work for others. Find out which one is right for your family and kitchen.

» Try cooking these Frozen Chicken Wings in the Air Fryer.

What Is an Air Fryer?

air fryer on a counter

An air fryer is a convection appliance that uses air instead of hot oil to fry food. The appliance works by having a fan blow hot air over and around your food. It allows food to be cooked without a lot of oil.

The circulated air allows food to get crispy, almost like they would in the deep fryer, but without all the oil. That’s one great reason to favor an air fryer over a deep fryer.

However the air fryer is way more than that. It’s not just a way to crisp up fried foods. In fact, you can cook many healthy things in the air fryer, like chicken breast without breading and even a whole butternut squash. You can roast, bake, fry, and dehydrate in an air fryer.

What Is a Deep Fryer?

A deep fryer

A deep fryer is a stand-alone cooking appliance that holds a vat of cooking oil – like the fryers at McDonalds. The appliance heats the oil to the proper degree and you drop the food into the deep fryer to bubble away in the oil until it’s crisped up.

Foods you put in the deep fryer are usually dipped in a wet batter made with different combinations of flour, breadcrumbs, milk, and sometimes eggs. Not all foods are covered in batter, like french fries and plantains, but all are totally submerged in oil.

So what makes the deep fryer a lot less handy in the kitchen than the air fryer is that it can really only do one thing – deep fry foods. It can’t bake or roast, or any of the myriad other things an air fryer does.

Which One Do You Need?

There are many reasons people prefer air fryers over deep fryers, but everyone’s needs and wants are different. Let’s find out if an air fryer is worth it to you.

How Much Does an Air Fryer Cost?

The average cost of an air fryer is between $70 and $200. Of course, there are exceptions and you can find great deals on air fryers (particularly around the holidays) because they are so popular.

Which air fryer you should buy and its cost depends heavily on its functions, size, type, and brand name.

All air fryers will cook your food, but not all air fryers are the same size or have the same functions. If you have just 2-4 people you’re cooking for, you probably won’t need a big air fryer that will take up much space. A cheap and small air fryer with all of the main functions will do.

However, I know people who have 2-3 air fryers and sometimes run them all at once, in order to cook an entire meal for a large family at the same time in the air fryer.

Cosori air fryer



There are a lot of features to love about this air fryer, but top of our list are the tempered glass display, super easy to clean basket, and ability to add shake reminders.

How Much Does a Deep Fryer Cost?

Deep fryers range anywhere between $30 to $500, depending on the size and make. For a home deep fryer, you won’t need an industrial-sized expensive deep fryer. However, you’ll also want to factor in the cost of the oil you’ll be using.

While deep frying the food, it should be totally submerged in the oil. Depending on the size of your fryer and what you’re cooking, it can take a few gallons of oil. The oil has to be changed out frequently, so this will be an ongoing cost of running a deep fryer.

Do I Need an Air Fryer or a Deep Fryer?

Many recipes call for an air fryer over a deep fryer and vice versa. This recipe for frozen french fries requires an air fryer but could also be prepared in a deep fryer. So, let’s see air fryer vs. deep fryer pros and cons to see which appliance is best for you.


  • An air fryer can be easily maintained and cleaned because of its non-stick coating. There are many components to how you clean your air fryer.
  • Generally, the tray, basket, and pan should be washed after every use. Depending on the type and brand of air fryer, some of the parts can be dishwasher-safe.
  • There is little to no oil use, so no need to dispose of any oil or fats. For even less clean-up after using your appliance, you can place baking paper in the tray to catch any spills or oils when cooking.
  • Deep fryers need to be cleaned daily to avoid build-up and smells. Deep cleans and sanitization are then required weekly. Oil can be reused a few times but should be changed as soon as it changes color or smell.
  • Disposing of the oil can also be tricky because you cannot pour it down the drain or in the garbage bin. Instead, pour it over into a recyclable container and then dispose of it.
air fryer basket ready for cleaning


  • Air fryers are much healthier than deep fryers, with most recipes needing little to no oil. It doesn’t impart the “oil fried” taste that a deep fryer does. If you really like that oil frying component, you may not like the air fryer.
  • There is a risk that the food can become dry because of the constant flow of hot air above and around the food. Cooking food in an air fryer also runs the risk of burning food quicker than in a deep fryer.
  • A deep fryer uses a lot of oil because the food needs to be submerged in it. The most petite deep fryer available needs about 42 fl oz (1.2 liters) of oil. While adding a ton of oil to your food isn’t healthy, it does impart the most flavor and is overall more tasty than air frying.
air fryer frozen french fries


  • Air fryers are very versatile, and almost any recipe that requires a deep fryer can be made in an air fryer. It can bake, broil, fry, and grill any meat and most vegetables. Modern air fryers have many functions, some having up to 13 different functions.
  • There are some recipes that an air fryer can’t replicate that are just made better with a deep fryer. One of the things air fryers can’t do is cook wet batter.
  • The circulating air will only blow all of the batter away or have it seep through to the bottom of the fryer. Corn dogs, batter-fried chicken, and cake doughnuts are just better deep-fried.


  • Deep fryers can give off fumes from the boiling oil cooking. There’s also the possibility that heated oil can splatter onto you when mixed with water. These burns can cause nasty scarring on the skin.
  • Burning oil can cause fires and are quite common if the appliance is left unattended. Oil burns begin as simmering and eventually smoking oil which can then catch fire. Make sure you know the oil that you’re using smoking point.
  • One of the healthiest cooking oils, olive oil, has a smoking point of 405°F, while a blended oil’s smoking point is 450°F. Canola oil is mainly used for deep frying, and its smoking point is 400°F. Air fryers can use some oil, but generally don’t use much oil or fat.
  • So, the chance of splashing, spilling, or oil burns is significantly low. However, like with any electrical appliance, there is the chance of an electrical fire. If the device is misused or left unattended, the risk of an electrical fire is increased.
deep fried french fries


  • Air frying is preferred by lots of people because out of the two appliances, it is the healthier option. Air frying your food cuts down on the amount of oil and fat you consume. However, how you prepare your food is only half the battle because what you eat is also important.
  • Eating deep-fried foods is bad for you because they are high in calories and trans fats. A high intake of these oils increases your risk of heart disease and diabetes.
  • You can try to lessen the unhealthy oils by switching to a healthier oil for deep frying, but ultimately we can all agree that deep-frying is not the better option regarding health.

Which Wins? Air Fryer vs Deep Fryer

air fryer vs deep fryer

Both air fryers and deep fryers have their strengths and weaknesses in the kitchen. Both fryers also have their respective cooking jobs.

Deep fryers might only be able to deep fry, but they are the best at deep frying. While an air fryer is healthier and uses less oil, it lacks the tastiness and flavor that a deep fryer can provide. Moreover, an air fryer just cannot replicate the same effect a deep fryer has on battered foods.

Both fryers can be worth the cost, depending on your needs and price range. Overall, an air fryer is a preferred appliance out of the two options to purchase. This is because of its versatility and easy maintenance.

Compared to a deep fryer, an air fryer has more functions and is easier to clean and store. An air fryer is an ideal appliance to have for a small space or family.

Why Use an Air Fryer

An air fryer is an incredibly easy way to cook just about anything. You place the food in a fryer-style basket and hot air rapidly circulates all around the food, making the food crisp – much like deep-frying, but without the oil. You can cook anything you’d make in the oven.

Ninja Max XL

Air Fryer Recipes to Try

Frequently Asked Questions

Does air frying taste as good as deep frying?

Air frying produces similar results to deep frying in terms of crispiness, but with less oil, making it a healthier option. While the taste is close, some might argue that deep frying imparts a slightly different flavor due to the immersion in oil, but air frying offers a delicious and lighter alternative.

Can an air fryer replace a deep fryer?

An air fryer can replace a deep fryer for many cooking tasks, especially when you want to achieve a crispy texture with less oil.

Can you put oil in an air fryer?

Yes, you can put oil in an air fryer, but it’s typically used sparingly and with certain foods. A light coating of oil on food items like fries or chicken can enhance their crispiness in the air fryer, but it’s not necessary for all recipes, as the air fryer uses hot air circulation to cook without submerging food in oil like a traditional deep fryer.


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Can You Toast Bread in an Air Fryer?

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