It’s no secret that cooking can be intimidating, especially if you throw in the “healthy” aspect. But luckily there are plenty of gadgets to take all the guesswork out of it! One such appliance is the Instant Pot, which has become wildly popular in recent years. The Air Fryer, on the other hand, also offers tons of benefits. Which one should you invest in?
The thing about kitchens is that there’s always something new to learn. And while this can seem daunting at times, it should come as a relief rather than an impediment because at least you know what you don’t know. Which is why the best thing you could do is educate yourself. If you want to get into the kitchen; maybe learn a bit of culinary lingo, take a look at some old recipes, or just try your hand at cooking something new and delicious then all that’s needed is a bit of patience and practice.
Air Fryer Vs Instant Pot: One Appetizing Result
The same goes for cooking gadgets: there’s so much information out there full of reviews, tips, and tricks that can help you succeed in your mission. Which is one of the reasons that Air Fryer vs Instant Pot are such popular subjects. People who invest in these appliances use them for a variety of reasons. Some of them prioritize health and that’s what their Air Fryer vs Instant Pot comparison is about, some see it as a time-saver. If you have to choose between learning how to cook and buying an appliance, then we say: why not cheat?
So, Which One Do You Prefer
Well, let’s start with the basics. An Instant Pot looks like a big stainless steel magic box. It has the shape of a tall rectangle with rounded corners and a handle on top. The device comes with seven different buttons and two pressure options (low or high). The Air Fryer on the other hand is a small and simple looking device. It’s in the shape of a tall, narrow plastic box that sits on top of a rectangular metal base with a handle.
From there it’s all about the specifics: what each gadget can do, how quickly they work, how much they cost, and how they are powered.
Both Instant Pot vs Air Fryer are capable of cooking a range of different foods and both use infrared heat and circulate hot air to cook food in minutes. But their similarities end there: everything from their price to size and complexity varies drastically from one appliance to another.
For the past year, an Instant Pot versus air fryer debate has been raging. While both small appliances offer big possibilities for home cooking, Jessie Van Amburg, Well+Good’s senior food editor, and I simply cannot agree which kitchen gadget reigns supreme. I have even argued my case publicly. To know where I stand, just read Ode to My Air Fryer, a 1,000-word essay of adoration. Meanwhile, Jessie feels strongly that the Instant Pot is a superior tool.
In order to settle the score once and for all, we conducted a side-by-side comparison of the kitchen appliances, considering price, pros and cons, functionality, and plenty of unsolicited personal opinions. Hopefully, by the end you’ll be able to decide which device is right for you (or you just might decide to buy both).
Functionality: It makes stews and soups, slow cooks meat, makes effortless casseroles, and prepares eggs.
Pros: It holds large amounts of food for bulk batching and meal-prepping, can easily be cleaned, and can tackle any meal of the day from breakfast until dinner. It also gives at-home chefs the opportunity sharpen their cooking skills with more difficult recipes like desserts.
Cons: It comes with a learning curve: you have to learn how to use it before you can really appreciate it. It requires understanding many settings and can be intimidating to use.
Price: $60 to $160
Functionality: It fries vegetables, proteins, and more in less than 20 minutes.
Pros: It’s easy to use, prepares food quickly, and ensures whatever goes inside comes out crispy.
Cons: Recipes are somewhat limited to dinner and lunch, and everything comes out the same crunchy consistency so there’s not very much variability in texture. It’s also very difficult to clean.
The great Instant Pot verses air fryer debate really comes down to the difference between someone who likes to cook their meals well in advance and feel ready for dinner/lunch/whatever (Team Instant Pot) verses someone who just wants dinner on the table quickly without having to put forth effort well beforehand (Team Air Fryer).
“The air fryer could be a good entry point for someone into healthy eating and easier cooking, whereas the Instant Pot is perhaps a bit more of a commitment but also worth it in its own way,” she says.
The takeaway here is that neither device is better or worse than the other. Really, it’s all about choosing what kind of at-home chef you are and owning it with your gadget of choice. Either way, dinner will be on the dinner way faster than if you stick with your oven and stovetop.
Do you need an air fryer if you have an Instant Pot?
The thing about cooking is that it’s always evolving and there are many different ingredients and techniques on which to experiment and practice. And as you do, your cooking skills will improve. If you are new to dealing with vegetables or herbs (or if in general, cooking isn’t your favorite hobby) then the Instant Pot can be a great way to learn more.
One of the most important things about kitchen appliances is that they don’t have any feelings. So when something doesn’t come out right, that’s no big deal, right? What’s important is that you learn from your mistakes in order to succeed next time around.
Can you use an Instant Pot as a fryer?
Yes, in fact, that’s how Instant Pot works. So if you want to use it as a fryer, then this is how you would go about it:
Put the rack into the pot and place your food on top of it. Pour in just enough water to cover the bottom (this will create steam to cook your food). Cook at high pressure for three minutes (make sure not to exceed three minutes or else the texture of the food could be compromised). Release the pressure using quick release method. If necessary, add a bit of cooking oil or butter to avoid sticking.
As far as regular frying goes, I don’t recommend using Instant Pot for this purpose. The food gets a little too crunchy, and the food just cooks unevenly. Sure, you’ll get a healthier version of greasy foods, but the seasoning may end up compromised as a result.
Do you need an Instant Pot if you have an air fryer?
It’s all very well to be able to fry your food in the air fryer, but whether or not you should do this is another matter. If you want to make sure your smart kitchen appliance doesn’t get damaged by a rogue piece of popcorn (the same way using it as a toaster could damage your potato), then there are some steps you can take to prevent this from happening.
Here are some things you can do before adding your food to the air fryer:
Wrap your food in a dishcloth or paper towel so that it doesn’t burn. This will reduce the amount of oil splattered on your stovetop. Be careful handling your food while frying as well so you don’t scratch the coating. When seasoning, mix in some salt and pepper if you wish to add some additional flavor (but avoid adding more than this because too much salt will damage the coating). In addition, vacuum seal may be another way to help prevent splattering.
When it comes time to cook, be careful with positioning and temperature control of the air fryer. This is especially important when using potatoes.
Is an air fryer like a deep fryer?
It depends on how you see it. Deep fryers are for cooking food in a deep container of oil, so the food has to be submerged in the oil at all times (fish and chips being one example).
A convection oven, on the other hand, allows you to place your food on a rack and then you either cook it by circulating the hot air inside or by placing a heating element underneath. The result is that your food is cooked from all sides (similar to how an air fryer works).
What are the disadvantages of an air fryer?
The main thing is that you have limited options on recipes. Many people who purchase without doing their research first end up disappointed with the device because they didn’t realize it’s not a cooker and has many limitations.
For example, it cannot stir-fry your food, and it can only prepare one or two different dishes at a time. It also has inconsistent temperature control and so there is no way to cook frozen food (which is one of the most popular uses for Instant Pot).
In addition, you need to wait 20 minutes for the air fryer to heat up before you can start cooking. Also, cleaning could be a pain as well.
Do air fryers really taste like fried food?
The short answer is yes. Of course, the microwave is just another type of oven and all microwaves cook the food evenly. But air fryers can take it to the next level by making you feel like you’re eating real fried food because they are cooked at a much lower temperature, thus retaining more of the seasoning and crunchiness.
All in all, neither air fryer nor Instant Pot is better than the other. They are just different kinds of cooking appliances with different purposes to serve you better.
Of course, we can’t ignore the fact that both air fryer and Instant Pot give you healthier and tastier options, so if you’re not bothered by cooking time and can be a bit patient (or don’t mind watching a cooking show every now and then), then by all means, go for it.
We just want to remind you that it’s all about preference.