Yes, I love my air-fryer (and I’m not afraid to admit it!)

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Yes, I love my air-fryer (and I’m not afraid to admit it!)

Are you a card-carrying member of team air-fryer or still on the fence? In the wake of our online editor’s admission that she is not besotted with hers, we asked TASTE’s resident air-fryer devotee, account director Kelly Cloete, to tell us why she’s a convert. And, oh boy, let her count the ways!

You say schnitzel, I say air-fryer! Schnitzel! Air-fryer! Schnitzel! Air-fryer! That pretty much sums up the heady relationship that I have with my air-fryer. Ever since we became an item during hard lockdown (only when we were allowed to buy appliances again, of course), this is one appliance partnership that has stayed the course (I’m looking at you, pasta maker and ice-cream churner).

My love for this gadget is eclipsed only by my love for Woolies’ chicken schnitzels. What’s not to love about dinner ready FROM FROZEN in 20 minutes flat? I mean, do you know all the ways you can eat a schnitzel? (Or just pop some potatoes in the basket 10 minutes before the chicken goes in to get the best baked spuds to serve with your schnitz.)

sesame crumbed chicken schnitzel

Check out our schnitzel recipe collection here.

For me, the air-fryer isn’t about making fried foods healthier – I’m not that much of a frying fanatic (except for Abi’s genius chickpea Scotch eggs), which are great in the air-fryer). But I will grant it its one-upmanship over the deep-fat fryer when it comes to cooking chips. And it really does come into its own when crisping up Woolies’ frozen röstis, or roast potatoes. What I love most about it is that it’s faster (no preheating and quicker cooking times!), cheaper (no big oven to heat!) and more sustainable (it uses less energy and can be solar-powered!).

My air-fryer also makes healthy-ish foods more accessible – enter the mini frittata. Most mornings, I make a batch packed with spinach and feta to give my children a protein and veggie brain boost before school. Ditto falafel – a tin of chickpeas, some chickpea flour and half a packet of Woolies’ falafel seasoning and you are 10 minutes away from being a cape-wearing, lunchbox-packing superhero.


ALSO READ: I got an air-fryer and it did not change my life

Then there’s portion control – cookies are an underrated air-fryer hero: you can pop in just a couple of frozen cookie dough balls at a time so you’re not faced with eating a whole batch. Or if you have a hankering for freshly baked bread for a WFH lunch, divide the recipe into four for a single serving (and use the leftover egg for tomorrow’s frittatas).

These days, is it even a TikTok food trend if it doesn’t involve an air-fryer? I succumbed to the late-COVID pasta chip hype and it was worth it. My kids still request them regularly. And they have to be healthier than crisps, right? But I have learnt some lessons. Eggs really are best left to the pan or pot. And I wouldn’t go crazy and bake a cake – I mean, I have, and it really wasn’t great. But to be able to roast sweet potatoes to top a curry without cranking up the oven, or quickly warm up some naan to go with it, really is a win.

Now let’s talk size. This really is the biggest downfall of the air-fryer when cooking for a family. All the advisers will tell you to buy the biggest one you possibly can, and they aren’t wrong. But even a medium-sized air-fryer can usually fit a whole roast chicken in it. The best tip I’ve seen is to remove the tray from under the basket and pop the potatoes under the bird so that they cook in the drippings (told you I wasn’t really interested in the health properties). Genius use of space!

NEED AIR FRYER RECIPES? Check out our recipe guide.

Look, the air-fryer isn’t going to change your life, but in order to fall in love with it properly and let it make a meaningful contribution, don’t treat it as a fryer replacement but rather as a mini oven that can save you time, cut costs and give you a lifetime of golden, crispy chicken schnitzels. What’s not to love?

Kelly Cloete Article by: Kelly Cloete

Kelly Cloete is the group account director at Woolworths TASTE. She is also a passionate home cook.

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