Air fryers might seem like an appliance you can pass over if you're not regularly deep-frying chicken, but that's not quite the case. The device, which looks like something that might be mistaken for a UFO if it landed on your doorstep, is great for a number of tasks, including dessert. Even better, the mode of cooking — circulating hot air — allows for even, quick cooking without any fussing or flipping on your end. In other words, it might be just what your weeknight dinner routine is missing.
Intrigued? Today is a great day to grab one. Philips Viva Airfryer, usually $250, is only $100 as part of Amazon's lead up to Black Friday. But this deal won't last — it expires midnight P.T.
One of our Kitchn editors, Meghan Splawn, recently tried out a less expensive model and gave a full run-down of how it works. But in short, a food hopper can be filled up with anything, from store-bought frozen fries to homemade doughnuts, and hot air (and in some cases oil) circulates rapidly to cook food evenly, even if the food is stacked up. This is unlike roasting, where food needs to be in a thin, even layer to get consistent cooking, or deep-frying, which relies on submerging the food in hot oil.
Meghan reviewed a less expensive Black + Decker model, but it's worth spending the $25 extra dollars to get the Philips one today. Philips is the first company to make and sell air fryers, and all models come with exclusive, patented "turbostar" technology. That's a fancy way of saying a raised metal star below the air fryer's basket helps increase hot air and oil circulation even more, ensuring more even and constant heating.
Faster than a toaster oven, using an air fryer can be a great way to heat up frozen sides and mains together (think: chicken fingers and fries), or to roast vegetables quickly and deliciously for sides. It can be a great way to make veggie chips like kale chips, or spiralized vegetables into a tasty snack on their own or to dress up salads. Need more ideas? Check out our roundup of must-try air fryer recipes.