What Is an Air Fryer & How Does an Air Fryer Work?

When it comes to kitchen appliances, there are plenty to choose from. The most important ones, however, are the ones that help you cook delicious food you can enjoy every day.

The Cuisinart collection of air fryers makes preparing favorites like wings, shrimp, and sweet potato fries easier and healthier than ever. But there's more to this appliance than healthy versions of fried foods. It’s a workhorse that can also be used to bake, broil, roast and even grill. This makes air fryers indispensable in every kitchen.

What Is an Air Fryer?

An air fryer is a kitchen countertop appliance that uses multiple heating elements and a fan to circulate ultra-hot air to cook foods that look and taste deep fried. Their compact size allows for faster cooking of a wide variety of foods, including meats, vegetables and desserts, without hardly any oil.

While full-sized conventional and convection ovens require installation and aren’t always practical, air fryers always are. Compared to a conventional and full-sized convection oven, air fryers are:

  • Compact
  • Easily stored
  • Energy efficient
  • Affordable

Air fryers can be multifunctional and used for baking, broiling and roasting, as well as for top-browning casseroles. Most models include a removable air fryer basket and a baking/drip pan. However, an air fryer’s functionality will vary from model to model.

Air fryers also come with variable features, such as capacity, size, temperature levels, adjustable timers, presets, or dedicated functions for dehydrating and proofing.

Ready to prepare and enjoy all the crunch without the calories?  

How Does an Air Fryer Work?

While traditional deep fryers immerse your foods in hot oil, air fryers use multiple heating elements and high-velocity fans to cook foods from the outside in. The air flow keeps the food’s surface dry, giving it that crisp exterior texture while keeping the interior moist. The result is delicious food with a deep-fried texture minus the added fat and calories.

Air-fried food is a healthier alternative to being deep-frying in oil.

The benefits of air frying include:

  • Faster food prep
  • Healthier meals
  • Easy clean up

The advantages don’t end there. Depending on the make and model, an air fryer can also double as an oven so you can air fry chicken nuggets or roast a whole chicken — all with one appliance. Some even let you grill the perfect steak, like the Cuisinart AirFryer Toaster Oven with Grill.

What Can You Cook in an Air Fryer?

Air fryers are a great alternative for cooking just about anything you’d traditionally cook in a standard fryer or oven.

Air frying is a great option for fan favorites like chicken wings, French fries or mozzarella sticks. Your fried favorites (whether previously frozen or not) will be perfectly crispy and juicy with little cooking time and significantly less oil than traditional frying. You can even bake or heat up a pizza if you’re craving a cheesy and delicious meal.

For a healthier options, air fryers are a great choice for creating crisp sliced zucchini, diced red potatoes, roasted cauliflower or Brussel sprouts, apple chips and so much more! Vegetables with low water content will give you the best results.

You can even bake your favorite desserts or breads in your air fryer or use a grilling pan to sear the perfect steak. The options for what to cook in an air fryer are truly endless!

Choosing the Right Air Fryer

If you’re thinking about getting an air fryer for your kitchen, there are many options to choose from. They come with different features tailored to your cooking needs and vary in size, functionality, and price.

The Cuisinart collection of air fryers includes several models to satisfy every home chef’s needs.

Large AirFryer Toaster Oven

The Cuisinart Large AirFryer Toaster Oven is our largest available air fryer, with 4 lbs. of capacity that can toast 9 slices of bread, bake a 13" pizza or fit a 9" x 13" baking pan. Big enough for the whole family, yet small enough that it doesn’t take over your countertop, this is a great option for families with young kids or those who love to entertain.

This model features multiple cooking functions: airfry (with presets), bake, broil, pizza, roast, dual cooking, reheat, keep warm, toast, bagel, dehydrate, low, slow cook.

AirFryer Toaster Oven with Grill

The Cuisinart Airfryer Toaster Oven with Grill brings the multifunctional kitchen appliance to new levels with 8 functions that let you air fry, convection bake, convection broil, bake, broil, warm, toast and grill. Its unique dual-sided grill and griddle plate and 450°F cooking temperature makes it easy to sear steaks and vegetables on one side and griddle the perfect breakfast on the other. With 3 lbs. of capacity, this air fryer can toast 6 slices of bread, air fry 3 lbs. of chicken wings, roast a 4 lb. chicken or bake a 12" pizza.

Digital AirFryer Toaster Oven

The Cuisinart Digital Airfryer Toaster Oven includes a large digital display with intuitive programming options and multiple presets to make it easy to perfectly air fry favorites like wings, fries, chicken nuggets, snacks and veggies. It also offers all the great features of a full-size toaster oven with 3 lb. air fryer basket this capacity is the air fryer basket not the oven. And that’s not all; its range of low temperatures settings let you slow cook, braise, dehydrate and even proof dough. A wide range cooking functions make it easier than ever to bake, broil, pizza, roast, toast, bagel, reheat, warm and dual cook.

Compact AirFryer Toaster Oven

For those with less available counterspace, the Cuisinart Compact AirFryer Toaster Oven is just the right size, allowing you to air fry up to 2.5 lbs of food, toast 4 slices of bread or bagel halves, and bake up to a 3-lb chicken. It has all the features of our full-size models but won’t clutter your countertop since it combines two appliances in one: an air fryer and toaster oven.

It also includes 6 cooking functions for convection bake, convection broil, air fry, toast, pizza and warm. Save space without sacrificing quality or functionality.

Create your own dishes or prepare any of the exclusive recipes included in the recipe booklets that come with each of our air fryers.

Fish Tacos

Air Fried Chicken

French Fries