What’s The Difference?
Air fryers and convection ovens both use hot air ventilators for cooking food quicker than traditional methods. While an air fryer is a comparatively smaller version of a convection oven, there is no frying that goes on inside it. However, an air fryer cooks even faster than a convection oven.
Both are quite similar in the way they cook the food. But the smaller size of an air fryer helps it heat up faster than a convection oven. The compact size of an air fryer also allows it to distribute the hot air more evenly.
Many assume that an air fryer is a healthier alternative to baking in the convection oven. And while it is true, it’s not that simple. Due to their smaller and compact design, air fryers require little to no oil while cooking the food.
In an air fryer, the fan is located on the top. However, in a convection oven, it is placed in the back, either on the side or in the center. The fan in an air fryer is also larger and faster than in a convection oven.
Air fryers also come with a lot of accessories that make the cooking process faster without the need for flipping it after a while.
So the main differences are that a convection oven can cook more food at one time than an air fryer due to their bigger size. However, an air fryer cooks food in almost half the time than a convection oven. Air fryers also make the food much crispier than convection ovens using little to no oil. Air fryers are also good at reheating food or keeping it warm.
What is a Convection Oven?
The “convection” refers to heating by air. It uses traditional heating methods. The oven blows hot air on the food and vents it back out. The food is cooked by both thermal radiation and warm air that passes over it. It accelerates the cooking process. It also has other advantages. For example, a convection oven cooks more evenly without leaving cold spots.
Convection ovens use a fan to evenly distribute the hot air around, allowing faster and evenly cooked food. Before a few years, convection cooking was only limited to industrial settings like restaurants, where cooking needs forced air to circulate and maintain heat. But now, the convection setting has been developed into ovens so that home chefs can also take advantage of the many benefits they offer.
When Should You Use a Convection Oven?
Foods that need to be roasted or caramelized are best to cook in a convection oven. Many baked foods also bake very well in these conditions.
You can use your convection oven when:
- Roasting ham, turkey, beef cuts, and any meats.
- Roasting vegetables for a little extra crisp.
- Baking muffins, pies, pastry, and pizzas.
- Toasting bread or buns.
- Making croutons, crunchy cookies like biscotti, and dry toast.
- Biscuits and scones, other types of bread that need a bit of a crust.
- Drying foods out as a part of meal prep – think dehydrating fish or roasting nuts.
A convection oven is faster in the sense that you can cook large amounts at a time by multi-rack baking. It is very convenient during the holiday season or family get-togethers.
What is an Air Fryer?
An air fryer, in other words, is a mini convection oven. It produces the same great tasting results as traditional deep frying, but without using oil. It is a countertop kitchen appliance and can be small, taking up about the same space as toaster ovens.
The high-powered fan circulates the super-hot air at high speed. It cooks the ingredients to a perfect crunchy finish. An air fryer uses the heating component along with a fan.
Air fryers circulate hot air around the food to condense the moisture in the fryer. The food is placed in a basket, and then inside the fryer. The small cooking compartment lets the heat from the outside penetrate the food, producing the crispy texture that food gets when deep-fried. An advantage of cooking in an air fryer is that it saves your time, and its cleanup is easy.
When Should You Use an Air Fryer Oven?
Some of the best air fryer oven recipes include:
- Frozen foods such as French fries, mozzarella sticks tater tots, and pizza bites.
- Chicken wings, tenders, or nuggets.
- Vegetables such as zucchini, Brussel sprouts, or cauliflower.
- Hard-boiled eggs.
- Baked pumpkin seeds.
- Homemade chips and egg rolls.
In the end, it is up to you to decide if you want a convection oven or an air fryer in your kitchen.
However, we recommend choosing an air fryer even though both air fryers and convection ovens produce great tasting results. Because an air fryer cooks in less time than a convection oven and doesn’t require heating a large appliance. Also, the food doesn’t require oil to cook, which makes it healthier and crispier as it’s dry. If you are looking forward to a healthier lifestyle while maintaining the taste of your meals, an air fryer is perfect for you!