People have always been looking for different ways in which to make their lives in the kitchen easier. And, if possible, healthier. Well, just over a decade ago, two appliances were released onto the market which made waves in the cooking world.
The air fryer was launched in September 2010, and just one month later, the Instant Pot followed. The ease of using either appliance has seen them both receive lavish praise from aspiring or experienced cooks.
However, are they deserving of all the attention that is being thrown their way? Both these kitchen gadgets appear to have grown immensely in stature in recent years, but is there a superior choice?
What are these appliances?
An instant pot is a device in which a range of cooking methods and more can be all carried out within the confines of one unit. Being electronically controlled, you can put in the food you wish to make, program your settings, and relax. The instant pot will take care of all the hard work for you.
An air fryer acts like an oven and can bake and roast food. The heating elements are situated on top of the device, and deep-frying of food can take place without the food being covered by oil. Hot air is circulated around inside the device at high speeds and can result in surprisingly delicious meals with little to no effort on your behalf.
Figures of sales of both appliances since their release have been absolutely staggering. The sheer demand for these devices is clearly laid bare by the fact that over 25 million air fryers alone have been sold in the last 2 years according to NPD.
Why the hype between them?
Both are seen as solutions in the kitchen to people who may not have the time, energy, or motivation to create full-on meals themselves. The Instant Pot and the air fryer both promise to make healthier food that still tastes good.
People who are not fully confident in the kitchen, or suffer from any of the above constraints, may find themselves delving into the easy world of ordering takeaway food. However, while these takeaways remain a firm favourite of the people, they can be detrimental to your health.
However, using either of these appliances has a number of benefits, including the fact that they can help overcome takeaway cravings by making a fake-away. Staying at home making all your favourite take-out food has never been so exciting!
What are the main differences between them?
The air fryer was designed to make food that looks and tastes just as it had been deep-fried but without the oil. It is more versatile than this though and can make diverse dishes such as pizza bagels amongst others.
As regards the way they cook, the instant pot makes the food quickly and easily by using a method of pressure cooking. They will not however provide the same crispiness that is associated with cooking foods in an air fryer.
Are they actually healthy?
While both are felt to cook healthy food that you and your family can enjoy, fears remain over other issues which could indeed damage their reputation.
Both these appliances cook to very high temperatures. This could be a problem because a harmful compound called acrylamide forms at these temperatures.
However, there may be less risk with the Instant Pot. There is very little evidence that pressure cooking can cause acrylamides as it is more closely linked to baking, roasting, and frying.
Which appliance should you choose?
If you were looking for a new appliance or gadget for your kitchen, you would have to weigh up the following:
Which is healthier? This can vary as to what you decide to cook and which ingredients you add into the mix.
What are you using it for? An instant pot sees its best use derived from liquid dishes, whereas an air fryer is better suited to foods you wish to dry out or make crispy.
How often would you use it? Once the novelty of your new purchase wears off, will it be discarded in a cupboard somewhere as you revert back to tried and traditional methods?
What is your budget? Instant pots are usually more expensive than fryers. With so many different variations of both devices on the market these days, choose wisely as to which best suits your needs.
The Instant Pot may have more features, and it can also come with an air fryer attachment making the other appliance redundant. There are also many must-try instant pot recipes online, making it a device well worth looking into buying.
Either of these appliances could prove to be beneficial to you and your needs. Perhaps you are simply looking for ways to revive a tired kitchen or bring new invigoration to mealtimes that have become quite repetitive or dull.
One of these appliances may do just that. You might be surprised by the ease of use of both, and find yourself trying a wide variety of dishes that will turn out just the way you planned them. These devices could change the way you look at cooking from now on.