Walter Shillington writes about products he knows firsthand. His articles focus on healthcare, electronics, watches, and household items.
I’ve heard a lot of good things about air fryers from my more culinarily inclined friends. It appears that these devices are simple to use and can quickly cook up a delicious meal. According to them, even the crispy effect of fried foods can be achieved without the use of oil.
Since my love of fried foods has been contributing to an unfortunate weight gain, I decided to test out one of these devices. Today I am taking a close look at the TaoTronics TT-AF001 air fryer.
This air fryer is enclosed within a case mainly composed of black plastic. It is 11 inches wide, 13 inches deep, and 13.5 inches tall.
The bottom half of this device is occupied by a removable drawer. A metal basket covered with a non-stick coating sits within this drawer. Hovering ominously above, a quickly rotating fan backs up a large heating coil.
A front-mounted touchscreen controls timing and heat setting. Eleven preconfigured settings provide easy access to cooking routines suitable for common types of food.
It is a simple task to operate this device. After allowing five minutes to preheat the fryer, food is placed within its basket. Then either a preconfigured setting is selected, or the temperature and timers are set.
This device requires 120 volts and is rated at 1750 watts.
- Manufacturer: TaoTronics
- Name: Air Fryer
- Model: TT-AF001
- Dimensions: 28 x 33 x 34 centimeters (11 x 13 x 13.5 inches)
- Capacity: 5.7 liters (6 Quarts)
- Voltage: 120V - 60Hz
- Power: 1750 watts
- Temperature Control: 65-200°C (150-400°F)
- Cooking Time Settings: 5-60 minutes
- Dishwasher Safe: Drawer and basket
- Automatic Shut-Off: Yes
- Included: Air fryer, recipe book, user guide, and quick start guide
TaoTronics is trademarked by Sunvalleytek International. This company focuses on the incorporation of the latest technology into easy-to-use devices.
The Cooking Process
An air fryer does not actually fry. It is a countertop convection oven that combines a heating element with a swiftly spinning fan.
The heated air is circulated, making contact with every exposed section of the cooking food’s surface area. This creates a crispy crust without the use of excessive oil and grease.
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Air fryers, of course, do more than fry food. They can bake, grill, and roast. And, due to the device’s convection heating and small size, they can perform these functions much faster than a full-sized oven.
My first step was to press the touchscreen’s power button, select preheat, and confirm the selection by pressing the start button. It takes five minutes to bring this air fryer to a proper operating temperature.
Once the preheating cycle was complete, I pulled out the drawer and placed my food into its inner basket. Then I shoved the drawer back into place.
The next step was to press the power button to bring back the main screen. From there, I could select a preconfigured menu and adjust temperature and cooking time. If, for example, I wanted to cook up a steak, I would tap the Cooking Mode button until the steak icon was highlighted.
The preconfigured steak menu sets a temperature of 400°F and cooks for eight minutes. If, due to previous experience, I’d found this resulted in a steak that was not entirely cooked to my preference, I could either increase or decrease the cooking time. It is also possible to adjust the temperature setting. Once I was satisfied with my selection, I pressed the start button.
I’m a Nervous Nellie. Whenever I try something new, I always wonder if I’m cooking it longer than I should. Happily, the drawer can be pulled out midway through the cooking routine, allowing for a quick check of the food. Then, when the drawer is shoved back into place, the air fryer restarts and continues to cook.
The Cleaning Routine
The basket and drawer—TaoTronics refers to it as the frying pan—of this device are coated with a non-stick surface. Once my meal is cooked and transferred to a plate, I place the drawer in my sink and add soap and water.
When it is time to clean the dishes, it is a simple matter to wash out both the drawer and basket with a dishcloth and set them in the drying rack.
The Fry Test
I first tried cooking a single large portion of fries using the pre-set menu. While they were crispy completely through, many were overcooked and tended to stick together.
Before I attempted this experiment again, I dripped a little olive oil into the small bowl of frozen fries and swished them around to add a thin oil coating. This was intended to prevent the fries from sticking together.
Halfway through the cooking process, I pulled out the drawer to see how my fries were doing. It was good timing because they had turned golden brown and were fully cooked with a crispy outer coating.
Once I laid the drawer on a flat heatproof surface (my cutting board), I pushed the carrying handle’s release button. Then I pulled the lightweight basket from the drawer, hovered it over my dinner plate, and dump its contents.
The Chicken Test
I next experimented with boneless chicken breasts using the preconfigured menu intended for chicken. The outer surface of each piece of chicken, once it was cooked, proved to be crispy and tasty.
The Vegetable Test
I baked a combination of carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli using the proper preconfigured menu. The carrots and cauliflower turned out well, but the broccoli was a bit burnt. I tried a second time, changing the cooking time from 10 minutes to seven.
The Salmon Test
I baked a large piece of salmon using the fish preconfigured menu. When the air fryer was finished, eight minutes later, the salmon was perfectly cooked.
The Steak Test
The default time and temperature for cooking a steak are eight minutes at 400 degrees. In my test, this resulted in a medium-rare steak. Because I prefer my steaks to be medium, I continued cooking for an additional two minutes.
There are plenty of cool gadgets out there designed to help out in the kitchen. However, my counter space is minimal, and I can only justify a spot for the most useful of these devices.
This air fryer replaces my oven. While it can neither handle prepackaged foods nor amounts greater than six quarts, it cooks faster than my oven and adds crispness to certain types of foods.
The TaoTronics TT-AF001 Air Fryeris recommended and has earned a spot on my kitchen counter.
© 2021 Walter Shillington