Do you have an oven? If you do, are you secretly wishing it was an air fryer instead?
If you have kitchen appliance envy, you shouldn’t. There is a world of cooking that can be done in your oven that you just haven’t discovered yet, especially if you have been eying that fancy air fryer. Why?
Because you might already have an “air fryer” in your kitchen.
If your oven has a fan in the back or on either side of the oven walls, this means that you have a convection oven. A convection oven is an oven with a fan, and it is this oven function that makes your oven the same as an air fryer.
In fact, the air fryer is a mini convection oven! The main difference is size, functionality, and of course, packaging. The air fryer is much smaller than an oven with a compartment that is focused under a heating element and a high-speed fan. Compared to the oven where a knob or button will indicate that the fan is either on or off, the fan cannot be turned off in an air fryer. (It is after all the whole point of an air fryer: hot air that is circulated around in that small space.)
Just like an oven, you can control the heat of the air fryer compartment with the temperature gauge but since you cannot turn it off, the basic air fryer doesn’t have any other function.
So, how do you make your convection oven cook like an air fryer? Simple. Turn the knob or button that controls the oven fan “on”. Then, just cook as you normally would if you were going to use an air fryer.
However, there will be a few differences when cooking in an oven compared to an air fryer, even with the fan on.
An oven is much bigger. While you can fit more food in the oven, such as a whole garlic chicken or whole pork liempo, the bigger the space, the more time it will take for the oven to get to the right temperature and to heat up and cook whatever food you’re trying to cook. The fan of an air fryer is more focused on the food. Since it’s much smaller, the fan is located right above the heating element, making the air fryer heat up the compartment thus the food much faster.
Don’t worry though. Your oven with its fan “on” can still cook that whole chicken faster. Just like the air fryer, you will notice that food you cook in the oven with the fan on will cook faster than normal and sometimes, more evenly, too. That’s why it’s common to see that the rotisserie function also turns the fan on. The rotating chicken is more evenly cooked and browned when the fan is on since the hot air can flow all around the chicken.
Did you know that baking in an air fryer follows the same rules as a convection oven? You will need to drop the temperature down and shorten the baking time, too, if using an air fryer. An oven however has the advantage of being more convenient since it can hold a cupcake tray with at least 12-muffin holes or a standard-sized baking pan.
In short, anything that the air fryer can do, your convection oven can do it, too, but in a much bigger baking, roasting, and broiling space.
Thinking about what to cook next? Join our Facebook group, Yummy Pinoy Cooking Club, to get more recipe ideas, share your own dishes, and find out what the rest of the community are making and eating!
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