Instant Pots, Le Creuset Dutch ovens, and the Our Place Always Pan: What do these Black Friday deals have in common? They’re all the key to cozy winter stews and braises. But sometimes you need some crunch. Enter the Philips Air Fryer TurboStar XXL, which is more than $100 off right now, making it one of the best air fryer Black Friday deals out there.
At Epicurious, we’ve long been skeptical about air fryers. And we were right to be. First of all, there’s no such thing, technically, as an air fryer. The name is a marketing label. The ever-expanding list of kitchen tools on the market that claim to “air fry” (a.k.a. fry food with air and not oil) are really just countertop convection ovens.
It’s true that convection ovens, which circulate hot air within the chamber of your oven, cook foods faster and more evenly. It’s true that this air circulation can help give you fantastically crispy-skinned chicken thighs, chickpeas, and potatoes. It is not true that you can make dishes you’d typically deep-fry, like dredged fried chicken, in an air fryer and expect the same results.
So, free yourself of the name! When you begin to think of the air fryer as simply a countertop convection oven (and manage any expectations you might have about it producing “healthy” versions of fried food), it becomes a useful tool. We know several professional bakers who love using the air fryer as a small-batch baking oven. We’ve talked to a cookbook author who thinks that air fryers are a superior tool for cooking crispy roasted vegetables.
If you routinely cook dinner for one or two and want to avoid turning on your oven to save energy (or to keep your kitchen cool in the summer), an air fryer is perfect for you. If you have an unreliable oven in a rental home? The best air fryer is a good work-around.
We tested a number of air fryers on the market last year, and the Philips Air Fryer TurboStar XXL won our test.
What makes the Philips Air Fryer (and this Black Friday deal) so special?
Our product tester was skeptical of the Philips TurboStar at first because of its high price tag—it usually sells for $400—but it beat out every other model in the test by a landslide when it came to preparing larger batches of food. A pound and a half of sweet potato fries came out light and crunchy without any of the charred bits that the competing machines churned out. Our tester also found it to have the most intuitive dial and attractive design of the bunch.
The Philips Air Fryer doesn’t need any time to preheat, but it does have a “keep warm” setting, so if you walk away from it, you don’t have to worry about cold fries. The TurboStar technology is just a branded word for great air circulation, meaning that this model will grant even more consistent results than older Philips models.
For more info on the best air fryers (including an option if you’d rather just get a toaster oven with “air frying” ability), read our full product review:
What should I make in my air fryer?
Foods with a wet batter are best cooked in a traditional deep-fry method—the Philips won’t get you the exact texture of perfectly fried buttermilk-dipped chicken. But there are plenty of new recipes that have been adapted to the air fryer’s actual strengths, and this device is handy for way more than just frying. Make a rack of Memphis-style spare ribs that come together in 45 minutes, or a custardy-smooth batch of caramelized eggplant. We have it on good authority that an air fryer will make the best version of crispy chickpeas you’ve ever tried.
If you’re looking for more early Black Friday deals:
Head over to our list of the early Black Friday Deals you shouldn’t miss, and the kitchen tools and serving pieces our editors are buying as gifts this year. We approach Black Friday coverage with the same rigorous quality standards we bring to our product tests, which means we’ll never share a product with you if it hasn’t been either vetted and approved by our editors first or used in the home kitchen of an Epicurious staffer. We’ll keep updating as the deals come and go, so be sure to check the pages until this shopping fest ends on Tuesday night.
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