- Pros and Cons of Air Frying
- Kyvol Electric Air Fryer Review
- How We Use the Kyvol Air Fryer
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Why We Like the Kyvol AF60 Air Fryer Oven
Air fryers are marketed as a healthier alternative to deep-frying. And while they’ve been gaining in popularity for a few years, it wasn’t until the end of 2020 that I got my hands on one to find out what the hype is all about.
In this article, I’ll talk about the real reasons why air frying can be a healthier approach to deep frying, as well as why my wife and I love our new Kyvol AF 60.
Kyvol AF60 Air Fryer
The Kyvol AF60 is a versatile air fryer that uses a combination of halogen heating elements, hot air and a non-toxic and non-stick food basket to bake, broil, dehydrate, fry, grill or reheat food.
The AF60 is easy to clean and the food basket is large enough to hold a whole chicken plus veggies.
We’ve been using this air fryer for several weeks and really like it as a healthier alternative to a microwave or traditional deep fryers.
Pros and Cons of Air Frying
Many people think that air frying is healthier than deep frying because it requires much less fat than a traditional deep fryer. The misconception is that less fat and fewer calories make for a healthier meal.
Unfortunately, that’s not exactly how it works.
While eating a low-fat diet might work for some people, there is plenty of evidence that high-fat diets (such as the ketogenic diet) lead to improved health outcomes, including lower cardiovascular risk factors.
Plus, this way of eating mimics how our ancestors and early humans ate for millions of years.
So what’s the problem with deep-frying, if not the fat?
- Most people use seed and vegetable oils when frying food, such as peanut or canola oil. These industrial oils are high in unstable and inflammatory unsaturated fatty acids, such as omega-6.
- Heating carbohydrates together with fat or protein leads to the formation of advanced glycation end products (more commonly referred to as AGEs).
To learn more about why you should ban seed and vegetable oils from your kitchen, check out my article on the best cooking oils.
Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs)
Of those two reasons why deep frying can be unhealthy, the second is complex and requires a bit more explanation.
In general, glycation end products form when certain types of sugars (glucose, fructose and their derivatives) attach or bond with protein or fat molecules.
The problem with AGEs is that they’re known to increase oxidative stress and inflammation in your body.
So how does deep frying contribute to glycation?
In a nutshell, when you fry certain foods that are high in carbohydrates (e.g., french fries), the starches in those foods convert to sugar and then form bonds with the fat molecules of the frying oil.
The same can happen when baking your fries or pan-frying food that’s rich in carbs, but the problem is exacerbated when deep frying because of the high amount of fat that’s typically used (i.e., because of the oil used for the frying process).
As a result, the only way to make healthy meals in a deep-fryer is to use foods that are devoid of carbs (such as chicken wings without a sugary sauce) and to use the right type of cooking oil.
Why Air Frying Can Be Healthier
Based on the information above, it makes sense that air frying can be a healthier option than deep frying, because you don’t have to use a lot of oil (if any at all).
However, it’s worth noting that while fries made in an air fryer have significantly lower amounts of AGEs, they’re still loaded with carbs that can cause a significant spike in blood sugar in most people.
As you might know, consistently high blood glucose levels are associated with an increased risk of insulin resistance, leading to Type 2 diabetes and a host of other metabolic diseases.
So “healthier” doesn’t necessarily mean “healthy” — which is why you should limit your intake of starchy foods (such as sweet potato fries) even if you prepare them in an air fryer.
Additionally, cooking meat in an air fryer instead of on a grill reduces the creation of carcinogens, such as heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). That’s because air fryers use lower temperatures than most grills and thus are less likely to burn the meat.
When Air Frying Is Not Healthier
As a rule, I don’t recommend using an air fryer to prepare low-fat meat or to reduce your intake of healthy fats because I consider that a misguided strategy.
For example, frying pasture-raised bacon in an air fryer because it allows most of the fat to run off doesn’t make sense, because you should be eating that fat.
After all, animal fat is an excellent source of fuel and essential fatty acids.
We’ve fried bacon in our air fryer, but only because it’s less messy and we can easily pour the fat (from the fryer’s food basket) back into our meal. The goal should not be to avoid fat (unless there’s a risk of glycation due to carbohydrates).
Kyvol Electric Air Fryer Review
- Large capacity, non-toxic food basket
- Numerous meal presets
- Excellent frying performance
- Easy to clean
- Highly versatile (air fry, bake, broil, grill, roast, dehydrate and reheat)
- The machine beeps every time you touch a button or turn the knob
- The body is made out of plastic instead of stainless steel
- Overfilling the basket prevents the food from getting cooked evenly
The Kyvol AF60 air fryer uses a combination of infrared light from halogen heating elements and circulating air to evenly heat and brown food.
In a way, an air fryer is similar to those countertop convection ovens you might have seen in the past. I’ve never owned one of those, but as far as I know, they also use heat and hot air to cook food.
The main difference between an air fryer and a convection oven is that the former has a food basket you can use to easily prepare things like french fries and chicken wings that would traditionally be submerged in oil.
What we really like about this air fryer is its versatility; we can use it to bake, grill, roast, dehydrate or reheat food without making a mess.
The secret of an air fryer is its ability to evenly apply heat to the food inside. Deep fryers leverage hot oil to “coat” the surface of the food, thus frying and browning it evenly. In the case of an air fryer, hot air (circulated by fans) takes over that responsibility.
To dehydrate meat, fruits or herbs, an air fryer uses very low heat applied over a long time period (six hours or more) to slowly remove all water and moisture from the food.
The second reason why we decided to get this particular model is the fact that the food basket is made from materials that don’t appear to be toxic based on the current research. I’ll talk more about what I mean by that down below.
I would be lying if I said that the Kyvol air fryer is our primary method of cooking or reheating meals. We love our cast iron pans and use them predominantly in our kitchen.
That said, we used our air fryer at least two dozen times in the first few months after getting it, and have been very pleased with its frying and reheating performance.
The only cooking-related issue we’ve noticed so far had to do with overfilling the food basket when trying to make sweet potato fries (more on that below).
Additionally, we’ve noticed that we achieved the best frying performance after preheating the unit (as per the instructions). Preheating ensures the inside of the air fryer is already hot when you place the food in it, which also cuts down on the cooking time.
Usually, I don’t read or follow instructions. But in the case of this air fryer, I have to admit that giving the machine a few minutes to warm up is worth the wait.
As far as similarities and differences between deep frying, pan frying and air frying are concerned, here are a handful of observations based on meals we prepared in the Kyvol:
- Chicken tenders came out as crispy and juicy but (obviously) less greasy than when deep frying or pan frying them with oil.
- Pork chops came out less browned and crispy because the pork fat didn’t burn (just cooked) in the air fryer.
- Sweet potato fries came out crispy but without the greasy coating.
- Meatballs, much like the pork chops, came out tasty and delicious but without the burn marks you would get from a cast iron pan.
- Reheated meat came out less overcooked and dry than when reheating it in a pan. That’s mostly because the air fryer uses a preset temperature and cooking time setting and automatically turns off, thus reducing the risk of accidentally overcooking the meat.
Overall, I’d say that the frying and reheating performance are almost comparable to traditional cooking methods. However, you shouldn’t expect the same flavor profile and texture when air frying meat that you would get from a BBQ grill or a cast iron pan.
On the bright side, using an air fryer is likely going to reduce or prevent the creation of carcinogens, such as the ones mentioned above.
Size of the Food Basket
At six quarts, the Kyvol air fryer’s food basket is relatively large. It’s big enough to easily roast a whole rotisserie-style chicken plus some veggies.
But just because the air fryer has a huge basket doesn’t mean you should fill it to the brim.
When we first tried the unit (to make sweet potato fries), we filled it all the way up and discovered that the fries in the middle of the pile weren’t as crispy as the ones on the outside.
The trick is to fill the fryer basket in a way that allows the hot air to reach all the food. With fries, that means either not filling the basket up too much or making sure the fries are positioned in a “criss-cross” pattern that allows for plenty of airflow (instead of stacking them up neatly).
Alternatively, you can shuffle the contents of the basket halfway through the cooking process to ensure even exposure to the heat. When making sweet potato fries, we usually pull the basket at the 10-minute mark, shake it a bit to rearrange the fries, and put it back in.
If you’re just trying to heat up veggies and don’t care about their “crispiness,” you can certainly fill up the basket. But if you’re trying to recreate traditional fried food, you’ll have to pay attention to the arrangement of whatever you’re cooking.
Usability of Controls
Overall, the Kyvol AF60 is relatively easy to use thanks to its digital touchscreen and control dial.
The center of the LED screen shows the currently-selected cooking temperature or the (remaining) cooking time, depending on what setting you’re trying to manipulate.
While cooking, the screen switches back and forth between the remaining cooking time and the current temperature.
There are two digital buttons on each side of the display to change the cooking temperature, select one of the presets, change the cooking time and turn the unit on/off.
To change the cooking time, for example, all you have to do is touch the digital button that looks like a thermometer and then turn the large control knob until you’ve dialed in the desired temperature.
While the “touch-and-turn” interface is intuitive, the unit makes a relatively loud beeping sound every time you touch a button or turn the knob.
I get that this is meant to be an audible indicator that a setting has changed, but I find it annoying and wish I could turn it either off entirely or reduce the volume.
Presets and Programs
The Kyvol AF60 air fryer features the following presets that you can quickly select by touching the menu button and turning the control dial:
- French Chips (aka french fries)
As far as I can tell, there’s nothing special about any of these modes. In other words, they don’t change how the machine operates — they’re just shortcuts to preset cooking temperatures and cooking times. I’ve reached out to Kyvol to confirm this and I’m currently awaiting their answer.
So far, we’ve mostly used the Beef, French Chips, Preheat and Reheat modes, but I’m super excited to experiment with the Dehydrate mode for conserving herbs and making beef jerky. I’ll make sure to come back and update this article with photos once I’ve tried dehydrating food!
Of course, you can always set the temperature and cooking time manually, instead of using the presets. For example, when we fry bacon strips, we usually dial in the temperature and cooking time manually.
Cleaning and Maintenance
Cleaning the Kyvol air fryer is fairly straightforward. Just remove the food basket from the fryer and rinse it with warm, soapy water. Alternatively, you can also put the basket in the dishwasher.
So far, we’ve been washing it by hand because it takes less than 30 seconds to rinse it out.
When you clean the basket, make sure you remove the grid (Kyvol calls it the crisper plate) from the bottom. That makes it easier to remove any grease that might have accumulated underneath the grid.
In case you’re wondering, the grid on the bottom of the basket is held in place by rubber feet. That means you can pour out any liquids that might have accumulated on the bottom of the basket without risking the grid falling out.
Materials and Toxicity of the Ceramic Coated Basket
The outer shell of the Kyvol AF60 is plastic and not stainless steel (which would have looked even better, in my opinion).
For the food basket, the AF60 uses a non-stick ceramic coating that’s similar to Teflon.
As you might know, Telfon used to be incredibly popular — until scientists discovered that it can release perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and other toxic chemicals that have been associated with an increased risk of developing cancer.
That’s one of the reasons why we only use stainless steel and cast iron cookware* in our kitchen, and why we got rid of all our non-stick pots and pans.
As a result, I was very skeptical when I read that the AF60 has a Teflon-like ceramic coating in the food basket. So I did some research to figure out the exact coating Kyvol uses.
Fortunately, I learned that they use a coating called Fusion, which is made by Whitford and doesn’t include PFOA or polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), another toxic chemical that’s frequently used in non-stick cookware.
Additionally, I found an in-vitro study that concluded that “sol-gel” coatings, such as Fusion, aren’t toxic and have no genotoxic or estrogenic properties.
In other words, they don’t leach DNA-damaging or endocrine-disrupting chemicals into food.
While that’s good news, I remain a bit skeptical because I’ve learned that it’s often only a matter of time until we realize that a man-made compound is detrimental to our health.
For now, I accept that there might be an unknown risk and I’ll keep an eye out for future research on this topic.
What’s in the Box?
Besides the main unit, the AF60 comes with a non-toxic and nonstick crisper plate, a recipe book and a user manual*.
You can get the Kyvol AF60 for under $110 on Amazon*, which is comparable to other air fryers on the market.
Overall, I consider the price reasonable given the Kyvol’s cooking performance and versatility.
How We Use the Kyvol Air Fryer
We don’t have a microwave or steam oven in our current home and we usually heat up meals on the stove using one of our favorite cast iron pans*. While that’s been working really well, we now sometimes use the Kyvol to reheat food that could easily overcook, such as meat.
The beauty of reheating food with the Kyvol is that it usually takes only five minutes or less and it’s an entirely hands-off process.
Besides reheating food, we also use the Kyvol for (occasionally) making sweet potato fries or for frying bacon when we run out of space on our gas stove (e.g., when preparing breakfast for the whole family on Sundays).
The one thing we really want to do in the future, but haven’t had a chance to do yet, is to use the air fryer to dehydrate herbs and berries (and maybe to make beef jerky). We’ll tackle that after the next growing season in the fall.
Frequently Asked Questions
The AF60 measures 11.2 x 14.6 x 13.3 inches. When measuring your available counter space, make sure you have enough room on all sides to allow for proper airflow and ventilation. The AF60 has vents on the back that redirect hot air upwards, so make sure you leave plenty of room — especially on the back and the top of the appliance.
It takes about five minutes to reheat food. To me, that’s super quick. But if you’re used to blasting your food for a minute with microwaves, it might feel like forever.
We got used to “slow cooking” when we had a steam oven in our previous home. So for us, five minutes is fast.
If you’re transitioning to an air fryer from a microwave oven, give it some time to get used to and remember that “slow” in the realm of cooking and eating is usually a good (and healthy) thing.
Yes, the nonstick basket and the grid inside the basket are dishwasher safe. But don’t submerge the main unit in water, as doing so will damage the electronics inside.
Yes, you can use an air fryer, such as the AF60, to dehydrate meat to make jerky. That’s one of the things on my to-do list!
That depends on the type of food you want to prepare. For any food that contains carbohydrates, low-heat cooking is healthier than using high heat because it avoids the formation of advanced glycation end products (AGEs).
Using low heat also retains more of the micronutrients, including vitamins and minerals. As a result, I’d argue that a steam oven that uses lower temperature settings than an air fryer is the healthier option.
An air fryer works like a convection oven, due to the fact that it leverages a heating element and a fan to distribute the heat evenly within the oven. As a result, you can use a digital air fryer to bake cakes, cupcakes and similar dishes.
Based on what I’ve read, you can use an air fryer to toast bread that’s as crisp as it would get in a traditional toaster oven — although I don’t eat bread, so I haven’t tried it.
Here’s a link to the user manual* that contains more information about how to use, operate and maintain this appliance.
Before the first usage, Kyvol recommends preheating the air fryer for 10 minutes to burn off any residue from the packaging or manufacturing process. If the unit still has an odor after the initial preheating, contact Kyvol’s support.
Yes, you can remove the food basket while it’s cooking. When you do, the air fryer will pause and automatically resume when you replace the basket.
While you could place heat-resistant food containers into an air fryer, I highly recommend that you never heat plastic containers because they release toxic chemicals into food, which can disrupt your endocrine system (hormones) and/or increase your risk of cancer.
Yes, the food basket is made from a ceramic compound that doesn’t contain BPA, a toxic chemical that’s often used in plastics.
Please note that just because a (plastic) product is labeled as BPA-free, that doesn’t mean it’s safe. Many BPA-free plastics use BPS, which is equally toxic and a known endocrine-disruptor.
The Kyvol air fryer comes with an 18-month warranty that you can extend by another six months if you register the product after purchase.
Additionally, you can return an undamaged AF60 within 30 days of receiving the unit, if you don’t like it for any reason.
Why We Like the Kyvol AF60 Air Fryer Oven
We’ve come to appreciate air frying as a mess-free and hands-off method of reheating and frying food.
Just the other day, my wife made fried chicken tenders using crushed pork rinds instead of the traditional (grain-based) breading.
Making them in our Kyvol AF60 was super quick because of the relatively short cooking time and because we didn’t have to clean up all the grease that would normally cover our stove and countertops after deep frying such foods.
Plus, we appreciate that the Kyvol AF60 is versatile and easy to clean, and that the non-stick food basket doesn’t contain toxic chemicals (at least not that I could identify). So if you’re looking for an air fryer, I’d recommend giving the AF60 a try.
If you already own an air fryer, I’d love to hear what brand you use and how you like it by leaving me a comment below!
I’m a healthy living and technology enthusiast.
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