microwave oven vs air fryer: Explained: Difference between an air fryer and a microwave oven – Times of India

Technology and smarter machines have changed the way of traditional cooking in Indian households. These appliances have made the process more convenient and seamless, especially when it comes to fried dishes that are a staple in our kitchens. Consumers have adopted these modern products by quickly replacing the traditional cooking methods.
A microwave oven has been a common kitchen appliance for a long time now and gradually air fryers are gaining popularity. However, both these appliances help in food preparation yet they are very different from each other. To clear the air, we have explained here how an air fryer is different from a microwave oven.
What is an air fryer?
An air fryer can cook deep-fried, crisp foods without using oil. This appliance is a countertop oven that uses hot air convection to cook. Users can prepare restaurant-quality dishes at home using this appliance.
What is a microwave oven?
A microwave oven also uses electricity to use hot air for baking and cooking. Usually, it comes with a separate heating chamber with a rotating turntable in the centre to heat food evenly. This cooking equipment is popular among consumers for its versatile cooking programs and easy-to-use interface.
How does an air fryer work?
An air fryer uses the principle of convection to fry food. Hot air is circulated inside its chamber through a high-speed fan. A crispy layer on the food is formed when air sucks out the moisture from foods. Reactions like caramelisation and the Maillard effect helps in forming a deep-fried browning effect on the foods, which makes the food taste like fried ones.
How does a microwave oven work?
A microwave oven, on the other hand, uses electromagnetic waves to heat food particles. This appliance transmits high radiofrequency waves through a tube called a magnetron. The energy used here is almost around 2,450 megahertz, which is efficient for cooking and heating food.
Difference between microwave ovens and air fryers
The primary difference between air fryers and microwave ovens is that an air fryer changes the way food is cooked while a microwave oven can also heat and reheat food. You can buy an air fryer if you want to make good quality fried food and a microwave oven is preferable if you’re looking to heat or cook food. Let us discuss some of the striking differences between the two appliances here
Air fryer vs Microwave oven: Cooking technology
Air fryers use an inbuilt coil to produce heat and have a fan to circulate the hot air within the chamber. Whereas, Microwave oven comes with a tubular heating element called a magnetron, which blows out the heat produced inside by using microwaves or high-frequency, short-length radio waves.
Air fryer vs Microwave oven: Cooking time
A microwave oven takes less time to cook food compared to an air fryer. For example, If an air fryer takes 15-20 minutes to prepare a dish, it will take a microwave oven to prepare the same food in around three to four minutes. However, experts suggest that a longer cooking time often results in a better infusion of flavours and can be the reason for air fryer foods to be more flavour-packed.
Air fryer vs Microwave oven: Versatility in cooking
Both air fryers and microwave ovens are versatile cooking appliances. From your favourite seafood recipes to vegan preparations, an air fryer can be used to cook them all. While microwaves can also do all of that and more. However, there are some limitations about the types of food that can be cooked using an air fryer as they are only suitable for microwave ovens.
Air fryer vs Microwave oven: Power Usage
Air Fryers usually uses less power than microwave ovens. However, some models use 1500 watts and a few others use around 1700 watts. Compared to that, a microwave oven uses almost 1200 watts for 30-40 minutes of cooking. Microwave ovens use an additional 2-7 watts for other purposes like reheating.
Air fryer vs Microwave oven: Healthier Option
Air fryers are a healthy option as you can cook without oil. In the case of microwave ovens, some amount of oil is still required to prepare larger batches of food or for brushing the baking tray. Air fryers use rapid air technology to cook food, whereas the electromagnetic radiation in microwave ovens can put your food and health at risk.
Air fryer vs Microwave oven: Capacity
Microwave ovens have more capacity than air fryers. You can prepare large batches of food at once in microwave ovens using borosilicate utensils, while you can cook only small batches of food in an air fryer.

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