Sometimes we get confused about the difference between an air fryer and a food dehydrator. Although these two kitchen appliances have similarities but these are different in many aspects. In this article, we will present a side by side differentiation between these two so that the reader can understand the right utility of these important kitchen companions.
basics of air fryer and dehydrator
Before I go into deep, let’s find out what are these kitchen appliances that I am going to differentiate.
What is a dehydrator?
A dehydrator is a kitchen appliance that is used to remove moisture from the food. Fruits and vegetables contain 50 to 90% water in it. Water acts as an essential element for the growth of bacteria and fungus. Therefore, a dehydrator is used to remove the water content from the food so that it can be preserved for a long time.
What is an air fryer?
An air fryer is similar to a convection oven that blows hot air to cook food without needing a lot of oil. It is a popular kitchen appliance that gives a crispy surface to the food. An air fryer can also bake, grill, and even roast food.
Working Principle of air fryer and dehydrator
Now as you have got a simple idea, let us find out the basic working principle of an air fryer and a dehydrator.
How does an air fryer work?
There is a heater on the top of the air fryer that generates heat. A blower fan circulates the hot air at the bottom. Hot air circulates on the food evenly to ensure the crispiness. It creates a brown outer layer on the food. There is an exhaust system that gets out the unwanted gases. The working temperature of an air fryer varies between 175 to 400°F. It can be used as a dehydrator only when there is an option to run this machine at a temperature lower than 200°F. This is the common working principle of an air fryer.
How does a dehydrator work?
In a dehydrator, there are several food trays where different kinds of foods can be dried simultaneously. These can be circular or rectangular. The circular dehydrators may rotate the food tray to ensure uniform heating. A dehydrator normally does not produce a lot of heat. It produces mild heat from 100 to 150°F so that the structure of the food does not get ruined. Because it needs to be heated at a low temperature, the whole process may take several hours to complete.
Pros and cons of an air fryer and a dehydrator
Each of these kitchen appliances has its own positives and negatives. Let’s find what an air fryer and a dehydrator good and bad for.
Advantage of an air fryer
- Small and compact kitchen appliance. It takes a little space on the countertop.
- Food cooked with an air fryer contains minimum fat and thus, lower calories.
- Air fryers are comparatively cheaper.
- Maximum of the air fryers are good for grilling, baking, and roasting apart from air frying.
- Easy and simple operational process.
Advantage of a dehydrator
- It increases the shelf life of the food.
- By removing the water, it lowers the weight of the food. Thus, it is easy to store.
- You can cook several food items at a time.
- A dehydrator is relatively cheaper compared to other similar kitchen appliances such as an oven.
- Food dehydrating does not require complicated recipes.
Disadvantages of an air fryer
- Not suitable for preparing big dishes.
- The majority of air fryers have a single layer. Therefore, not good for preparing different dishes at a time.
- You might need to buy a lot of additional accessories.
- Uncontrolled use of air fryer can get the food burnt.
- Not all air fryers have variable temperature function. Only bigger size air fryers have this option.
Disadvantages of a dehydrator
- Takes a longer time to cook.
- The dehydration process changes the taste of the food.
- Overheating may change the nutrition facts of the food
- Vitamin A and C can be diminished in the dehydration process.
- Most dehydrators produce a lot of noise.
What to do with an air fryer and a dehydrator?
What to do with an air fryer
- You can prepare foods that need baking.
- The grilling of meats can also be possible.
- Apart from air frying, you can also roast the chicken.
- Some air fryers have dehydration option as well.
- Multi-functional air fryers can be used for tasting, broiling,
What to do with a dehydrator
- To dehydrate fruits such as apple, grape, and banana to preserve these for a long time.
- Make the dried meat such as jerky at home.
- To dehydrate vegetables and herbs to prepare a delicious meal.
Health benefits of air fryer and dehydrator
Health benefits of dehydrated food
Research proved that dehydrated food is rich in antioxidants. Dried apple and plums may contain twice as many antioxidants as those present in raw fruits.
Health benefit of air fried food
Deep frying needs a lot of oil and fat. Therefore, if you use an air fryer, it will produce food with lower calorie content which is good for the health.
Similarities and dissimilarities between an air fryer and a dehydrator
Although these are two different appliances, there are some similarities between these two as well.
- Both of the appliances require no oil to cook food.
- You will be able to cook healthy food with these.
- Both of these will use hot air to heat the food.
- Even heat distribution is important for both of these.
- Cooking multiple food items simultaneously in a different layer may be possible for both of these.
- A dehydrator may have multiple layers where a basic air fryer has a single cooking chamber.
- An air fryer cooks at high temperatures where a dehydrator merely goes beyond 150°
- A dehydrator takes a higher time to complete the process than that an air fryer.
- Variation of recipes that can be prepared in a dehydrator is less than that of an air fryer.
- A dehydrator is spacious where the air fryer is a compact kitchen appliance.
I think now you know what you can do with an air fryer and a dehydrator and what are the differences between these two. An air fryer is a multi-functional appliance that can act as a dehydrator sometimes. You can use it to dry out the food but not always. Therefore, if you a traveler, you need to carry food and need to preserve food very frequently, I must suggest you to get a separate dehydrator. Otherwise, an air fryer can do the casual drying job.
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