Air Fryers vs. Pressure Cookers vs. Traditional Oven—What's the Difference and Which Is Healthiest?

Medically Reviewed on 12/6/2021

Air fryers vs. pressure cookers vs. ovens—differences

Whether you're trying to cut down regular calorie intake by minimizing oil consumption or just opting for healthier food choices, air fryers and traditional ovens might be your go-to kitchen appliances.

Which appliance is right for you? Your suitable choice will depend on the capacity, durability, and preparation time, but first, let us learn about the primary differences between air fryers vs. pressure cookers vs. ovens.

If you're wondering whether an air fryer will help you prepare meals that your traditional oven can cook or if a pressure cooker is a more reasonable option, here are the primary differences of each appliance. 

Air fryers

Air fryers are used to prepare crispy fried meals such as french fries or fried chicken. They use hot air for cooking meals. A heating element present in the air fryer generates this incredibly hot air.  

The heating element paired with a fan produces an airflow. When you place the food in a perforated basket, the air fryer cooks it by blowing extremely hot air around it. 

This produces a convection effect that helps cook your meal. This way, your food isn't fried in deep oil. 

Pressure cookers

While air fryers are used for preparing crispy meals, the pressure cooker has a different purpose. Pressure cookers are used for most recipes that require boiling or steaming food.

While an air fryer depends on hot air circulation to cook food, a pressure cooker uses the principle of steam pressure. 

A pressure cooker is a sealed pot. You have to place the food inside the pot and seal the lid. When you put the cooker on the stove, steam inside the pot builds up high pressure. This pressure helps cook your food faster. 

Traditional oven 

A traditional oven is also known as a conventional oven. It surrounds your food with hot air, which radiates from heating elements present at the top and bottom of the oven. 

Such ovens circulate hot air with a fan which is present at the back of the oven. Thus, due to a consistent airflow, the oven's internal temperature remains steady, cooking the food inside.

Are air fryers healthier than pressure cookers and traditional ovens?

When comparing air fryers, pressure cookers, and traditional ovens, the main concern is: which appliance is the healthiest option? 

When we talk about air fryers and pressure cookers, both use minimal oil. However, in terms of similarity, they both require some amount of liquid for cooking meals. 

Some pressure cookers require more oil when compared to air fryers. Many air fryers only need a drop of oil or none at all.

While the oil used depends on the meal you're cooking, it's vital to remember that the recipe and cooking methods must use less oil for the meal to be healthy.

Eating oily food is linked with a higher risk of obesity and high blood pressure. This is why fast food and highly processed food that requires deep frying are considered unhealthy.

A traditional oven is equally effective at cooking meals. You can also bake and grill your food, using less oil. However, many times when you cook food in the oven, it requires glazing. Comparing the three appliances in terms of cooking methods, then, an air fryer is often more beneficial for health, as it requires the least oil.

That said, traditional ovens can prepare food in large batches for a larger family, while air fryers only make food in smaller batches. Pressure cookers are available in different sizes.

The final say

An Air fryer is typically the healthiest choice for preparing oil-free meals. Air fryers can also follow recipes that require deep frying without actually using a pot full of oil. Moreover, you can cook in a variety of ways. For example, you can also roast, bake, and reheat food. Thus, an air fryer is the healthier choice. 

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Medically Reviewed on 12/6/2021
References
SOURCES:

Exploratorium: "Pressure Cooking."

Insider: "How an air fryer uses convection to create that crispy crunch."

National Library of Medicine: "The Hidden Dangers of Fast and Processed Food."