A Silvercrest Digital Hot Air Fryer, available from Lidl, landed on my doorstep the other week. It costs £59.99, is available for a very limited time and looks like this:
Now, I get lots of emails from PRs asking if I’ll review their clients’ products on the Miss Thrifty Blog. I almost always say no, because the products are too expensive, or they aren’t my thing (although you can’t blame the PR for female incontinence pads for trying). Also, I dislike clutter: if I don’t need an item or it doesn’t spark joy, I have no place for it.
Nevertheless, my kitchen seems to be permanently under siege from the latest “must-have” electronics and devices. I don’t want any of them. For goodness’ sake: I don’t even own a toaster or a microwave! I wouldn’t use them: I prefer the grill and the oven. The only gadgets I keep on the worktop are my beloved 1970s slow cooker and my Panasonic bread-maker, both of which get heavy use.
This time, however, I have made an exception. When a lovely PR lady called Sofie contacted me about the Lidl Hot Air Fryer, I was interested on a few counts. Firstly, the Lidl Hot Air Fryer is considerably cheaper than a lot of the other hot air fryers out there.
Secondly, I’d never used one or eaten food made in one, so I wanted to check it out. Until this arrived, my most hi-tech gadget was my bread-maker, which doesn’t exactly push the envelope. Hot air fryers have only been around for a few years, but suddenly they seem to be everywhere.
Thirdly, it’s healthier than frying in oil – and less smelly (the reason why I binned our old deep fat fryer). They resemble a deep fat fryer in appearance, with a detachable basket, but cook food by circulating super-hot air around it.
Lastly, one of the features of hot air fryers is that they cook food from fresh and frozen very quickly. That’s quite a draw if, like my husband and I, you work full-time with a household to feed in the evenings.
Also, I figured that once I’d tested and written about the hot air fryer, I could always send my review model onto somebody who loves kitchen gadgets more than I do…
…Well, that isn’t going to happen. It’s staying out on the worktop, alongside the slow cooker and bread-maker. I think my husband has used the hot air fryer more frequently in the past couple of weeks than he has used our slow cooker in the past couple of years (admittedly, I hog that damned beautiful slow cooker).
Pictured above is a quick lunch I made using the Lidl Hot Air Fryer at the weekend: chicken and vegetables. I rubbed the chicken with some salt, pepper and soy sauce, then cooked them in the hot air fryer for 20 minutes at 180 degrees. The digital display features chicken legs as one of its preset options (along with frozen chips, fish fingers, steaks, sausages, muffins and more), so I jabbed the menu button until a little chicken drumstick lit up on screen, then pressed the start button. It was that simple. Twenty minutes later, the fryer beeped and the chicken was cooked perfectly.
Next I loaded the fryer basket with a few handfuls of chopped courgettes, pepper and tomatoes, added some chopped herbs, crushed garlic and a drizzle of olive oil, stirred it all up then set the temperature at 200 degrees, the timer for 15 minutes and pressed start again. The air-fried vegetables were cooked through but still crunchy on the inside – just how I like them.
Result: a weekend lunch cooked in little over half an hour, with little effort and minimal brain-power.
What I Don’t Like
The Lidl Hot Air Fryer isn’t perfect. I don’t know what its longevity is (perhaps I’ll report back in a year or so?) but my main gripe is that you can cook only one dish or side dish at a time. This is stating the obvious and it isn’t the fryer’s fault: just like a deep fat fryer, it comes with one basket. But it means that, invariably, you will double up on energy costs by end using the hot air fryer alongside your oven, rather than as an oven replacement. Even with the lunch above, I kept the chicken warm in a preheated oven while frying the vegetables.
The energy consumption isn’t amazing. I haven’t yet had the opportunity to test the energy consumption for this model, but from what I can gather from researching online, conventional ovens are more energy-efficient than hot air fryers.
What I Do Like
- You can cook meat from frozen in a hot air fryer. I buy much of our meat from the freezer aisle, because it’s cheaper, but safe defrosting can be a pain. For example, if I forget to take the pork chops out of the freezer the night before, I have to rejig my meal planning or spend time the next morning defrosting the meat in cold water. With a hot air fryer, I can just bung them in: out of the freezer into the frying basket.
- Tasty leftovers. We had some leftover pizza last week. Normally I’d reheat it in the oven and the crust would be hard and dry. Other people reheat pizza in the microwave, and it comes out soggy. But when I chucked our leftover pizza slices into the hot air fryer for a few minutes, they came out fresh, crispy and tasty.
- The hot air fryer takes up relatively little space on the worktop, but you can fit a lot of food in the basket.
- The exterior remains cool to the touch when the hot air fryer is in operation, which gives me peace of mind with my four-year-old running around the place.
- The hot air fryer comes with a decent manual, which includes a rundown of the cooking times and temperatures for a wide range of foods, from homemade chips to quiche.
- You don’t burn food. Incinerated dinners become a thing of the past: the hot air fryer cooks with precision and turns off when the timer reaches zero.
- It takes a lot of the stress and effort out of cooking early weekday dinners for tired and emotional children. Frozen fish fingers take 10 minutes max. Vegetables take 15.
- As with a conventional oven, you can keep food warm by setting a low temperature.
All in all, it’s a keeper.
Two final points: the Lidl Hot Air Fryer is a Silvercrest model, and one of the attractions is its price point: £59.99. This is a snip compared to other models of hot air fryer, which retail at £200 and above.
Like all Lidl offers, however, the availability of the Silvercrest Hot Air Fryer is temporary and limited. At the time of writing they have already been in stores for a week, so if you want to buy one, don’t hang about. You can find your nearest store here. If you miss the offer, these hot air fryers do come back into stock periodically, so keep your eye out.
That said, I have also noticed that lots of hot air fryers have had their prices slashed recently. The Amazon page features deals and discounts galore. If you miss out on the Lidl offer or want to shop around, it’s definitely worth checking out.