With the colder months coming in thick and fast, many of us will be starting to move away from summer dishes and indulging in copious and hearty recipes to warm up. Roast potatoes are undoubtedly a staple of the Great British roast – no roast is complete without them! But what if we told you there was a healthier way of enjoying them? And a faster way of cooking them at that? In 2019, time is of the essence for many of us and cooking roasties in the air fryer can be a last minute afterthought or a planned main event of your Sunday roast... or just to enjoy as a snack!
An air fryer is an appliance no bigger than a coffee machine and incorporates a metal basket that can be likened to a deep fat fryer. The difference is, instead of copious amount of oil (as is the case with traditional frying) only a very small amount of oil is used, making it a healthily viable alternative to frying, but delivering the same crispy exterior to the foods you choose to cook with it.
One of the vital questions most people will want answered before they purchase an air fryer – how do they differ from traditional roasties? When cooking roast potatoes in the air fryer, you’ll only need around a single tablespoon of olive oil for them to roast. However, they won’t have quite the same degree of crispy outer shell as is the case with regular roasties. The crispy outer shell that is created when you fry food in an air fryer does not stay crisp in the same way either, so its recommended that they’re eaten piping hot. If you’re looking for a crispy texture but without the grease and oily consistency, air fried roast potatoes are for you.
Step 1: Peel your potatoes and soak in water. ALWAYS PEEL! Whether you're roasting in the oven, frying in a pan or indeed, frying in an air fryer, peeling your potatoes will always give you a delicious soft interior. You may want to complete this stage a couple of hours in advance if you’re busy just before dinnertime. If time is not of the essence, simply use them straight away.
Step 2: The next step is to dry your potatoes and rinse them using a clean dishcloth or paper towels.
Step 3: Preheat your air fryer to 180oC and cook the potatoes for 25-30 minutes (yes that really is all it takes)! Around the halfway point, give the potatoes a shakeup to make sure they receive the maximum amount of heat from all sides and add some seasoning and herbs such as rosemary, sage, thyme, garlic – or whatever you fancy!
Step 4: Remove the potatoes from the air fryer and serve with your meal.
Top tip – if you’re looking to cook large potatoes, allow slightly longer cooking time, as you would in the case of cooking in an oven.
Top tip - when thinking about the type of potato to use in the air fryer, Maris Pipers, King Edward and Desiree are all viable options. All purpose table potatoes of jacket potatoes can also be used.
If you have any leftover potatoes, place these in the fridge and heat them up in the air fryer the next day for around 6-7 minutes. This will give them their crispy exterior again and will taste almost as good as the day before. Frozen roast potatoes can also be cooked in an air fryer and take around two-thirds of the time it takes to cook roast potatoes from scratch.
As mentioned above, cooking in an air fryer offers time-saving and health benefits – cooking with an air fryer can reduce fat content by 80%. But the benefits don’t stop there. The air fryer doesn’t generate a lot of noise, so you can chat away with your family or guests whilst getting on with the rest of the cooking. Because of its size, an air fryer can be conveniently stowed away in a cupboard out of view and does not threaten to clutter up your kitchen work surfaces!
Don’t fret. You’ll be pleased to hear that cleaning an air fryer is not a taxing process. As with any appliance, there are a few tricks that will help you keep it in great condition. Use non-stick spray on the air fryer basket when preheating before cooking – this will avoid any tenacious food matter sticking, as the term ‘non-stick’ suggests! Give your air fryer a deep clean by soaking it in hot water, especially if you’ve added an extra couple of tablespoons of oil for a special occasion…!
The air fryer allows you to prepare several meals at once, providing the temperatures are the same for both foods. Purchase accessories for your air fryer such as a separator, allowing you to cook these multiple dishes, saving time and effort all round.
If you're trying to shed a few pounds and looking for a legitimate way to 'have your roast and eat it', air fryer roast potatoes are a great way to enjoy a food you love, with no compromise on taste. Adding seasoning will certainly offer added flavour and most seasonings are very low in calories. However, remember to check the salt content of your chosen seasoning to keep your heart healthy.
If you’re thinking about purchasing an air fryer, you will now know how to prepare and cook a healthy and faster version of an all-time British favourite – roast potatoes. Looking for Christmas present inspiration? An air fryer makes an excellent gift for a loved one, friend or family.