If you've ever shopped for a large appliance, you may have heard of French door refrigerators. Take those easy-access double doors, stick them on a combination cooker, and you've got yourself a French door air fryer. French doors mark the latest twist on the air fryer trend, and I think we'll see a lot more of them in 2024.
French door air fryers can toast, roast, dry, and fry with the best of them. Their double-door design makes them easy on the eye, though you might struggle to squeeze these appliances into smaller kitchens. Aesthetics aside, it can be hard to split the difference between a French door air fryer and any old countertop oven.
That's where I come in. As a product reviewer, I'm part of the kitchen testing team here at H&G. Together, we've cooked with some of the best air fryers money can buy. We might favor a sleek, chic appliance, but we'd never sacrifice substance for style. I asked the experts whether French door air fryers are a passing fad or here to stay.
Are French door air fryers worth it?
This article should tell you everything you need to know about French door air fryers, from how they work to how to clean them. I've rounded up a few of the latest and greatest French door fryers for your consideration, as well as some more traditional fryers for the sake of comparison.
What are French door air fryers?
Most of us could probably tell the difference between a French door air fryer and a more traditional model by sight (hint: look for the double doors). French door air fryers tend to be large and long, closer in appearance to a countertop convection oven than a compact combination cooker.
Now that you can pick out a French door air fryer from the crowd, it's time to learn how it works. I asked chef and food writer Norah Clark to give us a quick overview. 'French door air fryers are a new type of appliance that feature double doors, making it easier to access the machine and monitor the food while it cooks,' says Norah.
Double doors means more glass and greater visibility, so that you can see what's going on inside your oven without opening it. This helps to keep heat inside the oven, where it belongs, controlling the internal temperature for quicker, more even cooking.
Norah thinks that 'these new models are easier to use than traditional air fryers with their pull-out baskets'. When you cook with a French door air fryer, you'll enjoy 'more convenient loading, checking, and unloading of food': good news for health-conscious cooks in a time crunch.
Norah is an experienced chef and qualified nutritionist. She's worked as a cook and consultant for hotels and restaurants across the world. These days, Norah edits food and drink articles for Boyd Hampers' online magazine.
Are French door air fryers any good?
Your average air fryer isn't the most attractive appliance: it might make quick and healthy meals, but it could seriously disrupt the visual flow of your kitchen. French door air fryers have more aesthetic appeal. For example, take this Calphalon French Door Air Fryer, available at Amazon. Made from stainless steel rather than cheap plastic, these multipurpose machines should blend beautifully with the rest of your kitchen decor.
French door air fryers aren't just pretty, but practical, too. I've tested my fair share of air fryers, and I can't count how many scars I've suffered from too-hot handles. You shouldn't have this problem with a French door air fryer. Where ordinary air fryer doors pull down, towards your wrists and forearms, French doors open out and away from your body, making for safe and easy loading.
French door air fryers tend to feature larger capacities than standard models, since they favor slim trays over bulky baskets. You should be able to fry more food in the same time for quicker cooking.
Although I'm yet to see a French door air fryer in action, my colleague, Laura Honey, has. Laura is a fellow product tester and my go-to girl for all things air fryer. She likes the ideas of cooking with 'trays, rather than baskets, which makes it easier to slide loaf tins and tray bakes into your air fryer.'
Laura is one of our appliance experts and product testers. She has hands-on experience with some of the world's best air fryers, from Ninja to Cosori, and is excited to see how French door air fryers might shake up kitchens across the country.
Here at Homes & Gardens, one of our New Year's resolutions is to test more air fryers. We're currently in conversation with some of the biggest names in kitchenware and we can't wait to get our hands on a French door air fryer.
In the meantime, we've scored the specifications and read countless customer reviews to bring you the best French door air fryers at the fairest prices. These multipurpose machines won't come cheap, but they could transform your cooking.
This French door air fryer is more than a pretty face. It features no fewer than 24 pre-set cooking modes to help you master everything from chicken cuts to pastry crust.
This French door air fryer is stylish and spacious. You could cook two family-sized chickens, a 16-inch pizza, and an entire casserole in this thing.
French door air fryers don't have to break the bank. You can pick up this multifunctional machine for just under $100 when you shop the Amazon sales.
What are the downsides of French door air fryers?
There's a lot to like about French door air fryers, but there are a few practical considerations to keep in mind. For one thing, they're a lot more expensive. Some of the best French door air fryers cost several hundred dollars. You might not have that kind of money lying around. Even if you do, you might not want to spend it on an air fryer.
Then, there's the issue of space. To load and unload tins and trays, you'll need to swing those French doors wide open. That means you'll need to make some room either side of your fryer and leave a good few inches round the back for ventilation. This might pose a problem in smaller kitchens, where counter space is precious.
While Laura gets the hype around French door air frying, she admits that she 'doesn't see traditional basket air fryers going anywhere any time soon. The best Ninja air fryers, such as the FlexDraw and DualZone models, make great use of baskets. They're easy to tip and straightforward to clean'.
The absence of baskets also eliminates the possibility of a sync finish function in a French door, which is one of my favorite features in newer air fryers. If you want to make meals, not just cook ingredients, then it might be worth bucking the trend and sticking with a classic air fryer. They might not look quite as smart, but they're easy to use, and kind to your wallet.
You shouldn't have to drop hundreds of dollars to get a decent air fryer. Thanks to Drew Barrymore, you don't have to. The Beautiful 6-Quart Air Fryer is a quick and convenient cooker that never costs more than $90.
You can find more detail in our Beautiful 6-Quart Digital Air Fryer review.
Fastest air fryer
This air fryer has a huge capacity, nearing that of a French door air fryer, but it's also faster, and the separate drawers mean you can cook two different meals at the same time.
Our Ninja XL 2-Basket Air Fryer review covers all the detail.
Should I buy a French door air fryer?
I'd recommend French door air fryers to style-conscious cooks with cash to spare. You might just find that they're quicker and safer to use than standard air fryers, as the double-door design makes it easier to monitor internal temperatures. You should be able to bake cakes, fry vegetables, and roast whole chickens in the right-sized machine. With that said, French door air fryers aren't for everyone. They're not that different to toaster ovens, so the best toaster oven might offer greater versatility for accomplished cooks. If you're working with a smaller kitchen or a tighter budget, you might be better off with a traditional basket air fryer.
French door air fryer FAQs
What are the best French door air fryer recipes?
Anything you can make in an ordinary fryer, you can make in a French door air fryer, too. The double-door system provides greater visibility and more space to cook, so it's that much easier to make whole meals. If you're looking for more inspiration about what to cook in an air fryer, you'll find a lot to like in our recipe round-up. With a little bit of practice, you could roast whole chickens, crisp up French fries, and make single-serve desserts for a sweet treat.
How should I clean a French door air fryer?
It's not hard to clean a French door air fryer. With its ergonomic handles and wide open spaces, a French door air fryer might be even easier to clean than the standard model. If you're new to air frying, and you want to learn how to clean an air fryer for quick, clean cooking, here's what you need to know.
First, unplug your fryer and let it cool. Some of the best air fryers feature dishwasher-safe attachments for convenient cleaning, but I prefer to wash each piece by hand. It's quicker, for one thing, and easier to get between the cracks and crevices. Scrub your baskets and trays in warm, soapy water to get rid of any fat splashes and food stains, then leave them to air dry. Give the outside of your air fryer a quick wipe with a damp cloth and it should look as good as new.
Perhaps you got your first air fryer for Christmas, or you bagged one at a bargain price in the January sales. If you're encountering this appliance for the first time, it's easy to feel intimidated by the technology and terminology. That's why it helps to read some reviews, and heed the expert advice you'll find at Homes & Gardens. Once you learn how to use an air fryer, you'll be able to make delicious, nutritious meals in a fraction of the time it takes to fire up the oven.
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Before she joined Homes & Gardens, Emilia studied English at the University of Oxford, where she sharpened her critical writing skills. She also worked on the other side of the aisle writing press releases for regional newspapers and crafting copy for Sky. Emilia combines her business savvy with her creative flair as our eCommerce Editor, connecting you with the products you’ll love. When she’s not in the office, Emilia is happiest when entertaining friends al fresco or out in the country.
- Laura HoneyeCommerce Editor
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