Is an air fryer a good gift? Professional chefs advise

Appliances as gifts may not seem the most traditional, but some people might love this simple kitchen addition, experts say

A white air fryer in a white kitchen, with an oil bottle and some plates of fried food
(Image credit: Getty Images)

When it comes to gifting, people typically recommend staying away from functional items and appliances – but is an air fryer a good gift?

Professional chefs suggest that these game-changing devices could make ideal gifts for a range of people, from home cooks looking to make cooking simpler to those of us wanting to eat a bit healthier in the new year.

This is why you might want to gift the best air fryer this holiday season, and what you need to consider before buying.

Is an air fryer a good gift?

Anyone who still doesn't have an air fryer is likely holding out wondering, ‘Should you even bother with an air fryer?’ when you have a perfectly good oven at home. However, professional chef Robert Smith, of The Culinary Collective Atl, suggests they have secured their place as one of the many things every home cook should have in their kitchens:

‘From a chef's perspective, air fryers can be a great gift option. They have become popular due to their ability to provide a healthier cooking alternative to deep frying. Air fryers use hot air circulation to cook food, requiring little to no oil, which can result in crispy and delicious results. Air fryers offer versatility as well, allowing you to cook a wide variety of foods such as fries, chicken wings, vegetables, and even desserts. They are also generally easy to use and clean, making them convenient for everyday cooking.

Air fryer

(Image credit: VonHaus)

That being said, there are a few things you will want to weigh up before adding one of these to your basket when Christmas shopping.

1. The recipient's kitchen space

There is no denying that despite their practicality, air fryers are huge, making it difficult to organize kitchen appliances, especially in a small kitchen. As such, it is a good idea to think about the size of your recipient's kitchen storage before adding an air fryer to your gift list, says Kara Meyers, founder, and recipe developer at Sweetly Splendid – after all, no one wants a gift that constantly gets in the way. 

‘Air fryers are normally kept out on the counter for ease of everyday use so the size of the air fryer needs to be taken into account. Some air fryers take up a significant amount of space while others are more streamlined and better for smaller countertops.’

Kara
Kara Meyers

Sweetly Splendid recipes are simple, delicious, and perfect for the whole family. All of the recipes focus on eliminating the dinner-time battle. Kara is a recipe developer, food photographer, and creator, and has been cooking for as long as she can remember.

2. The size and type of air fryer

A common air fryer buying mistake is not picking an appliance large enough to comfortably fit your average portion sizes in. This can be even harder to guess when you are not buying the appliance for yourself, so consider carefully how big a family you are buying a gift for, and how much they typically eat, urges Jason Phillips, chef and editor at Also The Crumbs Please:

‘A two-person family will, on average, cook less food than a family of four. This will determine the proper size of air fryer the family needs. 

‘The other major consideration is the features that the family is going to use the most. For instance, my personal air fryer is a toaster oven style and I use it for roasting, baking, and dehydrating besides the usual air frying function, so consider the appliance settings before splurging.’

Jason Phillips
Jason Phillips

Jason Phillips is a recipe developer, culinary arts graduate, and travel writer. His passion lies in exploring new and innovative recipes that combine his love for culinary arts and my experiences as a globetrotter. 

3. Does their cooking style require a quick cooking alternative?

Although the list of things you can cook in an air fryer is growing by the week, it is important to consider if your recipient's cooking style lines up with time-saving devices such as an air fryer, says Anca Toderic, private chef, cookbook author, and founder of The Butter Table.

‘It's an energy and time-saver, making it perfect for busy home cooks. The crispy results without excessive oil also make it a health-conscious choice, ideal for those looking to switch up their eating habits in the new year. Plus, the variety of dishes you can whip up is endless, from crispy veggies to guilt-free fries,’ she begins.

‘However, make sure this aligns with their cooking style. If your recipient prefers traditional cooking methods and relies on them for specific results, an air fryer may be one of those kitchen gadgets that just collect dust.’

Anca Toderic
Anca Toderic

Anca Toderic has been cooking for over 20 years for her family and friends mainly as a hobby, which then led to working as a private chef in NYC and starting (and closing) a meal planning business, that led to a cookbook deal, that led to some time off, that led to a couple of tiktok videos, that sparked her blog where she now shares her best recipes. 

FAQs

What’s the difference between cheap and expensive air fryers?

Besides the initial price, cheap and expensive air fryers have a few differences that set the more expensive models apart from budget alternatives. Pricier models usually come with more cooking options than cheaper models, often offering more flexibility in how and what you cook. 

What’s more, many higher-end air fryer models are more energy efficient, making them more affordable in the long run in comparison to more wasteful cheaper options. They are also often larger, too, allowing you to cook more in less time.

Are household appliances good gifts?

Whether or not appliances make a good gift depends on the person you are giving them to. Some people see appliances and electricals as terrible gifts and can feel insulted when given something practical or ‘mundane’. Others, however, appreciate the gift of something that they can get good use out of and not end up as clutter in a drawer. 

It is a good idea to ask the recipient what they think of practical gifts before shopping – you don't have to give away what you are planning to buy, but you can gauge their reaction before you spend your money.  


As someone who put an air fryer on her Christmas wish list last year (the Ninja Foodi 2-Basket Air Fryer H&G reviewed, to be exact) and received one as a gift, I can confidently say that I love the appliance and still use it weekly almost a year on. It even pleasantly surprised my partner, who initially thought it would be unnecessary when we have an oven. As a result, we wholeheartedly agree that an air fryer makes a good gift, just as a coffee maker makes a good gift – just maybe ask the person first to be safe.

Chiana Dickson
Writer

Chiana has been at Homes & Gardens for a year, having started her journey in interior journalism as part of the graduate program. She spends most of her time producing content for the Solved section of the website, helping readers get the most out of their homes through clever decluttering, cleaning, and tidying tips – many of which she tests and reviews herself in her home in Lancaster to ensure they will consistently deliver for her readers and dabbles in the latest design trends. She also has a first-class degree in Literature from Lancaster University.