Air fryers, I'll bet that's a type of kitchen cooker you've probably overlooked. They're not in vogue like the Instant Pot, but air fryers such as the $230 (converts to £163, $284 AU) DeLonghi MultiFry 1363 have compelling features all their own. Thanks to powerful convection fans and dual heating elements, the MultiFry doesn't use much oil, if any.
Despite DeLonghi's claims, the MultiFry is not a true multicooker. It can't steam or use pressure to shorten cooking times of tough proteins and grains. Nor is it designed to run all day long as slow cookers do. It's not a rice cooker either, something bothand the can tackle. If you love fried dishes but not tons of grease, then the MultiFry is worth checking out. The same goes for people who entertain often and would appreciate a steady supply of party snacks.
A different kind of cooker
The MultiFry 1363 is not what I'd call a compact countertop appliance. It's about the size of a motorcycle helmet and roughly the same shape. Squat and round, the cooker splits in two like a clam shell to open and close. Inside its mouth you'll find a large bowl that's coated with ceramic. This surfacing helps keep food from sticking but is prone to scratches. Both themore traditional nonstick bowl and steel chamber have greater durability.
With a 6-quart (192 fluid ounces) capacity, those multicookers can hold more as well. That's not to say the MultiFry can't cook a lot at once. DeLonghi says its basket can process 3.7 pounds (1.7 kg) of fresh potatoes or a little less if they are frozen (3.3 pounds, 1.5 kg).
At the center of the MultiFry's bowl is its paddle stirrer. It spins slowly while the MultiFry is cooking and acts as a mixing arm for contents inside the bowl. The paddle is specifically designed to churn chunks of potatoes and other large objects. You can remove the paddle if you'd like, and that comes in handy when you need extra space for searing bigger items or when you're cooking delicate ingredients.
The front face of the MultiFry houses most of its few controls. There's an on/off button to fire up the appliance. Next to it is a key to activate (or deactivate) the bottom heating element. The primary heater above the bowl is always active unless you open the lid or switch off main power.
One big problem I have with the MultiFry is that it doesn't turn off automatically. You can't set it to operate by a timer either. That seems like a serious hazard in a high-temperature cooker like this. DeLonghi does equip the fryer with a tiny, removable timer module nestled inside a receptacle on the front panel. You can set It to display a countdown (in minutes). The timer also sounds an alarm when it hits zero.
I do like the design for the fryer's bowl handle. The handle grip flips up from the front panel so you can both lift and lower the bowl easily. When you're ready to cook, the handle folds back down into the panel and out of the way.