Krups Fry Delight Air Fryer review: Like a toaster oven, but bulkier, pricier and harder to clean

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That said, the metal grate was a little tricky to clean since it tends to trap food particles (and tends to grate sponges, too). Cleanup wasn't much more of a pain than when you've cooked something in your oven, but it certainly wasn't any easier, either.

As for using the Fry Delight, it's simple enough -- just move the temperature slider to the desired temperature, then turn the timer knob to the desired cooktime. The orange light will come on to indicate that the heating element is doing its thing -- once the drawer is at temperature, the light will turn off, then cycle on and off throughout the cook as the heating element cycles on and off to maintain the target temperature.

Just two small complaints with that. First: The temperature slider won't go lower than 300 degrees Fahrenheit or higher than 390 degrees F, and it's arranged in awkward, uneven intervals, making it tough to feel like you're ever dialing into a precise setting. Second: The timer knob juts out and blocks your view of commonly used cook times like 20 minutes, which forces you to stoop down as you dial in.

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Of all the air fryers we tested, the Fry Delight produced the best-tasting frozen fries.

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I am potato now

Good lord, we cooked a lot of French fries in these things. Homemade, frozen, shoestring, crinkle-cut, you name it. I even made chips for good measure using both purple potatoes and classic Idaho spuds.

None of the fryers blew us away at any turn, but the Krups cooker at least managed to keep up, never spitting out anything undercooked. The Fry Delight also produced the best-tasting store-brand frozen crinkle-cut fries -- though, in fairness, they were only incrementally better than what you'd get out of the oven. Still, my taste-testers wolfed them down in record time. "I'd be so fat if I had this thing," one of them proclaimed in between bites.

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Homemade shoestring fries made in the Fry Delight came out fairly crispy, but the basket wasn't big enough to cook them evenly.

Ry Crist/CNET

My homemade fries weren't quite as popular. My first batch didn't crisp up at all, so I made a second batch, cutting them as thin as possible and making sure to take extra efforts to wick away excess moisture before the cook. They came out noticeably crispier, but only because they cooked significantly faster (translation: I overcooked them). To make matters worse, the 2.5-liter basket didn't seem big enough to cook the whole batch evenly, even with me giving them a good shake about halfway through. Despite my best efforts, the same went for my Idaho potato chips and my purple potato chips. If there was a homemade, air-fried potato sweet spot, I wasn't a good enough cook to hit it.

That's really the story of this fryer -- it does a bang-up job with frozen, pre-made snacks, but it struggles to make anything special out of homemade recipes. Fresh barbecue chicken wings air-fried for 20 minutes were fine, but not nearly as good or as crispy as if I'd fried, grilled or even baked them. Frozen mozzarella sticks, meanwhile, came out nearly identical to an oven-made batch, and they cooked in about half the time.

Other tests included air-fried burgers and an air-fried whole chicken that only just barely fit into the basket. Both hit their target, food-safe temperatures, but neither were very good. The burgers came out weirdly bloated and devoid of the kind of char that you get with a grill or a broiler. As for the roast chicken, the skin came out flabbier than I'd expected, and the drumsticks were all but incinerated by the time the breasts were finally cooked to temp. I'll stick with my oven, thanks.

The Fry Delight makes tasty food, but a toaster oven may be a better value.

Chris Monroe/CNET

The verdict

Air fryers promise to lighten up your diet by ditching the extra oil, but after a week spent taste-testing air-fried foods, I certainly didn't feel any lighter. At best, they seem like a halfhearted attempt to make you feel slightly less guilty about the tater tots you're scarfing as a midnight snack.

And hey, there's nothing wrong with that -- nor is there anything wrong with spending less than $100 for something that can act as a second oven (or even a primary oven for something like a home bar or a dorm room). But if you're expecting "I-can't-believe-it's-not-fried!" results from the Krups Fry Delight (or from any air fryer, frankly), I think you're in for some disappointment. As for me, I think I'd be content to spend less on a trusty toaster oven.

Are you curious about all the other air fryers we tested out? Check out our air fryer roundup here.