Pompeyexile I was really close to buying an air fryer but I have a Panasonic microwave convection oven combo. Doesn’t the fan assisted convection oven bit do the same as an air fryer?
I don’t think that a convection oven does exactly the same thing as an air fryer, although they are very similar in how they work. We have a Breville combination toaster oven/convection oven/air fryer. Judging from how it works in different modes, I see three ways that the air fryer mode is different from the convection oven mode.
- The air fryer mode uses the top and bottom heating elements, and the convection oven only uses the bottom one. This is true even if the air fryer is at the same temperature setting as the convection oven mode.
- The fan runs at a higher speed in air fryer mode.
- You need the wire basket for good air frying results, so if a combination oven doesn’t come with a wire basket, it’s probably not meant to be used as an air fryer.
These three differences make sense to me. A convection oven uses the fan to circulate air around a little bit to help eliminate hot spots in the oven, leading to better baking. Once you’re at your target temperature, you don’t need much extra heat to maintain that environment for baking.
The air fryer mode doesn’t just bring the heat up to the target temperature. To get that frying effect, you also need to carry away moisture from the surface of whatever you’re air frying. I think this is why you need the wire basket and to heat from top and bottom, so that all sides of the food are exposed. This is also why the fan is cranked up, to help carry moisture away from the surface of the food.
Looking at the Panasonic combination microwave oven combos, I see one model where it says it has an air fryer function, so if your unit had that mode, I’m sure Panasonic would have let everyone know about it.