Modern Methods and Machines: All About Oil-Free Frying

Lots of people are avoiding fats these days because they’re afraid of what it will do to their arteries. It’s become a controversial topic, but regardless of where you stand on the fat debate, one thing is certain: there are manufacturers out there catering to the fat-free or low-fat community. If you’re looking for ways to reduce your oil consumption, check out these fryers.

The Idea

The idea behind an oil-less fryer is that you eliminate the oil used in traditional frying methods. This, in turn, will reduce the cost of cooking because you don’t have to spend money on expensive frying oils. You also don’t have to worry about the added oil to your diet if you’re on a low-calorie eating plan. Finally, there’s the cleanup. An oil-less fryer is much easier to clean than its oil-using counterpart.

The Propane Fryer

One idea behind oil-less frying is a propane fryer. Also known as an electric turkey fryer, you can pick these up at websites like These turkey fryers work using a simple propane tank and open flame as the heat source. It produces a nice, clean, flavor and is easy to clean up after you’re done cooking.

Air Fryer

An air fryer uses – you guessed it – air to cook food. These fryers boast a 20 to 30 percent faster cooking time over oil-based cooking methods because hot air is constantly circulating inside the oven. The downside to this method of cooking is that you don’t always get that deep fried taste.

You’re essentially dry-cooking your food with this method. However, most cookers come with attachments like a cooker pot, food roller, tongs, and poultry fork which make the machine a bit more versatile than your standard cooker.

Finally, these appliances are usually priced below $200 and, since you’re not buying oil, you’re saving money there.


Frying without oil

Halogen Fryer

A halogen fryer uses tungsten halogen emitters (really bright lights) as a source of radiant heat. While the food does need to be lightly oiled before cooking, the oil used is a lot less than what you would use if you opted for deep frying.

Think of it as a sort of adult version of an easy-bake oven. Foods cooked in halogen ovens have the same deep fried taste as oil-based fryers, but at a fraction of the cost, since you’re only paying for oil that ends up on the food. Halogen fryers also tend to help the food keep its flavor since it’s using radiant heat which penetrates deep into the food, rather than using a secondary heating system (i.e. heating air or water to cook the food).

These fryers are relatively inexpensive too, making them a good buy for the budget-conscious.


While oil-less fryers don’t always perfectly replicate the mouth-feel or the “crunch” of deep frying, they’ve come a long way in their design and most units on the market today do a fair job of replacing traditional cooking methods. Plus, they’re more cost-effective and some say healthier. So have a closer look and pick the right one for you. There is still enough time to become a turkey master by Thanksgiving Day.

Dan Skinner is always looking for healthy ways to prepare food. A retired chef, he enjoys sharing what he has learned with others by blogging. Look for his entertaining articles mainly on cooking and lifestyle websites.