One of the very fun things about being a food blogger is trying out cool kitchen products. T-Fal Actifry sent me one of their low-oil “frying” kitchen appliances to try out, which I was happy to do. We love French fries, and this machine was supposed to make delicious ones without much oil and no deep-frying. I was willing to give it a go!

Instead of a vegetable oil, which I don’t use, I melted a tablespoon of coconut oil to “fry” my fries. They emerged from the machine crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. The only strange thing? They had a completely different flavor profile than regular fried ones. They were sweeter, and the potato flavor came out more. My family really liked them, despite the difference.

The potatoes were a success. But what about the machine? Here are some pros and cons.

Pros:

  • Easy to use: This machine is very simple to use! Just throw in a little oil (about 1 tablespoon per dish) and the rest of your ingredients and it is ready to roll.
  • It uses heated air to cook, kind of like a convection oven. No microwave waves here!
  • Fairly multi-use: While the advertisement concentrates on making healthy homemade French fries with an Actifry, you actually can make a pretty wide variety of dishes in it. Stir-fries are one yummy and healthy option, for example.  
  • Self-stir feature: This machine has a sort of paddle that continually stirs the ingredients for you. I LOVE this.
Cons:
  • It does take up a lot of space. I have a small kitchen, and a fair amount of kitchen gadgets already, so I just couldn’t fit this in my cupboard and had to store it in my basement. Those with small kitchens and no basements, beware.
  • It is expensive. If you are on a tight budget, this isn’t a super frugal machine. (It's about $200.)
  • Plastic, plastic, plastic! While I appreciate that they use a more natural “nonstick” material on the pan with the use of a ceramic-coated pan (PTFE- and PFOA-free), the outer lid and the inner paddle are made of plastic. Plastic and heat are not something I personally mix, and the plastic does get warm/hot while cooking with it. This was my biggest concern.
If there was a glass/stainless steel option instead of the plastic for this kitchen appliance, I think that it would be pretty great, especially for those who don’t have an oven. And while I am not in the “low-fat” camp, I do limit foods fried in good-for-you oils/fats, as they tend to bother my stomach if I over indulge in them. I wouldn’t be surprised if they eventually have a plastic-free option. Meanwhile, I am likely to stick with my oven-baked fries. 

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