Hot air frying allows you to use a wider range of far more interesting cooking fats than you would normally, because they are needed in such small quantities – some would be either too dear or too strong tasting in large quantities, or both.
This is a brief overview of some cooking fats you may wish to consider using in your hot air frying from time to time.
I store most of mine in the fridge to prolong their storage life — because they are used in such small quantities, a bottle or container tends to last me a very long time and I don’t want them going rancid.
If you have a basket-type fryer, you may need to briefly melt the solid fats in a microwave and toss the food items in it after melted.
Almond oil: has a subtle taste of toasted almonds, that can be destroyed by heat. Consequently, don’t use as the “main” cooking fat at the start of cooking, but rather as a flavouring oil: add a teaspoon or so in the final five minutes of cooking. Goes particularly well with green veg such as green beans, broccoli, etc, all of which the Actifry coincidentally handles quite nicely, giving them a bit of a nutty taste. As with all nut oils, store in fridge. Further info here on almond oil.
Avocado oil: Gives an interesting flavour to vegetables. Definitely store in fridge, let come to room temperature for about 10 minutes before attempting to pour. Further info here on avocado oil.
Coconut oil: Aka coconut butter when solid. Good back flavour for many Asian dishes. If you store yours in the fridge, let come to room temperature for about 10 minutes before attempting to scoop out. Not nutritionists’ favourite oil, but you’d be using in such small quantities anyway, and coconut oil marketers are fighting back. Further info here on coconut oil.
Duck fat: another of the best cooking fats for hot air frying because 1 tablespoon can do the job of 3 or 4 tablespoons of oil: an overall savings in calories. Once you’ve opened the jar or can, store in fridge, but it stores soft, so you can scoop it right out of the fridge. See the piece on duck fat over on my Practically Edible site. NOTE: duck fat is my go-to Actifry cooking fat these days. Duck fat on Amazon: duck fat
Ghee: ghee is clarified butter. Great taste for Indian curries etc you are making. Don’t be afraid to try ghee in risottos, either. Ghee doesn’t burn like butter would. It’s a little bit higher in calories and fat than regular butter (4 Weight Watcher PointsPlus™ per tablespoon compared to 3 for butter), but it goes further than butter, too — the result is that a tablespoon of ghee can do the work of two tablespoons of butter, so overall it’s less fattening because you need less. If you store yours in the fridge (recommended), let come to room temperature for about 10 minutes before attempting to scoop out. Further info here on ghee.
Goose fat: one of the best cooking fats for hot air frying because 1 tablespoon can do the job of 3 or 4 tablespoons of oil: an overall savings in calories. Once you’ve opened the jar or can, store in fridge, but it stores soft, so you can scoop it right out of the fridge. See the piece on goose fat over on my Practically Edible site.
Hazelnut oil: lends a luxurious flavour to risottos, potatoes, eggplant, etc. As with all nut oils, store in fridge. Further info here on hazelnut oil.
Olive oil: the strong points of olive oil need no reinforcing. In hot air frying, though, its weak point is that it evaporates away on you so that really, to do a good job you often need more than the manufacturers’ recipe books are willing to admit. While olive oil will stay in the pan when there is something being cooked such as peppers that will give off liquid and help slow the evaporation of the oil, it gets absorbed too easily by porous food items such as potatoes, mushrooms, eggplant, etc, and for those items, really, you are better off with a tablespoon of duck fat or goose fat that stays in the pan. Further info here on olive oil.
Red Palm oil: aka Dende Oil, but not the same as (just) palm oil. This isn’t nutritionists’ favourite oil, as it’s high in saturated fat, but in air frying you’re using so little of it anyway…. and its flavour is fabulous for African and Brazilian style dishes. Further info here on Red Palm Oil / Dende.
Sesame oil: do not use as a cooking oil; it’s too strongly flavoured. But do use as a flavouring oil, usually no more than 1 teaspoon per recipe. Gives a wonderful smokey taste. Fabulous in just about any Asian dish, and in meat marinades. Just store at room temperature. Further info here on sesame oil.
Walnut oil: lends a luxurious flavour to risottos. As with all nut oils, store in fridge. Further info here on walnut oil.
Other cooking fats to explore include canola oil (aka rape seed oil), which is often ranked as having the same good nutritional profile as olive oil (but with the same cooking problem of evaporating away in blown hot air), and even bacon fat — a tablespoonful won’t hurt anyone, and there’s nothing like it if you are roasting Brussel sprouts.