When I first heard about the Tefal Actifry (Amazon UK, Amazon US) I have to admit I wasn’t convinced. It just looked like a glorified deep fat fryer with the alleged ability to cook with less oil. After a little reading up we decided to take the plunge and buy one. We’ve used it almost every day since.
Looking like the results of an experiment where stoners tried cooking chips in a tumble dryer, the Actifry works by blasting hot air at food that is turned in the pan using an internal paddle. The end result are crispy, delicious chips that taste just as good as the ones from the chippy (in the opinion of this recovered chippy addict anyway). It also does exceptional roasties, and turns small salad potatoes into delicious mini jackets.
But it’s not just potatoes this thing works wonders with, oh no. Got a craving for fried chicken but can’t bear a trip to that takeaway run by the strange man with the massive head and tiny body?
The Actifry does excellent fried chicken. Just be sure to avoid using powdered seasonings or marinade in advance as the hot air function does not work well with dry seasonings.
Sausages work well in there too. Frankfurters look a little freaky after a spell in there but if you don’t mind your mystery meat in tube form looking more mysterious than usual, then it’s a good quick way to do hot dogs.We’re constantly experimenting with our Actifry. Root vegetables like sweet potato work beautifully, aubergine turned out quite nicely too. Swedish style meatballs in there are divine (good news for those lucky enough to live near an Ikea). What didn’t bode so well was egg. Had a hell of a job scraping cooked egg out of the crevices of the paddle.
Which brings me to cleaning. Because the main parts are all non-stick, and pop out of the machine very easily, they clean up without much trouble. Just bear in mind the thing about egg.
Some reviewers on Amazon and similar have made comments about the build quality of the machine, with parts falling apart not long after purchase. We’ve had ours for nearly a couple of months and after near daily use, haven’t noticed any bits falling apart yet.
So is it worth getting one? Absolutely. We have the smaller model, there’s a larger capacity version available for large families (or hungrier people). It has given us a chance to enjoy healthier versions of the food we like, and experiment with new recipes.