The air fryer is a relatively new type of cooking device that wants to replace your traditional oven and become your main kitchen appliance, promising to quickly cook a healthier meal (with less fat). The technology behind these type of devices is pretty much identical to the toaster oven with convection, both relying on fans to push hot air around the food, so despite calling themselves fryers, the result is a lot closer to baking.
At the same time, the air fryers should occupy less space than a toaster oven and Cosori has managed to build a fairly large-capacity air fryer (5.8qt) while maintaining a bit more than half the footprint. Over time, the air fryers had some challenges to overcome, such as the uneven cooking of a larger quantity of food and the smaller portions, but the Cosori air fryer suggests that these problems are a thing of a past and that it can cook food just as delicious as your traditional oven or the deep fryers (while also requiring less oil).
Considering that people prefer flavor-rich food, the possibility to have a healthier alternative without compromises is very attractive, so let’s see if the Cosori air fryer can deliver on its promises.
Note: Besides the 5.8qt version, there’s also a smaller 3.7 Cosori air fryer available and both devices come with a ‘100 Free Recipes’ book.
The space on the kitchen counter is usually quite limited, so it may be a bit difficult to find a proper space for an air fryer and have no doubt that the Cosori CP158 is a fairly large product, measuring 11.8 x 11.8 x 2.0 inches. But, if you do have a bit of room for an extra device, then you do get a well-designed air fryer which steered clear of the usual pod shaped body and instead, it has a rectangular case with the corners smoothly rounded and it’s almost completely covered by a black finish that mimics brushed metal (it doesn’t retain fingerprints – the device is also available in red and white variants).
Underneath the faux brushed metal finish, there is a layer of hard plastic, while inside the air fryer, the parts are covered by aluminum and this is also the case of the inner and outer baskets which are also made of aluminum, with a PFOA free non-stick coating. Aluminum is not really the most safe material when associated with food, not unless it is anodized which does seem to be the case for the Cosori air fryer (waiting for the manufacturer to confirm), so, unless you’re using aluminum foil to cover your food inside the device, you should be safe.
On the front of the device you will immediately notice the handle with a small transparent piece on top and you will have to pull the handle to open the baskets (I noticed that after a while you can pull the handle a lot easier and the interior part will quickly slide off). To de-attach the two baskets, you need to slide the transparent plastic piece forward so it exposes a small button within the handle which, once pressed, it will release the bottom part – be very careful that it doesn’t fall to the ground. I don’t have much confidence on the longevity of the small transparent piece, but considering that it doesn’t play an important role (works only as a cover), it shouldn’t pose a major problem in the long run.
After the baskets are removed, you can have a look inside the main body of the device to see the upper convection fan and the extra heating elements that ensure that the hot air is pushed towards the food and since there’s some space between the two baskets, it should also travel from the bottom as well and this is also the place where any extra liquids will be stored, ensuring that the food isn’t going to be rich in oils. On the rear side of the case, there is a small plastic grill which can also be visible if you look from inside the air fryer and its role is to allow some ventilation within the device (works as an air outlet).
There is also a large ventilation grid on the bottom of the Cosori air fryer (functions as an air inlet) and to keep the device in place, the manufacturer has placed four silicone feet which I found quite effective in keeping the air fryer steady when I removed the baskets. Towards the top of the handle, Cosori has reserved a fairly large part of the case to embed a touch-sensitive area, as well as multiple LEDs and an LCD display which allow you to control the time or temperature and to select a preset program.
Specifically, underneath the LCD display, you have a Minus and a Plus button to decrease or increase the value, a Temp/Time button to adjust the time or temperature of the program (ranges between 170°F and 400°F), a button to Keep Warm the interior of the device (in case you want to cook multiple meals), the Power button (which you need to press after powering up the device) and a Start/Pause button. If you want to pause the current program, you don’t necessarily need to press the Pause button, you can simply remove the baskets and the timer will pause automatically.
Among the available preset programs, you can select to cook Chicken, Steak, Shrimp, Seafood, Bacon, Frozen Foods, French Fries, Vegetables, Root Vegetables, Desserts, Bread and you can also Preheat the interior. I really liked that the touch-sensitive surface is very responsive, but I would also have preferred a glass window to easily check on the food (at least a very small one), instead of constantly removing the baskets (something that both the convection toasters and even the traditional ovens do offer).
The installation process of the Cosori air fryer is basic and intuitive since all you need to do is to plug the cable into a electricity socket which should light up the Power button and after you put the food in the inner basket (the outer basket should be left empty since its role is to collect any extra oil or other liquids), insert the baskets into the device and press the Power button to display all the available options. At this point, you have two options, either select a default program and then simply press the Start/Pause button to initiate it or manually adjust the temperature and the time (I found that some preset programs aren’t really that accurate).
Considering that this device doesn’t work in the same manner as the deep fryers or the conventional ovens, you may need some time until you understand how long you should leave your food and what’s the best temperature to get the most suitable results. The air fryers are mainly deemed to be an alternative to the deep fryers and the claim is that the food should taste the same, while using less oil, therefore removing a high percentage of calories, so, in order to test this claim, I decided to try out some recipes.
The first one was a home-made pizza and, as can be seen from the photo, it’s a small pizza suitable for one person, so, in case you intend to buy frozen pizzas, you need to make sure that it can actually fit into the basket of the air fryer. As for the result, I was pleasantly surprised, since it took about 8 minutes for it to become crisp and the taste was even better than when I was using a gas oven (it was also cooked evenly) – it is worth noting that underneath, the pizza did not get burn marks as you would in the traditional oven, but this doesn’t affect the taste in any way.
Next, I decided to prepare some baccala cod fish pieces which were bathed in eggs, a bit of salt and some grated breadcrumbs + a small tablespoon of oil on each piece. I decided to give it a try using the preset program, but it immediately became clear that it wouldn’t be enough, so after about 10 minutes, the food was ready (I had to turn the fish on the other side after about 5 minutes). The result was similar to what I would get on a frying pan, but it was a bit dry (by about 10 percent) – perhaps a tiny bit more oil was necessary to get the same result as on a traditional frying pan (on the plus side, it was a lot more healthy this way).
Lastly, one of the main reasons to get an air fryer is to get those french fries like you would using a deep fryer, so I decided to cut some potatoes (in slightly larger pieces), I salted them and left them for the entire preset program (which is 25 minutes). Like you may have noticed, I didn’t put an ounce of oil, so, the potatoes didn’t really fry, but they baked, leaving a slight crust on the outside. Furthermore, despite not stirring the potatoes at all, all got evenly baked. If you want those delicious french fries, you do need to use some oil and to get the deep fry or frying pan result, the necessary quantity of oil is going to be comparable, but, considering that the air fryer doesn’t really allow the food to get soaked, it’s still going to be a healthier meal.
If you are a fan of frozen vegetables (including frozen french fries), due to the large quantity of water, it is still possible to get soggy food and to completely prevent this from happening, Cosori suggests to dry the uncooked food a bit (you can use some napkins) or wait until they get partially unfrozen before inserting it in the air fryer.
Note: If you leave the air fryer inactive for more than 3 minutes, it will automatically shut down to save on the electricity bill and, in case the device overheats, it will also immediately shut down. I also noticed that the internal fan does make some noise, but it doesn’t exceed 65 dB.
After you’re done cooking, you will have to clean the air fryer and Cosori has made it a decently easy process: you need to remove the two baskets (also need to de-attach them) and wash them normally – you can use a dishwasher, just make sure to not use anything abrasive since it can easily damage the coating surface. As for the internal side of the device, make sure that it has completely cooled down and then, simply use a moist cloth; if there is some grease in the interior, it’s best to mix 1/2 cup of baking soda with some tablespoons of water to form a paste and then use a sponge to thoroughly clean up the device.
If done right, the Cosori air fryer is capable of cooking some surprisingly delicious food in a healthier way than using a deep fryer or a traditional oven and, depending on the type of food the 5.8qt basket is large enough to serve more than two people. While it will be a nice addition to any kitchen, I think that the users that will get the most out of the Cosori air fryer are those that either have a lot of space available on the counter or those that live in a limited space (such as a dorm) and that don’t already have a convection toaster (which functions in a similar manner).
Should you consider an air fryer? It really depends on the type of foods you prefer, so if you think that it will fit in with your current habits, without requiring some major adjustments, then you should definitely go for it, otherwise, it may be better to explore other solutions.