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Dash, the maker of colorful, adorable kitchen appliances like their popular egg cookers and this rice cooker, also makes an air fryer, and it’s one of the most popular air fryers available on Amazon. If you’ve been considering adding an air fryer to your appliance lineup, you might wonder how this cutie performs when put to the test.
I had not yet joined the air fryer movement (I was also very late to the Instant Pot craze), so when Dash offered to send me the air fryer to test out, I took it. I’d had food other people made in an air fryer, so I had some idea of what to expect taste-wise, but I had never used one myself.
Other users seem to love this air fryer. The Dash Tasti-Crisp Electric Air Fryer Oven has more than 27,000 reviews on Amazon, with 20,000 customers giving it a full 5-stars. Like all air fryers, this 2.6-quart air fryer uses air instead of oil to fry food, which can make your meal healthier — Dash says theirs reduces added fat by 70%-80%.
To use the air fryer, simply load up the fryer basket, set the temperature and timer and that’s it — no pre-heating, no selecting from multiple settings. The air fryer will ding when your food is done and automatically shut off, so even if you don’t get your food out right away, it will not overcook.
Coming in a variety of colors and half the weight of a standard air fryer, the Dash Tasti-Crisp can be moved around easily and would work well for an apartment or smaller kitchen, or to take to a college dorm or while traveling in an RV.
Regularly priced at $60, the air fryer is currently on sale for $50, a savings of $10. If you need something bigger, however, you can get the same model with a 6-quart basket for $99.
How The Dash Air Fryer Performs
I kept it pretty lazy for my first test, tossing in some breaded chicken fingers for my husband, followed by vegetarian chicken nuggets for me and then two rounds of tater tots. The chicken fingers took just 8 minutes on 350 degrees, while the veggie nuggets took 6. My husband reports that the chicken really did seem fried and my veggie nuggets were far crispier than they are in the oven. It’s been over a decade since I had actual fried chicken, but this was the closest I’ve gotten from vegetarian chicken and definitely the crispiest “meat” I’ve had in a very long time.
While the air fryer is non-stick, so you don’t need to use cooking spray, I sprayed the tater tots with avocado oil to give them an even crispier texture. Not only did the kitchen smell pretty delicious within about 5 minutes, but they tasted like tots you’d expect from a restaurant, not your oven.
One thing to note is that whatever you’re putting in the air fryer needs to be in a single layer. A handful of the negative reviews on Amazon seem to be related to having too much in the air fryer at once, which will either take more time, or you may find that the food on the top layer doesn’t cook. I was guilty of it as well and layered the tots too much on the first round, so the ones on top were definitely not as done. After making sure they were spread out better the second time, they were all cooked evenly.
After going the easy route of just dumping something pre-made and frozen in, I also followed this recipe for cooking hardboiled eggs and was surprised that they turned out perfectly!
Next, I decided to try a recipe from the pamphlet that came with the air fryer. Because there was a slight breeze that morning and I am beyond ready for fall, I went with a brown sugar cinnamon doughnut. The recipe was simple: buy a can of biscuit dough, add a hole in the middle of each one, fry them, then brush them with butter, brown sugar and a cinnamon sugar mixture.
The biscuits took about 3 minutes longer to cook than the recipe called for (they were still doughy in the middle, so I simply popped them back in), and while they were no doubt delicious, I wouldn’t exactly call them a doughnut. A biscuit with cinnamon sugar on top? Yes. A fried doughnut? Not quite.
That’s not to say you can’t make a doughnut in the air fryer (because you definitely can), but if it’s something you’re wanting to make, you may want to try a recipe that has you making dough instead of using biscuits. If you want a quick way to cook biscuits, however, the air fryer can definitely do it! Even with the added time, they were done in about 10 minutes, and because you do not have to pre-heat the air fryer like you would an oven, you’re definitely saving time.
I don’t have many negatives to point out as it the air fryer was easy to use and cooked as described (even though I had to pop some food back in for a few minutes), but I did notice one thing that could be improved: the ability to turn the time dial backward. While trying to add the extra 3 minutes for the biscuits, I accidentally did 5 and could not go backward, so the first round ended up burning. There is a way around it, as you can simply open up the basket and let the time run out, or unplug it and plug it back in, then reset the timer, but it’s important to keep in mind until you get better at guessing cooking times.
Overall, I would say an air fryer is definitely a worthwhile purchase. The biggest benefit is that it cuts cooking time drastically for a variety of dishes, and, of course, it’s healthier than frying foods in oil. To get the most out of your air fryer, I would recommend cooking up some goodies from scratch and not only using it for frozen things like fries and nuggets.
Of course, Amazon has dozens of other air fryers, like this Ninja AF161 Max XL Air Fryer on sale right now for $149. The 5.5-quart air fryer fits three pounds of French fries or chicken wings and can crisp, air fry, roast, broil bake, reheat and dehydrate a variety of foods.
With more than 14,000 reviews, the air fryer has 4.7 out of 5 stars. Reviewers say it’s easy to use and easy to clean, with one customer calling it a must-have.
“Just received our air fryer today and my 12 year old son made lemon pepper wings,” Bio Grl wrote. “They came out amazing and crispy. Cannot believe I waited so long to purchase this. The only con is that I wish my order came with accessories so I could try out more features.”
Have you been considering purchasing an air fryer?