Confession time: Between Millie Fender (Real Homes' head of reviews) and I, we've tested around 20 air fryers in our Reading, UK office and at home. Even though we've given quite a few three- to five-star ratings, I still haven't found the ideal kitchen appliance for my home. Until now, that is. I guess you have to kiss a few frogs to find the one, and I can officially say the Cosori Lite is my culinary bae.
Now I hate to go against the "it's what's on the inside that counts" saying, but this is a good-looking machine. Aesthetically, it's giving me modern chic vibes. And, if Joseph Joseph made a small kitchen appliance — I think it would look like this! It also comes in dreamy colorways that would suit a Gen Z home, including "Truffle Grey," sage green (with teal trim), and white (with orange deets), perfect for if you're sick of another appliance that only comes in black, white, or stainless steel.
Cosori makes some of the best air fryers on the market in my opinion, and they come at an affordable price point. Even if you're an amateur in the kitchen, there are lots of helpful videos under the #cosori hashtag on TikTok, plenty of Facebook support in the Cosori Cooks Community, and a recipe gallery online.
TLDR: What we thought of the Cosori Lite air fryer
Only got a minute or two to read? Got it. The Cosori Lite air fryer is a great purchase for a household with two to four people. Available in three attractive colors, it stands out from the small appliance crowd, with the exterior matte finish making it easy to clean. Silicone "feet" on the crisper liner are great for ensuring the plate is strapped in, but they also provide a soft cushion so there's no friction between two metal surfaces. At 1500 W, it's a powerful machine for its size, so it might take a while to adjust to if you like your bacon crispy, but not crunchy.
How to use the Cosori Lite
Once you've taken it out of the box, you'll need to remove all of the temporary stickers and the protective cover that's fitted over the power plug. You'll then want to decide where to put it. Make sure this is on a stable, level, and heat and steam-resistant surface (nowhere that's at risk of warping, for example).
It's always common practice to give any kitchen appliance a wipedown as you don't know who has touched it, where it's been stored, and whether or not it was a store return.
The control panel is pretty self-explanatory. It has a power button, seven cooking presets, buttons to navigate time and temperature, as well as preheat, shake, and keep warm buttons. There's even a start/pause button if you need to step away from the kitchen or delay dinner time.
Cosori recommends that you use the pre-heat function to get your basket to optimum temperature. This takes anywhere from three to five minutes and definitely makes a difference to the crisp factor of your food.
The techy stuff
- Model: CAF-LI401S
- Capacity: 3.8 L / 4 qt
- Weight: 4.52 kg / 9.97 lb
- Dimensions: 14.8 x 10.8 x 12.8 in / 37.6 x 27.5 x 32.5 cm
Power: 1500 W
- Cost to run air fryer (per hour): 22c
- Cooking modes: bacon, veggies, steak, fries, chicken, preheat, shake, keep warm
- RRP: $99.99
- Color(s): Truffle Grey, Sage Green, White
- Wi-Fi frequency range: 2412–2472MHz <20dbM (E.I.R.P)
- Bluetooth frequency range: 2402–2480MHz <10dBm (E.I.R.P)
I've had the Cosori Lite in my kitchen for around three weeks now, and safe to say, it's not going to be the elephant in the room. Though my bean-to-cup coffee maker, kettle, microwave, and toaster are all stainless steel, it doesn't stick out like a sore thumb. In fact, the only correlation it has with thumbs is that it's not susceptible to thumbprints!
It's powerful, and I love trying out the latest TikTok trends in it... My fiancé prefers when I make a "proper" dinner in it. He otherwise rolls his eyes at the social-inspired experiments.
Unboxing the Cosori Lite
First impressions of the Cosori Lite
For under $100, this is an impressive little machine. On looks alone, the color is a great visual respite from your usual "black cooking box." Slightly worryingly, the air fryer will emit white smoke with a plastic-like smell, but having consulted the user manual's troubleshooting section, I was reassured that this is normal on first use... phew!
Setting up the VeSync application is fairly easy. Once you've registered, you just need to select the Lite model from the Cosori air fryers list and follow the in-app instructions. Here, you'll be able to remotely control the device via Wi-Fi, check on your meal's progress, find in-app recipes, and use Google Assistant to command your convection oven to cook.
Streaky, back, or as a joint... I love bacon. Give me a salty slice of pork any day, as part of a fry-up, a sandwich, even on a donut, in a milkshake, or on ice-cream (don't knock it until you've tried it, kids). So testing a couple of rashers in the Cosori air fryer was actually a normal part of my day.
One thing I will say is that despite following pack instructions, the finished cuts were a little more on the crispy side than I would've likes. Don't get me wrong, they weren't inedible — I'd just have taken a couple of minutes off the cooking time — and I know people who do like it this way.
Cooking hard boiled eggs
I thought I'd go with a nice and easy one next that would suit both meat eaters and vegetarians alike. The humble boiled egg. It's a great on-the-go snack, but can easily be the foundation of a good egg mayo sandwich or a protein-rich addition to a potato salad.
Having referred to Millie Fender's air fryer guide on hard-boiled eggs, I set the digital screen accordingly (150°C/302°F for 12 minutes) and pressed the play button. I was pretty egg-cited about the result!
Twelve minutes later, I took the (very hot) chicken eggs out of the machine. My first observation was that there was a slight scorch mark on the shell. Carefully peeling the eggshell and membrane, I spotted that this "burnt bottom" ran through to the edible white. However, this blemish was only aesthetic, and it tasted just as expected.
Cooking breaded fish fillets
My fiancé was quite excited to see battered sea bass on the menu. While I prefer giving these fishies a char on the barbecue, it's just not practical in winter (when I reviewed this appliance). What I can say is that I was pleasantly surprised with the air-fried treatment of the fillets. They weren't dry and the layered of batter remained intact, with not a smidge of grease in the basket or on my chops.
Thou shall have a little fishy on a little dishy!
Cooking homemade fries
Even if I'm not hungry, I can't resist a chipped potato. Of course, our head of reviews did the test on air fryer vs. deep fryer and included fries in her food tests.
I'll be honest, I was a bit pedantic when slicing the potatoes. So rather than keeping their skins on for a rustic effect, I removed the outer with a peeler and tried to create as uniform fries as possible.
I saw that there was a "fries" function on the machine, which cooks the spuds on a two-phase program that switches between 200–220°C (392–428°F). Once set, I saw that the "shake" button remained lit, and at nine minutes, the appliance bleeped prompting me to jiggle the basket (or use a tong to rotate).
Of course, singing Taylor Swift's "Shake It Off" at this stage is completely optional.
I actually thought these were ready three minutes shy of the programmed time. The finished fry was caramelized, and one advantage of my wonky ends was that the narrow gnarly bits came out crispier. I'm not ashamed to say that I took this photo in iPhone's portrait mode because look at the color on them.
"Alexa, play Harry Styles — 'Golden'"
Cooking meat-free nuggets in the Cosori Lite
Despite being a meat eater, I like to break up my carnivorous habits with some Quorn. Close your eyes and this imitation meat product is pretty close to chicken. Plus, when it's coated with Southern-fried seasoning, it's texturally akin to a poultry nugget.
Cooking kale in an air fryer
If you're still boiling or stir-frying greens — you need to crawl out from under that rock. Seriously, of all the things you can cook in an air fryer — kale is up there. You might see it as a boring superfood, but once you air fry it in a little oil, it transforms into a crispy delight that's also healthier. I know a lot of places that use the flavor enhancer monosodium glutamate (aka MSG) and making my favorite hors d'oeuvres at home means I get to choose what goes in it.
Making pasta chips in an air fryer
I love a bowl of comforting carbs coated in a glossy sauce as much as the next person. But if you're looking for a snack that's (sort of) healthy, air fryer pasta chips are the latest TikTok trend I thought I'd try out. Yes, I know mom used to say "don't play with your food," but I really did have fun with this one.
I had some surplus conchiglioni lying about from an al forno dish I made a while back. But, you don't have to use a specialty pasta shape. Penne, farfalle (bows), or rigatoni tubes work just as well. Millie's tutorial takes you through all the steps, including how to season, but I had the choice between nutritional yeast (a vegan cheese alternative) or parmesan, along with some herbs and spices.
"Pas-ta me" a bowl of these on the sofa any night. They contain less oil than potato chips and if you upgrade to wholemeal pasta, it's a great source of fiber, too! And, for all of you ASMR lovers, I can assure you the crunchy sound was #goals.
How to clean the Cosori Lite air fryer
To get the most out of your appliance, you need to clean your air fryer's basket and crisper plate after every use. Yes, you can line the cooking area with foil (or better still buy paper or silicone air fryer liners on Amazon, but you might still need to give it a gentle (non-abrasive) scrub after your grub is served up. This means no metal scouring pads!
Otherwise, you can remove these components and use your dishwasher to clean them on a normal cycle. If you don't have one, handwashing with dish soap, water, and a soft sponge will get rid of food debris.
For stubborn grease, Cosori advises that you clean with baking soda (which we're so here for!). To do this, mix 30 g / 2 US tbsp of bicarb and 15 ml / 1 US tbsp of water to form a spreadable paste. Leave this for 15 minutes before rinsing with hot soapy water. Including this eco-friendly cleaning solution in its manual is such a pleasant surprise from a big brand!
Unlike a deep fryer, you don't need to add any oil to an air fryer, but a little can help to crisp food (and add flavor). My top tip would be to use a neutral-flavored oil in a bottle with a pump spray attachment. This way you can control how much fat you use (which will affect how much (or little) of a pool there is in the basket. These products are also great to decant vinegar into so you can add a spritz to your fries — such a novelty at the dining table.
How does it compare to other air fryers?
In this game of small air fryer top trumps, I'm pleased to say this appliance wins on all fronts including price, power, and looks. Plus, the Wi-Fi connectivity is a winner in my eyes. You might not be able to air fry a whole turkey in it come Thanksgiving or Christmas, but it'd do a good job of cooking a crown if there are only two to three of you eating.
Should you buy the Cosori Lite?
Absolutely! Type "Amazon air fryers" into your internet browser, and it's easy to get overwhelmed by the plethora of machines that promise to win you over. But like those handy food apps, the Cosori Lite delivers fast and tasty food (without eating into your disposable income).
You've heard it from me. If you've shopped around and seen either super basic, cheap black boxes that seem too good to be true or flash fixtures from leading brands, give this one a go. As an Amazon Exclusive, it's earned the trust of the huge online retailer and its customers with 83% of reviews being awarded five stars.
I'm all for popping my food pics on Instagram and Facebook, and this is one brand that actively endorses the use of microblogging sites to share your creations. I'll certainly be using the #iCookCosori and #LiveLifeTastefully hashtags in my next post.
About this review and the reviewer
Christina Chrysostomou is an ecommerce editor for Real Homes where she reviews household products to make your life easier at home, primarily focusing on cleaning and small kitchen appliances. She was sent this product to review at home to test out its air frying performance.
We are not given any compensation for our reviews, but we may be gifted the product. In this case, Cosori sent us the sample. This means that we can test it over a greater length of time and update our reviews if required. We also receive affiliate commission for some products brought through our site.