I don’t usually fall into the trap of trendy kitchen purchases. However, this Cuisinart air fryer is worth the hype, and has put my oven on standby! Keep reading to see how this kitchen gadget outshines the rest, and check out our list of the best air fryers of 2021 for more top picks.
Clear out the clutter and make room for a Cuisinart combo toaster oven/air fryer. The best thing since sliced bread to, well, toast your bread, has arrived. Air fryers have been all the rage for years now, and there are so many options. I was lucky enough to receive one of these brilliant appliances to test, and feel compelled to tell you why you need one, too.
So what exactly does an air fryer do? Turns out, it works pretty similarly to your oven! Both use a fan to circulate hot air. An air fryer is obviously a smaller appliance, so your food is cooked faster, and in my experience, more evenly. Biggest advantages? No waiting for your oven to preheat, and no need to crank up the AC.
We are a family of five, so at first I was concerned it may not be large enough to feed us all in a sitting. Don’t worry, though, I tested tons of recipes and have the scoop below (including a whole chicken)!
If you’re in a crunch for time, this was made for you. The Cuisinart Air Fryer Toaster Oven combo will cook your food quickly, with no risk to the integrity of your food. One of my initial concerns was, what if it’s crisp on the outside, but raw on the inside? Come on, we’ve all been there before!
Luckily, I found the air fryer nicely cooked foods all the way through.
Overall, here are my fav things to cook (so far):
Chicken nuggets- I may never turn my oven on again for frozen kid’s food. This air fryer is a living miracle and can whip up chicken nuggets in 7 minutes! Did I mention they’re perfectly crispy?
Chicken fajitas- the air fryer cooks the chicken quickly, evenly, and it is so juicy! Also, I was shocked at how great the peppers and onions cooked up. (I recommend using bigger slices, as smaller ones cook super fast!)
Sweet potato fries- or any fries for that matter! Whether they’re fresh-cut or frozen, they’ve turned out great each time.
Bacon- yes, bacon. I cook it in the air fryer basket with the pan underneath (catches the bacon grease!) and it tastes even better than your local breakfast joint! Don’t knock it 'til you try it!
Pizza- my kids have a pizza cookoff every Friday, and this air fryer has halved our cooking time! The crust is crispy in 10 minutes.
Cuisinart Air Fryer Toaster Oven: First impressions/unboxing
The Cuisinart Air Fryer Toaster Oven arrived with everything needed to bake, air fry and toast. Included in the box were: the air fryer toaster oven, a baking pan, air frying basket, and a perfectly sized rack to bake foods like pizza!
I didn’t expect the oven to be quite so large, but it did fit nicely on our countertop. If you have limited space between your cabinets and countertop, I would measure before purchasing. It’s a little over a foot tall and deep, and requires a few inches between the outlet and appliance.
A major difference between this model and traditional air fryers is aesthetics. When shopping for an air fryer, you’ll likely notice most are black cylinders with a removable basket. If your kitchen boasts stainless steel appliances, you may want what’s on your countertops to match.
This Cuisinart air fryer is sleek and trendy, and you won’t feel bad displaying it.
I unboxed the air fryer solo, and while it was a bit heavy, it was totally manageable setting up on my own. The oven itself was already assembled, so all I had to do was pick a place to put it, and plug it in. The instructions were clear and even included a handful of recipes!
Before its first use, the directions recommend washing the removable trays with soap and water. Easy-peasy and literally ready to cook within minutes! Additional parts and accessories are available online, and are very reasonably priced.
Cuisinart Air Fryer Toaster Oven: Cooking functions
Cuisinart wasn’t fooling around when they created this top-notch gadget. Pick a food in your freezer and this can cook it. Air fry, bake, broil, convection bake, convection broil, warm, and toast. Pretty impressive, right?
To be completely honest, I’ve opted to use the air fryer option for nearly everything. It somehow manages to cook everything just as well as baking in the oven! The air frying basket is the ideal size for snacks like fries, chicken nuggets and veggies. It’s large enough for one layer, nothing overlapping- which ensures even cooking.
Speaking of the air fryer, did you know it is basically famous for cooking chicken wings? Raw chicken wings, frozen chicken wings- you name it. And they all turn out delicious! Crispy skin, juicy meat, and in a whopping 15 minutes.
The toast function makes a killer bagel, and gets both sides perfectly brown. This is the setting I used for grilled cheese - 10/10 recommend (Yes, I admit I used butter)!
I was pleasantly surprised with the broil option, as it melted cheese into golden brown gooey greatness without burning.
Using the bake feature, I noticed the temperature is hotter than my oven. I’ve reduced the temp by 10-20 degrees to get the same results. Prepare yourself for the smell of burning plastic the first few uses, and for the sake of your nose, open up a window. After ruining the taste of a whole chicken (which although had notes of said plastic, cooked nicely), I recommend baking plain bread until the odor is gone.
Alright, now that we’ve talked about the delish foods, let’s talk about maintenance.
Cuisinart Air Fryer Toaster Oven: Cleaning
The instructions recommend you clean the top of the oven after each use. This part was simple. I washed the glass off after each use, too, as I noticed it was looking a little greasy. Heads up- the included baking pan is impossible to clean. I washed it as soon as it cooled, and as the picture shows- it was spotted with brown stains after the first use. Even worse the more it was used. The instruction manual recommends against using foil, which is my go-to in preventing stained baking sheets.
The rack and air frying basket are simple to clean, and I didn’t run into the same problem of staining with these two. Soap and water removed all signs of use!
Cuisinart Air Fryer Toaster Oven: Ease of Use?
So, what is this air fryer like to use? Well, I’ve used it every single day since it arrived on my doorstep right before summer started. I love it. It’s replaced my oven use by at least 85 percent, and that’s not an exaggeration. I’ve even used it to make grilled cheese! Totally kid-approved, by the way.
This super convenient device has an impressive temperature range: 80-450 degrees. It can keep food warm, and even broil. There’s a handy little inside light that is way better than an oven light, and allows you to check on food without opening. If you bake, you know opening an oven can be the death of your cake!
If I trusted said kids with a hot device, I’m certain even my five year old could use this Cuisinart Air Fryer Toaster Oven. The settings are clear and easy to read, and the timer is self-explanatory. The loud ding alerts you once time is up. Also a super nice touch, especially with young kids in the house- the auto shutoff function.
The instructions give great advice as far as how to cook a wide array of foods (chicken, pork, beef, etc.) and they seem to be fairly spot on!
Is it worth the money?
A quick search on google will pull thousands of five star reviews. Running just under $200, this model is worth every penny, without question. We’ve eaten way more meals at home since the air fryer moved in, and it’s definitely saved us at least a $200 investment.
How does it compare to similar products?
I’ve never used an air fryer before, however like I said- I rarely turn on the oven anymore. It toasts bread better than a toaster, makes the most delish crispy bacon, and even broils food (think perfectly bubbly, golden brown cheese).
Lots of comparable products look much smaller, which online reviews confirm. We’ve got a big family, so this Cuisinart air fryer is awesome! A common complaint amongst air fryers is that overlapping food becomes soggy. The air fryer basket included is large enough to avoid that problem.
Unless I’m cooking Thanksgiving dinner, my vote goes to the air fryer!
About this reviewer/review
I’m not a gourmet chef, but this air fryer makes me feel like one. With three young kids, you can’t put a price tag on convenience, but this is the real deal. I wish I bought one sooner, as it quickly became a family favorite.
Living in Columbus, Ohio, there are plenty of restaurant options to choose from- and this air fryer has undoubtedly saved us hundreds of dollars. Moving to a larger house offered extra countertop space to store appliances, but this one has taken the place of them all. (Except the coffee machine, that’s going nowhere!)