The T-Fal Actifry promises to make French fries with practically no fat. Sounds too good to be true, right? Unfortunately, we found out that it is.
Gadget name: T-Fal Actifry
How it’s supposed to work: You add 1 tablespoon of oil and 2 pounds of cut potatoes and turn it on. It heats up and uses a rotating paddle to slowly push food and oil around a heated nonstick-coated chamber while you watch through a clear lid that stays moisture-free for easy viewing. (Cue the “oohs” and “aahs.”)
How we tested it: We used the Actifry to prepare three of our favorite fried foods: French fries, chicken nuggets, and sweet potato chips.
How it actually works: As promised—but incredibly slow and with subpar results. The fries were less crisp and flavorful than those cooked in a pot of bubbling oil: The exteriors of thicker batons were soggy and the interiors parched, while thinner-cut spuds had a texture reminiscent of frozen fries. Meanwhile, chicken nuggets needed nearly half an hour in the fryer—twice as long as in the oven—and a batch of sweet potato chips ranged from floppy to burned.
Drawbacks: See “How it actually works” above.
Good to know: It’s a huge machine—about the size of a 6-quart slow cooker.
My favorite part: The machine produced French fries with a hands-off approach (set it for 30 minutes and walk away), was easy to program, and boasts a dishwasher-safe insert.
Overall: We appreciate the concept of healthier, less-messy frying, but for now we’ll stick with occasionally indulging the old-fashioned way.
In what foods do you never sacrifice fat for flavor?