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Appliance Review: T-Fal Actifry

Equipment Lab: T-Fal Actifry

When the Actifry was first conceived three years ago, I marveled at the concept of making perfect French fries with nothing more than a spoonful of oil. Now that the French invention's finally hit the American market, T-Fal, the company behind the appliance, sent me one to try out. According to T-Fal, home cooks can save over 200 calories and 10 grams of fat per serving in comparison to fast food fries when using the Actifry ($300). Was it really possible that delicious fries could be made with just a tablespoon of oil, compared to a couple liters of it? Find out when you keep reading.

Benefits:

  • The gadget, which blows hot air while stirring food with a large paddle, produces nearly perfect fries. Russet potato and sweet potato French fries were crispy on the outside, yielding to a soft, fluffy center. Unlike a baked fry, Acti-fries are evenly crispy on all sides. They don't have quite the light and flaky exterior of authentic fries, but they come pretty darn close.
  • It's incredibly easy to clean. The gizmo's pan, lid, and filter are all removable and thus quick to clean. Nothing sticks to the dishwasher-safe nonstick ceramic lid, making it a cinch to wipe down.
  • The lidded contraption is much safer than a regular deep fryer. It gets hot enough to achieve results, but not so hot I worried about getting near it as I might a spattering fryer.
  • Loose ingredients that mix easily, such granola and fried rice, blend evenly in this machine.

Drawbacks:

  • Other foods take longer to cook in an Actifry than on a traditional stove, with less satisfactory results. I tried a few stir-fries from the accompanying recipe packet, but the meat turned out tough and overcooked, since there was no way of monitoring the cooking without turning the machine off and opening it to check up on the dish.
  • Nugget-sized pieces of classic fried snacks, such as frozen egg rolls, actually achieve better texture when baked than when reheated in the machine.
  • The Actifry takes up more counter space than a large slow cooker and is louder than a microwave when in use. Since the timer only sounds twice, if you don't hear it go off, you risk the chance of burning your food.

In summary: This appliance may be able to perform multiple functions, but it really only shines with one: creating a (nearly) perfect French fry for a fraction of the calories and fat. Skip the $300 unless you're a frites fanatic, in which case this machine is perfect for you.


The Actifry, before use.

The inside of the Actifry is equipped with a removable paddle that stirs constantly when the machine is on.

Two pounds of fries only require one Actifry measuring spoon (about one tablespoon) of oil.

The finished fries.

They were golden brown and delicious!

Sweet potato fries went on trial, too.

I made a chicken, celery, and cashew stir-fry in the Actifry. I preferred my usual method on the stove.

I also threw some frozen mini lemongrass chicken eggrolls in the Actifry. They didn't fare as well in the machine as they did in the oven, which makes them more crispy.

However, an attempt to make granola proved rather successful. The rolled oats turned out nice and crispy.
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Randal3224815 Randal3224815 3 years
I got my Actifry in the spring. I was lucky, got the family size on phenomenal sale price at the Bay here in Canada. I have been using it for six months now several times a week. The plan was for it to live on a kitchen supply shelf in the basement, but it hasn't left the kitchen counter since the day it arrived.   I'll start with the two downsides of it. (Nothing in life is 100% upsides, eh?) One is that it won't do breaded things well. It rips them to shreds, so put aside any hopes of that. The second is that the inside of the paddle is hollow, and food can jam up in there, so I've ended up buying a finger nail file lol just to live in the kitchen drawer to clean out the nooks and crannies up in the paddle.   Okay, upsides. Most people think of the "fries with 1 tbsp of oil" aspect of it. That's their marketing hook. And it does make great fries, without the sogginess of oven fries or the hassle of deep-fry clean-up. I cheat though and toss 2 tbsp of oil in. And because you're not deep-frying, you can use olive oil, walnut oil, avocado oil, etc.   I quickly though came to realize that was the least that the machine could do. It is like having a paid sous-chef standing at the stove in the kitchen doing your work for you. Yeah, it make take an extra 10 minutes to cook something than you would standing there yourself over higher flame at the stove, but that's all time freed up anyway for you to do something else.   It can steam, sauté, braise, fry, and simmer. It's like a combo fryer, convection oven, frying pan that stirs itself, and pot that stirs itself. We have risotto once a week now completely made in the Actifry (barley risotto even last week) -- no way that would happen otherwise on a weeknight. I have been adopting all my recipes for it, to let it do all the work for me and free up valuable evening hours. Curries, risottos, stews, grilled eggplant, etc. It's also been great for reheating fried foods such as chicken balls, egg rolls, etc.   You can feel free to lift the lid while it is in operation. It will stop, then the timer will pick up again where it left off when you close the lid. I often check on how things are progressing, to adjust flavour, etc. So no reason to be afraid of lifting the lid off, it's not a pressure cooker! And we found the beeper really loud, no way we ever miss it!   It's worth every penny. Granted you gotta have the pennies first to buy it, and getting it on super sale as I did helps (it came with a free "chipper" too for making chips.) But we've been saving a fortune on delivery food and ready-made meals because there's now "paid" help in the kitchen to do most of the drudge work of cooking lol.   And no I don't work for Actifry or know anyone that works there or own shares or anything. I just think that these pots of the future that stir themselves are the way of the future. I see Philips now has one out too, the Home Cooker, but comparing what it can do to the Actifry, I would still buy the Actifry I think.  
Food Food 6 years
lizlee89, I don't know, but the next time that I try something I will let you know!
lizlee89 lizlee89 6 years
does anyone know how it fairs with things that are hand-breaded or battered? I make this amazing salt and pepper shrimp that is breaded, but I end up having to use so much oil that it's almost not worth it. the price of this is a lot, but I think it would pay for itself if it works with battered and breaded food...
Spectra Spectra 6 years
As soon as it comes down in price in a few months or so, I'm buying one. My husband is a french fry freak, but I always just make them in the oven b/c we don't have a deep fryer.
fuzzles fuzzles 6 years
nutella,I think that all of my local groceries carry Alexia products in their frozen section. Often the natural foods co-ops will have the best selection. If you have a Whole Foods store nearby I'd give them a whirl as well.
fuzzles fuzzles 6 years
nutella, I think that all of my local groceries carry Alexia products in their frozen section. Often the natural foods co-ops will have the best selection. If you have a Whole Foods store nearby I'd give them a whirl as well.
sophlb sophlb 6 years
I've heard it doesn't actually reduce the amount of fat in the food, since it absorbs more oil than in regular frying. Anyone else hear that?
nutella2683 nutella2683 6 years
fuzzles, do you order Alexia online or is there a store near you?
nicmic113 nicmic113 6 years
Just got my issue of Food Netwrok magazine and the Star Kitchen editorial shows Ellie Kriegers kitchen, which just happens to sport this TFal actifry-
skigurl skigurl 6 years
i've been coveting this for a year since they came to Canada...i think i'll eventually get one, but i will wait until a) they come down in price and/or b) i can register for it!but it is a little disapointing that you can't do things like mozza sticks and zucchini sticks in it with great results...i was hoping!
skigurl skigurl 6 years
i've been coveting this for a year since they came to Canada...i think i'll eventually get one, but i will wait until a) they come down in price and/or b) i can register for it! but it is a little disapointing that you can't do things like mozza sticks and zucchini sticks in it with great results...i was hoping!
fuzzles fuzzles 6 years
A little too "spendy" at 300 clams. I'll stick to my oven as well. Alexia makes awesome frozen sweet potato fries that are mine for the baking! :drool:
Molly Molly 6 years
That sounds awesome!
Molly Molly 6 years
That sounds awesome!
Soniabonya Soniabonya 6 years
Mmmm sweet potato fries. Still trying to perfect my methods of making fries, and though this machine would be great, I'd stick to my oven.
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