“I Tried An Air Fryer For The First Time – And It Changed My Life”

Here's how...

Amy Hopkins |

“I promise you, you’ll never want to give it back.”

That’s what my friend Wian said at dinner one evening. He was referring to the white oblong object sitting on my kitchen counter: The Clicks Smartlife Air Fryer. “It’s not real cooking,” I say as I roll my eyes.

My boyfriend – who is all about sleek minimalism and aesthetics – examines the appliance and nods slightly, adding that the design is “cool”. I nearly laugh out loud. I’m constantly getting into trouble for having too many kitchen gadgets that clutter the counters and cupboards (what real cook doesn’t?). So I’m shocked that he’s offering approval of yet another one!

“As soon as I’m done with it, it’s going back,” I say.

The Unpacking

I spend the next day examining the manual (because I’m that kind of dork and I have a tendency to break things). I wash the components and ready the machine for a first round of sweet potato fries – my favourite! I usually have to wait for the oven to heat up to 200˚C (which takes about 10 minutes) and then I bake the sweet potatoes spread out over two trays with a fair amount of drizzled olive oil. They then need about 40 minutes to bake until they’re crispy. So, it’s a bit of a labour of love (time, dishes), but so worth it!

The Cooking

I thought I’d attempt to create my fave sweet potato fries in the Air Fryer. The preheat takes a mere three minutes – usually I use the oven warm-up time to cut all the potatoes up, but this is way too short! What I also love is that you have to set the time with a timer, so as soon as the pre-heat is done, the Air Fryer ‘pings’. And it’s time to put the raw potato slices in.

But, before I add them, I place the potato in a plastic bag with a pinch of salt and 1-2 tbsp olive oil and give them a good shake to coat. (I would usually use more oil for the oven.) Once in, I set the timer for 25 minutes and let the potatoes cook away while I carry on with other tasks. After 15 minutes, I remove the tray and give the chips a little shake and place it back for the final 10 minutes of cooking time. Once cooked, the machine automatically switches off, so I don’t have to worry about that did-I-switch-the-oven-off anxiety.

The chips were perfect! Crunchy and delicious – not oily at all!

I’ve since made various batches of chips and even reheated/crisped sweet potato wedges that were leftover from the day before. They were perfectly yummy again!

The Verdict

– Not as time-consuming
– More energy-efficient
– Less anxiety about accidentally leaving the oven on
– Less anxiety about burning
– It’s healthier (you can control your oil use)
– It’s easier to clean up afterwards
– It’s compact and neat

And no, I haven’t given it back yet…

(And my boyfriend has asked if we can keep it, so he can play around too!)

The Details

The Clicks Smartlife Air Fryer 4L is available from selected Clicks stores countrywide and online at for R1 249. You can cook all kinds of food, including meats and vegetables and even bake muffins! You can cook straight from frozen or use fresh produce.

There are a range of awesome kitchen appliances available in the Clicks Smartlife range! I’ve also tried, tested and loved the Vegetable Spiraliser, R299 (great for making those veggies ‘noodles’), the Health Grill, R489 (you can grill steaks and fish perfectly and healthily), the Mini Food Chopper, R349 (great for making pesto, hummus, salsa) and the Super Blender, R699 (a very affordable option and it makes fab smoothie bowls!).

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