The Rise of the Air Fryer: A History of its Popularity

If you count the air fryer as your favorite gadget, you’re in good company — it is widely considered the most popular kitchen appliance in the U.S. Although it feels like a staple now, air fryers are relatively new to the market. First released in 2010, the innovative Philips egg-shaped air fryer quickly gained traction. The real boom, however, came in 2017 as more brands released their own models, offering home cooks a variety of options. As people spent more time at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, the demand for convenient, versatile, and healthier cooking options skyrocketed. 

Air fryers provided a solution, leading to a surge in sales and cementing their status as an essential kitchen item. The rise of air fryers coincided with a shift in consumer trends toward convenience and efficiency in the kitchen. As more people sought quick and easy ways to prepare meals, the air fryer’s ability to cook food faster than conventional ovens became a significant selling point. Positive word of mouth both online and in person coupled with recipe bloggers sharing unique ways to use them further accelerated its widespread adoption in America. 

Why air fryers became so popular

Dumping potatoes from air fryer onto parchment

The success of air fryers can be attributed to marketing and the power of social media. Brands effectively highlighted the many benefits the appliance provided, positioning air fryers as a healthier alternative to deep-frying. Health-conscious consumers were drawn to the ability to make crispy, delicious foods with less oil than traditional frying requires. The versatility of air fryers played a role, too — they can fry, bake, roast, and reheat a wide variety of foods, making them an all-in-one solution for busy households. 

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Most models are user-friendly, with preset functions making them accessible even for those with minimal cooking skills. They’re also fast, allowing for speedy cooking and requiring far less preheating time compared to regular ovens. Social media platforms buzzed with air fryer hacks and recipes from the beginning, and influencers and home cooks began sharing their air fryer creations and reviews on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and later TikTok. 

Users highlighted the best uses for air fryers, how to cook everything from veggies and meat to desserts and snacks, as well as which models they preferred. These posts often went viral, showcasing recipes such as air fried pasta, steak bites, and green beans. The combination of this, along with effective marketing and word-of-mouth recommendations, helped the air fryer become a must-have appliance in American kitchens. Don’t have one yet? Check out our picks for the best air fryers of 2023. 

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