Back in June, I had the pleasure of attending T-fal’s Actifry Express launch party in Toronto.
I didn’t go in with high expectations. I had heard of these “Actifry gadgets” before and never been too intrigued with them. They are promoted as healthier fryers, which only use about 1 tablespoon of oil for 5-6 servings of food.
“Time-constrained families often opt for takeout or drive-thru, which is a contributing factor to Canada’s troubling obesity rate. The convenience and innovation of the Actifry Express allows families to prepare healthy meals they love at home in a healthier way, without sacrificing flavour.” — Senior Product Manager for T-fal Innovations in Canada
From my past experiences, I get really excited about new, fancy kitchen gadgets for about 3 weeks and then I never use them again. But, I was still looking forward to seeing what this new (express version) Actifry had to offer. I also got to meet and speak with the author of Street Food Diaries, Chef Matt Basile — what a treat!
The launch party included many delicious food options, including spicy cauliflower, sauteed mushrooms in a rich red wine sauce, Pad Thai sweet potato fries, and meatballs (cooked in 8 min).
I was very impressed by the food but still had no strong desire to go buy an Actifry Express on my grad student budget. Then, about 2 weeks ago, one showed up on my door step (thanks T-fal!).
Since then, I have made “fried” tofu, sweet potato fries, caramelized apples and bananas, roasted beets and radishes, mushrooms, caramelized onions, roasted chickpeas, butternut squash fries, and roasted bell peppers. I must say they were all very delicious (especially the fries with truffle yogurt dip).
“The Canadian Diabetes Association considers the Actifry Express a better way of cooking, should people need to fry their foods” — T-fal
Here is a break down of my thoughts on the Actifry Express:
- You can chop your vegetables (or other food), throw them in the Actifry with some oil and spices/garlic, turn it on and forget about them until the timer goes off. You don’t need to flip or stir the food as there is a paddle in the Actifry that does it for you. I really like this feature!
- It develops really great flavour in your vegetables and gets your fries nice and crispy (with minimal oil). This could potentially lead to an increased vegetable consumption, which would benefit many Canadians.
- It is fast: my beets and radishes roasted in 25 min, and mushrooms and onions took less than 20. It cooks foods about 30% faster than the original Actifry.
- It is fairly easy to clean (all the removable parts are dishwasher safe and the bowl has a ceramic coating).
- You can make sweet and savoury options. The caramelized bananas I made with coconut were bursting with enticing aromas and warm flavours — so lovely on yogurt.
- It is huge (keeping in mind I have the XL version). I have little storage space in my condo and its current location in my dining room area doesn’t look great.
- The XL version apparently cooks enough for 6 people, but from my experience I would say it’s closer to 3-4. Although, I likely eat a lot more vegetables than most, I still don’t think you could make enough for a big, hungry family in it.
- If you use dry herbs (not heavier ones like rosemary) the fan tends to blow them around everywhere, which makes a mess. However, if you want to use light, dry herbs just toss them with your veggies/meat in a little oil before adding them to the actifry to keep them from blowing around.
- Cost: The Actifry Express XL version (1.5 kg capacity) retails for $370, while the smaller (1 kg capacity) version retails for $330.
While I wouldn’t say the Actifry Express is an essential kitchen appliance (like my food processor), it has been a great addition to my kitchen. I am only 2 weeks in, but at this point I am looking forward to trying it out some more. I do find it convenient. I may try parsnip “fries” next!
I think it would be really great (despite its size) for students living in a university residence, without a full size oven or stove, as you can cook a lot of things in it from meat to vegetables to desserts. The constant stirring and automatic turn-off features may make it hard for even a first year university student with minimal cooking skills to burn something.
I would also be interested to see if the Actifry Express lives up to its promise of making cooking at home easier for busy families. Cooking at home together is so important for so many reason.
If you can afford one and have somewhere to store it — give it a try! If not, a good old roasting pan, some even flipping and a watchful eye will almost do the trick.
Do you have an Actifry (the express version is not on the market quite yet)? Do you think it is worth the investment and storage space? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please share in the comments section below!
Disclaimer: I received an Actifry Express free of charge from T-fal, with no guarantee I would review it. All opinions (as always) are my own.