How to get the taste of junk food without the junk

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Over the past eight months, Mary Roper’s typical dinners have included chicken-fried steak, pickle-brined fried chicken and various proteins coated with crushed pork rinds. In that same time period, the 60-year-old Binghamton, NY, resident has lost nearly 10 pounds. At a recent doctor’s appointment, her physician said she — and her bloodwork — looked great.

Roper’s secret? An air fryer. Last Valentine’s Day, her husband gifted her one of the increasingly trendy countertop appliances, which crisp up everything from french fries to Brussels sprouts — without drenching them in fat.

“It’s been love at first sight,” says Roper. “You’re using so little oil, and yet you’re getting all that good crunch that you like with fried foods.”Philips, which claims to be the original air fryer maker, first began selling the appliances in the US in 2013. Today, there are dozens on the market, and — like the Instant Pot and spiralizer before it — it’s become a must-have appliance for health-conscious foodies.

On Instagram, 196,000 posts are tagged with #airfryer. Facebook groups, including Airfryer Addicts & Recipes and Power AirFryer XL, boast tens of thousands of members. At least 10 new air fryer cookbooks are set to be released between now and the end of January, and dozens were released earlier this year.

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