1. Home

T-fal Actifry Low-Fat Multi Cooker and Healthy Fryer Review

Home Test of T-fal Actifry Low-Fat Cooker, Fryer

About.com Rating 4.5 Star Rating


T-fal Actifry Low-Fat Multi Cooker and Healthy Fryer Review

T-fal ActiFry Cooker and Fryer

Photo © T-fal
While the concept of making French fries with little fat is very appealing, it really sounds too good to be true. For this reason, I simply had to test the T-fal's Actifry®.

Product Description

T-fal Actifry Low Fat Multi Cooker and Healthy Fryer
  • Makes 2 lbs of crispy French fries with one (tablespoon) spoonful of oil (spoon included)
  • Multi cooker for delicious, healthful entrees , meat, poultry, fish, seafood, vegetable side dishes, desserts
  • Ceramic coated cooking pan
  • Pan, cover and paddle remove for easy cleaning
  • Countdown timer with audible signal
  • Validated by scientific studies
  • MSRP: $299.95
  • Learn more from T-fal Canada, Tefal U.S.

How the Actifry Performed

March 22, 2011
For those most interested in how well it makes those crispy French fries with so little oil, the Actifry does work as advertised - fries were nicely browned and tasted great. But taste did vary depending on the type of oil and potatoes used. I tried a variety of ways, but can say that the T-fal people were right - russets make the nicest fries and Canola oil was the best when it came to French or home fries. I used Safflower, vegetable or Canola oil for most of the frying/cooking in this cooker. Home fries (cubed) were excellent, as was a Poutine (recipe book) made with fries from the Actifry. And that's a Poutine with about half the calories of those done the traditional way. Fresh-cut fries take about 40 minutes; reduce time considerably if using frozen fries. That time frame may seem extensive, but it gives you a chance to prepare the rest of the meal - so plan carefully. Some other meals in the Actifry were ready in 20 minutes or less; it depends on what you're cooking.

As for other frying and cooking, this appliance makes great stir fries, chicken wings (tips removed) and just about any meat or seafood dish made using cubed or bite-sized morsels. With the chicken wings, we removed excess fat but kept the skin, reduced the oil to half a spoonful and added a little chicken spice. Wings were fairly small, hence why tips were removed and you can do about 12-14 wings in 35 minutes with results similar to restaurant wings. Though you have to keep the liquid contents low because of the pan/paddle design, some recipes do call for some liquid ingredients which was surprising - so there's a lot of meal potential with this cooker even with limited liquids. The Spicy Thai Chicken Curry was my favorite - tasty with lots of veggies. Meatballs are best if prepackaged or very lean, well compressed to keep them together during the paddle rotation.

As for cleaning, when large flaked spices were used, some would 'cook' on the paddle which required a little more soaking/scrubbing with a plastic scrub and at times, they had to be plucked out of the underside crevices. Otherwise, the lid, cover and paddle remove very easily and wash up quickly. The cooking pan is ceramic coated and cleans as easily as non-stick. Clean-up is actually easier than it looks. The Actifry does take a considerable amount of room on the counter and that may be a consideration for some.

Overall Impression

The Actifry's main feature is without a doubt, the ability to make some fried foods at home with only 1 tablespoon of oil and that's definitely a healthier choice. And as long as you keep liquid contents low and foods to small morsels, you can cook or fry a good variety of foods with the Actifry. The chicken wings were larger than bite-size and I was surprised they fried (and rotated) well, given the motion of the paddle - but I would certainly do more of these even though quantity would be limited because of their shape and size.

As for serving capacities - it really depends on whether you serve recommended portions or not and whether you are cooking an entrée or side dish. I think this cooker/fryer has an excellent capacity for couples or small family. It would probably be insufficient to make French fries for 5 or 6 persons, unless portions were small - often difficult when it comes to fries. When stir fries were the main, we found the quantity just right to serve two or three. But it makes plenty of home fries for breakfast sides for six. The appliance does have a maximum fill line. There's a nice recipe book included and you can get quite creative with this appliance. The more you use it; the more things you find to cook with it.

What I'd like to see improved: The audible signal should be louder and there should be an auto shut-off on this appliance - it keeps cooking after the low signal beeps. It's nice to have that set-and-forget kind of cooking, but you do want to know when cooking is done. Maybe the minute setting process could also be improved - it seems tedious to me. The Actifry is definitely unique in design and offers a healthier cooking/frying choice. If you are considering buying a deep fryer simply to do fries or wings occasionally, the Actifry is a healthier alternative and would be more versatile for other meals.

Comfort foods never tasted so 'light' and delicious. A Poutine was not followed by the usual guilty conscience. This appliance is easy to clean for the most part and works as advertised, though I do find the price somewhat on the high side. You'll get the most out of this appliance if you make fries a lot, love stir fries or simply want to encourage your family to eat more vegetables.

Related Resources

Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.

Promotional Feature: View this video series to learn how to take good care of your house.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.