Philips Airfryer Essential XL Connected review
The air fryer has got to be one of the best inventions of the 2000s, with more than 25 million air fryers sold between January 2020 and December 2021 in America alone. Every electronics brand has their own version of this nifty kitchen gadget—even the great Wolfgang Puck has put his name on one—but Philips is by far one of the most popular. Their latest iteration, the Philips Airfryer Essential XL Connected, claims to be the best yet: its XL size means it’s able to cook up to five servings of food, and its new Connected function allows you to start the cooking and monitor its progress remotely!
We got our hands on one, and decided to put it through its paces to see if it’s worth investing in. Whether you’re deciding if you should get an air fryer, or wondering whether the connectivity makes this gadget better, we’ve got you covered.
Setting up the Philips Airfryer Essential XL Connected
There isn’t much to setting up the actual air fryer—all you have to do is plug it into a power source and turn it on. It gets a little more complicated when it comes to setting it up with the app on your phone, and getting it connected to WiFi.
The NutriU app is available both on the Apple store and Google Play, which is a small win, since it doesn’t alienate users on either camp. It does take a few steps, but the app guides you step by step so that makes it easy.
However, we did encounter problems getting the air fryer connected to our WiFi network in the office—we had to repeat the whole process multiple times before it finally got online. On the plus side, you only have to do this once.
Functions of the Philips Airfryer Essential XL Connected
There are seven presets on the Philips Airfryer Essential XL Connected covering a comprehensive range of dishes, including frozen potato-based snacks, fresh fries, chicken, fish, cake, meat, cake, and vegetables. Then, there’s a Keep Warm function that allows you to do just that for up to 30 minutes.
Even if you’re not using the presets directly via the buttons on the air fryer, you can similarly operate them through the NutriU app, with options to further customise the temperature and cooking time!
Road testing the Philips Airfryer Essential XL Connected
Air fryers have been long been touted as the relatively healthier alternative to deep-frying, requiring little to no oil, and just circulating hot air, to the same crisp result as traditional frying. Literally anyone can use the air fryer, even without kitchen skills—making convenience food even more convenient.
We’re no strangers to random nugget cravings at any time of the day or night, so it was a foregone conclusion that we’d need to test them out in the Philips Airfryer Essential XL Connected. Following just the oven instructions on the packet, we were presented with crisp-skinned nuggets that were dry on the fingers, AKA not greasy.
Then we went ahead to use the Frozen Potato-Based Snacks function to fry up some curly fries. It took a little longer—an extra three minutes—than stated on the bag, but these also turned out to be adequately crispy.
If you bat for Team Crispy Fries, the air fryer allows you to indulge without having to get messy, or receive soggy, oil-soaked fries in a delivery.
Since we’re all about quick meals and good fats, we also tried out the Fish preset with a slice of skin-on salmon. We also didn’t line the air fryer basket so we could see if the food sticks, and for ease of washing up after, but you could always pop on a piece of aluminium foil.
All we did was crack black pepper and salt on the salmon, and let the air fryer work its magic. Of course, the doneness of the salmon requires an adjustment of the time it’s air-fried for, so we focused on how crackling the skin was—you should be able to achieve this in anywhere from seven to 10 minutes at 200°C.
The Philips Airfryer Essential XL Connected’s selling points are self-explanatory: it’s large with a 6.2L capacity, and it’s wirelessly hooked up to your phone. We got ourselves a whole, butterflied and marinated Sakura chicken—weighing in at about 1.3kg—and it fit perfectly in the air fryer’s basket.
It also came out well roasted and evenly browned after a 45-minute turn, with extra-juicy flesh. We were pretty stoked to see how much oil had come out of the chicken and collected below the basket. Admittedly, you can also achieve this in a convection oven, but thanks to the science behind the air fryer, it does win the oven on how crisp it gets the skin.
If you’ve been around an air fryer before, you’ll realise that manually adjusting the temperature and cooking time on the machine can be tedious. With the NutriU app, you can do this with just a few quick swipes!
What’s extra wonderful about being this connected to your air fryer means you can put your food in, walk away, and start the cooking from anywhere—be it on a last-minute errand, or to save you the hassle of walking to the kitchen when you’re entertaining your guests.
However, there is a downside to this: the air fryer shuts off automatically after 20 minutes of inactivity, and you can’t turn it on via the NutriU app, so you only have that much of a window before you have to begin the cooking.
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The Philips Airfryer Essential XL Connected NutriU app
The NutriU app is also marketed as being a database with hundreds of recipes, providing step-by-step cooking instructions and pre-determined cooking settings that can be sent directly to the air fryer.
For a less proficient cook, this could prove to be very useful. You can bookmark recipes, and search for meal ideas ahead of time. With Chinese New Year coming up soon, we were stoked to find Surimi Chips, AKA fried crabsticks, as one of these.
However, we found ourselves puzzling over the recipe instructions: it needed more detail, such as stating if all the unrolled crabsticks should go in at once. We tried doing so, and it needed more time to get the crabsticks to the right crispness.
Contrary to the instructions, we also skipped some steps, and went without seasoning the chips—but we were utterly surprised by how well-fried these surimi chips were. Passing the bowl of chips around to our team, every single person was shocked to know we had made these without deep frying.
Having a kitchen gadget that makes cooking quicker also requires that the gadget is easy to clean. The Philips Airfryer Essential XL Connected was, indeed, that. Even without spraying the basket with cooking spray, none of the food got stuck, and everything came off with mere swipes of a soapy sponge.
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Philips Airfryer Essential XL Connected: worth it or not?
If you’re looking to upgrade your air fryer to a larger model, you can put the Philips Airfryer Essential XL Connected on your list to consider. The recommended retail price at this moment is $249, a $30 discount from what it’s originally listed for, which is just over $120 more expensive than their smaller, non-WiFi-connected model.
The WiFi connectivity is honestly a perk that you might not find yourself using in time. It’s just more convenient to tap directly on the air fryer, rather than having to have your phone handy, and turn on the app to control it. As mentioned, having a database of recipes on the app is also useful, but we’re all digital slaves, with an entire internet of recipes and TikTok videos we can look to at any time.
TL;DR: get the Philips Airfryer Essential XL Connected if you’re regularly cooking for bigger groups of people.
For more air fryer recipes, check out these super-easy, 15-minute cheesy recipes. Otherwise, we’ve also got TikTok-famous air fryer recipes!
Photos taken by Chew Yi En
Thank you to Philips for the loan of the Philips Airfryer Essential XL Connected
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