Air Whirl Crisper is an As Seen on TV kitchen gadget that can supposedly turn any pot or pan into an air fryer. Does it really work? I put it to the test and here are my results.
Where to Purchase
Air Whirl Crisper can be purchased online at places like Bed Bath & Beyond, or the official product website. It was on Amazon, but it is no longer available there. As of this November writing, the official website currently lists it at $59.99 plus $6.99 processing and handling. I added a second crisper tray to my order for an additional $9.99.
Claims & Features
- Fits “any” pot or pan according to the advertising, although the instructions state that it can only fit pans from 10-12 inches.
- Built in thermometer
- Large crisping tray
- Turbo fan circulates air to turn your pan into a convection oven
- Requires 3 AA Batteries (not included)
- Made of stainless steel
- Easier to store than a regular air fryer
Air Whirl Crisper Review
Air Whirl Crisper is an As Seen on TV kitchen gadget that is marketed as a way to turn “an ordinary pan into a stove top air fryer.” It is composed of two parts: a lid with a fan, and a crisper tray. The idea is that the fan circulates hot air inside the pan in the same manner as you’d find in an air fryer or convection oven. I purchased mine from the official website and it arrived quickly. I added a second crisper to my order rack for an additional $10, so my total cost including P&H and taxes was $82.83. It seems steep but if this can replace a full-sized air fryer, it could be worth it. That is a big “if” however.
Before I get into the actual review, I need to touch on some differences between the advertising, the instructions, and the reality of the product.
Advertising vs Reality
This is purely speculation, but I believe the TV commercial was likely produced using a prototype. I came to this conclusion because what is featured in the television ad is different than what I received. In some cases, those differences are cosmetic, but other changes could potentially affect the product’s effectiveness. The first thing I noticed was that the built-in thermometer I received was white and red, while the model in the commercial had a rainbow pattern. While I don’t think that is a significant issue, it is a telling sign that the design did in fact change between filming the commercial and mass production of the product.
Next, we have a more significant difference in the crisping rack/tray. The commercial demonstrates items such as wings and bacon laid across an elevated mesh rack (see screen shot below), but the crisper rack included in the retail packaging looks nothing like this. It is more of a vented crisping tray that lays flat against the bottom of the pan. It’s entirely possible that this change could alter the effectiveness of the product.
In the instructions, we are told to line the pan with foil before use, but none of the pans in the ads show this being done. The commercial also states that it is compatible with “virtually any pot or pan” but the instructions note that it only works with 10-to-12-inch pans.
Testing the Air Whirl Crisper
After unboxing the unit, carefully cleaning it, and loading it with three fresh AA batteries, the time had arrived to give it a try. For my first test, I went with an old air fryer standby: French fries. I also brought out a $60 Dash air fryer (Amazon Link) to compare against the Air Whirl Crisper. For this test, I used my 10-inch Granitestone Pro pan, lined it with foil, and placed the crisper tray inside. I then placed exactly 36 fries in the Air Whirl Crisper and 36 more in the Dash air fryer. Following the instructions on the packing for the fries, I set the Dash to 400 degrees for 5 minutes. I then set my stove to medium for the Air Whirl Crisper. Finally, I hit the button to engage the Air Whirl’s fan – and waited.
After 5 minutes, I pulled the basket out of my Dash and shuffled the fries around and placed the basket back in the unit and for another 5 minutes.
Once 10 minutes had passed, I checked the fries in the Dash and they were not quite cooked to my satisfaction, so I put them in for another three minutes. The fries in the Air Whirl Crisper were still cold, measuring around 44 degrees on my Klein thermal imager. After three more minutes, the Dash fries were perfect, but the Air Whirl Crisper fries were still cold.
The instructions state to turn the stove down to low if you need to cook for more than 12-15 minutes, so I reluctantly did this, knowing that it would likely increase the already extended cook time. I checked around the 30-minute mark and found the fries to still be uncooked, and I finally threw in the towel at the 60-minute mark when they were done but not crispy. I believe that turning the heat to low did not provide enough heat to properly crisp the fries.
I decided that I would not lower the heat after 12-15 minutes for my second test, which included a couple of other frozen favorites: chicken nuggets and tater tots. This time I used my 12-inch Hexclad pan, lined it with foil, dropped in the crisper tray, and filled it with a moderate amount of frozen nuggets and tots. I checked at 12 minutes, and they were only lukewarm. I then let it cook for another 12 minutes on medium heat and they were “done” at 23 minutes, although they weren’t as crispy as I’d like. I decided to toss them in my Dash for 4 minutes and they turned out much crispier.
For my final test, I decided to make two more changes: preheat the pan and skip the aluminum foil. I went with my Hexclad once again in a head-to-head test vs my regular oven making some biscuits. I set the burner to medium and let the pan warm up as I preheated the oven to 400 degrees. Once that was complete, I placed 5 biscuits on an ungreased cookie sheet and 5 biscuits in the Hexclad/Air Whirl combo. After 8 minutes, the biscuits in the oven were cooked to my liking, but the Air Whirl biscuits were unevenly cooked. The bottoms of the biscuits were brown while the tops were still doughy.
In the end, I am not a fan of the Air Whirl Crisper. Despite being advertised as a viable alternative to traditional air fryers, I found it to be slow and uneven. Further, the advertising showed items such as bacon and wings being prepared on an elevated mesh rack, but the instructions include a section labeled “Great Foods for the Air Whirl” and there is no mention of bacon, wings, or any protein aside from chicken nuggets.
I speculate that this was probably an effective product up to the prototype stage, but changes in production neutered it into the ineffective product that arrived at my doorstep. I don’t expect this to be around long because the initial wave of positive reviews that were given in exchange for a free product will probably be drowned out by paying customers who experience the same shortcomings I did.
Updated December 2022