I am so excited to be reviewing the T-Fal Actifry machine. I have been wanting to try this machine since it came out on the market a couple years ago. Claiming to be able to make healthy French fries using just one tablespoon of oil, it definitely got my attention. I don’t have a lot of space to store appliances in my kitchen so I borrowed one from the Kitchen Library. I signed it out for a week along with the cookbook that came with it.
The Actfry has a self-stirring paddle that helps to coat the food with oil and allows for proper air circulation. Hot air blows while the machine is on which makes it a combination of a self-stirring frying pan and a convection oven.
When I brought it home and set it on my counter, it sort of looked like a spaceship – it’s huge! The footprint is actually bigger than my KitchenAid mixer so bear that in mind. But it’s an easier way to make French fries compared to using my oven.
I made chicken curry, regular French fries and sweet potato fries. The chicken curry recipe from the cookbook turned out great. It tasted as good as chicken curries that I’ve made on the stove top using a frying pan. The nice thing was that I could leave the machine while it stirred and cooked the ingredients while I went off to do other things.
I made French fries and sweet potato fries as well. I followed the instructions on the recipe by drizzling a spoonful of oil on the fries before closing the lid. But the fries didn’t get evenly coated during the cooking process and as a result some were more dry and not as crispy.
For the sweet potato fries I placed them in a bowl and tossed them in oil before placing them in the Actifry machine. These turned out much better! The Actifry does a great job at making sweet potato fries.
The Actifry makes french fries that are as good as homemade oven-baked fries and it saves you from having to flip them halfway through. But oven-baked fries still aren’t the same as ones that are deep fried (they aren’t as crispy) so keep that in mind.
Is it worth the paying $199 for a such a specialized machine (even though it can also do soups, curries and chilis)? Not really. All of those things you can do by using a stove or oven which are a lot more versatile.
For me, when I have a French fry craving, I will head over to Moo Frites at Kensington Market for the real deal (deep fried, baby). But if I were to make them at home, oven-baked fries are an excellent compromise (without using the Actifry).