VANCOUVER -- It’s summertime and cooking should be easy. Who wants to heat up the kitchen by using the oven or create a mess with hot oil in a deep fryer? There’s a reason that air fryers are one of the most popular countertop appliances.

Cosmelye Costillo uses hers to turn out healthy meals, particularly her favourite salmon recipe. 

“I love to use the air fryer compared to the oven because it gets too hot in the house," she says." I just pop that salmon in and it tastes amazing.”

Instead of oil, these fryers cook food by circulating hot air, which creates a crispy surface. 

“Air fryers are for much more than just chicken nuggets," says Paul Hope with Consumer Reports. "Since they’re basically a countertop convection oven, you can use it for things you would normally bake or roast.”

You can turn out loads of tasty air-fried food, like roasted asparagus, banana bread, bratwurst, avocado fries, miso cod, juicy ribs, spring rolls and even pizza. 

But there are a few things you can do to get the best results. 

“Food should be totally dry before it goes in the air fryer, and you want to toss it with a little oil or spray it with some cooking spray,” Hope says. 

And check the food often, turning it so it will cook evenly. Give small items like chicken wings and fries a toss from time to time to ensure that the hot air will reach and crisp every surface.

“You don’t ever want to use foods that have been dipped in batter because the convection fan in the air fryer can actually blow the coating right off,” Hope warns. 

And resist the temptation to overcrowd the basket. If there’s no fill mark, fill the basket only about three-fourths of the way to allow air to circulate. The bonus – air fryers make for easy cleanup. Just wipe the basket down with soapy water.

With files from Consumer Reports