If you’re on the market for a new cooking appliance that will bring new levels of crispiness to your frozen french fries, coconut shrimp, or melty grilled cheese sandwiches, an air fryer is a great option.
The four-quart air fryer by the brand Dreo, in particular, is an affordably-priced and highly functional option that fits most kitchen sizes. It doesn’t demand too much counter space and it offers practical features that home cooks can use daily, like reheating leftovers and cooking four-person meals.
The 4-quart Dreo air fryer retails at around $90 in the US. I wanted to put the Dreo product to the test by preparing common air fryer recipes and assessing the product’s performance, design and functionality. Before you buy this air fryer, here’s what you need to know about how it performs and how easy it is to use.
Dreo Air Fryer review: Design
The Dreo air fryer takes up a moderate amount of space on the kitchen counter, but doesn’t sacrifice internal room for cooking. The four-quart basket is a great size for couples or small households. It can hold a six-inch pizza crust, a pound of pork chops and four fish fillets at a time.
There is one design feature that takes some getting used to. While most air fryer baskets slide in and out with no additional manueving, the Dreo air fryer has a small release button on the basket handle. You must press the button to remove or return the basket to the air fryer housing. I suppose this locks the basket in place, but if you forget to press the button and yank too hard on the drawer, you certainly risk accidentally breaking the locking feature, which is held in place by a small piece of plastic.
The cooking interface is well designed. The top of the air fryer is a sleek digital touch screen that illuminates when given power. It comes with nine cooking functions indicated by icons on the touch screen. You can then customize each one by adjusting the time and temperature using up and down arrows on the screen. If you’re wondering about the right cooking time for your steak or omelette, the machine also comes with a helpful reference guide with cooking times and temperatures for common items like fries, steak, chicken and fish.
It’s easy enough to get the machine working within a few minutes of plugging it in for the first time. And when you’re done, the basket and removable tray are fully dishwasher-safe.
Dreo Air Fryer review: Functionality
The air fryer performs a variety of tasks. While it doesn’t have quite the range as other, larger appliances, such as the Ninja Foodi Air Fryer, you can reliably get crispy, crunchy and well-cooked meals out of the Dreo every time if you stick to the jobs it was designed for.
The nine built-in cooking presets include cooking times and temps for:
Each of these presets has a set time and temperature. For example, the French fry preset will cook at 380°F for 18 minutes. According to Dreo’s reference guide, this is the preferred time for frozen thin fries. You can adjust the preset accordingly for homemade or thicker fries. The air fryer has a temperature range of 100°F to 450°F, which is nice and hot for jobs like searing steaks.
Some of the presets have a “shake” setting. It’s helpful to know that the fries, chicken, bread and vegetable presets will always pause halfway through cooking and ask you to “shake” or flip the product in the basket. The steak, fish and dehydrate presets will not remind you to shake. If you choose one of the shake presets, the air fryer will pause on “shake” until you open and close the basket again, so don’t wander too far from the kitchen. The air fryer also stops blowing the fan when you open the basket, which conserves energy.
The air fryer also comes with a 50-recipe cookbook for meal inspiration from breakfast to dessert. The recipes have colorful images and clear instructions that tell you exactly which buttons to press for perfect results.
Dreo Air Fryer review: Performance
I tested the Dreo air fryer’s performance with several different popular air frying recipes. In particular, I wanted to make super-thin and crispy air fryer sweet potato chips. I started by shaving a whole, large sweet potato into thin slices with a mandolin.
I coated the potato slices with a bit of olive oil and seasoned them with salt, pepper and a dusting of paprika. Then I preheated the air fryer by selecting the “preheat” icon and adjusting the temperature to 380°F.
When the air fryer had reached temperature, the digital display indicated “Ready”.
To avoid crowding the basket, I cooked my sweet potatoes in batches, adding just enough to make a single, spread-out layer of chips in the basket. I selected the French fry icon and reduced the time to 10 minutes. I pressed start and let the fryer do its thing for 5 minutes, at which point it beeped loudly and told me to shake things up.
When I released and opened the basket, I could see that the potato chips were already taking on some nice color on the edges, but most of the chips were still pretty soft. I flipped things around as best I could (some of the sweet potatoes were sticking to the basket and it was too hot to use my hands, but I didn't want to scratch the non-stick basket with metal tongs, so I used a wooden spoon) and continued air frying.
After 10 minutes, the sweet potatoes were remarkably crisp, curly and crunchy, especially around the edges. A few of the chips had soft centers where they’d been overlapping in the air fryer.
I repeated the process with the remaining chips and enjoyed a delicious snack that cost all of $2. It used much less oil than store-bought sweet potato chips and took a fraction of the time it would take in a regular oven.
Dreo Air Fryer review: Verdict
The Dreo air fryer is a hard-working and easy-to-use machine that’s a good size for most kitchens. The built-in presets are helpful for anyone new to air frying to learn the best times and temperatures to cook their favorite foods.
Dreo Air Fryer review: Also Consider
While the Dreo appliance is easy to use, it doesn’t have quite the range of functionality as other similarly-priced options. The Instant Vortex Plus has a larger frying basket and a broiling function that’s handy for melting cheese, finishing roasts and other dishes with a crispy top. Dreo also offers a larger, Air Fryer Pro Max model, with a 6.8-quart capacity for around $120.