Cook’s Essentials is QVC’s signature cookware brand, and the Cook’s Essentials Air Fryer is one of their best appliances. We are reviewing the Cook’s Essential 3.4-Quart Air Fryer today, which comes in a variety of pretty delicious colours if you’re into bright appliances. As pretty as the appliance is, it does have issues.
But they’re not all necessarily to do with the cooking ability…read on to find out more about that particular story.
Is the Cook’s Essential Air Fryer a reliable appliance? Is it easy to use and clean? What’s up with the recipe book? What features and functions does it have?
(Note: Cook’s Essentials do make a 5.3-Quart, 1500 watt version of this air fryer, but it’s not available at the moment. The same goes for the 3-Quart 1400 watt model, it’s unavailable at this time too. We are narrowing in on the 3.4-Quart model here).
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
What Interesting About the Cooks Essential Air Fryer?
On first sight, the thing that interested me the most about the Cook’s Essentials Air Fryer was the amazing range of colours. Many if not most air fryers come in black, white and maybe red. But this one comes in bright red, deep red, bright blue, light blue, emerald green, purple and white. This might not appeal to some, but it definitely would sway me toward making a purchase just for the cool colours.
But the functionality of the machine is more important, so let’s get onto that. This air fryer has 7 preset function buttons for different food-types (fries, chicken, fish etc.) and a “+5” button for adding 5 minutes quickly. The control buttons circle a digital screen on the top of the out-facing side of this rounded machine.
There are some interesting factors surrounding the recipe book and the temperature controls but I’ll leave that for the customers/reviews section below.
What do other customers and reviews say?
It seems like many of the bad reviews are based on the “recipe book issue” and not necessarily the machine itself. However, some do express certain issues regarding the basket, loose parts and tricky preset buttons. About 50% of the reviews on the QVC site are in the 5-star section, with 20% in the 1-star section. The happy customers rave about crispy, tasty food, fast cook times and an easy cleanup.
Here are common comments in the “good” and “bad” review sections:
Cooks fast: customers who were happy with how the Cook’s Essential Air Fryer cooked their food loved how quick the process took. They found that their food cooked fast and to a high standard.
Great results: happy customers have loved the results from fries to banana bread. People have used the words “juicy”, “crispy” and “tasty” to describe their food. They’ve also reported that their Cook’s Essentials Air Fryer is versatile enough to be used every day, for a wide variety of meals.
Easy to clean: satisfied reviewers have noted how easy the Cook’s Essentials Air Fryer is to clean. The fry baskets and pans can be put in the dishwasher, and the unit itself just needs a quick wipe down with a cloth. No issues in the cleaning department it seems.
Faulty or flawed on arrival: some people found that their air fryer was scratched, chipped or cracked when they took it out of the box. Others found that certain pieces had broken off.
The cookbook is misleading/incorrect: the most common negative comment by a long shot is to do with the inaccurate recipe book. So, the cookbook which comes with the Cook’s Essential Air Fryer had been sent out with errors and inconsistencies. The company did alert customers to this, but it was still a huge annoyance to many people. Others simply accepted it and found alternate recipes.
Too loud: I noticed that a handful of people have referred to this air fryer as being “too loud”, with some specifying that it is the fan which makes the noise. For some people, this was due to a faulty machine, whereas some just found the fan to be too loud even when the machine was functioning properly. There are not quite enough complaints about the noise to avoid the machine altogether, but it pays to be aware of such issues.
Preset functions are unreliable: a large number of unhappy customers have reported that their food was either burnt, raw or both when they cooked with the Cook’s Essentials Air Fryer. They found that the preset functions were way off and ruined their meals.
Others in the positive review sections have had no issues and have stated that they simply kept an eye on the food as it cooked and became used to the temperament of the unit. The preset buttons themselves have been trouble for some people as they have found them too hard to decipher.
The basket is difficult to insert: many people have had major issues with the basket. They have found that it’s a nightmare to insert and remove to and from the unit. They report that it seems to get very stuck, very easily.
What are the technical specifications?
|Power (watts)||1500 watts|
|Timer (yes/no)||Yes, up to 30 minutes|
|Temperature control (yes/no)||Yes, from 0-30 minutes
Shuts-off automatically when the time is up
|Colour||There are 7 really fun colour options including a lovely red, deep green, deep blue, bright blue, white and a pretty plum colour.|
|Special features||The control buttons are set-out in a circular fashion around the digital screen. Some people have found them hard to decipher, but for others they’re self-explanatory. Here’s the lowdown on the controls and features of the Cook’s Essential Air Fryer:
6 preset function buttons: There are 6 food-specific preset buttons which are programmed with times and temperatures according to the food in question. Be careful with these, as many people have found them to be inaccurate, resulting in burnt food. The buttons each have a little picture to symbolise what the button is for (i.e. the “fish” function has a little picture of a fish on the button). The 6 preset functions are:
“+5” setting: pressing this button simply adds 5 minutes to your cook time without having to use the “+” button next to the timer icon.
Cake pan and pizza pan: with your air fryer you will receive a 6-inch cake pan and a 6-inch pizza pan. They’re both dishwasher safe.
Fry basket and basket holder: the fry basket and basket holder are both dishwasher safe. A few people have found that the fry basket peels and chips, so look out for that. The Fry basket has slots in the bottom to let oil fall into the basket holder.
Timer control: there’s a little clock symbol with “+” and “-” buttons which increase and decrease the time between 0 and 30 minutes. If you press down on the buttons without releasing, they will whizz through the times quickly as opposed to pressing multiple times to get to the desired time. 1 press equals 1 minute (i.e. press the “-” button once and you’ll decrease the time by one minute).
Temperature control: just like the time control, there’s a “+” and “-” button which increases and decreases the temperature. The temperature increases and decreases by increments of 10 degrees Fahrenheit.
Dimensions & Weight
|Size||12.5 x 10.5 inches|
How do you use it?
It’s a reasonably easy machine to use, even if the control panel does look a little crowded or complicated for some.
When you first get the Cook’s Essentials air fryer, unpack all of the accessories and get rid of any packaging and rubbish. Find a spot on your counter where the unit can sit with a good 6-inches of clear space surrounding it on all sides. The manual recommends that you let the machine run for 20 minutes without any food in it before your first cooking session. This is to get rid of any smells or construction grease.
To cook with it: take the basket and basket holder out of the unit and add your ingredients to the basket without overfilling it. The manual recommends coating your food with a spoonful of oil for the best result, and spraying the basket with oil spray to prevent sticking.
Slip the basket back into the unit and hit the “on” button to get the unit started. Select the time, temperature or preset function according to what you are cooking. Once you’ve selected the time, temperature or preset function, press the “on” button again to get the cooking process going.
The fan light and the red dot inside it will come on when the machine starts to heat up and begin cooking. The red dot switches off once the unit has reached the set temperature.
When the time is up, 5 beeps will ring out so you know the food is done. Check your food inside the basket and pop it back into the unit for a few more minutes if it’s not quite ready.
Remember that there might be some hot oil or fat in the basket holder as the fry basket has vents to let melted fat drain through.
That’s about the gist of it. Pretty simple really.
How do you clean it? Is it dishwasher safe?
The Cook’s Essential Air Fryer is really easy to clean, and that goes for the accessories and the unit itself. The exterior of the unit, as well as the interior cavity, can be wiped with a cloth and detergent.
Yes, the fry basket, basket holder, cake pan and pizza pan are dishwasher safe. If you don’t have a dishwasher, you can hand-wash them in soapy water with a soft brush. Don’t use anything hard or abrasive on any part of the unit or accessories as it might scratch the surface and mess with the non-stick coating.
Where can I find a replacement basket?
It seems that replacement baskets are hard to come by, but you can contact Cook’s Essentials (via QVC) directly if you need a new one.
Interestingly, someone has created a YouTube video showing how they have replaced their Cook’s Essentials fryer basket with a replacement basket from the Power AirFryer XL. They do look remarkably similar and seemed to work perfectly well. However, I don’t know if he has experienced any kind of trouble by deviating from the brand,
so I won’t say you should go ahead and do that! But if you run into trouble with QVC outside your warranty…it could be an option.
Are there other replacement parts or accessories? Where do I buy them?
Yes, QVC stocks a Cook’s Essential air fryer accessory set which includes: cake pan, pie pan, skewers, rack and silicone trivet. Currently, they have it on sale for just under $20.00.
They also have a 2-piece air fryer accessory set which has a dual-layer rack and an egg cooker which has space for 3 eggs. It’s around $16.00 at the moment.
What’s the warranty?
Does it come with a recipe book or cookbook?
Yes, it comes with a small recipe booklet. However, as mentioned earlier, this is now the infamous recipe book. It was released to customers with many errors and inconsistencies, causing major disappointment and annoyance for some.
Can I find it at Home Depot, Walmart, bed bath and beyond, Target or Costco?
Nope, you won’t find this model at any of these stores or their online platforms. The place to go for the Cook’s Essential Air Fryer is direct to the QVC website.
What’s the Best Price for The Cooks Essential Air Fryer and where can I buy it?
Since Cook’s Essentials is QVC brand, QVC seems to be the only place to buy this model, and they do offer a good price. At the moment, it’s on sale for just under $77.00, with a regular price of around $85.00. By the time you are reading this the sale might be over, but keep checking.
Amazon might be the ebst choice at any given moment since price change very often.
Verdict: Is This air fryer For You?
If you are a confident cook who can navigate an appliance with a reputation for tricky temperature control, you might be fine with this one. If you don’t need a cookbook to guide you and you can improvise your cooking, the cookbook saga won’t be an issue for you.
If you’d love a brightly-coloured air fryer with dishwasher-safe baskets and accessories, with a pretty low price tag, then this could be perfect.
However, if you’re not so confident and you need something really reliable with solid temperature control, try something like the Farberware Air Fryer. No, it doesn’t have preset functions but I don’t think that matters. You can just as easily set the time and temperature according to the manual/recipe book recommendations and get the same result.