Review Snapshot

Makes great fries! Healthier than any type of fryer or oven varieties. Owners love it. Great for small kitchens, easy to clean and use.


Some issues over product quality - which may be resolved by later versions. Expensive for something that won't last.


If you can't resist fries then at least cook them in this!

Reviewed by:
Jackie Gay : A published novelist, editor and university teacher, Jackie has recently moved t...Member Reputation 177 • 198 active Krits
T-Fal Actifry Low-Fat Multi-Cooker from T-Fal
T Fal Actifry Low Fat Multi Cooker Review
Jackie Gay rates this 4/5
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Healthy French Fries? Is it really possible? Well the T-Fal Actifry is certainly a step in the right direction...

Even Michelle Obama loves French Fries. She 'can't stop eating them' according to newspaper reports. You love them, your kids love them, your family's mouths start watering just at the mention.

But as we all know, French Fries (chips to us Brits!) are not a healthy option especially if you eat them too often. And we've all tried so-called low fat oven chips and healthy alternatives which wholeheartedly fail the taste test. So is there an answer to this problem? Is it possible to cook healthy fries at home?

Take a good look at the T-Fal Actifry Low-Fat Multi-Cooker.

Made in France (where they know a few things about French Fries), this product costs around $210.05. It is an electric cooker with a patented stirring paddle and pulsating heat system which enables you to cook a variety of meals using little or no oil.

No pre-heating required, easy to clean, dishwasher safe.

Yes yes we get all that... But does it make decent fries!

Well the company have done 10 years of research to perfect the system which is 'engineered to minimize the use of oil while cooking'. So to make French Fries you place 2 pounds of freshly cut potatoes into the pan, drizzle over tablespoon of the oil of your choice, and set the timer. 

'Real French fries,' say the manufacturers. 'Crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, with only 3% fat.'

But this appliance is not just for cooking fries. It comes with its own recipe book and can be used to create a large variety of healthy, low-fat dishes: chili, risotto, gumbos, stir-fry, seafood and even desserts. 

'Not only delicious but nutritious,' they say, with each recipe requiring only 1 to 2 tablespoons of oil for four servings.

But the only real test is the cook's test! So what do the users of this product have to say?
'I received my Actifry this week. The potatoes I fried here came out perfectly. Imagine the best french fries you have tasted but without the greasy feeling and oil dripping from them,' said one customer.

'So far I have tried frying potatoes, bananas, nuggets and onions. All came out with brilliant results and what's best, using minimal oil. They all looked and tasted just like fried but were not greasy. And they were very crispy.'

Wow - so the Actifry really does make good chips.

'I've had the T-Fal Actifry for 3 months now, and I've loved it for making large batches of low-fat fries, sauteed onions, mushrooms, and vegetables.'

The product does seem to work better for larger batches. 'It doesn't flip and turn things over if the volume of food is not enough to push up against itself to force it over the high paddle,' said one reviewer. 'If there isn't enough food in the pan, it just makes a circuit, around and around the pan on top of the paddle.'

And customers recommend it for fried chicken, too.
'The first thing I did when I got it was try a batch of frozen chicken wings. The pre-cooked and flavored variety without breading that you find in the freezer section. I threw 8 good sized frozen pieces in the machine and 15 minutes later had perfectly cooked wings that had caramelized beautifully. Yum. The best part? No pre-heating. I didn't have to crank up my oven.'
Which means this cooker is recommended for people short of time, who live in hot climates and don't want to use their oven, for people who travel in their RV or don't have a full cooker in a cabin, for example. Or students, or older folk who find it difficult to slave over the stove for very long.

Anyone seeking a healthier lifestyle, in fact. 

'I have been using Actifry for about 6 months now... I have 2 little kids and it is a life saver. We will put their nuggets and tater tots in and it only takes about 7-8 minutes to cook those if they are frozen. Even fish sticks. My son loves the chicken wings we make also. Cool little gadget.'

And lovers of French Fries couldn't be happier. 'I absolutely love it,' said one. 'I have never tasted such good fries. I do not hesitate to feed anything cooked in the T-Fal Actifry Deep Fryer to my granddaughter.'

'Greatest invention since sliced bread,' said another.

However there were some significant drawbacks mentioned in the reviews, concerned with overall product quality.

'The only drawback is the quality of this gadget that was clearly not made to last,' said one review. 'I have used mine 6 times only and the paddle has already stopped working twice for no apparent reason.'

And she was not the only one. As one customer noted, 'It is not unusual to find reviews of people having it exchanged or fixed twice during the one year warranty time.'
'I would expect something so expensive to last a lot longer,' said another.

So the calculation customers need to make is about benefits. Yes, the product does appear overpriced considering the quality of this 'pot', but less so if you consider the benefit of healthier fries. As one buyer noted, 'If you eat a lot of pre-fried food and want a healthier, easier way to cook them, this is the one for you.'

And the newer model is a better-made product, constructed of more durable materials. It is easy to clean, comes apart easily and 'has survived the dishwasher fine so far.'

As a healthy, cleaner alternative to deep fryers the Actifry is definitely worth your consideration. Although it is not, strictly speaking, a fryer...
'It's much better than a fryer. It's more like a self-stirring roasting oven or saute pan. I had no idea that an appliance like this existed and now can't imagine not owning one. I've been using it for a few weeks now and expect our use to increase as I continue to find new things to cook in it,' reports one customer.'

And it really does work very well with tiny amounts of oil. Great quality food and healthy too.

Many people mentioned that audible signal should be louder and there should be an auto shut-off on this appliance - it keeps cooking after the low signal beeps. So use a separate timer.

And, as Michelle says, 'eat your vegetables.'
Date Reviewed: May 16, 2012, 12:25 pm
Reviewed by Jackie Gay
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