Cosori is on a mission to give Ninja a run for its money when it comes to air fryers, but can it really compete? We put the 3.8ltr Cosori Lite air fryer through its paces to find out
Cosori Lite 3.8ltr Smart Air Fryer | £99.99 | Tester: Sally FitzGerald
Small 3.8 litre air fryer with seven pre-set cooking functions and a top temperature of 230℃
There’s no denying that air fryers are taking the UK by storm this year, but when it comes to choosing which one is right for you there are many things to consider.
This time it’s the turn of the Cosori Lite air fryer to be put through its paces. Cosori is gaining a good reputation for producing top-quality, reliable air fryers. This model is both compact and competitively priced so it looks good on paper, but how does it compare to the likes of the Ninja?
We’ve tested it with a range of vegan foods to see if it’s a must-have addition to your kitchen worktop, or if it doesn’t quite live up to the hype.
- Cooks food quicker than a conventional oven
- Doesn’t need any oil at all for cooking, yet still gives a good crisp
- Competitively priced at under £100
- Looks really stylish and the white colour is striking
- Very easy to use
- Smart phone capabilities
- Compact for smaller kitchens
- The smaller size means it’s great for 1-2 people but wouldn’t suit a larger family
- The fan is a little bit louder than some other models
- The crisper plate isn’t 100% stable if wanting to put it higher up the basket
- Only 7 presets
Buy today at Amazon’s best price (£99.99)
- Dimensions/size: 37.6cm x 27.5cm x 32.5cm
- Functions: Air fryer
- Temperature range: 75°C to 230°C
- Cooking time range: 1 – 60 minutes
- Capacity: 3.8-litres
Ease of set up
Basket air fryers are definitely the easiest of them all to set up, and this Cosori model is no exception.
Basically, you just need to get it out of the box, remove the sticker strips that keep the basket closed during transportation, wash up the basket and crisper plate and you’re good to go.
The instructions that come with the machine are quite comprehensive and don’t leave room for doubt if you’ve never used an air fryer before, giving you tips on how to make sure you’ve got enough air circulating around it, how to clean it, and do’s and don’ts of using it.
The only thing it’s missing in my opinion is a few printed recipes in the manual that could get you started. You can download some and there’s a basic guide to cooking times and presets, but this could be an area for improvement.
There is a really handy tip for adapting your favourite oven recipes to suit this air fryer though. It recommends that you reduce the temperature by 10°C and the cooking time by 20%, which isn’t just a useful guide but also shows how much energy you’re saving by using an air fryer.
If you love a tech gadget, you’ll be pleased to hear that this machine also has a VeSync app connection, which turns it into a Smart air fryer.
My only slight criticism is that the crisper plate didn’t stay in place as firmly as I’d like when I tried to position it higher up the basket.
Homemade chips without any oil after 17 minutes in the Cosori Lite Air Fryer. Image © Vegan Food & Living
Cooking results – cooking chips in the Cosori Lite Air Fryer
Handmade chips are always the first thing we make when testing an air fryer and they do set the bar as to how good we think the fryer will be. You’d be surprised to find how different the results can be between each machine.
For this test, I cut three potatoes into skin-on fries. I kept them quite thin and stopped at three because I didn’t want to overcrowd the basket.
The 3.8 litre capacity is quite a bit smaller than many basket air fryers and although the instruction manual suggests it will suit 3-4 people, I thought the capacity would probably be more suited to a couple, but it really depends what you’re cooking.
I let the potatoes sit in a bowl of water for a few minutes to remove some of the starch, then fully dried them with kitchen towel and added them to the basket.
The Cosori Lite fries preset set the time to 17 minutes and I’ll be honest when I say I thought that would be a bit short. My previous experience of most air fryers (apart from the Ninja) is that cooking hand-cut chips takes over 25 minutes.
As per the instructions, I didn’t add any oil at all, but just pressed the ‘shake’ button so that it would remind me to shake the fries halfway through the cooking time, and then turned it on.
When the alarm went off for the halfway shake point I was really surprised to open the drawer and find a lot of the chips were already starting to colour. I gave them a good shake and left them to cook for the remaining time.
By the end of the 17 minutes, all the chips were fluffy on the inside, crisp on the outside and I dare to say that some I would class as being overcooked. I had cut them quite thinly, and so next time I’d try just 15 minutes instead.
Ninja aside, this is the fastest I’ve seen an air fryer cook food. Often I scoff at whether they do cook things quicker than an oven (there’s no denying they’re more efficient nevertheless), but that is definitely the case with the Cosori Lite. Really impressive stuff.
Vegan sausages cook in just 10 minutes in the Cosori Lite. Image © Vegan Food & Living
Cooking sausages in the Cosori Lite Air Fryer
For the mock meat test, I decided to cook some vegan sausages. The pack had eight in it and although I wondered if they would all fit due to the smaller capacity of the machine, they not only fitted but had plenty of space around them.
After the success of the chips cooking so quickly, I followed the instructions in the manual and set the temperature at 10°C less than stated on the packet instructions and set the timer at 10 minutes rather than the stated 15.
By the end of the cooking time I checked to see if they needed a couple of minutes longer but they were ready. A lovely crispy coating, nice soft inside, and made the perfect sausage sandwich for lunch. In just 10 minutes. I didn’t even preheat the air fryer before I put the sausages in.
It’s everything I look for in an air fryer.
Lemon cupcakes rose beautifully in the air fryer to create a light, fluffy sponge. Photo © Vegan Food & Living
Baking cupcakes in the Cosori Lite Air Fryer
For my final test, I decided to see how well the Cosori Lite performed when it came to baking.
I love that air fryers are so versatile you can do so many things in them, and it was a revelation to me when I found out you could bake in them too.
For this test I used a basic lemon cupcake recipe and sturdy paper cups rather than the more flimsy paper cases that don’t always stand up well to cooking.
I set the temperature to 160°C (10°C less than the temperature stated on the recipe), and set the time to 15 minutes. Considering how quickly everything else cooked, I didn’t want to be caught out with these.
After 15 minutes the cakes had risen beautifully and looked like they were turning a nice golden colour, but when I tested with a stick there was still a little wet mixture at the bottom of one of the cupcakes, so I put them back in for 2 minutes.
When I checked again they were perfectly cooked through, and the sponge was lovely and light.
This definitely saved time and energy compared to a conventional oven, but the drawback was that I could only cook four at a time due to the smaller size of the machine. So when you factor in having to bake two or three batches, that time and energy saving does disappear.
Buy today at Amazon’s best price (£99.99)
Overall verdict of the Cosori Lite Air Fryer
Having tested many different air fryers by now, the Cosori Lite Air Fryer impressed me much more than I thought it was going to.
There’s no denying that the Ninja is still the king of air fryers, but it comes with a hefty price tag.
The Cosori Lite, however, costs under £100 and still has the benefit of cooking food quicker than an oven, and more evenly, and giving a nice crisp to the finished texture.
I didn’t use any oil for any of the foods I tested in the fryer and it didn’t feel like I needed to at any point.
Unlike an oven-style air fryer, such as the Tower 10-in-1 XpressPro Combo air fryer, you can only cook one ingredient at a time in this basket air fryer, so it maybe isn’t as convenient if you want to cook sausages and fries at the same time, but it does cook that one ingredient quicker and really well.
It’s all about deciding what you want from an air fryer. This is a more basic model with fewer presets, embellishments and attachments, but as an air fryer it is up there among the best in my opinion. And with the sleek white body with orange handle it looks quite striking too, particularly as most air fryers seem to be black.
Reliable, efficient and not too expensive, it has certainly won me over.
How we test air fryers
We thoroughly test each air fryer in order to write an informed, useful review that you can trust.
To do this, we follow the same process for every air fryer that we review.
First we unpack the box, look at what you get with the air fryer, and then follow the instructions that come with each specific air fryer to set it up.
The important thing for any air fryer is how it cooks food though, so we test each one at least three times. Firstly to cook homemade chips, then to cook a mock meat, and thirdly to either cook a baked item, or to test the frying ability, depending on the capabilities.
We judge the air fryers on how well they cook the food, how crisp the finish is, how long food takes to cook, how easy the machine is to use, how easy is it to clean, and how many extra capabilities/functions it has.
Each air fryer is then given a score out of 5, and rated on what purpose it is best suited to.
Want to put another air fryer to the test? Check out our guide to the best air fryers on the market