I made toad in the hole in an air fryer – the taste shocked me & I halved my cooking bill but you'll need a crucial item | The Sun

TOAD in the hole is an iconic British dish and dinner staple for many families.

But how would it taste if cooked in an air fryer? We put the gadget to the test to find out.

Air fryers are known for costing very little to run and being pretty speedy too.

They've soared in popularity since the cost of living crisis hit with families searching for ways to save money on bills.

The average 1,000W air fryer costs just 7p to run for 15 minutes under the current energy price cap.

That's compared to 14p for the average 2,000W oven.



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My air fryer

I first got my air fryer back in 2021 after seeing countless Brits raving about the gadgets across social media.

It's one of the more basic versions, a Tower Vortx T17024.

You can pick one up at Currys for £67.99.

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It has a capacity of 4.3litres, perfect for two people.

The fryer is advertised as using "fast-flowing hot air" and less energy.

Not only that but it's also said to be faster than a traditional oven and comes with eight handy pre-sets.

My air fryer uses a 1500W in energy, which equates to just 10p for 15 minutes.

Cooking the toad in the hole

I had a quick Googleand found a handy air fryer recipe on Tesco's Real Food website.

The ingredients were minimal and instructions seemed simple enough with a total prep and cooking time of 30 minutes.

This is far quicker than an oven, which another Tesco recipe said would take 60 minutes altogether.

My fryer appeared to be the perfect size for the dish too which was a good start.

After setting the fryer to 200°C, I popped my sausages in a disposable cake liner sprayed with Fry-Light for seven minutes.

The cake liners are non-negotiable, otherwise you'll lose all your batter through the holes in the air fryer basket.

I was very glad to spot this in the recipe, otherwise it would have become very messy, very quickly.

They don't cost the earth either. I bought a pack of 20 from Asda for £1.90, about 9.5p per liner, and will make use of them for other recipes or baking too.

While the sausages were cooking I prepped the four-ingredient batter in a bowl. When the gadget beeped I poured the mixture over the top.

I then set the fryer again for 15 minutes, as per the recipe. But that wasn't quite long enough and I added another three minutes to get the desired golden brown appearance.

While the meal was cooking I made my gravy on the hob using a stock cube and a bit of flour – after all no toad in the hole is complete without the sauce.

Unfortunately, it's not possible to make gravy in the air fryer, so you'll need to find another method.

Taste test

I was sceptical about the dish to say the least, unsure of how the consistency would compare to the real deal made in an oven.

I was sure the meal would come out as a soggy mess with uncooked sausages.

But I was pleasantly surprised by the outcome.

The batter was nice and crispy on the outside and still soft on the inside – just the way you want it.

My only complaint was that the underside of the sausages – despite flipping them part way through – were still soft.

If I was to attempt the meal again I'd make sure to keep them cooking for a bit longer before adding the batter.

As I cut into the Yorkshire pud, I was impressed with how similar the texture was to a usual oven-cooked toad in the hole.

If I were to try it against an oven cooked one, then I don't think I'd be able to taste the difference.

How much it cost

I asked Uswitch to crunch the numbers for how much it cost me to cook my air fryer toad in the hole.

I gave the experts the wattage of my fryer and the total cooking time and asked them to calculate how much the whole meal cost me.

It took 25 minutes to cook everything in total, costing me 17p.

If I had cooked it in the oven, it would have taken double the time at around 50 minutes – which Uswitch said would cost 46p.

If I used my air fryer every week to whip up a toad in the hole, it would cost me £7.80 over the year – compared to £23.92 using a 2,000W oven.

Whether you're cooking the dish in an oven or air fryer, you'll have the additional cost of cooking up some gravy separately.

As I mentioned, I used the hob to make some homemade gravy but you can do it with far less effort using some granules and the kettle.

It costs around 5p to boil a kettle for four minutes, depending on the wattage.

You'll also need to factor in the price of the disposable cake liners

They are a must-have for an air fryer made toad in the hole, and you need a new one each time, whereas you can reuse the same dish over and over when cooking the meal in an oven.

With the cost of one cake liner factored in as well as the cooking bill, the overall cost of using the air fryer is 27p – still 19p less than using the oven and it's quicker too.

The verdict

I was really impressed by how easy and simple it was to make toad in the hole in my air fryer.

It was quick and thanks to the cake liner, there was little mess.

Plus it was the perfect sized portion for two people.

I was pretty shocked at how cheap it was too, at just 17p it's a cheap alternative to an oven.

All that and it didn't mean I had to sacrifice the great taste of the classic dish, it was just as delicious.

For a larger family, the savings aren't quite as much but still works out cheaper than an oven.

It's best to use a larger fryer to serve more people to make it worth while though.

With an 8L Salter fryer which uses 1,800W of energy, for example, it would cost 24p for 30 minutes.

That's 22p less using an oven – and with a single cake liner factored in it's a total of just under 12p less.

But use a smaller fryer to make two separate portions and it actually works out pricier.

Doubling the cooking time to 60 minutes also doubles the cost to 54p for both energy and the cake liner – 8p more than the oven alone.

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Meanwhile, I also tried B&M’s bargain gadget for making DIY Greggs – it was so easy, tastes like the real thing and costs half the price.

Plus, we gave making a roast dinner in an air fryer a go too.

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