How to clean your air fryer in 3 easy steps

My air fryer has been my dinner hero for a while now. Of all the appliances in my kitchen, and I have a lot, this is the one I use most often. It cooks things I normally would in my oven in half the time, and gives crispy fried foods that never seem to properly crisp up in a pan, the crunch they need. The only con to my air fryer is cleaning its main unit and removable parts once they are covered in baked-on grease and grime.

Unlike cooking in the oven, I wouldn’t recommend simply placing a sheet of parchment paper on the inside of the air fryer and letting it catch stuck-on food. There are no shortcuts here: just let it get covered in caked-on food and clean up the mess afterwards. While this is a drawback of air frying, the efficiency and convenience of the fryer far outweighs the time spent on cleaning. If you’re thinking about buying an air fryer or just bought one and need to know how to clean it, you’re in luck: Here’s how to clean your air fryer in three easy steps.

Step Zero – Turn off the air fryer

You’ll save yourself a ton of time and effort if you give your air fryer a quick clean after each use. However, you must allow the hot air fryer to cool down before cleaning it. Boiling food particles are no fun (speaking from personal experience). To do this, turn off your machine, unplug it, and let the heating coils cool down for a while. (But don’t wait too long…once fried food residue has crusted over on the grill, it’s much harder to clean.)

Step One – Scrub Basket and Pan

Remove the basket and pan in your air fryer and scrub them down. The simplest and easiest way to do this is to hand wash with a soft sponge or damp cloth and a little dish soap. Just dampen the sponge with hot water, add soap, and scrub. (A little elbow strength goes a long way.) If your mess is more stubborn than dish soap and water can handle, soak the basket and pan in warm, soapy water for a while. You can also run them through the dishwasher if your air fryer is dishwasher safe. (See the manufacturer’s instructions to find out.) Soaking the tray and basket will loosen embedded dirt and make cleaning easier. If the dirt still won’t come off, use a scrub brush or old toothbrush and some baking soda.

Step Two – Clean the Bottom Chamber

Once you’ve removed the pan and basket, it’s time to work on the bottom chamber of the fryer. This part can be tricky because this is where all the drippings and residue from food end up. To make it easier, invert the bottom chamber to shake out any crumbs and bits of food, then use a damp (soapy!) paper towel to wipe up spills and residue. Be sure to get into the corners and crevices. Once you’ve cleaned the chamber, grab a dry paper towel to remove any remaining crumbs and dirt.

Step Three: Final Touches

Finally, you’ll want to take a damp, soapy (but not drippy) rag to the heating element of the fryer. Make sure the fryer is completely great before you do this! Once this is done, allow all parts of your air fryer (pan, basket, bottom chamber, and heating element) to dry completely before reassembling.

How often should I clean my air fryer?

It’s up to you, but experts recommend cleaning your air fryer after a few uses. Grease, drips and spatter can build up and make your machine less safe and effective. Even simply wiping it down after each use and doing a deep clean once a week will ensure that you keep your machine clean enough for regular use.

Air Fryer Cleaning Tips and Tricks

There are a ton of tricks for cleaning air fryers. Below are the most effective ones.

Inserts and Gadgets

First, there are a ton of different inserts and gadgets you can use to quadruple the use you’ll get out of your air fryer. You can buy bread inserts for things like pumpkin bread and pies; skewers for grilling vegetables and meat; and grids to cook several foods at the same time. A basic air fryer is like an oven, but by adding the different inserts it becomes a grill, barbecue skewer, bread pan and more. Speaking of loaf pans, don’t be afraid to use your deep fryer to bake a loaf. It may seem strange, air fryers aren’t usually advertised as bread makers, but they’re really just small, intense ovens, making them ideal for baking cinnamon rolls and banana bread.

coating your food

Coat your food with a little olive oil and season before cooking, just as you would before putting anything in the oven. This helps prevent burning and gives foods an oven-roasted flavor. Don’t spray nonstick cooking spray in your air fryer, though; it can reduce the effectiveness of the nonstick coating already on the basket.

Avoid overcrowding

Avoid cluttering the fryer basket. Your fryer can accommodate a large amount of food, especially with a second rack, but overloading the basket results in uneven cooking.

No pasta please!

This may be a no-brainer, but it’s worth saying that you shouldn’t use your air fryer to cook foods that need to absorb water, like pasta or rice. The deep fryer will never be able to get the water hot enough to boil pasta or rice, and pouring that much water into the deep fryer is dangerous. Instead, cook rice and pasta on the stove.

The Best Air Fryer Recipes for Home Cooks

So you have your deep fryer and you know how to clean it. Now is the time to cook! Here are some delicious deep fryer recipes.

  • Roasted vegetables. Use your deep fryer to roast vegetables! Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and squash work well here. Just toss them with olive oil, salt and pepper, and let them roast for seven to 10 minutes. Easy, simple and satisfying.

  • Crab cakes. If you want to be a little fancier, try these Air Fryer Crab Cakes. You will need an egg, mayonnaise, chopped red bell pepper, chives, parsley, Dijon mustard, breadcrumbs, and seafood seasoning for the batter, as well as chipotle sauce and crabmeat. This recipe is a bit more involved than just adding some roasting vegetables, but the outstanding flavor is worth it.

  • Fried pickles. Another delicious (although slightly more complicated) air fryer recipe is for deep-fried pickles. Just like with the crab cakes, you’ll make the batter, bread the pickle slices, and fry them for eight minutes. (This is a personal favorite air fryer recipe.)

  • Banana bread. As mentioned above, you can make almost any type of bread in an air fryer. Banana break, however, is the classic, and baking it in an air fryer adds a light flavorful crunch.

Become an Air Fryer Pro

So which recipe will you try first? The world is your oyster, just remember to wipe down and clean your fryer after each use. Actually, cleaning your fryer may be the most important step in any air fryer recipe, because it ensures that your food tastes exactly how it’s supposed to (and not like grease from a previous meal). I honestly couldn’t live without my air fryer, and I’m sure you’ll feel the same way once you learn how to clean yours.

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