How to Clean Your Air Fryer

Follow these simple steps to keep air frying smoke- and grease-free.

September 08, 2020

Food Network Kitchen’s Air Fryer Opener, as seen on Food Network.

Photo by: KATE MATHIS

KATE MATHIS

You’re loving your air fryer, using it constantly, but now it’s getting dirty, a little smoky and having a negative impact on your air frying mojo. Before you make another batch of air fryer chips, it's time to clean your appliance. After writing two air fryer cookbooks, I've learned a thing or two about keeping an air fryer in top shape. Here's how I keep my air fryer squeaky clean.

First, Let's Review Air Fryer Anatomy

Air fryers are countertop electric appliances. They are typically 12 to 18 inches tall and 12 to 14 inches wide. Inside the unit is a heating element and a powerful fan that circulates heat. Food is placed in a suspended basket outfitted with holes that allow the hot air to circulate and cook from all sides. This setup is awesome for quick and even cooking — crispy fries are downright dreamy — but this design also means there are several places for food particles to drip and drop into a bottom pan that you really want to keep clean.

How to Clean Your Air Fryer

Various air fryer brands and models are configured a little differently, but the basic cleaning protocol is the same. After use, turn the machine off, unplug and allow to cool. The main unit contains the electrical component and cannot be submerged in water. The removable inner basket and pan should be pulled out, wiped clean and washed with a warm, soapy water. For stubborn, stuck-on messes, these parts (basket and pan) can be submerged and soaked in soapy water. Some brands have baskets and pans that are dishwasher safe. The bottom chamber of the machine can be a little trickier, but is the most important part to keep clean. Crumbs, oil residue and meat drippings can (and will) fall to the bottom of the chamber. Once the basket and pan are removed, wipe out the inside of the machine with a damp paper towel or clean dish towel and allow to air dry.

The heating element can be wiped down, but only once the machine has cooled completely. It may be best to tip or invert the machine for easiest access. Allow the parts to dry completely, reassemble and store.

Air Fryer Cleaning FAQs

How often should I clean my air fryer?

To keep the machine free from debris and prevent any greasy build up, the machine should be cleaned after every use or every few uses. When cooking in batches, try to remove any debris by letting the machine cool a bit and carefully wiping out with a paper towel in between batches.

Can I put parts in the dishwasher?

Many models of air fryers have removal components that are dishwasher safe, check the manufacturer's instructions.

Should I use scrub brush?

Avoid using abrasive sponges or sharp utensils, most air fryer parts have a nonstick coating that you don’t want to scratch up.

How do I clean the outside of the machine?

Once cooled down, simply wipe down the outside of the machine with a clean, damp cloth or paper towel.

Can I use a layer of parchment or foil in the basket?

Some recipes require a layer of parchment, but too much layering of parchment or aluminum foil can block the air from circulating. Small pieces can fly around and get stuck and burn on to the heating element. When making messier recipes consider using air fryer paper liners that come with holes.

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