We all know Ree Drummond loves a good air fryer. In fact, she not only called herself “obsessed” with the super-handy kitchen tool, but she debuted a gorgeous vintage floral 6.3 quart model through The Pioneer Woman line. And it’s no wonder she hopped on this trend: After all, air fryers are able to make food that was once considered a high-fat no-no (like French fries) much healthier by cooking with rapidly circulated hot air rather than hot grease. And, just as crucially, cleanup is easy! That said, air fryers do require a thorough washing every now and then, just like any kitchen appliance and that might prompt you to wonder, “how do you clean an air fryer?”
For step by step instructions, we’ve gone straight to the experts: chefs who give their air fryers a heck of a workout. Below, you’ll find the best advice on the best ways to get your own air fryer as clean as it was when you first bought it. That way, you can get back to making all those delicious air fryer recipes like chicken wings and chicken parmesan.
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What is the easiest way to clean an air fryer?
There are tons of different air fryers on the market. (Although, none as beautiful or well-designed as Ree’s, of course!) So it’s best to always check the owner’s manual for specific directions about your model. Generally speaking though, the easiest way to clean an air fryer is to do a light cleaning at least every other time you use it. “If you make something especially messy like something with sauce or marinade, clean it the same day or you may end up with a stuck-on mess,” says Chelsea Mae Plummer, a recipe developer at Mae’s Menu. “The longer something sticky sits in the air fryer, the harder it is to clean off.“
Not only will cleaning your air fryer frequently make the job easier, it will prevent the built-up of bits of food that could cause odors, malfunctions or even—worst case scenario—a fire. Here’s the easiest way to give your air fryer a light cleaning:
- After using your fryer, let it cool down and unplug it.
- Pull out the basket, pan, or tray and wash it in your sink with warm water and dish soap. Set it aside to dry overnight.
- Wipe down the interior of the fryer, including the heating element, with a damp, soapy cloth, sponge or paper towel. Wipe it again with a clean damp, cloth, and then a dry cloth.
- Wipe the exterior of the fryer with a soft cloth.
- When the fryer’s removable parts are dry, place them in the fryer.
Stay away from using abrasive cleaners and scrubbers on your air fryer, which could scratch its non-stick parts and exterior.
How do I deep clean my air fryer?
The process is much the same as it is with the light cleaning you do after cooking, but with a couple of added steps. “Air fryers are basically mini convection ovens with a nonstick drawer, so if you have caked-on food you can treat it much like you would a nonstick pan,” explains Sylvia Fountaine, chef and recipe blogger of Feasting at Home. “Water and heat will help lift off cooked-on grease and debris easily, so add a cup of water to your air fryer basket, turn it on a high setting for a few minutes, and leave it alone. You’ll find when you open the drawer that a lot of debris and gunk will have effortlessly lifted without any scrubbing or soap.”
Are your fryer’s removable parts still gunky? Submerge them in hot, soapy water for around 30 minutes than lightly scrub them with a soft-bristled toothbrush. You can also use a toothpick to (gently) get at tough-to-clean places, like the holes in the grate. However, you should never submerge the whole air fryer in water.
Even if your air fryer’s instruction book recommends it, don’t run the removable parts in your dishwasher. According to food blogger Michelle Morey of Barefoot in the Pines, “I find that hand washing my air fryer is so much more effective, and the dishwasher gets into weird spots and can actually rust my basket!”
How do you remove sticky residue from an air fryer?
For the toughest, stuck-on messes in the interior of your fryer, you can use a half-cup or so of baking soda and a bit of water to make a thick paste. Cover the sticky patches with the paste and let it sit for a few minutes before scrubbing off with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Wipe down the inside of the fryer with a wet cloth, then follow up with a dry cloth.
How do you degrease an air fryer?
If your air fryer feels especially greasy on the inside, try Fountaine’s trick, but add a bit of dish soap to the water. Be sure you’re using a grease fighter like Dawn Ultra. To make it easier to clean the fryer post-cooking, you may also be able use disposable air fryer aluminum foil or parchment paper liners. Just make sure to check your owner’s manual to confirm that they’re appropriate to use with your air fryer toaster oven.
If you’re finding that powerful food odors like fish are clinging to your air fryer after a deep cleaning, try rubbing a lemon over the basket. Let it sit for about a half-hour, then wash.
Jill Gleeson is a travel journalist and memoirist based in the Appalachian Mountains of western Pennsylvania who has written for websites and publications including Good Housekeeping, Woman’s Day, Country Living, Washingtonian, Gothamist, Canadian Traveller, and EDGE Media Network. Jill is the travel editor for Enchanted Living. Learn more about her journey at gleesonreboots.com.
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