The air fryer is an excellent way to cook frozen and baked foods. Technically, the air fryer doesn't deep fry, but it does do a nice job of crisping up foods, making them similar to fried but much lighter and lower in fat. It is a great alternative to the oven, keeping the kitchen cool and cooking in a fraction of the time. Plus, the air fryer uses way less energy!
Cleaning the air fryer is easy and is best done shortly after using it. If you put it off until the next day, you'll have to deal with stuck-on cooked bits and grease, and it will be a more difficult chore. Check the appliance manual for any specific techniques for cleaning your air fryer.
How to Clean an Air Fryer
To clean an air fryer, you'll need dish soap, a brush with soft bristles, and a sponge, soft cloths, or paper towels. For heavier, stuck-on residue, you may need baking soda, a toothbrush, and toothpicks.
Remove the frying basket and crumb basket and dispose of any crumbs and bits of oil. The frying and crumb baskets are often dishwasher safe (top shelf only), but check your appliance manual to be sure. If there is baked-on grease, soak the pieces in hot, soapy water for about 30 minutes, then use a soft scrub brush or non-abrasive sponge to remove it.
In many cases, the frying basket and crumb basket or grate can go right in the dishwasher (usually the top rack), but check your appliance manual to be sure. For most surface grease, a quick soak in soapy water might be enough, then wipe the fryer with a soft cloth or sponge. Avoid abrasive cleaners, fabrics, or sponges because they could ruin the air fryer's nonstick surfaces. If the baskets have baked-on, hard-to-clean debris, submerge them in hot, soapy water for about 30 minutes before scrubbing.
If you have some bits of food stuck in the grate, remove them with a soft brush, wood skewer, or toothpick. A toothbrush is an excellent tool for cleaning the nooks and crannies.
Rinse the pan and basket or grate thoroughly and let them air-dry or dry them by hand with a towel.
Use a damp soapy cloth to clean the outside of the base unit, then turn it on its side or upside-down and gently wipe off the heating element. Let the air fryer unit dry thoroughly before reassembling. Never immerse the base unit in water.
How to Deep Clean
For stubborn residues, such as sauces from barbecued ribs or sticky, marinated foods, make a paste with baking soda and water and scrub with a soft sponge, brush, or cloth. Follow up with a damp cloth and then rinse thoroughly.
Oven-Style Air Fryers
Use the same basic techniques to clean an oven-style air fryer, but you will be removing and cleaning the racks and drip pan instead of baskets and grates.
How to Neutralize Air Fryer Odors
Cooking oil, ingredients, and "new appliance" plastic smell can cause lingering odors that could make their way into other foods. For stubborn odors, use a paste made with baking soda and water—3 parts baking soda to 1 part water. Use a non-abrasive sponge or cloth to scrub the interior. Alternatively, add 1 cup of water and 1/4 cup of vinegar to an oven-safe bowl. Place the bowl in the air fryer and run it for about 3 minutes at 380 F. Let the air fryer cool down and then remove the bowl and wash the air fryer baskets and interior.
To dispose of any oil left in the pan or drip tray, don't pour it down the drain—pour it into a jar or container and dispose of it in the trash.
Overfilling the air fryer can result in excessive grease and residue on the heating element.
Parchment Paper in the Air Fryer
Perforated air fryer parchment paper is available in many sizes, and can make cleaning even easier. When adding parchment paper to the air fryer, add it when the ingredients are added. Because of the circulating air, there is a risk of the parchment paper lifting up and coming into contact with the heating element if there is nothing holding it down.
Can I use foil in the air fryer?
Foil-wrapped food is fine, but avoid using it to line the basket or grate—the holes allow air to circulate and cook the food evenly.