I remember my first time using an air fryer was for french fries. They were great and with almost no oil, they were much healthier. But I also noticed my air fryer got pretty hot and smoked some. So it made me wonder, can an air fryer explode?
Generally, air fryers do not explode unless an excessive amount of oil was used and the food basket was filled beyond capacity. But pooling water at the bottom of the fryer could lead to overheating which could potentially cause it to malfunction.
But there’s a lot more to learn about air fryers and the possible dangers they may have.
In this article, we’ll go over why your air fryer smokes and how to prevent it, if an air fryer can really catch on fire, and what you shouldn’t put in your air fryer.
Let’s jump right into it.
Can an air fryer catch fire?
As a general rule, air fryers do not catch fire if the air fryer is in good working condition and the food basket and amount of oil used are in accordance with the air fryer’s manual recommendations.
There have been reports of air fryers catching on fire. But honestly, in Googling that, I really only saw other websites making that same claim.
I didn’t see an actual news story of an air fryer fire. Maybe they are out there, but I couldn’t find it. I also didn’t see anything on the Snopes website.
So I don’t believe an air fryer, functioning normally, and used correctly would catch on fire.
While it’s possible you bought a lemon and a mistake in manufacturing could lead to a fire, I bet the chances are extremely rare. Human error is going to be the culprit 99.9% of the time.
But what could lead to overheating?
Too much oil. It’s common to use small portions of oil when using your air fryer. Be careful not to use too much or to put it in the fryer basket by itself. And even cooking something really fatty like a bratwurst sausage in your air fryer could possibly lead to overheating.
This could cause the fryer to overheat and possibly catch on fire.
Speaking of overheating, your air fryer needs a certain amount of space between the heater and the fan. If you overfill the basket, you have the potential of the fryer catching on fire due to overheating.
Overheating is the most common way to ruin your air fryer and cause a potential fire hazard.
I have a recent article on air fryers overheating, including the 1 thing most people don’t even think about. Just click the link to read the article on my site.
It’s an infrequent occasion when an air fryer can catch on fire, but remember, you have to be careful and follow proper care instructions. One of which is not to leave your air fryer unattended.
As much as I love my Kmart air fryer, it has absolutely been replaced by the Ninja Foodi Grill! 🍗
Not only does it air fry (see my delicious crispy air fried wings! 🤤) but it also grills, bakes, roasts and dehydrates AND it doesn’t smoke! It’s like having a BBQ inside!
— KAIT 🍳 Animal-Based Nutrition (@healthcoachkait) November 3, 2019
Can you leave an air fryer unattended?
While it is OK to not stand next to the air fryer for the entire cooking time, do not leave the house or step away from the kitchen for an extended period of time. It acts both as a convection oven and a deep fryer, so the same level of attention is needed.
You don’t need to watch it like a hawk. But it’s not a set it and forgets its appliance. Just like you shouldn’t leave a pot unattended on a stovetop.
This is a struggle if you’re someone like me who likes to multitask. Do not fall into your own trap. Do not go and fold laundry or start laundry while you wait for your food to be done. But if you want to prep another meal item while it cooks, go for it!
Leaving your air fryer unattended could be a fire hazard, just like leaving a lit candle alone for too long.
Air fryers are excellent and should be used with care. And they are extremely safe. I’ve used mine hundreds of times without any issues whatsoever.
Something you can put in the air fryer though is french fries. They may have even been the reason you got an air fryer.
But are frozen french fries previously fried? After all, you got your air fryer to be healthy, right?
I have a recent article that goes into how french fries are frozen before being frozen and shipped out. If you’re interested in it, simply click the link to read it on my site.
French fries, egg rolls, pumpkin seeds, and much more are all great examples of what you can put in your air fryer with confidence that it’ll come out yummy.
The smoke alarm went off five times, but overall the first time using the air fryer at home on these bad boys was a success. pic.twitter.com/HAi0mud9Hb
— Armando (@Armando_Marsal) July 29, 2020
Is an air fryer dangerous?
No is the short answer.
I wouldn’t say an air fryer is dangerous. Yes, you need to be aware of what can happen and what to avoid, but the air fryer itself isn’t dangerous. Most problems come from human error, as I’ve stated above.
What are the things you must avoid?
Like most other products, buying the cheapest version you can find isn’t always the best idea. When you buy a low-cost air fryer, you may have the risk of harmful metals being used, the air fryer breaking down faster than a high-quality air fryer, and the basket not being non-stick.
You also run the risk of the fryer catching on fire much more than a reliable, or high-quality air fryer.
When you spend a little more money for better quality, it means you’ll have that appliance for longer. Buying a cheaper alternative means you may have to buy another one within the next year.
Some common mistakes to avoid are:
- Overfilling the basket
- Washing it incorrectly
- Not washing it enough
- Setting and forgetting
- Using too much oil
The advantages of an air fryer outweighed all of these operator errors, though. Plus, if you take care of your appliances, then you’ll have little to worry about.
So what are some of the advantages of an air fryer?
I have a recent article that goes over all the advantages to an air fryer. It’s a great read if your worried about these issues with an air fryer. I even cover how much faster it is at cooking than a conventional oven.
Just click the link to read it on my site.
Someone is scared of the air fryer! (It’s sets off the smoke alarms!!) pic.twitter.com/ezXJCtcMzb
— Sir Kenneth (@The_K_Mac_D) January 22, 2017
Is it normal for an air fryer to smoke?
It is normal for an air fryer to smoke a little bit when cooking greasy foods. However, under normal usage, an air fryer will not put off enough smoke to set off a smoke detector or require a window to be opened. If that happens, it is most likely that too much oil was used.
Food with a lot of fat can cause white smoke to come from your air fryer. The oil from the food drips down through the basket onto the bottom of the air fryer and then heats up.
With just oil and no food, the oil can get really hot really fast. And if there is any residual moisture in the food that drips down you have a bad mix of hot oil and hot water.
There is a way for you to stop this, though.
First, you can try putting bread at the bottom of your fryer. The bread will soak up the oil and protect it from getting heated, thus eliminating any smoking.
The second method is something you have to be careful about.
Remember when I told you that water could cause your air fryer to explode? With this method, you will only pour 3-4 tablespoons of water at the bottom of the basket.
The key is not to use too much water, or too little. The liquid will stop smoking, though, so you can worry less and enjoy your meal when it’s done without the fear of it being burnt or tasting off.
Air fryer oven salted caramel brownies. Good, or a disaster in the making? We shall see in about 30 minutes. 🤔 pic.twitter.com/KucnIi0YRm
— Oh Allen (@OhallenCB69) February 4, 2018
What can you NOT put in an air fryer?
You shouldn’t put an excessive amount of water into your air fryer. You also shouldn’t add a large amount of oil in your fryer. A small amount of either of these are fine but do not go overboard.
You should also avoid putting a ton of seasoning in with your food until after you have taken them out of the air fryer.
Heavy seasoning can fall off the food, through the basket, and just start to burn on the bottom.
Cheese and any wet batter should be avoided as well. However, there is a catch to these two. I’ve seen a fantastic recipe for pancakes in an air fryer.
The important part is that you use a lining between each pancake and make sure the batter doesn’t actually touch the basket.
However, don’t use batter such as battered chicken.
I’m talking wet bettered chicken or fish will not come out how you think it will. If you’re after crispy chicken though, use flour, eggs, and breadcrumbs. This way, it’s not just a wet batter that will fall off.
It would be best if you also avoid rice, pasta, and lettuce.
Rice and pasta need too much water to be cooked in an air fryer. As for the lettuce, though, I’m not sure why you would want to do this, it is more likely to make a mess of your air fryer than come out as a yummy snack.
If you’re planning on feeding a lot of people, an air fryer is not your friend. The largest size can only fit a few handfuls of food at a time. Remember, you want to avoid overcrowding your food in the basket.
In this article, we went over all the hazards of air fryers.
Don’t leave your air fryer unattended, watch out for smoke, and remember the types of food you shouldn’t put in your air fryer.
Overall, air fryers are safe, and you shouldn’t have to worry about them exploding or catching on fire.
Remember to clean your air fryer and watch out for water to avoid these situations. A little bit of smoke is normal when you cook greasy food. Human error is the main reason for safety hazards, so take your time and be careful when using any appliance.
Remember to follow safety measures and take care of your appliances to extend your appliances’ life and happiness.
Photo which requires attribution:
McDonald’s will be cooking their foods on the Power Air-Fryer oven by PatrickRich is licensed under Public Domain