Can An Air Fryer Overheat? (Yes, so here’s what to do)

Air fryers are handy kitchen gadgets that are used to heat the food and make it crispy with little to no oil. Without a doubt, they make your kitchen job more convenient. But knowing they heat up, can an air fryer overheat?

So I went on to do some quick research, and this is what I learned!

Air fryers generally overheat due to two conditions – Adding too much oil or overfilling the ingredients. As most Air Fryers are designed to work at the maximum temperature of 400 degrees Fahrenheit, excess oil or food can increase the temperature beyond this limit and may ignite it or even set off the smoke alarm. 

But though we know that air fryers can overheat, there’s still a lot more to know about them.

It is also necessary to understand what would happen if an air fryer gets too hot. In what situations can the air fryer set off the smoke alarm? Furthermore, what are the ways to protect the countertop from heating? 

To find answers to all these questions and more, keep reading!

How hot do air fryers get?

Air fryers are basically small countertop convection ovens. They work by moving heat around the food with the help of a fan. The function is similar to the convection option available in a full-sized oven, or a large toaster oven.

But the fryers don’t get as hot as your oven. In fact, none of the air fryers that I could find on Amazon went over 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Like this COSORI Air Fryer. The Cosori has got excellent reviews and has a reasonable price point. This will work best for someone who wants to try out air frying without dumping a ton of money into something that they aren’t sure about.

Apart from the fact that they are reasonably priced, there are lots of advantages to owning an air fryer.

They are super easy to use and clean. All you have to do is set the time and temperature. It’ll beep or ding and turn itself off when your food is ready.

Some of the fancier ones even have WiFi connectivity and presets for specific types of food.

The favorite part about using my air fryer, though, is that frying the food doesn’t stink up my whole house as deep frying does.

To learn more about the advantages of using a deep fryer, check out this recent article. Just click the link to read it on my site!

What happens if an air fryer gets too hot?

So the good news is that air fryers are designed to cook your food at a high heat without posing a fire hazard. But it shouldn’t really get too hot.

Therefore, you must follow safety procedures to prevent damage to the machine or the surrounding area.

First, never rinse or submerge any electrical components in water. This can result in short circuits that can cause the machine to catch fire.

Second, don’t fill the machine with oil. Use a very minimal amount of oil, when required. If you do use oil, the best thing to do is use a spray oil for spraying it directly on the food.

Finally, make sure that the oil is not covering any inlets or outlets of the machine. These vents are to help circulate the air in and out of the machine. They cook your food and prevent it from overheating.

Also, don’t let the area around the machine get crowded. Try to keep it away from towels, walls, and anything else that could potentially catch fire.

Why does my air fryer set off the smoke alarm?

If you sense a smoke coming out of your air fryer, the smoke alarm is also likely to set off. It’s most likely because food particles or oil are splattering onto the heating element.

If this happens, stop the air fryer and use a paper towel to wipe the bottom of the machine carefully. Try to clear all the excess grease. An alternate way is to put a piece of bread at the bottom of the machine to soak up any oil.

There are a few things you can do to prevent your air fryer from smoking and setting off the smoke alarm.

First, don’t use too much oil when frying. One of the advantages of using an air fryer is that you only need to use a tiny amount of oil, occasionally.

Try not to cook super fatty foods in the air fryer, like bacon. Or if you do cook fatty foods, remember that smoking may just be part of the process. When high-fat foods are cooked under high temperatures, some amount of smoking is likely to occur.

You can try to put bread at the bottom of the air fryer to see if it helps reduce some of the smoking. But most of it is going to be due to fat splattering on the heating elements. There’s no way to prevent that unless you cook your high-fat foods on the stovetop or in the conventional oven. Although, it must not be surprising to know that a stovetop cooked bacon will create more grease splatter and smoking than an air fryer.

Clean your heating elements. But if you sense smoke even after cleaning the air fryer and not using it for cooking high-fat foods, check the heating elements. There is a chance that the food particles have got stuck to the heating elements and are burning.

Wait until the air fryer has completely cooled, then gently wipe down the heating element to remove old grease and food particles.

Finally, make sure you are setting the correct temperature. If you are cooking at temperatures that are too high, you could be burning your food, causing smoke.

Do air fryers catch on fire?

No, air fryers are not likely to catch fire and are super safe appliances.

But of course, user error, dirty machines, and even faulty machines do cause a fire. For instance, if you don’t follow the manufacturer’s instructions and be careful, it could catch fire.

And so it’s not specific to air fryers as it can happen with other household appliances as well. Also, typically, an air fryer catching fire is a rare sight.

One alternative to an air fryer is a deep fryer. A huge vat of hot oil on your countertop or stovetop sounds way more dangerous than an air fryer.

Yet, air fryers are much safer than traditional deep frying. Have you ever made french fries from frozen in your deep frier? If you have, you might be aware that as soon as you put frozen fries in your deep fryer, they splatter everywhere.

I know this because I always dump and run when I deep fry french fries!

But with my air fryer, I just pour some fries in the basket, set the temperature, and wait. Easy peasy.

If we talk about fries! Have you ever wondered if they are fried before freezing? I have, and I did some research to find out for myself in this recent article.

Just click the link to read it on my site. You might be surprised by what I found out.

What should I put under my air fryer to protect the countertop from the heat?

There are a few things you can put under your air fryer to protect your countertops.

First and foremost, your air fryer should not be placed directly on your stovetop or countertop.

If you use it on your stovetop, it can cause the unit to melt and even ignite. 

While it is probably ok on your stone or granite countertop, do you really want to risk your countertops cracking? If you have Corian or something similar, you may risk melting your countertops.

So, in order to prevent damaging your countertops, using something as simple as a wooden cutting board works great. If you don’t have a wooden cutting board, you can find protective mats on Amazon for as little as $15.00.

These Supmat XL Extra Large Silicone Mat on Amazon come in a set of 2 and would work great. They are multifunctional, too. You can use one to line your oven for easier cleaning and one to protect your countertops!

Just click that link to see it on Amazon.

If you’re looking at air fryers, the chances are that you love a good French fry. And what could be a perfect food other than these delicacies for testing out your air fryer?

But make sure to use the best potatoes for delicious fries every time.

Luckily I wrote this recent article to help pick the best French fry potatoes. Just click the link to read it on my site.

Did I answer everything you wanted to know about whether an air fryer can overheat?

Air fryers are convenient and safe machines. And If properly maintained and used in accordance with the manufacturer instructions, you will never encounter any overheating.

Make sure that you keep the machine clean to prevent smoking. Additionally, keep the vents clear to prevent it from malfunctioning or any major mishappening. We also learned that an air fryer must never be used on a stovetop as it can burn the food and set off the smoke alarm. However, we can use it on the countertop if it is made of granite.

The most important precaution to be taken is to never put oil or any liquid inside the fryer as it can cause smoke and sometimes catch fire.

So, the above precautions must be kept in mind whenever you use an air fryer. Following these simple guidelines will prevent any overheating and will help your air fryer last longer.


Photo credits which require attribution:

KICHEN Air Fryer by Aaron Yoo is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

Jeff Campbell

Jeff was a leader for Whole Foods Market for over 2 decades and is now a recovering foodie. When he's not spending time in the kitchen, he can usually be found with his wife & 3 daughters, he can usually be found practicing martial arts, making music, or blogging on his other sites. Click to learn more about me

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