You Should Be Cleaning Your Air Fryer More Often Than You Think

Let's be honest, air fryers are pretty magical. Cooking with them involves less work than some other appliances, saves time, cuts down on mess, and they're pretty much ready for your frying needs whenever you need them to be. In a perfect world, they'd even clean themselves — alas, that's not the case, and you should probably be cleaning your air fryer more often than you think. But before we get into how often you should be cleaning yours, let's take a moment to discuss how to clean an air fryer in the first place.

According to Food Network, the first step is to turn off your air fryer, unplug it, and wait for it to cool down. After, take out the removable inner basket and pan, wipe them down, and wash them with warm, soapy water. Avoid anything abrasive if your fryer has a non-stick coating. (Depending on which brand you have, you might even be able to put the basket and pan in the dishwasher.) Next up is the bottom chamber, which might involve some extra work since that's where all the oil residue and crumbs fall when you cook with your air fryer. To clean it, simply wipe it down with a paper towel and let it air dry.

How often you should be cleaning your air fryer

Cleaning your air fryer seems like a pretty simple, straightforward process, right? Truthfully, it is, which is all the more reason to be cleaning it more often. According to Food Network, your air fryer should be cleaned every time you use it or at least every few times. They advise that if you're using the air fryer to cook in batches, that you should leave some cooling time between each batch. That way, you can wipe away any debris that has fallen between batches.

Consumer Reports (CR) backs this up and adds that compared to traditional deep frying and all those annoying oil splatters that often get on the stovetop, cleaning an air fryer is a "cinch." While you might not notice any buildup right off the bat, "over time that grease can build up in the drawer and on the heating element, and you may start to smell odors or even see smoke as your food cooks." Although Food Network suggests either cleaning your fryer every time or after a few uses, CR urges the former. "Do not allow the crumbs and bits of food to sit overnight, or the basket and drawer will be a nightmare to clean," Larry Ciufo, who tests air fryers for CR, says. Once you've got your fryer squeaky clean, you can get back to using it for delicious donut tricks.