How This Simple Air Fryer Mistake Caused A Massive Explosion

TikTok was recently graced with a video of a wrecked-looking stove and a destroyed air fryer in the sink. "10 firemen and one hash brown later," Abbey Trbovich wrote in the description. "When our Costco air fryer blows up in our apartment." So far, the video has been viewed more than 3 million times. The comments section has not necessarily comforted the now bereaved air fryer owner. "Bestie I'm afraid to tell you this," one of the more polite commenters said. "There's a warning to only put it on the counter and specifically not the stove."

This mini-explosion is not an isolated occurrence. In August of 2019, WBRZ reported that an air fryer had exploded into flames after it had been placed on the stove, which had accidentally been turned on. In June of this year, Inside Edition covered how a little girl saved a household by noticing that her family's air fryer, which had also been placed on a stove, had caught fire. It's safe to say that if you have an air fryer, you should never put it on your stove, and you should always unplug it when you're done using it, Nicole Papantoniou of the Good Housekeeping Kitchen Appliances Lab told Inside Edition.

Why do air fryers catch fire on the stove?

Why, exactly, is putting your hashbrown-crisping appliance on the stovetop one of the worst air fryer mistakes you can make? If your stovetop burner is on, turns on, or has not fully cooled after a previous use, it can heat the air fryer to a temperature that's much higher than the roughly 400 degrees it can handle, Everyday Family Cooking explains. One of the comments on Abbey Trbovich's TikTok goes into further detail: "The stove top gets hot in a way that a countertop doesn't. The hot stove then heats the air fryer, pushing it beyond temperatures for which it was designed. So it explodes." 

These warnings are echoed by many air fryer makers' safety instructions. The Instant Pot brand's website reads, "Do not place the appliance on a stovetop. Heat from an external source may damage the appliance." Grab a heat-resistant mat to place under your air fryer, and use it on the counter and under supervision only.