Asking us not to eat fried food is like asking Joanna Gaines not to make her famous biscuits. It’s not going to happen. But we also know frying isn’t healthy…until we discovered the air fryer. It’s still not the healthiest thing in the world, but since it uses way less oil, food that’s air-fried is lower in fat and calories. Plus, it turns out that cleaning an air fryer is much easier than a deep fryer.
To help you care for your new favorite appliance, we’ve put together a quick and easy cleaning guide below. And if you need a reason to dirty it up (you know, so you can clean it), try one of these delicious air fryer recipes, from fried pickles to chicken wings.
What to Wash After Each Use
The basket, tray and pan can be washed just like you would any other dish: with soap and warm water. Or, if you don’t feel like washing them by hand (and we don’t blame you), place them in the dishwasher. Most air fryers have dishwasher-safe pieces, but check the instruction manual for your specific model first, just to be sure. Dry all of the parts completely before you reassemble the air fryer.
If the basket or pan has baked-on grease, soak it in hot water and soap for 20 to 30 minutes. Then remove the now-softened gunk with a scrub brush.
To clean the interior, remove the basket, tray and pan to clean the inside of the air fryer. Simply run a damp cloth or sponge with a little bit of dish soap over the entire interior and wipe it dry.
What to Wash Occasionally
Since there’s very little oil involved in air frying, there’s also little greasy residue, so you don’t need to clean the outside of the air fryer as frequently. Use a damp cloth to wipe down the exterior every couple of uses. Make sure you unplug it first!
Also check the coil. If there’s oil or residue on the heating coil, let the unplugged machine cool, then wipe the coil with a damp cloth—just like you would with the heating element on an electric stove.
Air Fryer Deep-Cleaning Tips
If you notice a foul odor coming from your air fryer, chances are there are food particles trapped somewhere in or on it. Mix together baking soda and water to form a paste. Then use a scrub brush or an old toothbrush to thoroughly scrub the interior of the air fryer. (Seriously, did you know baking soda could do all this?!)
Never use metal utensils to remove crumbs or baked-on grease from the fryer. It can damage the non-stick coating and prevent your fryer from working properly.
Knowing how to clean an air fryer isn’t hard, but it is important to care for and extend the life of your appliance. Now that you know how it’s done, here are some foods you didn’t know you could cook in your air fryer (and some you definitely shouldn’t!).