We all know Ree Drummond loves a good air fryer. In fact, not only did she call herself “obsessed” with the super-useful kitchen tool, she introduced a beautiful vintage floral 6.3-quart model through The Pioneer Woman line. And it’s no wonder it’s jumped on this trend: after all, air fryers can make once-considered off-limits high-fat foods (like French fries) much healthier by cooking them with rapidly circulating hot air instead of hot fat. And, most importantly, cleanup is easy! That said, air fryers do require a deep wash from time to time, just like any kitchen appliance and that may have you wondering, “how do clean a fryer?
For step-by-step instructions, we went straight to the experts: chefs who give their fryers a great workout. Below are top tips on the best ways to get your own air fryer as clean as when you first bought it. That way you can remake all those delicious air fryer recipes like chicken wings and chicken parmesan.
What is the easiest way to clean an air fryer?
There are tons of different air fryers on the market. (Although, none as beautiful or well-designed as Ree’s, of course!) So it’s best to always refer to your owner’s manual for instructions specific to your model. Generally speaking, though, the easiest way to clean an air fryer is to do a light cleaning at least every other time you use it. “If you make something especially messy like something with sauce or marinade, clean it up the same day or you may end up with a stuck-on mess,” says Chelsea Mae Plummer, recipe developer at Mae’s Menu. “The longer something sticky sits in the fryer, the harder it is to clean.“
Cleaning your air fryer frequently will not only make your job easier, but it will also prevent the build-up of leftover food that could cause odors, malfunctions, or even, in the worst case, a fire. This is the easiest way to give your air fryer a light clean:
- After using the fryer, let it cool down and unplug it.
- Take out the basket, pan or tray and wash it in the sink with warm water and dish soap. Set it aside to dry overnight.
- Clean the inside of the fryer, including the heating element, with a damp, soapy cloth, sponge, or paper towel. Wipe it again with a clean, damp cloth and then with a dry cloth.
- Clean the outside of the fryer with a soft cloth.
- When the removable parts of the fryer are dry, place them in the fryer.
Avoid using abrasive cleaners and scouring pads on your air fryer, which could scratch the nonstick parts and exterior.
How do I deep clean my air fryer?
The process is very similar to the light cleanup you do after cooking, but with a couple of extra steps. “Air fryers are basically mini convection ovens with a nonstick drawer, so if you have food caked on it, you can treat it like a nonstick pan,” explains Sylvia Fountaine, chef and recipe blogger at Feasting at Home. “Water and heat will help to easily remove cooked-on grease and debris, so add a cup of water to the fryer basket, turn it on high for a few minutes, and leave it alone. You’ll find when you open the drawer that there will be lifted a lot of debris and dirt effortlessly, without scrubbing or soap.
Are the removable parts of your fryer still dirty? Soak them in hot soapy water for about 30 minutes, then scrub them lightly with a soft-bristled toothbrush. You can also use a toothpick to (gently) get into hard-to-clean places, like holes in the grill. However, you should never Submerge entire fryer in water.
Even if your air fryer’s instruction book recommends it, don’t use the removable parts in your dishwasher. According to food blogger Michelle Morey of Barefoot in the Pines, “I find washing my air fryer by hand is much more effective, and the dishwasher gets into weird places and can rust my basket.”
How do you remove sticky residue from an air fryer?
For the most stubborn and stuck-on messes on the inside of the fryer, you can use half a cup of baking soda and a little water to make a thick paste. Cover the sticky patches with the paste and let it sit for a few minutes before scrubbing with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Clean the inside of the fryer with a damp cloth, then wipe with a dry cloth.
How do you degrease an air fryer?
If your air fryer feels especially greasy on the inside, try Fountaine’s trick, but add a bit of dish soap to the water. Be sure to use a fat fighter like Dawn Ultra. To make cleaning your fryer easier after cooking, you can also use disposable aluminum fryer foil or parchment paper liners. Just be sure to check your owner’s manual to confirm they’re appropriate for use with your air fryer’s toaster oven.
If you find that strong food odors, such as fish, cling to your fryer after a deep clean, try rubbing a lemon over the basket. Let it sit for about half an hour, then wash it off.
Jill Gleeson is a travel journalist and memoirist based in the Appalachian Mountains of western Pennsylvania who has written for websites and publications including Good Housekeeping, Woman’s Day, Country Living, Washingtonian, Gothamist, Canadian Traveler and EDGE Media Network. . Jill is the travel editor for Enchanted Living. She learns more about her journey at gleesonreboots.com.
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