Why Is My Air Fryer Smoking?

Why Is My Air Fryer Smoking?

Air fryer’s smoking is a legit concern for home cooks because a thick smoke cloud can make anyone panic. No one wants an expensive cooking appliance to smoke and make whirring sounds when it’s fairly used. If you have also experienced smoke rising from your air fryer, take a breather because it’s a fixable problem.

This guide focuses on causes and preventative measures of air fryers smoking; continue reading and know what is causing your air fryer to go crazy smokey! 

Why Is My Air Fryer Smoking? Possible Causes!

If your air fryer has stuck-on grease, food particulate, and grime on its cooking components, it can emit smoke in your kitchen. When this residual material lands on your air fryer’s heating elements, you experience thick smoke coming from its vents. Moreover, fatty foods can also cause an air fryer to smoke when they charr and melt. Leaving food residue on the air fryer basket and bottom drawer can initiate smoking and occasional sparks in your air fryer. 

If you inspect your air fryer, you’ll notice that it has a heating coil (either covered or exposed) in the bottom section and a circulation fan in its top part. Your food sits in the air fryer basket between these two heating elements and should stay there for the best results. 

However, containing dry and wet food particulates in the fryer basket is not always doable. Sometimes the food rises from the mesh basket and winds up in the circulation fan because of its weight and size.

Similarly, foods coated in wet batters can pour tiny droplets over the heating coil, eventually leading to smoke and blocked ventilation. 

Air fryers are expensive cooking appliances aimed to make your meals healthier and faster. But when you’re new to using an air fryer, you can make multiple mistakes that cause it to malfunction.

Many home cooks have experienced their air fryers emitting smoke initially, but things went back to normal once they understood the correct way of using these handy appliances. 

Here are the primary culprits behind your air fryer smoking: 

Fat Residue 

Most busy cooks wash their air fryer basket after cooking but cannot wipe its bottom drawer and heating element regularly. When you don’t thoroughly wipe an air fryer, regular cooking can cause a grease build-up in it. 

If your air fryer’s lower section has grease build-up and you run a cooking cycle in it, you’re likely to experience a thick smoke cloud. Air fryers cook at 400F and higher temperatures which is fine for uncooked foods but not for the fatty residue.

Greasy Foods 

Apart from those grease splatters from your previous meals, your current meal’s fats can also instigate smoking. Meat chops, patties, bacon, and seafood contain enough fat contents to melt and cause air fryer smoking.

However, this little problem doesn’t mean you stop cooking your favorite foods in the air fryer. You can prepare drippy, fatty, and oozy recipes in your air fryer by lining its basket with parchment paper or aluminum foil

Stuck-On Food Particulate 

Bread crumbs, dried herbs, and food shreds can also accumulate in your air fryer’s bottom part if you don’t clean it regularly. When you turn on the air fryer for your next meal, these particles quickly burn and cause smoking. 

Oil with a Low Smoke Point 

A cooking oil’s smoke point can also be a contributing factor to your air fryer’s smoking. Since air fryers cook at high temperatures, the cooking oil you use should be capable enough to match that heat.


Oils with lower than 400F smoke points will easily charr and emit smoke, eventually impacting your food’s taste and texture. 

You must use cooking oils with 400F or higher smoke points to prevent air fryer smoking and food charring incidents. 

Cooking at Extreme Temperatures

Sure, your air fryer can cook at high heat, but it doesn’t mean you have to. Some foods cannot stand blasting temperature and come out burnt instead of properly cooked.

If you think running the air fryer at high heat will speed up your cooking process, be ready to deal with a smokey situation.  

Damaged Electrical Components

why air fryer smokes?

The worst reason behind an air fryer smoking is its damaged electrical components. Regular usage, short-circuiting, and low-quality parts can cause an air fryer’s electrical components to flare up. 

The primary indication of damaged electrical components is blue smoke instead of the regular white or grey smoke that rises from burnt food.

If you follow all care instructions of using an air fryer but still experience a smokey situation, contact the manufacturer and get their verdict on what to do next.

What To Do to Stop Air Fryer from Smoking When Cooking?

If your air fryer starts smoking during a cooking cycle, don’t panic because you can fix your way through it. Here’s what to do when your air fryer goes all smokey:

Unplug the Air Fryer

If you think the smoke rising from your air fryer is beyond normal, unplug it from the wall socket right away. Take its frying basket out to check if your food is alright. If the food isn’t charred yet, you can complete the remaining cooking cycle before moving on. 

Let it Cool Down 

Once your food is out of the air fryer, give it some time to cool down to ensure your skin doesn’t accidentally burn. 

Clean all Air Fryer Components 

  • Detach your air fryer’s components and prepare a quick wash for them. Soak the air fryer basket and pan in warm water mixed with liquid dish detergent for 10-15 minutes while working on other parts. 
  • Once you remove the frying basket, locate the grease and food splatters inside your air fryer. You’re likely to find a generous amount of grease around the heating coil and below the pan. Now, as you cannot submerge the air fryer’s main body, wipe its surface clean off this build-up. 
  • If the mess is huge, soak a sponge in liquid dish detergent and clean your air fryer’s interiors with it. You can repeat this step 2-3 times unless you’re sure all residue has come off. 
  • Don’t let too much water inside the air fryer while cleaning it because it can cause short-circuiting and a fire hazard. Once you have cleaned your air fryer’s greasy interiors, wipe it with a damp cloth and set it aside.  
  • Take your frying basket and pan out of the cleaning solution and rinse them under tap water to complete this cleaning process.

A clean air fryer won’t smoke because its heating elements and vents are now free from the stuck-on mess! 

How To Prevent Air Fryer from Smoking?

Cleaning the air fryer doesn’t completely rule out the possibility of it smoking; you need to follow some other steps as well. Here are some quick tips you can use to prevent your air fryer from smoking:

Put Water in the Air Fryer 

Once you thoroughly clean your air fryer, it won’t smoke the next time around. However, put some water in its pan to ensure that no amount of grease and food particulate ends up on the air fryer’s heating element.

Adding 1-2 tablespoons of water in the air fryer’s bottom drawer catches food grease and improves your food’s texture alongside. Don’t overfill the air fryer drawer because doing so can spill water on the heating coil, and you don’t want that ever.

Use High Smoke Point Oils

Using a cooking oil compatible with your air fryer’s temperature is a good approach – it will ensure your food’s taste and look is intact. Avocado oil, extra light olive oil, peanut oil, and grapeseed oil are suitable options for air fryers.

Keep the Air Fryer Clean 

Washing your frying basket after each use and keeping the air fryer’s interiors clean is the best strategy to prevent smoke emissions. 

Use Parchment Paper with Greasy Foods

When you cook fatty meats and other drippy foods, contain their particulate by lining your air fryer basket with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Covering the mesh basket will ensure the dry and wet food droplets don’t fall on the heating element.

Is It Normal for Air Fryer to Smoke?

Air fryers aren’t supposed to smoke each time you use them. If you follow all care instructions and keep your air fryer clean, you won’t see any smoke exiting its vents.

And even when there’s some smoke rising from your air fryer, you don’t have to worry. Follow the preventive measures we have shared above, and you’ll get over this problem soon. 

However, if you notice thick blue or greyish smoke rising from your air fryer, contact the manufacturer/brand you purchased it from. The manufacturer will inspect your air fryer’s heating coils and tell if it’s safe for further use or not. 

Final Thoughts 

Air fryers smoke when there is food or grease build-up inside them. If you follow a practical cleaning regime for your air fryer, it won’t smoke during cooking.

We have shared the primary reasons for air fryers smoking and listed the steps you can follow to overcome this problem. If your air fryer doesn’t stop smoking even when you follow all care instructions, contact its manufacturer or seller ASAP to weed out potential electricity hazards!

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