Can You Put Water in an Air Fryer?

It’s normal to have questions about your air fryer, especially when you first start using it. What can and can’t you do with it, and what might damage it? For instance, you may be wondering if adding water to your air fryer is okay and want to make sure of the risks involved. 

Adding a few tablespoons of water to an air fryer is fine. You can use water to reduce smoking when cooking fatty and greasy foods. However, air fryers aren’t made to cook with large amounts of water, so adding more than a few tablespoons isn’t recommended. 

The rest of this article will discuss the different things to consider when adding water to your air fryer, including when you should add water, how much to add, and if boiling water in your air fryer is possible. Plus, we’ll go over some safety tips.

Can You Put Water in an Air Fryer?

You can add water to your air fryer, but only a few tablespoons at a time is necessary. Excessive amounts of liquid in the air fryer may result in overheating, or it may short your appliance’s motor. 

Therefore, it’s best to avoid adding lots of water to your air fryer. However, there are a couple situations where adding a bit of water to your appliance is a good idea.

When To Add Water to an Air Fryer

As I mentioned, adding water to an air fryer has the notable benefit of decreasing smoke production when cooking certain foods. Smoke from your air fryer can lead to stained walls, smoke inhalation, and unpleasant smells. You’ll want to avoid this as much as you can.

Foods that make the most smoke are those with a lot of fat and grease, such as bacon, sausage, or ground meat. The grease from these foods drips down and collects at the bottom of the air fryer, where it burns.

When the grease burns, it creates smoke. Any grease or oil that ends up at the bottom of the chamber will lead to smoke. 

The residue from added oils and crumbs will also likely end up at the bottom of the chamber and burn. The smoke is then expelled out of your fryer’s air vent and into the surrounding area.

Luckily, the easy solution is to add water to the bottom of the air fryer. The water cools down the grease, preventing it from burning, which in turn diminishes smoking.

Therefore, when cooking fatty foods, adding water to the bottom of your air chamber is necessary. It guarantees reduced smoke and all the annoyances that come with it. 

Even though it may seem dangerous, adding water to hot grease isn’t anything to worry about. Though water added to oil usually causes it to crackle and pop, the basket in the air fryer keeps all the crackling contained in a safe space. 

How Much Water To Add to an Air Fryer

If you’re trying to reduce smoke production, use up to a few tablespoons of water. This amount should do the trick. Add this water to the base of the fryer, where any grease and oil discharged from the food will collect.

Adding water to the food itself may result in soggy, limp food. According to Reader’s Digest, air fryers can’t expel water from food the way a deep fryer can. Meaning that most of the water you add to your air fryer will end up in the finished product. 

If you want a lot of moisture in your food, add the appropriate amount of water directly to your food. However, if you want your food to come out crispy and light, adding water will most likely prevent that.

Vegetables with a high water content or foods coated in wet batter also won’t do well in an air fryer. The hot air in your air fryer won’t do anything to expel the water in the veggies, causing them to remain limp or squishy. Any wet batter will turn into a gluey texture.

Furthermore, putting too much water in the basket of your air fryer might be a potential fire hazard. Too much of any liquid, especially when it goes past the overfill line, can cause your air fryer to overheat or short-circuit. 

Thus, it’s best to stick to a few tablespoons of water at most.

How To Use Water When Cleaning Your Air Fryer

You may be wondering if it’s okay to use water to clean your air fryer since it’s an electrical appliance. 

You can use water and soap to clean out the basket, divider, and pan of your air fryer with no problem. These parts can be taken out and rinsed, submerged, and soaped in the sink like your regular dishes. You shouldn’t add water directly to the inside of the appliance.

Always make sure to avoid getting any water on the machine’s heating elements, such as the heating coil, which is electrical. A little soap and a damp cloth are fine to wipe them down, but they should never be submerged.

Grease and crumbs can build up in your air fryer over time and create smoke if not consistently cleaned out. Or, as expert Janilyn Hutchings told Eating Well, leftover residue can even contaminate your food and cause illness. 

Though you can’t use water to wash your air fryer’s heating elements, a specific cleaning tool for your air fryer can still help you to clean it effectively. Use this special Infraovens Air Fryer Grill Brush (available on Amazon.com) to clean your fryer’s heating component without using water. It’s inexpensive and made of high-quality stainless steel, so it should last a long time. 

Can You Boil Water in an Air Fryer?

An air fryer heats things enough to cook them, so it should be able to heat the water enough to boil it, right? However, this isn’t the case.

Boiling water in an air fryer isn’t possible. Instead, attempting to boil water in your appliance will only result in very hot, steamy water. According to the Food Network, an air fryer can’t reach the temperatures needed to boil water.

It’s best not to cook anything in an air fryer that requires liquid to cook, such as rice and grains. According to Mashed, the water will never get hot enough to cook them properly. It’s just not equipped with the technology required to do so, like a pressure cooker or a slow cooker is.

But, you can still cook things such as hard-boiled eggs in the air fryer, as eggs don’t need water to cook- only heat. You can also boil your grains beforehand and then toss them in the air fryer to crisp them up for a fun trick.

Air Fryer Safety Tips

Air fryers are electrical appliances, and like all electrical appliances or machines, you should handle them with care. Here are some essential things to remember when using your air fryer:

  • Read the manual that came with your air fryer. Your air fryer’s manual will tell you all you need to know about the specific air fryer that you have. It’s always best to follow the advice of the manufacturers who made your appliance and know everything about it.
  • Please make sure the air vents are open, and there’s a lot of space around them. Air fryers have vents that release all the smoke and steam created when cooking. It’s crucial that these vents are open and that there’s nothing in their way when your food is cooking.
  • Remember that food sometimes flies around in the basket when cooking. The circulating hot air that the fryer uses to cook the food can sometimes cause lighter bits of food to fly around the basket. Ensure that this food is nothing that can cause a messy clean-up, such as wet batter or crumbs.
  • Don’t use too much oil. According to Kitchen Appliance HQ, adding too much oil to the basket could result in overheating and create a fire hazard. Use just enough oil to crisp up your food or add some flavor, and don’t go overboard.
  • Don’t overcrowd the basket. Air fryers need to have a certain amount of space between the heater and the fan. Overfilling the basket with food or liquid past the minimum fill line can cause overheating. 
  • Clean your air fryer. As I mentioned before, cleaning your air fryer is very important. Eating Well recommends cleaning it after every use so that no food residue can build up in the appliance.