How To Prevent Food Sticking to Inside Air Fryer

If you have an air fryer, you have probably encountered stuck food. You probably also understand the difficulty of cleaning an air fryer with stuck food, fat, and oil. So, how do you prevent this problem in the first place?

Here’s how to prevent food from sticking inside an air fryer:

  1. Season the air fryer.
  2. Change the oil type.
  3. Set the right air fryer temperature.
  4. Clean the air fryer regularly.
  5. Use a foil slin.

This article outlines essential details you need to know about air fryers, including the causes of food sticking in the air fryer, tips on cleaning the air fryer, and effective methods of preventing food from sticking inside the air fryer. Keep reading to find out!

Why Food Sticks to the Inside of the Air Fryer

Let’s find out why food sticks in air fryers before I explain how to prevent this from happening.

Here are a few reasons why food sticks inside your air fryer:

  • Infrequent cleaning: Failure to clean your air fryer regularly can cause food debris to build up and stick to its internal components. The longer the cleaning intervals, the higher the chances of this happening.
  • Suboptimal air fryer temperature: Baking foods such as potatoes in an air fryer at a suboptimal temperature causes the food to burn and stick to the interior. 
  • Non-sticky coating wearing off: Air fryers have a non-stick coating that prevents food from sticking to the surface. However, this coating can wear off if it’s scrubbed off or continuously exposed to higher temperatures than it is designed to withstand. Once the non-stick coating wears off, the food is allowed to come into direct contact with the air fryer, causing it to stick.

How To Prevent Food From Sticking to the Inside of the Air Fryer

Now that you understand what causes food to stick inside your air fryer, the next item on our to-do list is figuring out how to prevent this from happening.

The list provided below outlines various solutions you can use to prevent food from sticking in your air fryer:

Season the Air Fryer

You should coat its basket lightly with oil or season it regularly. Seasoning is crucial because it reinforces the air fryer’s non-stick coating, preventing food from sticking to it. The additional oil coating minimizes the effect of high temperatures on the non-stick coating, helping keep this all-important layer intact longer.

Change the Oil Type

You should also consider changing the oil in your air fryer to a type with a higher smoking point. Oil with a high smoking point does not burn quickly under low temperatures and thus prevents food from burning and sticking to the air fryer.

Some of the best oils with high smoking points include:

  • Sesame oil
  • Refined safflower oil
  • Clarified butter (AKA, ghee)
  • Sunflower oil

Set the Right  Air Fryer Temperatures

Always ensure that the air fryer is set to the recommended temperature for the type of food you’re cooking. Preparing foods at their optimal temperature prevents food from burning and sticking in the air fryer, especially if you observe the recommended cook time.

Not sure what’s the ideal cooking time and temperature for your food? Check out this guide by Tasteofhome.

Clean the Air Fryer Regularly

You should clean your air fryer as frequently as possible to prevent food from building up, sticking in it, and affecting its performance. Ideally, you should clean your air fryer every time you use it so the grime doesn’t get enough time to dry in. Be sure to use the right cleaning procedures, taking care not to damage the air fryer.

Use a foil slin

Another effective way to prevent food from sticking inside the air fryer is using a foil sling. Fold aluminum foil into a small size and use it to cover the air fryer’s basket. The foil will prevent food from sticking to the basket and make it easier to remove food from the air fryer. 

I recommend trying Reynolds Wrap aluminum foil (available on It is perfect for different cooking and baking situations, including lining baking pans and air fryers for easy clean-up.

Use these measures to prevent food from sticking in your air fryer and save yourself the hassle of cleaning an air fryer with food debris, fats, and oils. Otherwise, food will continue sticking in your air fryer whenever you use it.

How To Clean Air Fryers That Had Food Stuck In

In the above section, we discussed what you can do to prevent food from sticking inside your air fryer. But what should you do if you didn’t take these precautions early enough and already have food stuck inside your air fryer?

You should always follow the instructions provided in the owner’s manual when cleaning your air fryer. However, there are some general cleaning tips that every air fryer owner should be aware of. These include:

  • Cleaning the air fryer on time
  • Using a wooden cleaner rather than a metal one
  • Using warm soapy water to get rid of strong odors

Read this blog section to learn the best tips to follow when cleaning your air fryer after use. These tips will help you answer common questions on how to clean air fryers with food stuck inside, including:

  • The right time to clean the air fryer.
  • The appropriate cleaning equipment.
  • The best way to deal with lingering odors.

The Right Time To Clean the Air Fryer

People usually encounter problems when cleaning their air fryers because they wait too long before cleaning. You may think air fryers do not get as dirty as frying pans because they use hot air rather than oil to prepare food. While this is true, the food undergoing preparation in the air fryer usually produces fat and oil, which sticks to the bottom of the pull-out basket drawer.

Delaying before cleaning the air fryer allows the oil and food particles to solidify and stick to the air fryer. Such delays are undesirable because they complicate the cleaning process and cause air fryers to produce smoke and odor. That usually happens due to grease accumulation on the heating element and pieces of food getting caught in the basket holes.

You should unplug your air fryer and let it cool for a few minutes after use before emptying the oil from the pull-out drawer and cleaning the air fryer. Doing that allows you to clean the air fryer without any problems because no food or fat remains stuck.

The Appropriate Cleaning Equipment

Another important aspect of cleaning any air fryer is using the appropriate cleaning equipment. Using the wrong cleaning tools is inefficient and a surefire way to risk damaging the air fryer. You do not want to destroy your air fryer when cleaning it.

First, do not use abrasives when cleaning your air fryer’s removable components. Instead, use a soft sponge or cloth with warm water to remove the food debris and remaining fats and oils. Abrasives can scratch and damage your air fryer. 

If food is stuck on the air fryer, soak it in warm water and a cleaning detergent to loosen the grime before removing it with a soft piece of cloth and running water. Scrub the food particles gently to avoid scarring your air fryers’ non-stick coating.

I recommend using Amazon Basics Microfiber Cleaning Cloths (available on They are non-abrasive, reusable, and washable, making them ideal for cleaning air fryers with delicate surfaces.   

I also recommend purchasing a strong disinfectant like the Easy Off specialty Kitchen Degreaser Cleaner (available on It is powerful, versatile, and safe for removing tough stains from kitchen surfaces and appliances.

Another important point regarding air fryer cleaning equipment is that you should only use a wooden skewer or toothpick when removing food debris stuck in the basket. Abrasives such as steel wool and metal utensils risk scratching and damaging the air fryer’s coating. 

The Best Way To Deal With Lingering Odors

Some foods produce strong odors and aromas that linger in the air fryer long after you finish cooking. This is another reason why you should clean your air fryer as soon as possible. You don’t want odors remaining on the air fryer permanently and possibly affecting the taste and smell of other foods you cook in the future.

Soak the air fryer’s food basket and drawer in warm soapy water for a while (about 30 to 60 minutes depending on the air fryer) before rinsing them in running warm water. If this does not eliminate the lingering smell, rub a cut lemon on the food basket and drawer before rewashing them.