We all love our beloved kitchen appliances. Especially the fancy ones that cost an arm and a leg. Yes, we are talking about that shiny air fryer. We can imagine the panic in your eyes if you witness smoke coming out of your air fryer. But is it normal for an air fryer to smoke?
Yes, it is normal for your air fryer to smoke when you cook fatty, greasy foods in it. The grease splatters onto the heating element, giving rise to smoke and a burning smell. However, this isn’t in any way harmful.
What different types of smoke mean
Smoke from an air fryer does not always mean a faulty appliance. Sometimes it only means that you are using it wrong. That is why, more often than not, it’s the food and method responsible for that rising smoke.
It is quite common to see smoke coming out of an air fryer while it is in the process of cooking. However, it is the type of smoke that determines the nature and severity of the issue at hand.
White smoke: Steam
White smoke usually means that it’s simply steam coming out of the food. You will smell the nice aromas if that’s the case. However, if it smells like burning, that’s the excess fat you have used in the food.
Black smoke: Burning food
Black smoke, obviously, means that your food is burning. We’ll discuss the causes later on, but there is more than one way to burn your food in an air fryer.
Blue smoke: Damaged wiring
Blue is the color you should be worried about, no matter how rare it is. If your air fryer is giving out blue smoke, you must turn off the appliance and get it professionally checked for damaged wiring.
Reasons for smoke coming from air fryer
While it’s not uncommon for fumes to come out of an air fryer, it is still alarming to notice. You might get worried about the hours of preparation you did on the food only to get it burned in the air fryer. But these are not the end of your worries; read on to know more about why your air fryer is smoking.
1. Excessive oil
Air fryers are built to give a healthy, minimal-oil version of the food we love. That does not mean your food can’t have any oil. That being said, you should be careful about the amount of oil you put in. Too much oil is sure to catch fire and burn your food tasteless.
If your food already has oil in the recipe, do not spray oil in the basket of the air fryer. The excess oil drips into the basket and stays there. This oil heats up very quickly and causes smoke to rise. Alternatively, always use a small number of oils while cooking food in the air fryer to avoid such disasters.
2. Overloaded basket
Your air fryer can only hold so much food. Just because your basket has a decent height does not mean you can load it to the top. Layering and overcrowding food in the air fryer should be avoided. The height is there for effective heating throughout the food.
When you overcrowd your air fryer basket, the heating system takes an immense load and cooks only the top layer of the food. As a result, your food will be raw in the middle and burnt from the outside. Now you know where that smoke comes from when you fill the air fryer to the brim.
3. Residual food particles
We understand that you want to fix a quick meal for your family with no time to clean the air fryer. But don’t put it on us if you see black fumes coming out of your air fryer.
Particles from your past cooks get stuck in the air fryer’s nooks. So when you use the air fryer again without cleaning it, the said particles dance around it, catching fire. This especially happens when you cook too much food with loose marinade/batter.
4. High temperatures
The body and insides of the air fryer are meant to tolerate high temperatures. But if you use your air fryer at high temperatures, again and again, the material will begin to melt. And, of course, no one wants to smell the horrific fumes of burning alloys.
Moreover, reaching the smoke point of oils and fats should also be avoided as it can reduce the nutritional value of the food and make it taste bitter.
5. Long cooking time
Most air-fried recipes only require 10 to 15 minutes of cooking. Granted, some bigger meat pieces may require a few more minutes, but that’s rare.
If your food is not done within 20 minutes, there is something wrong with your choice of ingredients, not the appliance. After 30 minutes, expect a plate of burnt food while your kitchen fills with black smoke.
How to avoid air fryers getting smoky
Now that you have acquired the wisdom behind smoky air fryer, it is time to teach you the tips and tricks to avoid these mistakes:
1. Use a little oil (for non-fatty foods)
Always spray a small amount of oil in the basket before putting in food. Skip this step altogether if your food already has fats in it.
2. Batch cooking
Cook your food in batches. Do not fill the air fryer basket to the brim. It is better to wait than to serve burnt-up, raw-from-the-inside food.
3. Always clean your air fryer
Try to always use a cleaned air fryer before every cook. Just remember to clean your air fryer after you have cooked something messy. That way, you won’t have dried-off bits during the next cooking session, which could lead to burning and smoking.
4. Do not use high temperatures
Your food will not cook quickly at high temperatures – it will only get charred and yuck! Have patience; cook at medium to low temperatures.
5. Keep your pieces small
Cut your food into smaller pieces so it can be cooked thoroughly and quickly. Bigger pieces require more time, but it also dehydrates the food from the outside and eventually burns it.
Understandably, a lot can go wrong while cooking in an air fryer. It takes time to get used to the settings and temperature. That is why it is not a big thing to see smoke from your air fryer. However, you should strive to use your appliances sensibly and with care so that you always end up with a yummy plate of food.