You might be pondering the safety of air fryers after Cosori, a kitchen appliance manufacturer, issued a recall this week for a number of faulty models. The short answer is yes. A clean air fryer or one that has been used for an extended period of time without being watched over may cause flammable issues.
Air fryers aren’t particularly hazardous or prone to fire when used and cleaned properly. In fact, using an air fryer is safer than using natural gas stoves, which have flammable gas flow and an open flame. (Additionally, two recent studies have demonstrated that gas stoves can release toxic gas when not in use, which can aggravate asthma in children.)
And that’s great news for us because air fryers are a great kitchen tool for eating healthier because they use less fat and calories than deep-frying. If you use one in place of the large oven, you can also reduce your energy costs.
One key task for keeping a clean and hazard-free air fryer, which you might not be doing, is to clean the coils on the underside of the hull. If the chemicals used to make nonstick air fryer baskets are unsafe, you might also be wondering. I’ll also talk about that.
Here is my comprehensive guide to air fryers, including how they operate and what to take into account when choosing one, in case you’re considering purchasing one of these trendy cookware items for the first time. In this article, I’ll outline the possible risks associated with using an air fryer as well as suggestions for reducing the risk.
Clean Your Air Fryer Basket After Every Use
Although not all air fryer food is healthy, air fryers are excellent for making chicken wings, mozzarella sticks, and other crave-worthy snacks. When you lift the food out of the basket without adding any cooking oil or spray, you might find a pool of oil or film in the basket. After each use, the oil and any other food remnants should be thoroughly cleaned. A fire inside the basket is more likely to start if there is leftover oil or tiny pieces of burned food.
The good news is that most air fryer baskets are nonstick, so all it takes to get them ready for the next session is a few good scrubs with a warm, soapy sponge. While some air fryer baskets claim to be dishwasher-safe, I advise hand washing them instead. Over time, the nonstick finish on your basket may erode due to the beating it will receive inside the dishwasher.
Clean the Coils above the Basket
The coils and the area around them inside the fryer’s hull and above the basket are a less obvious but no less crucial component of the air fryer to clean. During cooking, food scraps, sauce, and even oil can splatter up and onto those coils. Unless you tilt the air fryer back or flip it over completely, you probably won’t notice this buildup.
When cleaning the inside of an air fryer, it’s best to avoid the use of soap, since residual soap could taint food the next time you cook. Furthermore, over-wetting it could possibly harm the coils’ ability to function. Instead, use a damp scrubby or the rough side of your sponge. It shouldn’t be challenging to clean those coils if you do it frequently enough.
Aside from lowering the risk of fire, cleaning this section will keep your air frying humming along and cooking with optimal power.
Give Your Air Fryer Its Own Outlet, and Unplug It After Use
Given their high voltage consumption, air fryers run the risk of igniting a fire. When not in use, it is always preferable to unplug them. Some air fryers are rather quiet, so this also ensures the air fryer isn’t still running or won’t be accidentally turned on by a passing cat or the curious hand of a toddler. (Additionally, since appliances still use energy even when they are turned off, doing this over time can save you some money.)
Kitchen appliances like toasters, air fryers, and microwaves should also be plugged directly into an outlet rather than into an extension cord or outlet extender because they add more resistance to the flow of electricity. Additionally, you should refrain from plugging your air fryer into an outlet that has other plugged-in devices, particularly those that are in use, as this can strain the circuits.
In actuality, if there is faulty wiring or an electrical outlet, any electrical appliance could start a fire. Call an electrician if you hear a crackling or see sparks. Speaking of damaged electrical outlets, try to position your air fryer so the hot air blowing out the back is not hitting an electrical outlet in your kitchen. This may eventually lead to issues.
Do Air Fryer Baskets Contain Harmful Chemicals Or PFOAs?
The majority of air fryer baskets have a nonstick surface made of chemicals. You may have heard of Teflon and wondered if it was safe, depending on how old you are. In 2014, a substance called PFOA that was a component of the original Teflon was banned after being linked to cancer.
For nonstick-coated cookware and air fryer baskets, new and ostensibly safer materials like GenX are now used. There is still some skepticism and an ongoing debate about the safety of nonstick but, to date, no major studies have linked modern cookware use to negative health outcomes in those who use nonstick or Teflon cookware. Although GenX, when consumed in higher quantities and when found in drinking water, has been deemed toxic by the EPA.
There are air fryers with nonstick basket options available, including this one with a glass basket if you want to completely avoid nonstick. Most air-frying toaster ovens come with wire racks rather than baskets, which is another excellent substitute for nonstick.