Steam Coming Out Of Air Fryer: Is It Okay?

Yes, It is normal for steam to come out of an air fryer. However, if your air fryer is emitting smoke, it means that something is burning, and you should turn off the fryer immediately.

Everyone cooks with an air fryer a lot because we like its convenience and prefer our food crispy. However, most foods do not start dry and crisp; instead, they are a little wet and oily. 

So, It’s pretty normal for the water inside the food to evaporate while the air fryer heats it, and typically, the steaming will stop as soon as the water dries out without causing any damage.

What you should be concerned about is the smell of the steam to be sure it is genuinely just steam and not white smoke. The smoke has a burning odor that can change the taste of your food and will mess with your home’s interior. 

In this article, I will explain how it all works and hopefully set your mind at ease. 

steam coming out of air fryer

What Causes Your Air Fryer To Steam?

Due to the heat pressure of your air fryer, food quickly loses its water content which creates the steam that escapes through a vent hole at the back of your air fryer, and that is why your air fryer steams. 

However, as I mentioned earlier, except it turns out to be white smoke, It is not a sign of damage and should not be a cause for alarm.

So, how can you tell the difference between steam and white smoke? 

How To Know If it’s Smoke or Steam Coming Out of Your Air Fryer 

You can easily tell the difference between steam and smoke by smelling. For example, if what you see smells like your usual food aroma, it is steam. However, a burnt smell means smoke. 

I was quite scared when I first experienced smoke coming out of my air fryer and never wanted to experience such again. So I did some digging to find out what caused my air fryer to smoke and how to prevent them. 

Below are the six reasons behind the smoke I experienced 

Why Smoke Is Coming Out Of Your Air Fryer

The primary source of smoke in your air fryer is grease or other food particles on the heating element. Whether it is white smoke or grey smoke, don’t panic when you see it. It’s pretty easy to stop the smoke and you can use this to stop your oven from smoking. and you can use this to stop your oven from smoking..

Greasy and Fatty Food

An air fryer cooks food by circulating hot air through the system and can reach temperatures of up to 400°F.

When cooking fatty foods like bacon, fish, and cheese, the grease will start to accumulate at the bottom of the air fryer and begin to burn and emit smoke due to the high temperatures inside.

So when you see gray smoke coming out of your air fryer, it is likely caused by fatty food.

How To Stop The Smoke

  • Turn off the air fryer and unplug it from the socket.
  • Allow the smoke to escape from the kitchen by opening windows and doors.
  • Take out the basket and wipe away any excess grease or oil.
  • Using a paper towel, clean the inside of the air fryer.
  • Then, place a slice of bread on the bottom of the drawer to soak up the grease.
  • Now, add 2-3 tablespoons of water to the cooking compartment to prevent the fatty foods from burning.
  • Place a foil on the basket to catch food particles and act as a splatter shield.
  • Return the food to the fryer to finish cooking, and make sure you keep an eye on your temperature to avoid burning.

Leftover Food Particles

If you’re cooking food with low fat and oil, such as chicken breasts or french fries, you shouldn’t have to worry about smoke coming out of your fryer because there isn’t enough grease to cause the smoke.

However, if smoke begins to come out of your air fryer, it is likely caused by leftover food particles stuck in the air fryer from previous use.

If you don’t clean out leftover particles from your air fryer before putting food in it, you will get a burning smell, and white smoke as the fryer heats up.

How To Stop The Smoke

  • Turn off your air fryer and remove the drawer and food basket.
  • Wipe down the inside of your air fryer to remove any leftover food and excess grease.
  • Clean the heating elements with warm soapy water.
  • Return the drawer and food to the fryer to finish cooking without producing smoke.

Food Ingredients

If you like to add sauce to your food, you will frequently encounter a smoking fryer.

When too much sauce (such as barbeque sauce) is added to food too early in the air frying process, it can drip and burn, resulting in smoke.

Using a cooking oil with a low smoke point can also cause the air fryer to smoke. This is because the air fryer can reach temperatures of up to 400°F. Some cooking oils can’t withstand such temperatures without burning.

How To Stop The Smoke

  • Wait until the food is partially cooked before adding the sauce.
  • If you must use oil in your cooking, make sure it has a high smoke point.

Crowded Air Fryer

If you overfill your basket, the hot air will not circulate properly, and your food will not cook evenly. The food can also quickly begin to burn, resulting in excessive smoke.

Similarly, if your food is not correctly placed in the air fryer ( placing your food too close to the heating element). It can quickly burn and produce a lot of smoke.

Tips To Prevent The Smoke

oiless air fryer
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions when putting food in the fryer.
  • Cut food into smaller pieces to fit into the basket.
  • Instead of multiple layers, arrange the food in a single layer.
  • Keep food at a reasonable distance from the heating element.

Air Fryer Is Malfunctioning

If you start seeing blue or black smoke coming out of your air fryer, turn it off immediately and unplug it from the outlet. There is already potential damage to your appliance.

Unlike the white smoke produced by the leftover grease, dark smoke is caused by overheating and has a strong odor that can be harmful to your health if inhaled.

How To Stop The Smoke

  • Turn off the air fryer and remove it from the socket.
  • Allow a few minutes for the temperature to stabilize.
  • Remove any food items; you’ll be lucky if they’re still edible.
  • Take the appliance to a reputable repairer or return them to the manufacturer for a replacement if you still have a warranty. Otherwise, it may be time to get a new air fryer.

How To Prevent Your Air Fryer From Smoking

cleaning air fryer

Wouldn’t you rather never see any smoke and enjoy crispy fried foods without smelling like smoke!

Below are easy ways to prevent your air fryer from smoking

Regular Cleaning And Maintenance

After each use, cleaning your air fryer is the simplest way to prevent it from emitting smoke.

To keep your air fryer in shape, you should;

  • Clean the filter, basket, and other components of the air fryer.
  • Use warm soapy water to remove dirt and grease from the inside of the unit.


  • Do not place your air fryer in a confined space where air cannot circulate.
  • Open the windows and turn on the vent hood to ventilate the kitchen.

Use Fat Reducer

Using a ‘Philips’ air fryer comes with a fat reducer attachment that prevents excess grease from forming white smoke.

Use A Timer

You can also set the fryer to at least 30 minutes so that nothing starts cooking for less than that amount of time.

FAQs On Steam Coming Out Of Air Fryer

Can My Air Fryer Catch Fire?

An electrical malfunction in an air fryer can cause it to catch fire. If your air fryer is overheating, it’s a sign of impending damage and explosion. However, if you use and maintain your air fryer properly, there is very little risk of a fire hazard.

Can I steam Food In An Air Fryer?

You should not steam food in an air fryer to prevent it from breaking down. They are designed to crisp food, not moisten it. To steam your food, use a pressure cooker or steamer.

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