Keep Your Air Fryer From Smoking With One Pantry Staple

Person using basket air fryer
Person using basket air fryer - Marioguti/Getty Images

Can you believe there was a time before air fryers when we used to heat leftovers and frozen foods in the microwave? These days, these countertop appliances are the kings of the kitchen, and more than two-thirds of American homes have one -- some even have more than one -- according to reporting from Food Dive.

Air fryers are easy to use, but they accumulate residue a lot faster than conventional ovens, which can cause smoke. Greasy foods will gunk up your air fryer faster, but let's be honest; they're probably the reason you bought the thing in the first place. As long as you're keeping your fryer clean between uses, a little smoke isn't a big deal. But if you're worried about setting off the smoke alarms from your next batch of midnight mozzarella sticks, all you need to do is reach for a slice of bread to soak up any fat that accumulates on the bottom of the machine.

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Bread Soaks Up The Spills

Slices of white bread
Slices of white bread - Kritchai7752/Shutterstock

If you want a little extra insurance against smoke from your air fryer, a slice of bread is your best friend. A piece of regular old white bread — or any sliced bread that will fit in your fryer — will absorb any grease coming from your food as it cooks, preventing smoke from forming in the first place. The bread trick is especially helpful for messy foods like leftover pizza or cheesy nachos that tend to spill through the cracks of the basket and turn to char on the bottom of the machine. When you're done cooking, however, don't forget to take the piece of bread out of the machine.

Of course, nothing prevents air fryer smoke better than keeping the inside of the machine clean. Make sure you give it a proper once-over after each use because not only will leftover gunk create smoke the next time you cook, but leftover food particles can also pass on foodborne illnesses and even attract pests. Simply let the machine cool down, then wipe down the heating element with a wet rag and soap up the basket like any other dish.

Steam Is The Key To Stopping The Smoke

chicken inside an air fryer
chicken inside an air fryer - rafa jodar/Shutterstock

Sometimes, even the cleanest air fryers will create some smoke, especially if you're trying to cook something like frozen chicken wings. This is because they create superheated air, which cooks everything inside the chamber, not just the food. So if you have something inside that's giving off a lot of grease or bits of food left behind from the last round of snacks, you can wind up with a lot of smoke as those particles burn. Instead of turning the heat down, however, you can use that superheated air to your advantage by creating some steam.

If your machine is smoking, and you know it's clean, place a couple of tablespoons of water on the bottom of the basket or cooking chamber (depending on what type of air fryer you own). The hot air will turn the water into steam, which will stop the smoke in its tracks and let you finish cooking whatever it is that's creating all the smoke.

Read the original article on The Daily Meal.