Air Fryer Issues. What are the common problems?

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Welcome back air fryer fiends! Here’s the scene. You have just been to Walmart (or whatever mega supermarket takes your fancy), and you have your brand new air fryer in the back of your car! You are so excited to get cooking, and unbox it as soon as you get home! We all know about the excitement of buying a new appliance, especially if you are a bit of a cooking geek! Unfortunately, a lot of new air fryer users only have this feeling for a short time, as they start encountering problems no-one told them they would have!

solve those air fryer problems before you feel like this!!
Don’t let your air fryer get you feeling like this!! 🙂

The world of air fryers is a rather new one, and therefore a lot of people are not aware of the pitfalls and common problems they may face when using this new fangled kitchen appliance. That’s why I decided to write this article, to help recent adopters of air fryers get up to speed.

I know when I was a new air fryer user, no one warned me about these things!! I can remember feeling horrified (thinking my air frying days were over) when I encountered some of these problems for the first time! So, grab a coffee (or a glass of wine). Sit back and relax into the world of air fryers!! Here are the top issues you could encounter with your air fryer!

we list out some common issues people have with air fryers

Peeling Basket

This first problem really is the most common issue I see in the air frying community. I have literally lost count of the amount of times I have seen people posting about this problem in the numerous air frying groups I am a part of.

This is the problem of a peeling air frying basket, or even the main cooking compartment. When I say peeling, I mean the non-stick coating is starting to peel or flake off. This is quite alarming, as it is natural for people to worry about what is going on and how it will affect your air fried food.

It’s a sad fact that many of these early air fryers being manufactured have come with some common problems or quality issues. This is the main one!

my air fryer basket is still in good condition, as I looked after it carefully.
Here is my (so far) none peeling air fryer basket!!

It’s like when you buy a cheap and nasty non stick pan. In no time, your nonstick coating on the pan is no more and the words “non-stick” can no longer be used to describe it! 

The best way around this problem, is to do research on this problem before you purchase an air fryer. Make sure that this problem is not being commonly reported with the model you want to buy. On top of this, you need to treat your air fryer with kid gloves! For example, don’t scrub your air fryer with abrasive cleaning products or pads. Instead, soak your air fryer when it gets too messy.

I do have a whole article talking about this issue, as it is really that much of a problem for air fryers!! 

Quality issues

As I stated above, it is unfortunate that many quality issues were found in the early models of air fryers. I suppose manufacturers were in such a hurry to get their latest hot kitchen product out, that some key design features were overlooked!

And the quality issues don’t stop at peeling baskets. There have been a number of other issues being reported by an alarmingly large amount of users.

Only recently, I have been reading numerous comments by people telling me that their new air fryer oven is suddenly broken. Air fryers that are six months old (or even shorter) suddenly won’t turn on or work properly.

The first air fryer I bought was a generic Chinese made one (because I didn’t know any better at the time). This air fryer suffered from pretty bad peeling as described above, but also the catch for the lid broke! I had to put heavy items on the lid for a while to keep it down! Not ideal!

So, all I can say is …..research, research and research. Don’t be stuck with a dud!

Smoking Air Fryer

A shocking problem for most new air fryer users is when they walk back to their kitchen, only to find it full of stinky white smoke! It can leave some people wanting to dump air frying as a method of cooking all together! But, don’t be too hasty, there is a way out of this problem!

a common issue with air fryers is when it starts to smoke.
Don’t let your air fryer become like this!

The white smoke problem is created by excess oil building up, usually at the bottom of your air fryer. This is likely to happen if you are cooking anything fatty or where a lot of oil will come out of the food. This extra oil will sit in the bottom of your air fryers cooking compartment and (once it hits its smoke point) will result in that nasty white smoke.

The way around this is to put something at the bottom of your air fryer to soak up any extra oil. I have found the best way to do this involves simply putting a slice of bread at the bottom of the air fryer’s cooking compartment.

Another option is to dilute the excess oil by putting some water in the bottom of your air fryer’s cooking compartment.

Either way, your white smoking problem should be no more! If you really can’t stop the white smoke, the last resort is to place it under your regular stove’s extractor fan hood! (carefully)

There is also a black smoke problem. Usually, if you see black smoke pouring out of your air fryer, it will be something terminal. Especially if you can smell burnt plastic too! Something has likely malfunctioned in your air fryer and it should be sent back to the manufacturer (hopefully, it will still be under warranty!).

Too Small

In the early years of air frying, the traditional basket or bucket style air fryers were rather small when compared to regular ovens. This lead people to complaining that it was impossible to cook for even a small family.

However, this problem has been alleviated somewhat in recent years. Firstly, you can buy much larger regular air fryers now (like the one below). On top of this, the recently added oven style air fryers can be bought in much larger sizes, more in line with regular ovens.

So, if you face this problem, you can simply upgrade these days! If you are stuck with a smaller basket or bucket style air fryer, you could also buy an extra rack to fit in it. This would give you two cooking levels and slightly increase your air fryer’s capacity. I have an accessory set on my recommended products page which covers all of that!

Dry or not crispy food

A lot of new air fryer users complain that they cooked food in the air fryer and it was dry, or that some “fried” style food was not crispy enough. This is because the air fryer cooks with hot air, and this alone can lead to dry or non-crispy results. Or the type of crispy texture it provides is not appetizing to a lot of people! This hot air needs something to react with to crisp your food better.

Again, there is a pretty simple solution to this problem, it is just that a lot of people aren’t aware of it right off the bat!

Generally speaking, you should use an oil sprayer or mister to spray your food prior to cooking in an air fryer. Typically, this is best suited to any food that you want to have a crispy texture, such as french fries.

I like to spray oil on my air fried food

Additionally, if your meat is dry, you can simply marinate it in an oil based marinate before cooking. This helps to seal in some moisture. I find this particularly useful for skinless meat such as chicken tenderloins.

You can read our full article on the topic for a more in-depth explanation.

Uneven cooking

Another problem that I have heard people say is one of uneven cooking. Maybe some patches of the food they are cooking are under done or even partially raw.

From my experience, this is down to the lack of appreciation of air flow. In an air fryer, the food is cooked by circulating hot air around it. This means that air flow is of prime importance. What usually happens, is people try to cram their food too close together or even on top of each other in the air fryer. This means air can’t circulate around it, and it won’t cook properly.

If you buy a new oven style air fryer, this won’t be an issue at all as food is spaced out on multiple racks. If you have a basket or bucket style air fryer, you should invest in an extra rack (as described above) to increase your cooking capacity. It is also a good idea to cook food in the air fryer in shorter bursts, and shake it in between these bursts. Of course, some food can’t be shaken (such as meat), so you should turn that instead. Having an oven style air fryer would take away this problem all together!

Overcooked or burned food

This often occurs when new air fryer users cook things using a recipe from a regular oven. An air fryer is typically a more intense method of cooking, and therefore the cooking times are usually shorter.

When trying a new recipe in an air fryer, it could be a good idea to check your food often, to make sure it doesn’t get burned or over cooked. As you get used to your particular air fryer, you will be able to get a better feel for these timings.

Usually, air fried food takes around 10-15 percent shorter (time wise) than in a regular oven. Although this can vary depending on your model of air fryer.

Air flow can make things fly!

As hot air is pumped around an air fryer, it can cause a problem that is not usually seen in regular ovens. That is the problem of flying food!

Whenever you are cooking light food in an air fryer, you need to find a way to stop this happening. I have used two tactics for this. You could place a second wire rack over the top of the food to hold it down. You could also pin it down using wooden toothpicks. For example, when grilling a cheese sandwich, you would want to pin the sandwich together with toothpicks to stop the top piece of bread flying around.

This can be dangerous if something was to fly into the heating element, so make sure to take care with this problem!

That’s your lot!

Thanks for reading our article on common air fryer problems. We are passionate over here about helping new air fryer users and making sure this new cooking experience is smooth sailing! Air frying is a great method of cooking if done right.

If you have experienced problems with your air fryer, that are not mentioned in this article, we would love to hear all about it in the comments section below.

Before we go, just to say we have other articles on various ‘what to do if‘ scenarios with air fryers, as well as what to do if your air fryer won’t turn on or keeps turning itself off!

Happy air frying!!

27 thoughts on “Air Fryer Issues. What are the common problems?”

  1. Another problem is the toxic odor emitted by the NUWAVE BRIO Air Fryer. It imparts a weird taste to food cooked in it as well. We were told that the odor would dissipate with time and use but it DOES NOT. And once you get past the one year point… they will NOT replace it… although replacing it with another one that does the same thing makes no sense anyway unless they admit the early models had a problem and that they have fixed it. They give you no suggestions (other than to continue ruining food in it until the odor goes away) on how to speed up the process of the toxic odor/taste. We finally tried cooking on the porch to at least keep the house from smelling bad (the odor persists for several days after you cook with it). It isn’t just us who have experienced this problem I have discovered. I wish I would have known this was a common problem within the first year and been able to attempt to get a refund. We even purchased the Gourmet Accessory Kit we were SO excited to own an Air Fryer yet it was all just money thrown away. We thought we were going to be cooking healthy delicious foods! Not to mention… pets may also be susceptible to this toxic odor as our parakeet died suddenly during the time we were using it indoors and our rabbit took ill as well (but recovered). We can’t prove it had anything to do with our pets’ issues but we have always wondered about it. Wish we would have thought about trying it outdoors first.

    • Hi Beverly, thanks very much for your input here, and sorry to hear about the problems you had with your air fryer! As I have said many times, it’s unfortunate that some air fryer manufacturers don’t focus more on quality! I have heard other people talk about this problem, but haven’t experienced it myself. Hopefully, your comment will help others avoid this problem too 🙂 And I hope you don’t get too put off by this. A good quality air fryer is a wonderful thing 🙂

  2. What causes drumsticks to curl up and shrink in the air fryer. I have been having this problem lately and have been cooking at the same 360 degree temperature and never had problems before.

    • Is it still in warranty? Sending it back to the manufacturer would be the best option. If not, unless you have knowledge of electrical appliances and how to fix them you might just be better off buying a new one. Paying someone else to fix it would probably cost about the same! First port of call is to contact the manufacturer though, maybe they can help you to work out the problem and get spare parts if out of warranty.

  3. I have a Philips air fryer which is touch screen it is 2 days old.. Today I decided to put in samoosas…it worked fine yesterday today it didn’t beep to say it’s done it just switched off and refuses to come back on what could be the problem??

    • If it is 2 days old, I would simply take it back for a refund or a replacement. What you talk about sounds like a serious defect. Have you tried unplugging it for five minutes, plugging back in and trying again? If this doesn’t work, simply return it.

  4. Hi! Just tried out my new Insignia air fryer from Best Buy Canada. Man, what a disappointment! Tried to make fish and chips. First the chips (4 medium-sized fresh cut potatoes). The instructions were kinda vague: 390 degrees for 16-20 min. for 11-28 oz. of potatoes, with 1/2 tbsp. oil, shake half way. I sprayed them with Pam Grilling Spray, tossed them, then spayed lightly again. I cooked them for 20 minutes then cooked the fish (4 Highliner frozen filets) at 390 F for 10 minutes. Both the chips and the fish were anything but crunchy. More like soggy. Should I have cooked them longer? Or maybe cranked it up to 400? Or maybe this machine just sucks?

  5. My airfryrer is 1 year old and has a defect. It has a small hole burned in the side of it with an exposed wire which gave me a shock! How do I return this and where?

    • Where did you buy it from? Check with them about returns. Most air fryers have at least a one year warranty, so you might still be in the window if you are fast 🙂

  6. I purchased a Wolfgang Puck air fryer and loved it but it stopped working after 30 days. Am still waiting for the replacement. I gave my credit card for shipping and they ignore any comments I have made wondering why it has not been replaced yet.

    • That sucks. Can you politely mention to the person that gifted it to you and hope they still have receipt? It may be a long shot!

  7. where in the basket switch located ?
    Is there a parts diagram of the Ninja XL. 150 model ?
    My Ninja air fryer is two months old. And the meat no longer cook complete.
    What could be the cause?


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