Why Does Food Stick to my Air Fryer??

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Welcome back to Air Fryer Bro! Today we are looking at a question I have seen often! Why is my air fryer sticking? You’ve excitedly unwrapped your new air fryer, stuck in your first batch of food all in a hurry…..and wait! You look with horror as you see that your very first batch has stuck to your air fryer like a baby sticks to his or her Mummy!! (or even worse!!)

will food burn and stick in an air fryer?

That shiny new toy is not shiny any more! Today, we hope to give some simple advice to stop this very scenario from happening!! We don’t want you to soil your air fryer on your first day of ownership!! Read this article for the lowdown!

Why Does Food Stick to my Air Fryer?

Think of your air fryer like a non-stick frying pan. What can happen if you try to cook food in a non-stick frying pan with no oil? More often than not, it will stick. Therefore, most people use some kind of oil, even in a nonstick pan.

Your Air Fryer is exactly the same. Yes, it has a non-stick coating of some type on the main parts that the food will come into contact with. Namely, the air fryers cooking basket. In good air fryer models, you will even see a nonstick coating around the cooking compartment, even though the food rarely touches that area! This will help greatly when you have food spilling out of the basket! (trust me, everybody does at some point!)

Will an air fryer get built up with grease like a frying pan?
You don’t want your air fryer looking like this!!

This non- stick coating will help reduce the amount of sticking that happens, but can’t stop it all together. Especially as most air fryers on the market don’t have the best non-stick coatings out there. Certainly not as solid as some top non-stick pans on the market!

Why Should I Stop Food Sticking to my Air Fryer?

As mentioned above, food can stick to your air fryers basket (and other cooking surfaces) even with the presence of a nonstick coating. The problem is, what will you likely have to do if your air fryer gets food stuck to it? Most people’s natural reaction would be to try and scrub it, maybe with a scourer pad or something similar. The problem with this is the fact that your air fryers non-stick coating is delicate in nature. Go look at any customer reviews of air fryers. It won’t be long before you see people posting about flaking non- stick coatings on their products!

I know this is far from an ideal situation, but the fact is you need to be careful with this coating, and avoid any kind of aggressive or even mildly aggressive scrubbing!! Making sure that food doesn’t stick to it in the first place is the best way to avoid scrubbing all together!!

What Can I do to Stop Food Sticking to my Air Fryer?

We can sum this up in one word. Season! In the same way that you season a frying pan or other cooking surfaces, it can also help to season the main cooking compartment of your air fryer too. If done well, this should stop food getting easily stuck.

The process of seasoning an air fryer is pretty simple. Here are some of our ideas.

Clean your air fryer basket well with plain soapy water. Let it fully dry and then place it in the air fryer for five minutes or so to heat up. The theory is that this will help the air fryer accept the oil you are about to apply, or at the very least should make it easier to apply!

Many people say to use oil such as coconut or grape-seed oil. To be honest, it doesn’t really matter what oil you use here. However, pay attention to the smoke point of the oil you use, to make sure it is high enough to not smoke out your whole kitchen. I have an article on this website talking all about different oils and smoke points. You could read this to help you with the choice of oil you go with.

I enjoy wearing silicone oven gloves whilst I do the next part, as the basket will be hot and you don’t want to burn yourself!! Silicone gloves are great, because they should make it easier for you to handle the basket. Much easier than normal oven gloves! You still have full use of your fingers, pretty much.  I found a similar pair to the ones I use below on Amazon, you can click the image to go over there and check them out!

All you have to do now, is rub the oil onto the air fryer basket and leave it for five to ten minutes before you use it for cooking. Give a nice even coating all over the basket. Please use pure oil, as some oil sprays have additives in them that could harm the nonstick coating on your air fryer. Also, you are likely to miss parts of your basket if you try to spray rather than wipe!

Don't use PAM oil spray on your air fryer!!
Don’t be tempted to use oil sprays with nasty additives in them!

Personally, I usually season my air fryer’s basket once a month. I find this is enough to help it stay nonstick. You can adjust this if things start to stick, as every air fryer’s coating will vary in type and quality.

What Can I do if food still gets stuck to my air fryer?

If you followed all of our suggestions and you still have times when food sticks to your air fryer, what should you do? If we scrub our air fryer, we will probably destroy its non stick coating! There are better ways!

My personal favourite is to simply let the air fryer basket soak in boiling water and dish soap. I squirt in some dish soap first and then top it up with boiling water. The key here, is to gently rub off any dirt with a cloth while the water is still warm. Don’t let it cool too much, or the fats and oils will start to solidify again and make it harder to clean!

how easy is it to clean an air fryer?

Another option is to use a vinegar solution to soak your air fryer in. This solution should be roughly 9 parts hot water to every part of vinegar you use. Let your air fryer soak in this solution, and (as with the other method) rub with a cloth while the water is still warm.

These two methods are designed for traditional bucket style air fryers. Both of the bucket style air fryers I have owned have come with a removable inner cooking compartment. This makes it super easy to pull out and fill with your hot water solution and place the cooking basket inside.

my air fryer
Can you see Air Fryer Bro’s hands? Anyway, these bucket style air fryers are easier to clean usually!!

The thing is, this will be a lot harder if you have an oven style air fryer. You would probably just have to take the trays and racks out and soak them in your sink. The inside of the actual air fryer oven cannot be soaked in any way (unless you want to electrify yourself!!), so probably best to wipe it with a damp cloth. Oven style air fryers have a lot of things going for them, but ease of cleaning is not one of them!

If you want to read a full article on cleaning air fryers, we do have one on this site.

That’s Your Lot!

Thank you for reading another one of our air fryer advice articles, and I sincerely hope you got something out of it. I know that when I first had my air fryer; I was learning new things every time I used it! Even with these issues, I am sure that you will end up loving your air fryer, like me! That’s why I call myself the Air Fryer Bro!!

And, as always, if you have your own advice and tips on the issue of sticking, please feel free to post these in the comments section below! We are all in this together!!

5 thoughts on “Why Does Food Stick to my Air Fryer??”

  1. My air fryer racks are not non stick how do I keep my chicken from sticking? I love the chicken cooked in it but the sticking is driving me bonkers, Please help!

  2. My concern is not how to clean the air fryer basket, but how to make fried chicken & keep the crust on the chicken I make.


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