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How to Easily Clean Stuck-On Foods from Your Air Fryer

It’s the rare home that hasn’t purchased an air fryer to make cooking just a bit more convenient. The forced air appliances make quick work of reheating pizza, making barbeque ribs, and even preparing a huge range of desserts thanks to the circulating heat that speeds cooking. However, many air fryers have nonstick coatings on the interior and basket bottom, which requires special, gentle cleaning. And no, nonstick doesn’t really mean nothing will stick! Cheese, sugary marinades, and other spills can cook onto the surface and become challenging to clean.

It’s crucial not to scratch through the nonstick coating, no matter what type of material it’s made of. Scratches and dings can lead to peeling of the surface of traditional Teflon-type finishes, and even tough ceramic products are not bulletproof. Although most companies say the chemicals used to create the coatings are non-toxic, they probably shouldn’t be eaten —why take any chances? Any scraped-up, non-stick surface is more likely to cling to food, too. So, when you’re cleaning any part of the inside of your air fryer, don’t use metal spatulas or utensils to pry stuck foods, and avoid harsh abrasive cleaners and metal scrubbers.

A few brands of air fryers sport stainless steel or glass interiors rather than nonstick coatings. Those surfaces are not subject to peeling, but they can be scratched, leading to more food sticking in the grooves. So, a gentle cleaning is always a good idea.  

Cleaning your air fryer gently pays off

washing air fryer

It should go without saying that it’s good practice to clean out the air fryer after every cooking session. Even if there are only crumbs left inside, the residual oils can overheat the next time you turn the oven on, creating greasy smoke and baking those oils onto the surfaces. Wait for your fryer to cool off, then wipe out any stray pieces of food. Use a soft kitchen sponge and warm, soapy water to wipe down the fry basket and the interior. If you’ve got stuck on food, let the parts soak in a soapy sink full of water for a bit to soften them.

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For the foods that really adhere to the basket, use a plastic or silicon utensil to gently pry up the edges, working all around until you can remove the food. Then, use a soft nylon or plastic scrubber to clean the area well. Any food that’s missed could cause the next batch of food to stick, so take a minute to be sure you’ve got it all clean, and then towel dry all the parts. Starting with a clean air fryer for each cooking session is your best bet for easy cleanup.

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