Can you put water in an Air Fryer?

Yes, you can put a few tablespoons of water in an air fryer’s bottom drawer.

Most air fryer models are built with a small drawer underneath the basket for this purpose. Some indicate the maximum amount of water you can add through a fill line, but if your air fryer does not have this line, it is safe to just stick to about 2 to 3 tablespoons at the most.

Learn more about adding water in your air fryer below.

Why you Should Start Putting Water in Your Air Fryer?

Putting a little amount of water in your air fryer offers some benefits.

Reducing smoke

An air fryer cooks food by circulating hot air around the food. During the process, it can create a lot of smoke.

Adding water helps reduce smoke and keeps the temperature down when cooking too much greasy foods such as burgers, bacon, or meatballs. The grease from these foods drips, which can burn the bottom of the fryer, and make it inconvenient to clean.

A little amount of water helps catch oil and food drippings while cooking and helps prevent smoke formation.

Keep food moist

Adding water also hydrates food and prevents food from becoming too dry.

This is helpful if you are cooking baked items or reheating leftover foods that are too dry to eat. Add water before reheating and as it heats up, water will produce the needed moisture. Additionally, water can help cook dishes more evenly and prevent burning.

Easier cleaning

The oil and grease that drip from food can harden, making it more difficult to remove.

Putting water in your air fryer makes it easier to clean the appliance as it helps soften dirt and grease and prevent food from sticking to the bottom.

Is it Safe to Put Water in an Air Fryer?

Adding a small amount of water to an air fryer is safe as long as all safety precautions are followed.

  • Avoid overfilling and letting water come in contact with the electronic parts of the appliance as it can cause overheating, permanent damage, or even fire. Overfilling the unit with water could cause the high-speed fan to splash water everywhere and damage the electrical parts.
  • Water should not touch the motor, wiring and heating elements as it can cause a short circuit.
  • The safest amount is 2 to 3 tablespoons directly on the food, to the drip tray or under the basket.
  • When it comes to cleaning, it is still best to follow the instructions of your particular air fryer model. 

Since your air dryer is an electronic appliance, the only parts that can come in contact with water are the removable parts such as the basket, drip pan or tray.

When Not to Use Water in your Air Fryer

There are some times though when adding water to your air fryer might not be advisable in terms of achieving the best cooking results.

This is true when cooking some foods such as nuggets or fries that you want to be crispy and crunchy, adding water is not recommendable as it can prevent them from becoming crisp.

You should also not put water in an air fryer for steaming as it works differently from a steamer. Steamers create steam from water to cook food while air fryers circulate hot air. However, some air fryer models are designed with steam function.

It is also not possible to boil water in the appliance as it is not capable of reaching the required temperature to boil water.

How to Use Water when Cleaning your Air Fryer

To clean your air fryer, cool it down, unplug, and remove the frying or crumb basket.

You can soak these baskets in warm water with dish soap and gently clean them if they have a non-stick coating. You may use a sponge or cloth and avoid abrasive cleaners.

Soaking helps remove stubborn stains easier.

To remove stuck dirt inside the unit, you may use a soft sponge or brush to scrub using a mixture of water and baking soda. Wipe it down afterwards using a microfiber or cotton cloth.

Before reassembling your air fryer, make sure all parts are completely dry.


It is definitely safe to put a small amount of water in an air fryer and enjoy less smoke after cooking, or a juicier air-fried dish.

What matters is to always proceed with caution and read the manufacturer’s manual before using your appliance. The key is to know the right amount of water to add and the right type of food item to cook.

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