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Air fryers open up a world of possibilities regarding preparation methods, but liquids are rarely mentioned in relation to them. So, you may have one question: Can you put water in an air fryer?
Blowing hot air and splashing water doesn’t sound like a winning combo in an electric appliance. However, a few drops of water may be okay in some circumstances. So, let’s see what happens if you put water in an air fryer.
Can You Put Water in an Air Fryer?
The answer to this question is a bit more complex than a resounding yes or no.
Air fryers are not intended for cooking liquids, nor do they have a compartment for water. In addition, many models’ user manuals emphasize that you shouldn’t put any water or other liquids inside the appliance.
What Happens if You Put Water in Your Air Fryer?
A few drops of water will make a big difference in your cooking experience.
Rehydrates Your Food
Large and small air fryers cook your food by circulating hot air. What does water have to do with this?
Well, the water from your food evaporates, resulting in crispy fried dishes. The air fryer won’t dry out your food if you use oil. However, the story is different when you’re already a bit stiff reheating leftovers.
A few drops of water can turn this around and rehydrate your food as you reheat it. The water will evaporate, and your food will absorb it, becoming soft again.
This works the other way around too. Ensure no water enters the appliance when you want your food to be crispy. Pat the meat and fresh vegetables dry before putting them in the basket.
Putting a tiny bit of water in your air fryer to catch the fat and other particles will prevent them from getting burnt.
Air fryers generally discourage you from frying extremely fatty meats, so the grease doesn’t collect in your appliance’s pan. However, some drops of grease are inevitable as the air fryer renders the fat out of meats. In addition, the grease that drips to the bottom might start burning together with other residues, resulting in smoke.
This smoke is not only a nuisance but also harmful to your health. According to studies, cooking smoke can lead to respiratory issues in the long term.
Makes Cleaning Easier
The grease and residue that can fall to the bottom of your air fryer will stick to the surface and burn. Cleaning the pan won’t be easy. A little water under the basket can make all the difference.
The grease will drip into the water, keeping the tray's surface clean. No scrubbing is needed.
Can You Steam Food in an Air Fryer?
While you might decide to experiment with a few drops of water in your air fryer, steaming is undoubtedly out of the question.
A steamer and an air fryer work entirely differently. While your air fryer is blowing hot air around, a steamer heats water directly, so it evaporates.
Will Water Damage My Air Fryer?
As mentioned, an air fryer uses a fan to circulate air. If there’s any water inside the appliance, the risk that it’ll get blown into the electrical components is always present. Naturally, this can damage your device.
If you’re uncertain, or your manual instructs against it, avoid adding water to your air fryer and use a different cooking method to achieve the desired result.
If you want to put water in your air fryer, make sure it’s only a few drops. It will be enough to rehydrate your food, but the risk of splashing will be lower.
If any water enters critical parts of the appliance, unplug it safely and let it dry out completely before turning it on again.
Can You Put Other Liquids in an Air Fryer?
So, we already know what water would do in your air fryer. But what about other liquids, like soups, sauces, and casseroles? Can you cook or reheat such liquid foods in a device that blows around hot air?
The answer is yes. You can put liquid foods in your air fryer to reheat them. However, this is not the most efficient way to do this job. If you have a microwave, it’ll do a better job at penetrating the water molecules.
There is a way to reheat your liquid with an air fryer. Put your soup or sauce in an oven-safe container. Ensure the container isn’t too big, so it doesn’t prevent air circulation in the air fryer.
In addition, don’t overfill the bowl. You don’t want to risk spilling or splashing the liquid. Finally, cover your bowl with foil or an oven-safe lid to keep the liquid from evaporating.
As for cooking liquid foods—the air fryer is not the solution. Instead, air-fry the ingredients if you wish, but leave the cooking part for your stove or microwave oven.
So, can you put water in an air fryer?
Putting water directly in an electrical appliance sounds like a recipe for disaster, but a few drops will probably be fine.
Stick to your manual’s recommendations if you’re not sure. Remember that if the user manual explicitly says that you must not put water in your air fryer, you might not be able to claim your warranty in case of damage.