No one wants to discover a big oily puddle on their counter when they’re cooking, right? That’s just one more thing to clean!
While it isn’t really a common problem, there may be a few times when you need to troubleshoot an air fryer that’s leaking oil or grease.
An air fryer could leak oil or grease because there’s a crack in the bottom of the basket, it hasn’t been cleaned and there’s a buildup of grease inside that has started to leak out the door, you have a unit that has an oil reservoir that needs to be emptied regularly, or you’re cooking with too much oil.
Keep reading and I’ll dig into each of these a little deeper and tell you what to do to fix the problem.
#1 Defective or Broken Unit
Despite rigorous quality control — assuming you’ve purchased a quality brand — there is always the chance of buying a lemon. And, if you’ve been using your air fryer for a while, you’re eventually at the mercy of wear and tear and perhaps more serious damage.
Whether your unit is new or old, do the following.
Give It A Visual Inspection
Check the baskets and ensure there is no visible damage. Make sure the doors fit flush, and that there are no broken or bent corners. Most importantly, make sure there are no cracks or holes on the bottom of the basket.
If you do find any damage to a brand new unit, and you purchased something that comes with a warranty, reach out to the manufacturer. Or, if you purchased from a retailer who will let you return it, start your return process for a different unit.
If you have an old, well used unit, it is likely time to buy something new.
#2 Improper Usage
If you’re not properly closing the basket drawer, that along with some other factors may lead to oil leaking.
Here’s what you need to do.
Fully Close the Doors
With most drawer style air fryers, you’ll know the door is fully and properly closed when you hear it engage into its locked position. You should also be able to tell the doors are properly closed just by looking at them.
#3 Your Air Fryer Needs Cleaning
Did you know you should at least lightly clean your air fryer after every use, and then deep clean it every three or four uses? Are you doing that? If not, you could have a buildup of oil, and if you add that to a basket that isn’t fitting properly – for whatever reason – you could be dealing with an oil leak.
This will depend on your air fryer and the way the baskets fit in. For example, the Ninja air fryer doesn’t have exposed interior walls. They are completely covered by the baskets.
If you have a different style basket air fryer or even an oven style, it is possible that after repeated use you can get an oil buildup on the interior walls of the air fryer. That oil and grease will solidify in a cool air fryer, but as soon as you turn it on, and it begins to heat up, all that oil will melt, and it needs to go somewhere.
Here’s what you need to do.
Step 1. Clean Your Baskets
Remove the baskets and clean them using a good grease cutting dish soap, warm water, and a soft sponge.
Step 2. Clean the Interior
This is the important step – not to say cleaning the baskets isn’t important but this is the step that will address your oil situation.
Carefully place your air fryer on its back and look at the interior walls. If they are coated with oil or grease this is what you need to deal with. Using a soft cloth, warm water, and dish soap, thoroughly clean off the interior walls.
Step 3. Rinse and Repeat!
To ensure your unit doesn’t start leaking oil again, be sure to deep clean it every four or five uses.
#4 You’re Using Too Much Oil
There is no need to use a lot of oil when cooking in your air fryer. In fact, you should never do that. Some foods that are already fatty, such as meat and poultry will not require any additional oil at all. Any food that does require oil will typically only need a light spray.
If you’re using too much oil, you are creating the problem.
#5 You’re Not Emptying the Oil Reservoir
Oil reservoir? Where is that?
Yes, there’s a good chance that most of you don’t have a little reservoir that collects excess oil. However, this is a feature on a limited number of models, and if you have one of these models, you need to empty that little container if it’s full of oil.
If you don’t, guess what happens? It overflows and leaks all over the place.
Not sure if you have an oil reservoir? They are typically on the outside of the unit, so they’ll be easy to spot. However, check your user’s manual to see if you have one and its placement.
If you do have a reservoir, make a habit of checking it regularly and emptying it when necessary.
#6 Your Air Fryer is Leaking Water, Not Oil
Since we’re talking about leaking, I thought I would add this in because it is possible — in some circumstances — for your air fryer to leak water as well.
Step 1. Instant Pot Air Fryers
Some Instant Pot air fryers also have a pressure cooker function. If they do, they’ll have a release valve that can spit out condensation or drops of water. Your air fryer isn’t leaking, it’s just doing what it was designed to do.
Step 2. It May be Leaking Dish Water
While most air fryer manufacturers state that it is safe to put the baskets in the sink or in the dishwasher, submerging the basket may lead to trapped water and will eventually leak out.
If you do submerge your baskets, make sure the interior walls are completely dry before putting them back in your air fryer. This will save you from leaking and it will also save you from a buildup of bacteria inside the walls of your air fryer basket.
Solving That Oil or Grease Leak
It’s not common for an air fryer to leak oil, assuming it’s being used properly and is not somehow defective. However, we did address several things to consider.
- Defective or broken air fryers
- Improper usage
- An air fryer that needs cleaning
- You’re using too much oil
- You’re not emptying the oil reservoir
We also addressed a few instances where an air fryer may leak or seem to leak water.
- Instant Pot air fryers that have a pressure cooker function which comes with a release valve that spits out condensation or drops of water
- If you’re submerging your baskets, they may be leaking dishwater
Hopefully, one of the above will help you solve your issue.
While you’re here, why not check out our related posts below? Perhaps we can help you with something else.