How to Stop Your Air Fryer Food Tasting of Plastic

How to Stop Your Air Fryer Food Tasting of Plastic

You’ve unboxed your new appliance and finally cooked your first meal in it. Now you’re wondering how to stop your air fryer food from tasting and smelling like plastic.

The good news is — depending on how you look at it — this is a fairly common phenomena. And in most cases, it’s typically simple to deal with.

Food cooked in your air fryer may taste or smell of plastic for a few reasons. One could be due to new appliance smell, it could be low-quality nonstick coating, residual food, grease from previous cooking, or in some cases mechanical or electrical problems.

Regardless of the issue, keep reading, and we’ll provide you with some tips on how to get rid of the plastic smell or taste.

What You’ll Need

  • A good grease fighting dish soap like Dawn Ultra Original
  • Soft cloth or sponge
  • White vinegar and lemon

Why Air Fryer Food Tastes Like Plastic

Before we delve into what you can do to stop your food from tasting like the smell of plastic or burning plastic, it makes sense to address why it smells like that in the first place.

If you take a look at your air fryer, it’s pretty easy to see that it is predominantly made from plastic — both the interior and exterior. And this isn’t necessarily a bad thing because heat resistant plastic works well as an insulator, helping to keep the heat concentrated on the inside of the cooking chamber while the outside of the unit remains cool enough to touch.

The issue arises because most of the parts of your air fryer are made from mold injected plastic that requires venting to release fumes, and this happens over a period of time as the unit heats up and cools down.

What most people may not be aware of is that it’s up to them to facilitate this process because it isn’t done at the factory before items are packaged and shipped. That means if you simply unboxed year air fryer and immediately cook a meal and it, you’re introducing those fumes to your meal.

Additionally, there are other elements in the air fryer that may also give off odors, such as the heating elements and the fan bearings. Finally, even the non-stick coatings require some time to release fumes.

So what can you do to help the process and get rid of the smell?

#1 The New Appliance Smell

Just like that new car smell will dissipate over time, so will the new appliance smell. This is known as offgassing, which sounds dangerous, but air fryers don’t offgas a significant amount of harmful substances when used properly.

The manufacturing process of certain plastics leaves a coating that needs to be burned off before cooking your food — a coating that releases fumes.

Here’s what to do:

Step 1. Clean Before You Cook

Sponge and detergent next to air fryer basket
Clean Your Air Fryer Before Using

It’s always a good idea to clean anything you plan to eat off of or cook with before doing so.

Remove your air fryer basket and cooking tray and clean with a dishwashing soap that has a good degreaser. You can use a sponge or soft cloth but don’t use anything that’s abrasive when cleaning any parts that have a nonstick surface. Use lots of soap and warm water and then let the parts thoroughly air dry.

Step 2. Cook the Plastic Before you Cook Your Food 

Okay, you’re not really going to cook the plastic, but you do want to run your air fryer through the heating cycle before cooking anything. This will help it to release more fumes.

After you’ve thoroughly washed the basket and tray in soap and water and allowed them to dry, put them back in the air fryer, set the temperature to high setting — such as 400 — and let the air fryer run for about 40 minutes.

Once the time is up, allow your air fryer to completely cool down and then repeat the process about three more times. This should get rid of any fumes before you start cooking.

If you have pets or anyone in the home with any sort of respiratory issues, it may be a good idea to run through this process with the windows open and your range fan running.

Step 3. Deodorize 

You may know that lemon is a great deodorizer — and vinegar is a cleanser. Mix them together and you have magic.

In a small oven safe dish such as Pyrex, mix together a tablespoon of white vinegar and a tablespoon of lemon juice. Put this in your air fryer basket, set the temperature to about 400° and let it run for 3 minutes. Without removing the mixture from the air fryer, let it sit in your air fryer for about 15 minutes as it cools down. This will help absorb any lingering odors.

Once you’ve removed the mixture, wash the basket one more time and wipe down the interior of the air fryer with a damp cloth.

#2 Low-Quality Nonstick Coating

Air Fryer Non Stick Coating
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If you’ve been through all of the steps mentioned above and have been cooking for some time yet you still have that plastic smell and taste, it may be because of inferior parts, specifically the nonstick coating.

An inferior coating may emit more than the normal amount of fumes and it may begin to degrade far sooner and a better quality coating would.

Here’s what to do:

Inspect Your Nonstick Coating

How to Deal with the Stinky Air Fryer

In many air fryers the only component that has a nonstick coating is the food tray. Take a look at it and inspect for any wear and tear or damage, such as cracks or peeling.

If the surface is visibly damaged and your unit is still under warranty, reach up to the manufacturer. If you are out of warranty or your unit came with no warranty, it is probably time to upgrade.

#3 Residual Food or Grease

Old grease doesn’t smell like plastic, but it can stink. So keeping your air fryer clean and not allowing food crumbs and grease to build up will help keep your air fryer smelling fresh. If you fail to keep it clean, every time you reheat them, those greasy particles you’re just contributing to the smell.

It’s a good practice to give your air fryer a light cleaning after each use, and then after every four or five uses make sure you give it a good deep clean. 

Stopping That Plastic Taste

Finding out your air fryer releases an order that permeates your food and makes it taste like burning plastic is annoying, but fortunately, in most cases, it’s something you can easily fix.

In this article we’ve talked about why your new appliance smells the way it does in the first place and then offered pointers on how to deal with plastic smell by doing the following:

  • Cleaning your appliance before cooking in it
  • Running your appliance multiple times before cooking in it
  • Deodorizing it

We also discussed a few other reasons why your air fryer might smell, and that could be due to the following:

  • Low-quality nonstick coating
  • Residual food or grease

With the exception of a low-quality coating, a little elbow grease and time is all you need before you’ll be cooking food that tastes like it should, not like plastic.

Hopefully, this information has helped you. While you’re here, why not check out our related posts below? Perhaps we can help you with something else.

I've been helping homeowners with appliance repair since 2016. Starting out as an enthusiastic amateur, I've since worked with many Appliance, HVAC, and DIY experts over the last 7+ years. My mission is to help fix your appliances and prevent future issues - saving you stress, time, and money. Visit my author page to learn more! Read more