Air Fryer Making Popping or Thumping Noises? Here’s Why

Air Fryer Making Popping or Thumping Noises? Here's Why

There’s often a learning curve with any new appliance, and sometimes unusual noises — or at least noises you weren’t expecting — can be a little alarming. 

For example, you may hear your air fryer making popping, rattling, or thumping noises and you’d like to know why. Let’s find out.

There are several legitimate reasons for an air fryer to make popping or thumping sounds. It could be the sound of metal expanding and contracting, food particles under the basket or tray, or more serious things like electrical problems or malfunctioning components.

Let’s dig a little deeper into each of those.

#1 Rapid Expansion and Contraction of the Basket

Air Fryer Drawer

Your air fryer is essentially a convection oven. And convection typically heats up hotter and faster than a traditional oven. 

Thanks to this, the air fryer basket may expand and contract along with heating and cooling cycles which could result in a clicking, hopping, thumping sound. This is normal, and for the most part, shouldn’t be cause for concern.

#2 Food Particles

Remember that your air fryer is essentially a mini convection oven. Interior fans circulate hot air very quickly throughout the chamber, and this will blow lighter food particles around.

Imagine a mini tornado in your air fryer. If you haven’t cleaned your air fryer recently, and there are dried up food particles underneath the basket or the tray, they could fly around and hit against the interior walls or heating element, making a variety of different noises.  

Additionally, lighter foods that are not recommended for air fryers, for the reasons listed above.

Step 1: Keep Your Air Fryer Clean

How to Keep Your Air Fryer Clean

After every use, get in the habit of doing at least a light cleaning. Wipe down the trees are baskets and check underneath to make sure there’s no problems or food particles at the bottom of the drawer.

Additionally, make sure that you give your air fryer a good deep clean every 4 to 5 uses.

Step 2: Avoid Lightweight Food or Ingredients

It’s generally a good idea not to try to cook light or very small ingredients in your air fryer. For example, things like baby spinach will just blow around, while smaller items like kernels of corn or peas can fall through the basket or tray and eventually burn up.

Step 3: Bear with the Noise!

If you keep your air fryer in pristine condition and you’ve ruled out any other causes for popping, thumping, or rattling noises, it could just be what you’re currently cooking. If that’s the case, just wait. The noise will go away when you’re cooking is done.

#3 Moisture Dense Foods 

Piece of raw salmon with rosemary and coarse salt
It’s a Good Practice to Pat Dry Meat

Some foods are high in moisture content such as most vegetables or meats. While cooking, they release steam which can lead to popping or snapping noises as the food cooks and moisture is burned off.

What to do.

Step 1: Pat Dry

If you’re cooking meat, be sure to pat it dry before putting it in your air fryer.

Step 2: Avoid Too Much Oil

Using too much oil or heavy sauces can lead to excess moisture, so avoid both.

Step 3: Batter is Not Meant for Your Air Fryer!

I know, you want to do some onion rings in the air fryer. Unfortunately, batter counts as one of those wet foods that you should never put in your air fryer.

#4 Overcrowded Basket 

Don’t Make These Air Fryer Mistakes!

You may be tempted to cut down on cooking time and the time spent on meal prep by filling your air fryer basket to the brim. Don’t. Not only will it prevent your food from cooking properly, but it may also produce popping sounds too. 

The sound could be from food that’s crammed up against the heating element and snapping and popping as it burns. 

Solution: Leave Enough Space

Resist the impulse to fill up your air fryer basket. Typically, you should never fill the basket more than half full. Better yet, try to keep your food in just single layers with lots of room in every direction so that air can effectively circulate.

#5 Loose Components

Over time, the components of your air fryer may come loose or simply wear out — like the fan or any other moving part. If this happens, it could lead to a variety of different noises.

Solution: Inspect Your Air Fryer 

If you suspect that you may have a loose part, inspect all the screws and components you can. Tightening screws is a fairly simple process, but if you discover a loose component that’s beyond your ability to tighten, you should reach out to the manufacturer for guidance on either tightening the part or getting a replacement.

#6 Improper Placement

If your fryer is placed on an unstable surface or if it’s not level this could cause thumping noises while your air fryer is operating.

Solution: Balance it Out!

You don’t have to go to the extent of getting a bubble level and making sure your surface is 100%, but you do want to ensure that the surface is relatively level.

Additionally, the surface should be sturdy and stable, such as a countertop. Placing your air fryer on something that wiggles and jiggles could lead to noisy operation.

#7 Defective Motor or Fan

We’ve talked about a loose part, but there’s also the chance that you may have a defective part. If the motor or fan isn’t working properly it can make unusual noises. However, before assuming this is your problem, be sure to rule out any and all of the above issues.

Solution: Reach out to the Manufacturer

If you come to the conclusion that you do have a defective part, you should either refer to your user’s manual or contact the manufacturer. If your unit is still under warranty, you may be able to get it fixed or replaced. If not, you’ll likely need to replace your air fryer yourself.


For the most part, if you have an air fryer that is always popping or thumping when you’re cooking, chances are it’s normal. Or it could just be you need to change the way you’re cooking.

To recap, here are seven things to consider if your air fryer is noisy.

  • The rapid expansion and contraction of the metal basket
  • Food particles 
  • Moisture dense foods
  • Overcrowded basket
  • Loose components
  • Improper placement
  • Defective motor or fan

Hopefully, checking each of those will help you determine the cause of the noise.

While you’re here, why not check out some of 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