What Happens If You Put Too Much Oil In Your Air Fryer?

When people think about fried food, typically what they think of — for better or worse — is oil. Oil is what gives your favorite French fries or spicy chicken sandwich the delicious, golden brown crunch you love so much. Unfortunately it's also not particularly healthy. Thankfully, the air fryer was invented so we don't have to face this conundrum. According to Air Fry Anytime, the biggest reason most people cite for buying an air fryer is to have a healthier option for fried food.

The reason an air fryer makes your favorite snacks healthier — and safer to cook — is because it doesn't require you to dip them in scalding hot oil, rather it circulates hot air around the food to bring it to crisp perfection in minutes (per Taste of Home). But this does not mean that your air-fried cooking can be 100% oil free. Many dishes still require a little bit of liquid fats in order to stay moist and cook properly. The difference is that you need much less of it. In fact, if you use too much oil in your air fryer, you are more likely to have problems. 

Much like any appliance, there are tricks you need to learn to avoid these pitfalls.

How much is too much?

Using some oil in your air fryer is largely unavoidable. As explained by The Washington Post, you need to dry and lightly brush most fresh foods with a little bit of oil when putting them into the air fryer in order for them to come out crispy and golden brown, but avoid putting too much on or else your food will come out soggy. However, as Cooking Light explains, most recipes only require one or two teaspoons of oil to effectively coat the food, while the most oil-heavy dishes are breaded and might require up to two tablespoons of oil. This is still a fraction of the amount of oil needed for a deep fryer, which Everyday Family Cooking notes can take up to a whole bottle.

Another time you may need to put a little oil in your air fryer is to prevent food from sticking to the basket. Everyday Family Cooking explains that non-stick sprays like PAM do not work in air fryers, and the best way to avoid meat sticking to the bottom of your fryer basket is to simply spray a light coating of vegetable oil on it before heating it up. Just be careful with how much you use, as Kitchen Beast notes that too much oil on the food or the basket can drip down into the heating elements and start to smoke, which could damage your fryer or make a mess and set off the smoke alarm.