Why is Air Fryer Smoking? Troubleshooting Guide Tips

If you own an Air Fryer, you know how convenient they are. These handy kitchen appliances cook food quickly and help us with our busy schedules. But Air Fryers present a unique challenge that many people don’t expect: they can release toxic fumes and smoke if not properly used or maintained.

At GE Appliances we work hard to create products that are easy to use and safe for you and your family. To help you use your new Air Fryer safely, we’ve compiled a list of some common problems in the hopes of keeping your kitchen free from smoke and unwanted odors. Of course, there may be other reasons for the issues described below; if you’re experiencing something different with your Air Fryer, please contact our Customer Care Line for assistance.

Problem: Smoke comes out of air vent

Solution: You’re using too much oil or using a non-stick cooking spray.

Many people love the convenience of pre-coated grills and cooking racks, but when you’re using an Air Fryer, they can cause problems. The coating made to keep food from sticking can cause smoke or inefficient cooking. To prevent this from happening, remove your grilling rack before using. A thick coat of oil or spray can also cause smoking, so always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for oil amounts and keep an eye on your food while it cooks.

Problem: Excessive smoke comes out of air vent

Solution: Your Air Fryer is too close to a heat source.

Air Fryers should not be placed near a source of heat like a stove or oven where they could overheat. If you have an old model with a glass window, make sure to use a plastic topper over that part of the air vent so you don’t burn your hand by touching the glass.

Problem: Excessive odors come out of air vent

Solution: You’re not cleaning or maintaining your Air Fryer correctly.

While most people love the aroma of cooking foods in their Air Fryer, some find it too strong and unpleasant. If this is the case for you, there are many things that can be behind an odor problem. First of all, consider whether or not your Air Fryer is being cooked on high heat and how often. If so, the cooking spray could be responsible for an odor. Or maybe you’re using a non-stick cooking spray that isn’t designed to be used with a non-stick cooking surface like your Air Fryer’s coating.

Lastly, if there are foods that are just not suitable for frying in a microwave or Air Fryer (like raw fish) but you keep eating them anyways, think about the grease from these foods that is then trapped inside the air vent and causing odors. The solution? Try to stick with foods that you know are safe and easy to clean up.

Problem: Food is not cooking thoroughly

Solution: It’s either not in an appropriate cooking container, you’re using too much oil, your food is frozen, or the temperature is set too high.

The containers that come with your Air Fryer are made to cook a variety of foods in a short period of time at high temperatures. The best way to use your Air Fryer properly is by using the recommended accessories from the manufacturer.

If you’re having trouble achieving the results you want, first, try to make sure you’re using the right accessories. If you’ve already got them at home, look at the instructions that came with your Air Fryer. It should tell you what size of container or cooking implements are most appropriate for whatever it is that you’re cooking.

As far as the amount of oil goes, keep in mind that sprays and coatings may prevent foods from getting a nice crust and can cause smoke. Plus, frying with an excess of oil will drain much of the natural flavor out of your foods. Seasonings are also important for flavor; remember to shake them into your food before cooking.

Lastly, if you’re frying frozen foods, you’re going to want to make sure that your Air Fryer has an adjustable temperature control. If you don’t have one, your food may end up not cooking thoroughly in the middle. Never set the temperature higher than recommended for each specific piece of equipment in order to prevent burning and other damage.

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Problem: You smell smoke but don’t see any

Solution: You might have a food stuck in the air vent. Or maybe you aren’t cleaning your Air Fryer well enough.

Is your air fryer smoking or smoke coming out of the air fryer vents? Don’t freak out. Read our article below. It’s most likely because all the oil or food particles (bread crumbs) on the food are splattering on the heating element. What to do? Stop the air fryer, use a paper towel to remove excess oil at the bottom the air fryer or put a piece of bread at the bottom to soak up the oils.

Fatty Foods Splattering Grease: There’s many reasons for your air fryer giving out smoke. The main reason is because foods with lots of fat will release grease and splatter on the heating element. This causes the air fryer to smoke and release white smoke, often following by burning smells and burnt food. But this doesn’t mean that you can’t cook higher fat air fried foods. Here’s our guide and tips to solve problems with air fryer smoke.


Smoke or Steam? Is all that white stuff smoke or steam? If it’s steam, it’s part of the normal cooking process. If it’s smoke, then read more below.

Too much oil and grease on the food cooked at high temperatures (360F or higher) splatters on the hot cooking element which causes smoke. Be prepared to see smoke if you’re cooking foods like bacon and chicken thighs. A lot of the smoke comes from cooking meat at higher temps.

Dirty heating element/coils or old food crumbs. Keep your air fryer clean! When it’s completely cool, gently wipe the inside and heating elements or coils to remove old grease or food stuck on it. Clean out any old grease leftover at the bottom of the air fryer.

What if my food doesn’t have too much grease? Maybe it was because it was battered with dry batter (read #4) Did  you overcrowd the basket or rack? read #5. Don’t crowd your basket or rack with food because even if your food has little oil but you cook a lot at a time, that can still cause oil/food particles to splatter on heating element.

Burning Food Particles Blowing Around. Sometimes it’s not just grease but also food particles splattering on the hot element can cause smoking. Is your food battered/breaded? was it sprayed down enough? If not, then the hot circulating air blows food particles around, particularly dried breading and that can cause burning and smoking. Bread crumbs flying around can definitely be a problem for smoking.

Is your air fryer too small. Your air fryer basket might be too small for cooking at higher temps. Try cooking less in a small basket or get a larger one. Still make sure to not overcrowd the basket with food.

Lay slice of bread or add water to Air Fryer. Some people suggest adding water at the bottom of the air fryer pan or basket to help splattering. We have not tried this yet, but if it works for other people, it might work for you. Others have also suggested adding a slice of bread at the bottom of the basket to soak up the excess oil.

Your temperature is too high. Some air fryer cook really hot and some recipes might call for too high of temperature. Try cooking the food at the lower temperature for longer.

You need to air fry in a well ventilated kitchen? If you’re in a small, closed kitchen then even the slightest steam or light smoke can be overwhelming. Open up windows, turn on your vent hood or try your best to ventilate your kitchen.

Use oils with high smoke points which can cook at higher temperatures without giving off too much smoke. Examples are light/refined olive oil, grape seed oil, avocado oil, vegetable oil which can help minimize smoke.

Ask your questions in the comments below and we’ll try to help figure out the problem.


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Are you still having smoke problems? then it must be a manufacturer issue. Call them and ask for help about your air fryer smoking.

Still more problems? then THINK about what it is that you are cooking and if it’s the same type of food, then you need to change the recipe or how you are cooking it.

Stop Air Frying. Some foods don’t cook well in an air fryer. And if after all this trouble shooting and you still experience smoke, then cook it on the stove top or oven. Air Fryers aren’t great for everyone or for all foods.

How do I get my ninja grill to stop smoking?

If you’re still having problems with your Ninja Foodi Jr. air fryer, here’s what you can do:

Locate the bottom vent/fan by removing the cover and then reinsert it. It should push out a lot of smoke and that should help with the problem. There are two vents in the Ninja Foodi Jr., one at the front (coil) and another on top or the lid. The lid vent only opens when you open or close the lid to put things in or take them out of your basket. The fan vent opens when you put the lid on.

Check to make sure the air fryer is all the way off.

Check for any type of obstruction in the vent. There can be debris or pieces of food in there from previous uses so be sure and clean it out good with a soft cloth towel. You should also make sure that there is nothing obstructing your bottom vent (see lesson above).

Make sure that the bottom pan isn’t too full with food making it difficult to fill up with oil and create an air barrier and protect your heating element from damage caused by splatter. The Foodi Jr.

Why does my air fryer smell like it’s burning?

The most common cause is that the air fryer is not vented properly. Most air fryers are designed so that air comes from the sides and bottom of the basket or pan. If you don’t have good a way for hot air to escape, then you’ll get smoke and burning smells.

You can also be cooking something like chicken wings that are too fatty and splatter on the element when cooking at high temps (360F or higher). This will cause smoke.

Here’s what you can do:

Check to make sure your air fryer is all the way off. If it’s still on, turn it off now.

Check to make sure the air fryer is vented properly. Most air fryers are designed so that air comes from the sides and bottom of the basket or pan. If you don’t have good a way for hot air to escape, then you’ll get smoke and burning smells.

If your basket is too filled with food, remove some of it so there’s more room for oil and the grease won’t splatter as much on the heating element.

Check to see if you’re using too high of a temps. Read our post: How do I use my Ninja Foodi Air Fryer?” to learn more about what type of food should be cooked at what temps in your Air Fryer.

Can air fryer catch fire?

Air fryers are safe to use generally if you follow the instructions and tips above. If the fryer catches on fire, it’s probably because you didn’t vent the fryer properly. A lot of people have a hard time venting their air-fryers, especially in an apartment or small kitchen where there isn’t a window built into their wall like in a house.

So basically if your Air Fryer catches fire it’s because your air fryer is not vented properly or you are using it improperly and you can fix that by following our step by step guide above, clicking here to read more about proper air frying techniques and food safety guidelines.

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If the air fryer is not vented properly it could result in a fire. So vent your air fryer properly, that should solve the problem if your air fryer catches fire.

My Ninja Foodi Jr. isn’t cooking anything but smoke! HELP!

Some things to try: If you are cooking something that is going to burn or burn easily, like chicken wings for example, then it will most likely smoke and taste bad. This doesn’t mean your air fryer is defective or that you damaged it somehow.

Why did my air fryer catch on fire?

There are a lot of reasons that your air fryer can catch on fire, but all are easy to fix.

You are using a recipe that calls for too much fat and oil, check out our post: How do I use my Ninja Foodi Air Fryer?” to learn more.

You didn’t put the basket or in the basket it should be placed or not fully filled. Be sure you fill your basket up all the way. Not only will this help when cooking but it will also protect your heating element from splatter.

You are cooking something that is too fatty and food splatters on the heating coil, this can cause a fire. Try cooking with less fat, or you can use your Ninja Foodi Jr. to cook for you or use a different air fryer to cook for you.

What do I do if my Ninja Foodi Jr. smells like burning?

Some things to try: Make sure your air fryer is all the way off, put it on the right temperature and then turn it back on.

Check the fan vent and make sure it isn’t blocked. Just like most air fryers, your Ninja Foodi Jr. has a lid and a bottom pan that can be removed to allow for better ventilation. The lid has a fan vent at the bottom of it that allows air to circulate in through the lid. And this is where smoke coming from your food is going up into.

Where do I put the oil in my Ninja Foodi grill?

You have three options when it comes to where to place your oil.

Option 1: One option is placing your oil in the Ninja Foodi basket it comes with (see recipe below).

Option 2: You can also buy an air fryer basket and place the oil inside of it. This is a good option if you want to cook more than one item at once or if you want to put more than one ingredient in at the same time so you don’t have to take the basket out of your Ninja Foodi Jr. all the time. And it will allow you to take out the Ninja Foodi Jr. if you want to spend more time cooking in your air fryer.

Option 3: If you don’t want to buy a new basket and/or don’t want to put the oil in your Ninja Foodi Jr. basket then you can use a pan or other type of pot with a lid and place the oil inside. Or use an air fryer pot holder (available online). This is what we do and it works perfectly! You can also buy an air fryer pot holder (available online). This is what we do and it works perfectly!

Can I use my Ninja Air Fryer to cook potatoes?

You can use your Ninja Foodi Jr. to cook hard and soft long-cooking foods like potatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes and cauliflower. We recommend making sure that you have a lid/handle/pot holder handy while using your Ninja Foodi Jr. with any of these items (except cauliflower). Also, make sure the cooking basket is completely full when cooking these items so that no steam escapes from the top of the basket. This will help you prevent the food from splattering on your heating element and possibly causing a fire.

Below you’ll find some additional FAQ’s we have put together from our users. We’d love to hear from you and can’t wait to hear your feedback after using your Ninja Foodi Jr for a while!

Most people ask about the Ninja Foodi Jr. size. The unit measures 10 1/2″ x 8 1/2″ x 7 3/4″, which is pretty small. Even though it’s small, it still holds a decent amount of food so that shouldn’t be an issue. You could probably serve two or three people with one basket of food or two full sized order of fries, but don’t get too ambitious with it.

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