Skip to Content

Can You Put Water In An Air Fryer? (All you need to know)

The air fryer has gained a lot of fame due to its mind-blowing ability to cook food without oil and deliver almost the same crispiness that you get with frying food in oil.

No one simply gets an air fryer and doesn’t fall in love with it immediately. People who are new to air fryers often get confused as to what can be put in the air fryer and what cannot be.

When I search the internet search bar of air fryers, a lot of questions relating to air fryers pop up; the most frequent of which is “Can you put water in the air fryer?”.

The answer to this question depends upon the air fryer model; for some air fryers, water is dangerous, while others can handle a small amount of water.

Short answer: Yes; you can put water in the air fryer but in small amounts. For instance, if you’re cooking something fatty, you can add water to it to reduce the amount of smoke.

Not every meal needs water to be cooked. So, it is recommended to avoid adding too much water to the air fryer. Instead, you can add in a small amount if it is necessary.

The purpose of an air fryer is to fry the food till it becomes crispy. Adding too much water would kill its purpose, and your food will be steamed rather than fried.

If you’re keen to know how and how much water can be added to an air fryer. Keep reading!

What is an Air Fryer?

The air fryer is essentially a more powerful countertop convection oven that does not fry food. The Philips Electronics Company-patented small appliance declares to replicate the results of deep-frying using only hot air and little or no oil.

According to market research firm NPD Group, this device has grown in popularity in recent years, with nearly 40% of U.S. homes owning one by July 2020. Everything from frozen chicken wings and homemade french fries to roasted vegetables and fresh-baked cookies can be air-fried.

How does Air Fryer work?

An air fryer’s top section houses the heating agent and fan. When you turn it on, hot air rushes down and around the food, which is placed in a fryer-style basket. This rapid circulation crisps the food, similar to deep-frying but minus the oil.

This is how you use an air fryer:

  • Set your food in the basket
  • Adjust the time and temperature
  • Wait for the food to get cooked.
  • After finishing, bring out the basket and enjoy your food.

How do you add water to an Air fryer?

Air fryer is a handy thing
An air fryer is a handy thing.

You have to be extra careful while adding water to the air fryer as it is an electrical appliance that could be damaged, or a short circuit might happen if the water comes in contact with the air fryer’s electrical components.

The best way to add water to an Air fryer is by a measuring cup or spoon by pouring a small amount of water into the drawer of the air fryer, and you can efficiently heat a soup bowl or gravy in it.

Also, avoid putting a lot of water in it as water droplets fly all over the basket by high-speed circulated fan rotation, resulting in hot and steamy liquid everywhere in the basket.

When do I put water in an Air fryer?

You can add water to the air fryer precisely two times.

  1. In fatty foods which have grease in them, like bacon and sausages, adding water helps in dissolving the fat, and food would is safe from burning.
  2. Adding water also helps in rehydrating the moisture of dried-out food as leftovers that are cooked on the oven and stove lose their moisture and are often dried out.

A little amount of water also helps to cool down food and prevent smoke production.

Water can be added at any stage, but I believe it should be added in the beginning before putting food so that it settles at the bottom.

How much water should be added to the air fryer?

2 to 3 tablespoons would be enough to keep your food prevent from drying out and to reduce smoke production.

When it comes to adding water to an air fryer, less is more beneficial as it helps in locking in the moisture of food and prevents it from becoming soggy.

Adding too much water to the air fryer will either result in ending up in your food or would catch fire. So, the more you are careful, the more it would be better!

The amount of water also depends upon your task; if you are cleaning your air fryer, you will surely need more water than 2-3 tablespoons. But, to take care of appliances, a damp cloth would be more suitable to clean the inside basket of the air fryer.

Drops of water under air fryer's basket
Drops of water under the air fryer’s basket

Does adding water help in an Air fryer?

Adding a few drops of water to your air fryer is good for food because hot air that circulates the food creates a lot of smoke. Water moistens up the inside temperature and gives new life to food.

You can easily refresh baked items in your air fryer by adding a few droplets of water to the basket, and your baked items will be as new and fresh as when you bought them.

Water is necessary to use when cooking fatty and greasy food like beef patties, and bacon as grease sticking in your basket might catch fire which could be dangerous for you and your air fryer. Adding water helps to prevent the grease from sticking inside.

Besides grease, water can be used for meat that releases juice, like chicken thighs and meatballs, unless you need that juice as a sauce or reapplication.

Smoke is also produced when cooking fatty foods in air fryers which is not good for those with lung complications and allergies.

Water is beneficial for cleaning the air fryer as water loosens up the hard-to-scratch grease in the air fryer, making it clean easily.

Check out the following video to know more tips about cleaning your air fryer.
Tips for cleaning the air fryer.

Therefore, if used smartly, adding water is quite helpful for an air fryer.

Can food be steamed in an air fryer?

No, you cannot steam food in an air fryer because steam will rise and would result in damaging the inner components of the air fryer to the point that it would not work.

This is why it is recommended to use a small amount of water which would not produce a lot of steam and can result in moist and juicy food.

Can you cook rice in an air fryer?

No, you cannot cook rice in an air fryer because the rice needs boiling water to cook, and the temperature inside the air fryer doesn’t reach the boiling point. It just steams.

A Bowl of rice is a quick dish to make.
A Bowl of rice

No matter how much high a temperature you set in an air fryer, the water never boils. Hence, your rice will be wasted.

The hot air circulation inside the air fryer dries up the food to make it crispy and crunchy, so if you make rice in the air fryer, you would be left with steamy water and uncooked rice.

Not every air fryer allows you to put water in it. But, some are designed in a manner that allows you to put water in them.

Check out the following table to learn about air fryers that accommodate water, just in case you are thinking of buying one.

Air fryer nameCapacityPrice
Nutricook Rapid Air Fryer3.5L$89.92
VON Air Fryer VSYA35BBK5.5L$72.15
Lubanzi Air Fryer Pro3.2L$118.12
Air fryers with their prices.


Next time you wanna put water in an air fryer, remember these things.

  • You can put water in an air fryer but little amount.
  • 2-3 tablespoons of water are recommended to keep the food moist.
  • Adding water helps in preventing smoke and grease while cooking fatty foods.
  • You cannot steam food in an air fryer because the steam rise is dangerous for it.
  • Rice cannot be cooked in an air fryer because the water never reaches the boiling point in the air fryer.

Related articles

Skip to content