Can You Add Water to Air Fryer? Do’s and Dont’s!

Yes, you can add a few drops of water at the bottom of your air fryer below the basket.

But remember that Air Fryer is not meant for steaming the food, so only add a few drops of water (not more than that).  

How Does Adding Water Help in an Air Fryer?

Water helps to rehydrate any dried-out food. It moistens up the atmosphere inside, allowing food particles to suck up tiny water particles inside food giving it a new life.

By adding a few drops of water to your empty drip pan, you can refresh any baked items in your basket. They will be as good as newly baked. 

Adding water is quite useful when it comes to cooking fatty food like bacon and hamburger patties inside the air fryer. Fatty foods tend to drip out grease and cause smoking. Adding water helps to prevent the grease from smoking by making the grease float and keeping it cool.

Apart from grease, use water for any meat that releases meat juice into the drip pan like meatballs, chicken thighs, etc.

Unless you need the fallen juice for reapplication or as a sauce, it always pays to add some water and avoid smoking.

Smoking can get bothersome for those with allergy and lung complications not to mention the awful smell of burning all over your place. 

Water also makes the cleaning up of the drip pan quick and easy. The hot liquid will mix with the grease, soften and dislodge crumbs from hard-to-reach areas.

How to Add Water Inside an Airfryer? 

Add a few tablespoons to the bottom of your drip pan. 

Do not add a lot of water as water droplets may fly due to fan rotation inside and you will end up with a splashed hot steamy liquid everywhere.

Besides, the basket will not sit properly above water.  

Keep water away from the electronic parts of your Airfryer or you will end up damaging your machine and the heating element due to a short circuit. 

Heating a soup bowl or reheating gravy is perfectly fine. You won’t be able to boil the water in an air fryer, but you will end up with hot steamy liquid. 

Can Using Water Break/Damage the Air Fryer?

Yes! Adding a lot of water can cause a breakdown of your air fryer if the electronic parts come in touch with water.

An air fryer does not have a compartment to hold liquid (it’s not built to have water in it).

Instead, hot air is generated in its chambers with the help of a heating element. This air is rotated with the help of a high-speed fan. 

If you add a lot of water, the high-speed fan can cause it to splash everywhere and once the water comes in contact with the electronic parts, it can damage your air fryer. 

This is why you must never immerse the air fryer in water. In case it falls accidentally and gets immersed in water, unplug immediately. 

Never reach into the water when the Airfryer is plugged in and immersed. Adding a few drops below the basket is fine but never flood the air fryer chamber with water.

Also read: Steam Coming Out of Air Fryer – What it Means? 

Can You Steam Food in an Air Fryer? 

No, unfortunately! It is best to steam food in a steamer or a pressure cooker. 

To understand why you must know how an air fryer works.

An Airfryer is more like a convection oven. Hot air is created with the help of a heating element and that heat is blown downward on the food creating a dry environment.

In such a scenario, it becomes difficult for the vaporized water to steam food.

Also, almost all air fryers have vent holes that release the built-up steam. As the steam is released out, steaming food is not possible.

So while you cannot steam fry your momos or dumplings, you can air fry them for a crisp result instead of a moist texture!

Can Rice Be Cooked Inside an Air Fryer? 

No, you can not cook rice inside an air fryer.

Air fryers are designed to cook food by circulating hot air with the help of a fan. The hot air helps to dry up food giving it a crunchy texture just like deep frying in oil. 

Rice needs boiling water to cook. No matter how high the temperature you set, water will never boil inside an Airfryer.

You will end up with hot steamy water with uncooked rice grains. Skip the Airfryer and use a rice cooker for cooking your rice. 

What Other Liquid Should Not Be Used Inside an Airfryer?

Never cook a wet batter inside an air fryer. You will end up with a slimy gooey lump that will slide out of your meat easily. 

It is worth noting that while the air fryer helps to dehydrate food, a wet batter may not give you the same results as hot oil.

This is because an Airfryer is not designed to set the wet batter. Make sure the batter is not watery for a perfect crisp. 

Can You Use Oil Inside an Air Fryer? 

Yes, you can, but do not use a lot of oil inside an Airfryer (brushing a little bit of oil on the food is alright). 

Using excessive oil will defeat its purpose.

The air fryer is meant to fry your meat and veggies just like deep frying in hot oil. 

While an Airfryer does not need oil to cook, adding a bit of oil is encouraged by manufacturers. Here are some pros of using oil 

  • Oil helps to bind the meat with the seasonings (without oil, your spice seasoning will end up flying) and make it juicy while remaining crisp outside.
  • There are also many benefits of indulging in a small quantity of plant-based oil like brain and hormone balance. Without the oil, your food can be leathery, stiff, and quite dry.

Just a small teaspoon or two is enough. Make sure you use oil with a high smoking point inside an Airfryer. 

A high smoking point will ensure the oil becomes hot without burning out at high temperatures.

Some examples are avocado oil, virgin olive oil, grapeseed oil, peanut oil, canola oil, etc.

Do not use non-stick cooking sprays. It will damage the insides of your Airfryer.

This is because an Airfryer is already coated with a non-stick coating and the chemicals in the spray can damage the coating causing it to flake. 

What Else Can We Do With an Air Fryer Apart From Air Frying? 

While an Airfryer gives you excellent results for air frying, you can also 

  • Bake cookies, cake, and pizza inside it. All you need is a supporting baking pan that fits into the dimensions of your Airfryer. 
  • Use an Airfryer to warm and reheat your food anytime in the day. You can even boil eggs in them without water.
  • For fish, you need to keep a constant watch as they are delicate meat and can end up overcooking. Be careful while flipping fish as you may end up breaking it. Use parchment paper beneath fish to place, lift and flip easily. 
  • For grilling cheese sandwiches, you will need to place parchment paper or aluminum foil to catch the melted cheese.
  • You can also use an Airfryer to roast and grill veggies and meat. Air fryers are great for cooking veggies. You have to be careful with broccoli though as high temperatures can burn it up. It will get cooked but may not crisp well due to its inbuilt nature.  To cook well, add one tablespoon of water to the bottom of your drawer. 

This is why frozen veggies fare better in an Airfryer compared to store-bought raw veggies. Frozen veggies retain more moisture giving you perfect results.

Do not cut your vegetables into thin and small pieces. Without weight, they will end up flying inside an Airfryer. For really small veggies like peas, use a baking pan.

Skip air frying green leafy veggies unless they are weighed down under a sandwich or a coating.

This is because the fan inside is quite powerful and can blow away the leaves. 


Use a few drops of water in the drip pan beneath the basket to stop the smells and the smoke. You will also be rewarded with an easy clean-up later. 

Excessive grease can cause the release of white smoke. It may become hot enough to catch fire!

Putting water keeps the grease cool and prevents any mishappenings from taking place. 

Water freshens up your food and veggies by helping them rehydrate.

For moist and juicy food, don’t forget to add a few drops of water to your drip tray underneath the basket. Happy Air frying!

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I’m Jueria and I am a regular contributor on In my articles, I share time-saving techniques, appliance wizardry, and health-friendly recipes to bring taste and wellness to your table. So raise a glass (or a spatula) with me, to good health and good food, made easy!