Can You Put Water in an Air Fryer?

Yes, you can put water in an air fryer, but it should be done with purpose and caution. Adding water to an air fryer can be beneficial for certain cooking processes, such as preventing smoke from high-fat foods or helping to steam and moisten food. However, it’s crucial to understand the appropriate methods and reasons for adding water to ensure the safety and functionality of your air fryer.

Reasons to Add Water to an Air Fryer

1. Reducing Smoke

  • Adding a small amount of water to the bottom of the air fryer drawer can help minimize smoke when cooking high-fat foods like bacon or fatty cuts of meat. The water catches dripping fat and prevents it from burning and smoking.

2. Creating Steam

  • A little water can create steam inside the air fryer, which can be helpful for cooking or reheating foods that benefit from moisture, like vegetables or certain baked goods.

How to Safely Add Water to an Air Fryer

Adding Water to the Drawer

  • If your air fryer has a drawer and basket design, you can add a small amount of water (a few tablespoons) to the drawer beneath the basket. This should be done before starting the cooking process and with just enough water to cover the bottom of the drawer without touching the food in the basket.

Using a Water Bath

  • For air fryers that don’t allow direct addition of water to the drawer, or for added safety, you can place food in an oven-safe dish with a bit of water, then put the dish in the air fryer basket. This method is particularly useful for steaming vegetables or keeping baked goods moist.

Important Considerations

Avoid Overfilling

  • Never pour a large amount of water directly into the air fryer drawer or basket. Excessive water can damage the air fryer’s heating element and electrical components.

Check Manufacturer’s Instructions

  • Always refer to your air fryer’s manual before adding water or any other liquid. Some models may have specific guidelines or prohibitions against adding water directly to the drawer.

Be Mindful of Steam

  • When adding water for steaming purposes, be cautious when opening the air fryer during or after cooking, as hot steam can escape and potentially cause burns.

Regular Cleaning

  • If you regularly add water to catch fat drippings, ensure you clean the drawer and basket thoroughly after each use to prevent buildup and maintain hygiene.


While unconventional, adding a small amount of water to an air fryer can have its benefits, such as reducing smoke and aiding in steaming. However, it’s essential to use this technique judiciously and always in accordance with the manufacturer’s guidelines to protect your appliance and ensure delicious, safe cooking results.

Sharing is caring!

Bubbly Chef author