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Can I put a cedar plank in air fryer?

Putting a cedar plank in an air fryer is possible, but not necessarily recommended. Cedar planks can be used to infuse food with a smoky, woody flavor when grilling or baking. However, using them in an air fryer comes with some risks and downsides.

Quick Answers

  • Yes, you can put a cedar plank in an air fryer, but it’s not ideal.
  • The dry heat of an air fryer can cause a cedar plank to burn or catch fire.
  • Cedar planks are better suited for moist cooking methods like grilling, smoking, or baking.
  • If you do use a plank in an air fryer, soak it first and watch it carefully to prevent burning.
  • Consider alternative ways to infuse smoky flavor like adding liquid smoke to recipes.

Hazards of Cedar Planks in Air Fryers

Cedar planks pose some risks when used in air fryers:

  • Fire hazard – Cedar is highly flammable. The intense dry heat of an air fryer can cause the plank to burn or catch fire.
  • Damage to appliance – A burning plank can scorch or damage the air fryer basket or heating element.
  • Harmful fumes – Burning cedar releases compounds that can taint food and may be harmful if inhaled.

Air fryers work by quickly circulating hot air around food at temperatures up to 400°F. This high, dry heat is great for crisping up food but can also dry out and ignite a cedar plank very quickly before it has a chance to smolder and smoke gradually.

Better Uses for Cedar Planks

Cedar planks work best with moist cooking methods that allow them to smoke slowly over lower, indirect heat. Recommended uses include:

  • Grilling – Place plank on one side of grill, away from direct flame.
  • Smoking – Add soaked planks to a smoker box or chamber.
  • Baking – Position plank on a baking sheet in the oven.
  • Plank-roasting fish – Lay fish directly on a soaked plank.

The key is to keep the plank from igniting. Wetting it first allows it to char and smoke bit by bit versus bursting into flames. The moist heat helps extract the wood flavors and scent compounds more gradually.

Tips for Using Cedar Planks in an Air Fryer

While not ideal, it is possible to use cedar planks in an air fryer safely with proper precautions:

  • Soak the plank in water for at least 1 hour first to slow ignition.
  • Choose a small plank that fits in the air fryer basket without touching the sides.
  • Keep an eye on it, as a soaked plank can still ignite quickly in hot air.
  • Flip or remove the plank if it begins burning or smoking heavily.
  • Place a foil tent over the plank to shield it from direct heat exposure.

Even with these steps, you’ll only get mild smoky flavor, not the full effect of true planking. It’s best to stick to wet cooking methods if you want pronounced wood-fired taste.

Alternative Ways to Add Smoky Flavor

For smoky cedar flavor from an air fryer, safer alternatives include:

  • Use liquid smoke – Add a few drops to the air fryer basket or recipe.
  • Make smoked salt – Add smoked sea salt to coat foods.
  • Smoke ingredients beforehand – Use a smoker box or pellet grill.
  • Choose smoked oils – Toss foods in smoked olive or avocado oil.
  • Serve with smoky sauces – BBQ sauce, chipotle mayo, sriracha.

These provide deep, authentic smoky taste without any fire risk or need to put wood in the air fryer itself. Get creative with rubs, spices, and sauces infused with smoked ingredients.


While it’s possible to use cedar planks in an air fryer, it’s not the ideal cooking method. Cedar is prone to catching fire without the gradual smoking effect you want. For the safest results and best smoky flavor, plank foods over moist heat on a grill or smoker. Use alternative ways like smoked seasonings to add wood-fired flavor in the air fryer instead of a risky plank.