A viral TikTok video shows the damage that can be done to countertops if you don't use your air fryer properly. Take these simple precautions to keep your kitchen good as new.
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Air fryer on a cracked countertop
Credit: Getty Images / insjoy / Joyce Grace / MicrovOne

According to marketing and consumer data website Statista, 40% of Americans who remodeled their homes during summer 2020 chose quartz for their countertops—granite clocked in at 28% while butcher block/wood slab, quartzite and marble came in at 12, 8 and 5%, respectively. The average cost per square foot of quartz at Home Depot is $68, with a range between $50 and $90, roughly the same price as granite. Quartz countertops are not cheap. So you can imagine the horror of TikTok user @fannypacksnacks when the quartz countertop—underneath her air-frying potatoes—cracked. CRA-ACKED. Here's why, most likely, and how you can prevent the same thing from happening in your sparkling kitchen.

As far as air fryers go, we recommend the Gourmia GAF556 (model 520 is no longer available) Digital Air Fryer (Buy one: Target.com, $75) and the Philips Viva TurboStar (analog model no longer available) Air Fryer (Buy one: Bedbathandbeyond.com, $200). The Gourmia reaches a maximum temperature of 400°F. Both the Philips air fryer and the Krups air fryer in the TikTok video max out at 392°F (200°C). This is important, as the trusty home-repair site, BobVila.com, notes, "Quartz resists heat damage—up to a point. Manufacturers market quartz as able to withstand temperatures up to 400°F. But 'thermal shock' can result from placing a hot pan straight from the oven or stovetop onto a cold quartz countertop, which can lead to cracking or discoloring." Maybe @fannypacksnacks's countertop was relatively cold when she set her air fryer to 400°F, causing a crack from thermal shock at minute 25, before the potatoes were fully baked?     

Furthermore, the good people at Marble.com say, "You should not expose the surface to excessive heat. Quartz is an engineered stone that is made by combining about 90% ground natural quartz with roughly 10% polyresin. Excessive heat melts the resin." So, it's also possible that the 400°F heat slightly melted the resin component of the quartz, weakening it and causing it to crack.  

No matter what actually occurred inside that countertop, we feel for @fannypacksnacks. We love baked potatoes too! We even like them fresh outta the air fryer. All you need to prevent cracking, melting or discoloration is a trivet (heat-resistant surface) (Buy one: bedbathandbeyond.com, $15), according to both BobVila.com and marble.com. Also, do not overfill your air fryer (those were some big potatoes!) and pay attention to the size of whatever it is you're air-frying. The Gourmia, Philips and Krups user manuals all note this. None suggest air-frying whole potatoes. They offer up french fries, shredded, matchstick, wedge… but no baked potatoes. Give your dinner room to crisp up and consider alternate cooking methods when craving a baked potato. It's cheaper than replacing quartz countertops.