How to Preheat an Air Fryer and Reheat your Food?

If you just purchased a new air fryer, then congratulations are in order! You now have access to a small kitchen appliance that can easily take the place of your oven for many things, including heating some amazing and delicious food without the lengthy time required to preheat an oven.

Some air fryer models don’t require any preheating time at all. Some models that don’t require any preheating include FarberwareNuwaveGoWise, Ninja, Kalorik, BellaChefman, or Philips Air Fryer.

However, each situation is different. So, you want to learn how to preheat air fryer and reheat your food the right way, every time.

How Long to Preheat Air Fryer?

Sometimes it is a good idea to preheat the air fryer before use. All you have to do is set the air fryer to the desired temperature before you add the food and get to cooking. Preheating the air fryer helps ensure more optimum cooking and allows the air fryer to reach the correct temperature and airflow levels for your food to be crispy and delicious.

Some suggest that you should preheat the air fryer for up to ten minutes before cooking. However, in many cases, preheating isn’t required. It really depends on the type of food you will be cooking. If you choose not to preheat even though the recipe or instructions tell you to, then be prepared to add a few minutes to the overall cook time.

How to Preheat Air Fryer

Depending on the air fryer model you are using, there may or may not be preheat functions already built-in. In this case, you simply press the desired temperature and time you want and let it go. If your air fryer doesn’t have this kind of functionality, here is how to go about preheating:

  1. Start by setting the desired temperature on the air fryer
  2. Now click “on” and allow the air fryer to preheat for at least three to five minutes (or whatever your recipe states). If you have a smaller air fryer that is less than three quarts, it should only take two minutes to preheat. However, larger air fryers will take more time

And that’s it. Simple enough, right?

When NOT to Preheat the Air Fryer

Yes, it sometimes pays to preheat the air fryer, but it really depends on what you are cooking. In some cases, preheating is not needed.

Thick or Raw Food

If you plan on cooking thicker foods or raw food like a roast, chicken breasts, or anything else that is raw and needs to be cooked all the way to the center, preheating is not required. When you preheat these foods, the outside will cook faster, leaving the center raw and undercooked.

Delicate Foods

If you are frying more delicate foods that you don’t want to come out too crispy on the outside, then avoid preheating the air fryer. Small cut vegetables, for example, are more delicate. If you choose to preheat, you will find that the outside will be overly crispy and burnt while the inside is still incredibly tender and undercooked. Too much heat can also cause the food to dry out.

Pastries or Breads

If you are air frying any kind of pastry or bread, you want to start with a cold air fryer. There is no need to preheat. You want the air fryer to cook these items slowly. Preheating ahead of time can result in a burnt outside and a raw and doughy inside.

Never Preheat with Parchment Paper

Never put parchment paper in the air fryer when preheating. The paper will blow around and can easily hit the heating element and burn. Don’t add the parchment paper to the air fryer until after it has finished its preheating process.

When You SHOULD Preheat the Air Fryer

There are also several times that do require that you preheat your air fryer for the best results. Let’s go over a few of these instances below.


If you plan on reheating some leftovers from the night before or smaller foods and thinner frozen foods, preheating is definitely a good idea. It can heat the food and crisp it up quickly.

When You Want a Crust

If you want to achieve a sear or a nice crust on the food, preheating is the way to go. It helps you achieve that crispy outside while making sure it is still fully cooked in the center. Thinner meats benefit from preheating. These meats include thin pork chops, thin steaks, and even chicken tenders.


And that brings us back to steak. Yes, you can cook steak in your air fryer, and when you preheat the air fryer first, you will get the best sear and crust on the outside of the steak while keeping the inside a medium-rare or rare – whichever you prefer.

Pre-cooked Frozen Foods

If you cook pre-cooked frozen French fries, cheese sticks, or fish sticks, then preheat your air fryer. When it is already cooked, you are just looking to heat the food all the way through and get that crispy exterior.

Can an Air Fryer Be Used for Reheating Fried Chicken and Chicken Breast?

The air fryer is not really ideal for reheating soups and gravies, but you can definitely reheat fried chicken, chicken breast, pizza, and french fries. Just turn ON your air fryer and turn the temperature up to 180 degrees. It does not take much time to reheat it. The food will be reheated in just 5 to 7 minutes.

How to Use Oil in an Air Fryer When Reheating Food

Many people purchase an air fryer so they can make their fried foods more healthily. They also assume that oil is not needed when using an air fryer, resulting in dried out food. An air fryer works similarly to how a convection oven works.

Air moves around the food along with the heat from the bottom of the fryer. With these movements, the food can easily begin to dry out and lose moisture, resulting in less tasty food.

When using oil in your air fryer, you only need to use one tablespoon or one teaspoon of oil to bring back the moisture your fried food needs without losing out on any of the flavors. Try to avoid using sprays, though, because they can damage your air fryer over time. Remember, the oil is used to help crisp up the food, retain moisture, and keep everything as delicious as possible.

Looking for the best oil to use in your air fryer? Read this post for more valuable information and tips when using your air fryer.

Conclusion and Final Words of Advice

Preheating your air fryer ahead of cooking some foods is good because it allows the cooking process to start immediately. This can also cut down on the total amount of time you will need for the cooking process.

If you don’t preheat, you have to add those additional minutes to your overall cook time to ensure everything is cooked to perfection.

If you choose not to preheat, it is still possible to get the crispy food you are craving. So, it really comes down to your own personal preferences and how much time you want to spend with your air fryer.

So, in the end, we will say that in today’s busy life,  an air fryer is a very useful kitchen appliance for you, whether you use it for cooking or for reheating your food. It is a great way to breathe new life into those leftovers, too, which can significantly cut down on food waste in the home!

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