How To Preheat Air Fryer | Here’s Everything You Should Know About in 2022

How to preheat air fryer?

Many first-time users of air fryers commonly ask their friends and family members the same question as above or how they should preheat their air fryer. These newcomers do not get the crispy and crunchy food they promised when buying an air fryer and start to use it less often. The reason for not getting the desired crispiness and crunch is that they do not preheat their air fryers for the required time or use them properly.

Preheating your air fryer can lessen the cooking time and makes the dishes more delicious and crispier. As the air fryer cooks food by circulating hot air throughout the basket, a process known as convection, the hot air reduces the moisture inside the food, giving it crisp and crunch and the signature golden brown color on the outside.

With that said, let’s learn more about how to preheat an air fryer and when preheating an air fryer is necessary.

Is preheating necessary every time before using an air fryer?

Preheating an air fryer is unnecessary every time you cook your favorite dish since it depends on the food you are cooking. However, preheating an air fryer has many benefits on the food and the cooking experience as it makes it easier and quicker.

On the other hand, if you do not preheat your air fryer, the food takes a bit longer to cook. The food may cook unevenly and will not be as crispy and crunchy as you want it. The result may not be according to the recipe as the temperature was not at the cooking stage for the food.

Do you know that your air fryer is an oven rather than a microwave? As you usually preheat your oven, you should also preheat your air fryer, as it starts cooking your food immediately and shortens the cooking time.

However, if you do not preheat your air fryer, you only have to cook your food for a couple of extra minutes.

How to preheat an air fryer?


Check the type of food or recipe you are cooking and see if it requires the air fryer to be preheated to a specific temperature.


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Check the user manual to see the preheating setting in your specific air fryer with every electronic appliance. In this way, it will be safer and efficient to use. You will be familiar with your air fryer, and there will be low chances of making any mistakes.


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Make sure that the basket is clean. Regular cleaning ensures that there is no smell of the previous food. This avoids ruining the next dish. Make sure to clean and remove all the crumbs and remains of the previous food as they might affect the next dish’s taste.


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Most air fryers will have a separate preheating functionality, so turn it on and set it to the desired temperature. As the air fryer reaches the desired temperature, it will notify you through a sound of beep.

Some air fryers have a dedicated button for preheating, others might have the preheating option in the settings or functions bar, or some might not have the preheating option at all.

How to preheat an air fryer manually?

If your air fryer does not have a preheating feature, then you have to do it manually. Here’s how you do it!

  • Turn the air fryer on and set it to the desired temperature and wait for a few minutes, Or
  • Set it to the temperature stated in your food recipe.
  • Let your air fryer wait for 3 to 5 minutes for preheating.

How long do you preheat an air fryer?

There are two factors on which length of time to preheat an air fryer depends on:

  • the temperature
  • the size of an air fryer

Small is the size of an air fryer, the lesser time is needed and vice versa.

  • Small baskets – 2 to 3 minutes on 300 degrees and below
  • medium baskets – 3 to 5 minutes on 300 to 350 degrees
  • large baskets – maximum 6 minutes on 350 t0 400 degrees

Pro tip:

Types of food that will benefit from preheating:

Crispy crust

Foods that taste better when they have a crunchy and crispy crust or coating, then preheating your air fryer will help you achieve that. Foods like chicken nuggets, French fries, potato chips, and chicken tenders will benefit from preheating. These taste better with a crispy outside.


Preheating your air fryer for leftovers ensures that they warm up nicely without getting overcooked. If you place some slices of pizza from last night into your preheated air fryer, it will be warm throughout, and the cheese will be all stringy. It will not be overcooked and will taste better than if you microwaved it.

Frozen foods

Pre-cooked frozen foods will benefit from a preheated air fryer as they will cook quickly, and the outside will be crispy and golden brown. The insides are already pre-cooked, so you only have to cook them for a little while. Some pre-cooked frozen foods can be French fries, fish sticks, mozzarella sticks, et cetera.

Thin foods

Foods that are portioned to small and thin sizes benefit from a preheated air fryer. They will cook quickly throughout without the risk of getting the outside burned. Some thin foods can be French fries and chicken strips.

Steaks are a must to preheat

This is important to preheat steaks to get a crust and sear. preheating steaks in an air fryer will quickly cook the outside of steak and also they will be more juicier than the frying.

Types of food that will not benefit from preheating

Big portions of food

Cooking big portions of food like a whole chicken or ham will not benefit from a preheated air fryer as these kinds of food have to be cooked through to the center. A preheated air fryer cooks the outside of the food quickly and crisps it up while the insides remain raw. The insides will need more time to cook through, which will result in the outsides getting overcooked and burned up.

Baking goods such as cakes, pastries, and bread

Baking in air fryers is not the same in an oven where you usually preheat for baking. As batters and doughs are usually in large quantities, the outside will burn while the inside will remain raw. So, it is better not to preheat your air fryer for baking.

Foods that require gentle cooking

Delicate foods that require gentle cooking will not benefit from a preheated air fryer. As some vegetables require gentle cooking, a preheated air fryer will burn the outsides, and the insides will not be tender. The moisture will dry up, and the taste will be very revolting.

Pro tip:

Do not use parchment paper during the pre-heating process, it may cause parchment paper to burn, if it blow to the heating element. Instead put the parchment paper in the air fryer after the preheat.

Pro tricks on how to preheat air fryer:

Aside from how to preheat an air fryer, you should know how to ensure the crispiness and crunch of the food like a preheated air fryer provides. Suppose you do not want to preheat your air fryer or do not have the option of preheating. In that case, you should know how to cook the food to ensure that the result is delicious and crunchy.

Do not overcrowd

As we tend to cook in large quantities to reduce the cooking time, this will not help when cooking with an air fryer. For the food to get crispy and golden brown, it needs space. If there is no space in the air fryer basket, then the hot air will not circulate efficiently and evenly throughout the basket. This will result in uneven cooking. Cooking in smaller quantities will ensure that the food is crunchy and evenly cooked. The end result will make you happy that you went the extra mile in your cooking.

Brush a little oil

Even though air fryers cook food without any oil, a little oil does help in cooking the food quickly, and the food tastes better. It also helps in cleaning the remains of the food after cooking. It is still better than deep frying as you are just using a little bit of oil.

Rotate and move your food

With microwaves and ovens, we occasionally move and rotate our food at time intervals to ensure even cooking. The same goes for an air fryer as well. Moving and shaking the food in the basket ensures even cooking and fastens the process as well. The bottom side of the food on the basket cooks evenly and does not go soggy.

Set the temperature between 350 to 400F

You should set the temperature of your air fryer within this range as if you cook under 350F, the food will cook slowly and might be undercooked when you take it out. It may not be crispy as well. On the other hand, if you cook over 400F, the food may be overcooked and burned. The 350 to 400F range is perfect for delicious, crispy, and crunchy food.


FAQs on how to preheat an air fryer

1. Is every model the same when it comes to preheating settings?

No. Every air fryer of every brand is different. You should check the user manual included in the box. It will have all the possible answers to your queries. Before buying an air fryer, check the preheating settings and try to buy one that does have this setting.

2. Can I cook every time without preheating my air fryer?

It depends on you as every person has their preference for cooking. This is an easier way, but without preheating, the food will take a bit longer to cook and not be as crispy. But to achieve the ultimate crispiness, the above-mentioned valuable tricks will help you in achieving that.

3.Can I preheat my air fryer with parchment paper?

No. If you preheat your air fryer with parchment paper, it will fly around and may burn and catch fire. Wait till the air fryer is preheated, and then place the parchment paper carefully. The food keeps the paper down, or else it will fly around. My personal favorite parchment paper is the below one:

Numola 9 Inch Air Fryer Liners, 100 PCS Perforated Parchment Paper Compatible with COSORI, GoWISE USA, Instant Vortex, Ninja, Ultrean, Chefman, Innsky, Dash, Secura and More 5.3-5.8qt Air Fryers

4. As my air fryer has no preheating setting, how would I know it is preheated, and I can start cooking?

If your air fryer has no preheating setting, then you can set a timer and depend on that, can start cooking your food. But as every air fryer of every brand is different, each air fryer’s heating capabilities may vary. Some might heat up faster than others.

So, you can check it yourself once the timer beeps. You can open it and put your hand over it. If you feel warm air, then it is ready for cooking. You can also take the basket out and check it as well.

Do these steps with caution as it is an electrical appliance and can be very hot.

5. Should I remove the basket out of the air fryer when preheating?

No. Some brands might not work while the basket is removed, as leaving the basket inside ensures that it is also warmed up and ready for cooking.


By this time, I am sure, you now know everything about how to preheat air fryer?

To sum up, preheating an air fryer has many benefits, and it ensures crispy, crunchy, and perfectly cooked food. However, not every dish requires the air fryer to be preheated, so check it beforehand, or the dish will be ruined.

It is very easy to preheat an air fryer with or without a separate setting for preheating. It lets you use your air fryer to its full potential and provides you with healthy and oil-free food. It helps you eat the food you love without worrying about calories and obesity.

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