How to Preheat Air Fryer (With 6 Common Mistakes!)

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You can make your favorite indulgent snacks on an air fryer without the fear of extra calories or fat. Seems like air fryers were made for us, the one who can not stop eating french fries no matter what!

Of course, it can cook many different food items too. If you already have an air fryer and are kind of struggling with it, chances are you do not preheat it.

That’s right! This small, compact, conventional-oven-alternative is designed to be used as an oven, and includes preheating! Seems like there is still a lot we can learn about air fryers. 

So, in this article, you will find all the information on how to preheat air fryer. We have also added some of the most common mistakes everyone makes while using an air fryer. Don’t miss out on that! 

Do You Preheat an Air Fryer?

It might come as surprise to some, but you do have to preheat your air fryer. Most of us have had one of those failed attempts at making a recipe using the air fryer only to end up in a massive fail. That is because we did not preheat it.

Most people treat their air fryer like a microwave when in fact they should treat it as an oven. 

It is not necessary that you always have to preheat it but for certain recipes, it’s a must. Things like french fries, chips, chicken fries, fish sticks required from the air fryer to preheat. This helps to provide a crispier result.

How Does an Air Fryer Work?

how to preheat air fryer

We all enjoy a good air fryer because it gives delicious snacks without any grease or oil. So it’s super healthy and does not have that guilt of indulging in some snacks. 

But how can an air fryer make crispy french fries without even a dash of oil? For starters, air fryers do not actually “fry” your food. Instead, it sort of removes the moisture by blowing hot air around it. 

The air force and heat allow it to get the signature brown body we all love and the lack of moisture makes it crunchy. 

Did you know air fries food has 70% fewer calories than deep-fried ones? Who says you have to sacrifice your favorite meals to stay healthy. Healthy does not mean boring anymore!

How to Preheat an Air Fryer: A Step-by-Step Guide

Preheat an Air Fryer

If you have been using your air fryer and not getting the desired result, chances are you did not preheat it. Preheating your air fryer is actually pretty simple to do.

01. Check Your Recipe:

You don’t have to preheat your air fryer for all types of food. Certain recipes ask for preheating and some do not. So it is ideal to check the recipe beforehand.

02. Set the Temperature:

If the recipe actually calls for a preheated air fryer, then note down which temperature they have mentioned. Set the temperature to that and turn on the air fryer.

03. Wait:

There isn’t much to do after that. All you do is wait for 5 minutes until it’s ready. If your air fryer is small, it will take 4-5 minutes to properly heat up. For larger ones, 7 minutes is more than enough.

Common Mistakes with Air Fryers

air fryer reheat fried chicken

Being a relatively needed addition to our kitchen, we all have some misconceptions surrounding air fryers. This leads to many user errors and unsatisfactory recipes. 

If you are trying to get a certain result in your air fryer but failing, again and again, you might need to check our list of the common mistakes with air fryers. We all have made these mistakes at least once in our life!

01. Do Not Overcrowd:

As most of us are used to cooking in larger batches, this might seem a bit tedious at first. But you will get used to it.

Cook your food in smaller batches instead of large ones. This allows the hot air to move freely and cooks the food from all sides. So not overcrowding the air fryer is a key thing. 

This especially is crucial if you are making crispy items like fries and chips. Space ‘em up and let ‘em breathe! 

02. About Meat Items:

If you are trying to make meat items like chicken fry or baked chicken but they always end up soggy, chances are, you are not drying the meat properly.

You should always bloat away any excess moisture from your food. This includes both meat and vegetables. If the surface is dry, it will cook faster and have a crispy, brown exterior. 

You can use paper towels to pat your food dry. Wet food also delays the cooking time. So keep that in mind. 

03. Regular Cleaning is a Must!

This mistake actually applies to all of us. We all are guilty of not cleaning our kitchen appliances as much as we should.

As the air fryer is relatively small, it can catch a lot of oil and grimes after a few uses. So it is a very good idea to give a gentle clean-up after each use. 

This also helps to not form any bacteria or mold inside, especially if you tend to not use it very often. The leftovers can form bacteria which can be detrimental to health.

04. It’s Not Just for Fried Food:

Who says air fryers are only for fried items? As is supposed to be a portable version of an oven, you should try all the recipes you try on a conventional oven. 

This is great if you live in a  small apartment with no oven. The small size of the air fryer is perfect for easy dinner ideas. You each easily make chicken roasts or other meat-based dishes on it.

You can reheat food items like chicken tenders, grilled ribs, bbq wings very easily on an air fryer too. 

05. Rotate and Cook:

This is a fairly obvious one. When we cook on a pan, we constantly move our food around to let it get even heat from all sides. So why don’t we do that for air fryers?

As the basket inside the fryer can not move in a circular motion like a microwave, you need to do it manually. Just open the air fryer at a regular interval and use a tong to gently rotate or flip your food. 

06. It Can Bake Too!

If you have never made chocolate chip cookies on an air fryer, you are seriously missing out! Air fryers can be used to make a wide range of desserts, cakes, doughnuts, and even casseroles. 

Of course, you’d have to preheat the air fryer for 10 minutes before baking. Cleaning is also necessary especially if you use your air fryer for savory food a lot. This will help to not leave a weird smell on your desserts. 

Tips for Using Your Air Fryer

Air Fryer oven
  • Keep your air fryer on a dry, open countertop to not overheat it. 
  • Even though you don’t need to use any oil, sparing some oil can really help to fasten the process. Either way, tis’ better than deep frying food for sure! You can use vegetable oil substitutes too. 
  • It is a good idea to shake the frying basket from time to time especially if you are making fries. Shaking is easier than flipping or tossing. 
  • If you are cooking vegetables, do not chop them into very small pieces. Sammler items can get swept inside the fan of your air fryer. This is very risky. So be careful.
  • Cooking at a low temperature for a longer time results in crispier and better food than cooking at a high temperature for a shorter time. 
  • Use an air fryer to heat up your leftover food like chicken wings. They turn out to be absolutely scrumptious!
  • Make sure to purchase the right size for your family. Standard air fryers are made for single-person cooking. 

Frequently Asked Questions

01. How Long Does Instant Pot Take to Preheat? 

You will need around 10-15 minutes to preheat your instant pot depending on the size and the food items. This might seem like a lot of time but it’s pretty average for all types of instant pots. 

You will know your instant pot is preheated when the display panel shows the “ON” sign. When we see that sign, it means the pot is in the process of preheating. 

02. How Long Does an Oven Take to Preheat to 400? 

A standard conventional oven takes around 17-20 minutes to preheat to 400°F. If you are pre-heating it to 350°F, it will take 15 minutes. 

Almost all ovens have an indicator light that will tell you when the preheating is done. There is either a light that turns off or turns on when the oven is ready. 

03. Can I Put Aluminum Foil in an Air Fryer?

Yes, you can put aluminum foil in an air fryer and in fact, we encourage you to do so! Putting a piece of aluminum foil in the bottom for the air frying basket allows the food to cook faster and evenly. It also prevents soggy bottoms.

One key thing to note is, you should not cover the whole basket in aluminum foils. This can disrupt the airflow and cause malfunction. 

It is also not advised to put the foil in the bottom of the air fryer where food crumbles usually gather. Just take a small piece and put it on the button of the basket and you will be good to go!

04. Can I Make Popcorn in an Air Fryer?

This is absolutely genius and we love whoever discovered this. You can make delicious popcorn in your air fryer very easily and quickly. 

Preheat the air fryer to 400°F for 5 minutes. Then you can start cooking.

Simply put a piece of aluminum foil in the bottom of the basket and pour the kernels inside. You can use a spray to lightly coat them with oil but it’s not necessary. We like to spray coconut oil for a tropical flavor. 

Cook at 390°F until all the kernels pop into delicious popcorns. The time can vary depending on how many kernels you have used. Usually, it takes 10-15 minutes. 

Takeaway

And there you go. Preheating your air fryer is that simple! Hopefully, we here are able to help you and know what you should and should not do while using an air fryer!

Do you have any other tips?

Comment down below to let us know!