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how to preheat air fryer

How to Preheat Air Fryer? (Here’s How You Can Do It)

Air fryers are known to make food turn out deliciously crispy. However, some regular users don’t enjoy this feature due to their cooking procedure or simply say: they prepare without proper preheating.

For some who don’t get desired results after preheating the system, the question they ask is how to preheat air fryers. From experience and after using different brands, here is a proper guide on how to preheat the air fryer to make your food turn out crispy:

Before putting your food into a plugged-in air fryer, put it on and set it to a high temperature. 370 to 400° F is ideal, let it heat for 5 to 7 minutes, or press the preheat button (comes with some models). Once the preheating time elapses, go ahead and add the food to start cooking.

What Do You Need to Know Before Preheating?

Preheating appliances are based on personal choice. If you want super crispy food, then preheat it before usage. Preheating is the right way also matters to achieve good results. Here is what you need to know before preheating:

What Is a Preheating Feature in an Air Fryer?

A preheating feature is a button that requires you to press it for the system to preheat before you start cooking. Although there are some models that don’t come with it.

Preheating feature simply preheats the system automatically before you begin to cook. See it as a time saver that preheats your appliance, instead of making you try to manually figure out the right preheating time. For models that don’t come with it, a simple temperature and time setting create your preheating feature.

Does Your Air Fryer Has Preheating Option?

Does your Air Fryer has Preheating option
Even though it is a necessary feature to aid accurate preheating timing, some air fryer models don’t feature it. Recently, some top manufacturers are beginning to add a preheating feature to their air fryers, especially digital ones. They start preheating as soon as you press the button and also indicate when preheating is done through a flashing light.

Although, some models are designed without a preheating feature, according to the manufacturers: “Our air fryers are fast heating systems, just go ahead and start cooking” To them, it’s not an oven that needs time to heat up.

Is It Necessary to Preheat the Air Fryer for Every Use?

Yes, of course, you should preheat your air fryer before every use. You shouldn’t only throw your food on it and expect crunchy flavor. You should preheat your air fryer before every use for 5 to 8 minutes. It’s not just a regular method that you should follow, but it will make your food more tasty and crunchy.

Note: Remember when you’re using almunium foil or parchment paper, no need to preheat it.

A Knob or Digital Preheating System: Which One Can Reach Fast?

Some digital models feature a push button that automatically preheats the appliance when pressed. While some models come with a knob that requires a manual setting for them to preheat.

The preheat setting on digital air fryers makes a digital preheating system reach faster than that of a Knob system. Before a knob user determines the preheating time of his or her model, the digital user system must have finished preheating.

How Long Do You Have to Wait Until Come Up Preheat?

The timeframe takes for air to come up preheat depends on the air fryer brand model. Air fryers with a preheating feature come up faster than those without them.

Within 2 to 3 minutes, the ones with the digital system preheat and indicate as soon as it’s done. But manually set up timers for preheating will come up from 4 to  5 minutes in.

Here’s How Quickly You Can Preheat Your Air Fryer

preheat air fryer

1. First Check the Manual

For any kitchen appliance you buy, going through the manual is never a bad idea. Even though some people ignore this part, it is very crucial as it tells you what to do and what to avoid to keep your appliance in a good state.

Most digital top brands will state how long it takes for air fryers to preheat. Some models with knobs can also tell you the recommended preheating time for their product.

If a preheating instruction is missing in the manual, it can also tell you how to get started with the appliance. These plug-in/turn-on instructions are usually similar to preheating processes.

2. Check the Cleanliness

Whether it is a new model or a regularly used one, It is important to check your appliance before each use. For new models, take out all the materials it was packaged with. The pan and basket should be cleaned with a washcloth.

While peeling packaging materials, don’t use sharp objects. For regularly used ones: Unplug and take out the accessories before a new use. After each use, wash the pan and basket thoroughly to get it ready for another use.

When learning how to preheat an air fryer, checking the clean state of the air fryer is important to avoid preheating debris from the last use.

3. Plug the Unit In

If you are sure your model is free from stains and debris from the last usage, plug the power core into a wall electrical outlet.

Avoid using an extension cord to plug in any heating appliances. Most brands kick against this as it alternates the flow of sufficient electricity.

Please Note: check the voltage of your air fryer in the manual before plugging it in an outlet. Most American appliances run at a single voltage while other countries run appliances at dual voltage.

4. Put the Accessories Into the Right Place

Most regular users like to put accessories in place after checking cleanliness. However, it is still important to check if all the accessories are in place as you plug them in. Putting your basket and pans in place will also encourage even heating when you put your food in for cooking.

5. Turn On the Unit

For the ones that operate with a knob system, turn the knob clockwise to put it on, or simply follow the direction written on the air fryer surface. For digital systems, press the power button(for some models, it’s written on/off).

6. Set the Timer

Note that putting it on doesn’t automatically mean it will start preheating. You have to set it to the desired preheating time (usually 3 to 6 mins). You can check the manual for recommended preheating time, or follow the recipe instruction if it requires preheating.

The ones with knob systems require you to manually set the timer before preheating. Some models state the required preheating time in the manual. Simply turn the knob to the desired preheating time.

For digital models with a preheating button, just press the button and let it do the job. For digital types without a preheating button, use the button to set the timer.

7. Set Your Desired Temperature

The ones with a preheating feature will automatically start preheating at an ideal temperature. But the ones without this feature require you to manually set the temperature before preheating.

An ideal temperature to set knob systems for preheating ranges from 370 to 400° for 3 to 7 minutes. This applies to digital ones without preheating features. Setting it at a high temperature aids proper heating before you start cooking.

How Do You Know When Your Air Fryer Is Done Preheating?

Recent models have an indicator light that blinks as soon as preheating is done. For those who are yet to buy, look out for this feature.

For knob system air fryers, the timer goes off after the preset time has passed. Once the timer goes off, it is done preheating.

Some digital air fryers display symbols on an LCD screen to help the user check if the air fryer has reached its preheating peak. Some brands change the light indicator color while some shut off the light when preheating is done.

Should You Preheat Your Air Fryer Before Cooking?

Should you Preheat your Air Fryer before Cooking
Preheating your model before cooking largely depends on the result the user wants.
You should preheat your air fryer if you intend to achieve a crispy texture out of your meal. It also helps you save time cause the food starts cooking immediately it goes in.

Another reason why you should preheat the appliance before cooking is if the manual says so. As some brands add the feature due to the operational system.

But, if you are making a recipe that requires less crunchiness or crispiness, and needs basic cooking to achieve the desired result, then preheating it is not needed.

When You Need to Preheat:

If you want the food to cook faster, preheating saves time (not much difference though, but a little time matters for one who is in a hurry).

Secondly, preheating aids crunchiness in meats, chicken, and other thin proteins. If you love excess crunchiness in your meats, try preheating before cooking. Also, leftovers can be restored to a fresher crispy taste when you preheat an air fryer before reheating the leftover food.

When Not to Preheat:

There are regular users who don’t like meats that are hardened, crispy, and crunchy in the outer layer. For those in this category, only start the appliance when you are ready to cook.

Small foods and vegetables might burn as soon as it experiences instant high heat. They’ll look dry outwards and burn if not properly checked. While the inside will look and taste uncooked.

Is It Possible to Cook Food Without Preheating?

Cooking food in air fryers without preheating is a practice that many owners love to undertake. Only with special new recipes did preheating start becoming a popular practice.

It is possible to cook food on air fryers without preheating. Some brands will even point it out clearly that you should not preheat their air fryers because it is made to heat instantly and start cooking.

In other cases, recipes determine whether you should preheat the air fryer or not. Foods that require a short time cooking under minimal temperature might not turn out well when cooked in a preheated one whose temperature is still high.


Learning how to preheat air fryers is simple, whether you are yet to own one or a regular user. Also, the type of air fryer you have doesn’t matter as preheating any model is an easy task judging from the aforementioned steps.

Reaching the concluding part means you have learned how to preheat an air fryer and also know when and when not to preheat as there is a difference. If you seek any further clarification, check your brand’s manual and know what works.

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