How To Preheat An Air Fryer In 2 Easy Steps?

An air fryer has become a popular kitchen appliance for its ability to create crispy and delicious meals with less oil. 

However, many users overlook a crucial step that can significantly impact the cooking process and the final results: Preheating The Air Fryer

Preheating involves heating the air fryer to the desired temperature before placing the food inside. 

It may seem like an extra step, but it plays a vital role in achieving optimal cooking results and enhancing the overall taste and texture of your meals.

How To Preheat An Air Fryer

Now if you want to preheat it then the question arises:

How To Preheat An Air Fryer?

To preheat an air fryer, set the temperature to the desired level (usually 180-200 degrees Celsius or 356-392 degrees Fahrenheit) and allow it to heat for 2-3 minutes. Adjust the preheating time based on the type of food being cooked. Some air fryers have dedicated preheat buttons, while others require manual temperature and timer settings.

Refer below for a step-by-step process.

Also Read – Best Heat-Resistant Mats For Air Fryer

Benefits Of Preheating

There are many benefits of preheating an air fryer. It includes:

Even Cooking

  • Preheating ensures that the air fryer reaches the desired temperature before cooking begins. 
  • This eliminates any temperature fluctuations and guarantees that the food is evenly cooked throughout. 
  • By preheating, you can avoid undercooked or overcooked spots, resulting in a uniformly cooked and flavorful dish.

Enhanced Crispiness

  • One of the primary reasons people turn to air fryers is their ability to create crispy and golden-brown exteriors. 
  • Preheating the air fryer helps in achieving this desirable crispiness. 
  • When the food is placed in a hot air fryer, it immediately encounters high heat, which promotes better browning and caramelization. 
  • This step is particularly crucial for foods like French fries, chicken wings, or breaded items.

Reduced Cooking Time

  • Preheating significantly reduces the overall cooking time. 
  • When you place food in a preheated air fryer, it immediately starts cooking at the desired temperature. 
  • This eliminates the time it would take for the air fryer to reach the desired temperature if you were to skip the preheating step. 
  • As a result, your meals cook faster and more efficiently, allowing you to enjoy your food in less time.

Improved Texture And Flavor

  • Preheating helps to seal the moisture of the food quickly, creating a juicy and succulent interior. 
  • It also helps in achieving a delightful balance between a crispy exterior and a tender inside. 
  • The high heat generated during preheating enhances the Maillard reaction, which is responsible for the delicious browning and savory flavors in roasted and fried foods.

Consistent Results

  • Preheating your air fryer before each use establishes a reliable baseline for cooking. 
  • By starting with a consistent, preheated temperature, you can ensure that your recipes turn out consistently delicious. 
  • This is especially important when following cooking times and temperatures specified in recipes or when preparing multiple batches of the same food.

Also Read – Can I Put An Air Fryer On The Countertop?

Steps To Preheat An Air Fryer

Here are the steps to preheating an air fryer with and without preheating options.

Preheat An Air Fryer With No Preheating Options

If you have an air fryer with no dedicated preheat option, then check your manual first. If you don’t find any required information then you can follow these steps:

  1. First, set the temperature to 180-200 degrees Celsius (356 to 392 F).
  2. After that, set the timer for 2-3 minutes and it’s done. Your fryer will be now set for preheating.

The preheating temperature varies depending on the type of food. Like for chicken, you have to set the temperature to 200 degrees Celsius, and for french fries set it to 180 degrees Celsius. So, it depends on the food you are using.

The preheating time is usually set for 3 minutes but for a better result or to make every part hot inside the air fryer you can set the timer for 5 minutes.

Preheat An Air Fryer With Preheating Options

If your air fryer has a dedicated preheat option then you are good to go.

Some fryers have different preheat options for different food items. This function becomes very useful in daily use.

  • You need to press the dedicated button and wait until it indicates.
  • If there are so many preheating options like french fries, chicken, fish, etc then select the desired one and start cooking.

Also Read: How Do Air Fryers Work Without Oil? Can You Use Oil?

Different Types Of Air Fryers And Their Variations In Preheating

When it comes to air fryers, there are various types available in the market, each with its unique features and designs. 

Understanding the different types of air fryers can help you choose the one that best suits your cooking needs and preferences. 

Here, we will explore two common types of air fryers: basket-style air fryers and oven-style air fryers, and discuss the variations in their preheating features.

1. Basket-Style Air Fryers

  1. Basket-style air fryers are the most common and widely used type. 
  2. They feature a removable frying basket that sits inside the main unit. 
  3. These air fryers usually have a compact design, making them ideal for small kitchens or limited counter space. 
  4. Basket-style air fryers typically have manual controls and simple preheating features. 

To preheat this type of air fryer, you would manually set the temperature and time using the control knobs or buttons. 

While some models may not have dedicated preheat buttons, you can still achieve preheating by adjusting the temperature and timer manually.

Also Read – Do Air Fryers Use A Lot Of Electricity?

2. Oven-Style Air Fryers

  1. Oven-style air fryers resemble small convection ovens. 
  2. They have a larger cooking capacity compared to basket-style air fryers, making them suitable for cooking larger quantities or bigger food items. 
  3. Oven-style air fryers often feature digital screens and more advanced control panels. 
  4. These models may include dedicated preheat buttons that simplify the preheating process. 

With oven-style air fryers, you can select the preheat option specific to the type of food you are cooking, such as French fries, chicken, or fish. 

These preheat options are programmed with recommended temperature and time settings, taking the guesswork out of preheating.

Variations In Preheating Features

  1. Dedicated Preheat Buttons:
    • Some air fryer models, particularly oven-style ones, have dedicated preheat buttons.
    • These buttons allow you to select the desired preheat option with a single press.
    • These options are often programmed with optimal temperature and time settings for different food items, ensuring efficient and convenient preheating.
  2. Digital Screens and Controls:
    • Air fryers equipped with digital screens and controls offer more precise temperature and time adjustments.
    • These models may have preset preheating options tailored for various dishes, providing greater versatility and ease of use.
    • The digital screens also allow you to monitor the preheating progress, displaying the current temperature and remaining time.
  3. Manual Controls:
    • Air fryers with manual controls, typically found in basket-style models, require you to adjust the temperature and timer manually.
    • While they may not have dedicated preheat buttons, you can still achieve preheating by setting the desired temperature and time before placing the food inside.
    • These air fryers provide a more hands-on approach to preheating.

It’s important to note that the specific preheating features and options can vary among different air fryer models and brands. 

When choosing an air fryer, consider your cooking preferences and the convenience offered by the preheating features. 

Whether you opt for a basket-style or oven-style air fryer, understanding the preheating options available will allow you to make the most of your air frying experience.

Also Read – Why Are Air Fryers So Popular All Of A Sudden?

Factors Influencing Preheating Time And Temperature

Several factors can influence the preheating time and temperature required for your air fryer. 

Understanding these factors will help you adjust the preheating settings accordingly, ensuring optimal results for different types of food and personal preferences. 

Here are the key factors to consider:

1. Size And Capacity Of The Air Fryer

  • The size and capacity of your air fryer can affect the preheating time and temperature. 
  • Larger air fryers may require more time to reach the desired temperature compared to smaller ones.
  • If you have a larger capacity air fryer, it may be beneficial to add an extra minute or two to the preheating time to ensure the entire cooking space reaches the desired temperature evenly.

2. Type Of Food Being Cooked

  • Different types of food have varying preheating requirements due to variations in density, moisture content, and cooking time. 
  • Foods that are more delicate or have higher moisture content may require a longer preheating time to ensure thorough and even cooking. 
  • Dense foods, such as meats, may benefit from a slightly higher preheating temperature to ensure proper browning and internal doneness. 
  • Refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines or recipe recommendations for specific preheating instructions for different food items.

3. Personal Preferences

  • Personal preferences for food texture and doneness can also impact the preheating time and temperature you choose. 
  • If you prefer a more well-done or crispier result, you may opt for a slightly higher preheating temperature or extend the preheating time. 
  • On the other hand, if you prefer a more tender or lightly cooked outcome, you might choose a lower temperature or a shorter preheating time. 
  • Experimenting with different preheating settings will help you discover the ideal balance that suits your taste preferences.

Also Read – How To Clean Baked On Grease From Air Fryer?

Guidelines For Adjusting Preheating Settings

Here are some general guidelines for adjusting preheating settings based on the factors mentioned above:

  1. Size And Capacity: If you have a larger air fryer, consider adding an extra minute or two to the preheating time to ensure even heat distribution throughout the cooking space. Smaller air fryers may require less preheating time, so monitor the temperature and adjust accordingly.
  2. Type Of Food: Delicate or moisture-rich foods, like fish or vegetables, may benefit from a slightly longer preheating time to ensure thorough cooking. For dense foods, like meats or thicker cuts, you can increase the preheating temperature slightly to promote better browning and internal doneness.
  3. Personal Preferences: Adjust the preheating time and temperature based on your desired level of crispiness or doneness. Increase the preheating time for a crispier result and decrease it for a lighter texture. Similarly, adjust the preheating temperature up or down to achieve the desired level of browning and cooking.

It’s important to note that these guidelines serve as a starting point, and you may need to further fine-tune the preheating settings based on your specific air fryer model, recipe requirements, and personal taste preferences. 

As you gain experience with your air fryer, you will develop a better understanding of how different factors influence preheating and cooking, allowing you to achieve consistently excellent results.

Also Read – How Do Air Fryers Work Without Oil?

How Long To Preheat An Air Fryer?

The preheating time for an air fryer can vary depending on several factors, including the specific model, the size of the air fryer, and the desired temperature. 

In general, preheating an air fryer takes approximately 2-3 minutes for most food items.

However, for certain foods that require higher temperatures or larger air fryers, the preheating time may be slightly longer. 

For example, when cooking non-vegetarian items like chicken thighs or steak, it is recommended to preheat the air fryer for 5-6 minutes to ensure proper cooking and browning.

It’s important to note that preheating times mentioned here are general guidelines, and it’s always a good idea to refer to the manufacturer’s instructions or specific recipes for precise preheating recommendations. 

Additionally, some advanced air fryer models may have dedicated preheat options that automatically determine the required preheating time based on the selected food item.

By preheating your air fryer, you ensure that the cooking chamber reaches the desired temperature before adding your food, resulting in faster and more efficient cooking. 

Preheating helps to achieve optimal cooking results and enhances the crispiness of your dishes. 

So, while the preheating time may vary, taking a few minutes to preheat your air fryer will ultimately contribute to better cooking outcomes.

How Do I Know When My Air Fryer Is Preheated?

Some of the air fryers will start beeping when it is preheated. It will either make a sound or flash a light. So you will easily know when it is preheated.

But, what if it doesn’t have any indicator?

Don’t worry, it’s also easy to check. Suppose you have set the timer for 3 minutes, then after 3 minutes when it is done, just pull the basket and move your hand towards the air fryer. If you feel the air is hot then it’s done, if not then again set it for another 2 minutes.

Usually, it gets hot within 3 minutes but if you want to cook chicken or steak then preheat it for 5-6 minutes.

Also Read: Can I Put An Air Fryer On The Countertop?

Do You Preheat The Air Fryer Before Putting Food In?

Yes, almost 90 percent of the time I do preheat the air fryer before putting in food. Because preheating helps to achieve the desired temperature before and also, helps to cook the item faster.

It works best when you are reheating the cooked items, as it makes them more crispy and brown. If you have cooked chicken then try this out, you will love it.

Just preheat at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 5 minutes and then put the chicken pieces and let it sit for 10-12 minutes and it’s done.

What Happens When You Don’t Preheat Your Air Fryer?

When you don’t preheat your air fryer, it can lead to a few consequences:

  1. Longer Cooking Time: Without preheating, the air fryer needs to heat up while cooking, resulting in a longer overall cooking time. Preheating allows the air fryer to reach the desired temperature from the start, reducing the cooking duration.
  2. Unevenly Cooked Food: Preheating ensures that the entire cooking chamber is evenly heated before adding the food. Without preheating, there may be variations in the cooking temperature, leading to unevenly cooked food with some parts being overcooked while others remain undercooked.
  3. Reduced Crispiness: Preheating helps to achieve a crisp and golden exterior on your food. Without preheating, the initial minutes of cooking may not have the desired level of crispness.
  4. Altered Cooking Results: Different recipes and food items may have specific temperature requirements for optimal cooking results. Not preheating the air fryer can impact the overall outcome, such as texture, browning, and taste.

While it’s not mandatory to preheat all air fryers, doing so can improve the cooking process and produce better results. 

It’s always advisable to consult the specific instructions for your air fryer model or the recipe you’re following to determine if preheating is recommended.

Will Air Fryer Beep When Preheated?

Some air fryer models are designed to beep or make a sound when they are preheated. 

This feature serves as an indicator to let you know that the air fryer has reached the desired preheating temperature and is ready for cooking. 

However, it’s important to note that not all air fryers have this beep function.

  • If your air fryer does not have a preheating indicator or beep, you can refer to the manufacturer’s instructions or use a timer to track the preheating time. 
  • Typically, air fryers take around 2-3 minutes to preheat, but this can vary depending on the model and desired temperature.

To ensure that your air fryer is preheated, you can also perform a quick test by placing your hand near the air fryer’s vent after the estimated preheating time. 

If you feel hot air coming out, it indicates that the air fryer is preheated and ready for cooking.

Preheating Recommendations For Specific Foods

To ensure the best cooking results, it’s helpful to have specific preheating recommendations for different types of commonly cooked foods in your air fryer. 

Here are some popular food items along with their recommended preheating temperature and time:

Food ItemPreheating TemperaturePreheating Time
French Fries180°C (356°F)2-3 minutes
Chicken Wings & Breast200°C (392°F)3-4 minutes
Chicken Thighs200°C (392°F)5 minutes
Vegetables180°C (356°F)2-3 minutes
Fish200°C (392°F)3-4 minutes
Baked Goods180°C (356°F)2-3 minutes
Frozen Foods180°C (356°F)2-3 minutes
Shrimp200°C (392°F)3-4 minutes
Steak200-220°C (392-428°F)4-6 minutes
Pizza200°C (392°F)2-3 minutes

Please note that these recommendations are general guidelines and may vary based on the thickness and size of the food. 

Always refer to specific recipes or the manufacturer’s guidelines for precise preheating instructions. 

Some air fryer models also offer preset preheating options for convenience and ease of use, tailored to specific food items. 

Adjust the preheating settings based on your personal preferences to achieve the desired results. Enjoy your air-frying adventures!

Troubleshooting Preheating Challenges

While preheating an air fryer is generally a straightforward process, you may encounter some common issues or challenges along the way. 

Here are a few troubleshooting tips and advice to help you overcome these obstacles and ensure a successful preheating experience:

1. Incorrect Temperature Readings

  • If you suspect that your air fryer is not displaying the correct temperature, consider using an oven thermometer to verify the actual temperature inside the cooking chamber. 
  • This will help you determine if there is a discrepancy between the displayed temperature and the actual temperature. 
  • If there is a significant difference, you may need to contact the manufacturer for further assistance or consider recalibrating your air fryer if that option is available.

2. Uneven Heating

Uneven heating can occur if your air fryer has hot spots or if the airflow is restricted within the cooking chamber. 

To mitigate this issue, try the following steps:

  • Ensure that you are not overcrowding the air fryer basket or tray. Leave enough space for the hot air to circulate the food.
  • Consider rotating or flipping the food halfway through the preheating process to promote even heating on all sides.
  • If your air fryer has multiple racks or shelves, experiment with using different levels to distribute the heat more evenly.

3. Excessive Smoke

Excessive smoke during preheating can be caused by several factors, such as residual oil or food particles in the air fryer, or using oil with a low smoke point. 

Here’s how to address this issue:

  • Clean your air fryer regularly, especially the basket or tray, to remove any accumulated residue or debris.
  • Ensure that the air fryer is completely dry before preheating to avoid steam and smoke.
  • If you are using oil, make sure to choose an oil with a high smoke point, such as avocado oil or canola oil, to minimize smoke production.

4. Preheating Takes Too Long

If you find that your air fryer takes longer than expected to reach the desired preheating temperature, consider the following factors:

  • Check the power source and ensure that the air fryer is plugged into a properly functioning outlet.
  • Confirm that the air fryer’s heating element is in good condition and not experiencing any issues. If you suspect a malfunction, consult the manufacturer for assistance or contact customer support.
  • If you are preheating the air fryer with a high-temperature setting, it may take slightly longer to reach that temperature. Adjusting the preheating temperature slightly lower can help reduce the time required.

Remember to consult the user manual provided by the manufacturer for specific troubleshooting steps and recommendations tailored to your air fryer model. 

Additionally, reaching out to customer support or the manufacturer’s helpline can provide further assistance in resolving any preheating challenges you may encounter.

By troubleshooting these common issues and following the provided tips, you can optimize your preheating process and enjoy consistent and satisfactory results with your air fryer.


While preheating an air fryer may seem like an additional step in the cooking process, it is well worth the effort. 

By preheating, you can achieve optimal cooking results, enhance the crispiness of your food, reduce cooking time, and elevate the overall texture and flavor of your meals. 

So, the next time you reach for your air fryer, take a moment to preheat it and experience the difference it can make in creating mouthwatering dishes that will impress your family and friends.


  1. How Long Does An Air Fryer Take To Preheat?

    On average, an air fryer takes approximately 2-3 minutes to preheat. However, preheating times can vary depending on the specific model and desired temperature. Consulting the manufacturer’s instructions for your air fryer will provide more precise preheating time guidelines.

  2. Do You Preheat An Air Fryer With The Basket In Or Out?

    It is recommended to preheat an air fryer with the basket removed.
    Preheating the air fryer without the basket allows the hot air to circulate freely and evenly throughout the cooking chamber, ensuring that the entire interior reaches the desired temperature before you add your food.
    Once the air fryer is preheated, you can then insert the basket and place your food inside for cooking.

  3. Do You Preheat Air Fryer With Oil?

    No, you do not typically preheat an air fryer with oil. Preheating is done without any oil in the air fryer basket or cooking chamber.
    The purpose of preheating is to ensure that the air fryer reaches the desired temperature before adding food.
    Once the air fryer is preheated, you can then lightly coat or spray your food with oil if desired, before placing it in the air fryer for cooking.

  4. How Long To Cook Chicken Breast In Air Fryer At 200?

    When cooking chicken breast in an air fryer at 200 degrees Celsius (392 degrees Fahrenheit), it typically takes around 12-15 minutes.
    However, the exact cooking time may vary depending on the thickness of the chicken breast.
    It’s recommended to use a meat thermometer to ensure the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit (74 degrees Celsius) for safe consumption.

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