How to Preheat Your Air Fryer For the Ultimate Crispiness

As someone who is constantly craving crispy potatoes, I've grown to have a deep appreciation of the air fryer. This magical kitchen appliance can cook or reheat French fries, tater tots, chicken tenders, Brussels sprouts, and seemingly any other food to crispy perfection. It does this by using the circulation of hot air. When you turn on your air fryer, the high-temperature air rapidly circulates around the food items inside making them crispy, similar to deep-frying but without the oil. Here are the steps for how to preheat air fryers for the perfectly crisped snack.

Preheating your air fryer is the best way to get that delicious crispiness you want, whether you're air frying chicken wings, fish sticks or doughnuts. It's especially helpful when cooking raw foods like frozen chicken breasts or steaks. Although you can use an air fryer without preheating, the cooking process will take longer and your food may cook unevenly. Plus, you're missing out on optimal crispiness!

man and woman using air fryer
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How Do You Preheat an Air Fryer?

1. Check Your Manual

Since every air fryer is different, the first step is to check the manual for preheating directions. Your air fryer model may have a preheat button, in which case you'll use this. If it doesn't, go on to step two.

2. Set the Temperature

Air fryer machine cooking potato fried in kitchen.
Getty Images/CASEZY

Set to the temperature indicated in the air fryer recipe, keeping the air fryer basket in.

3. Turn On Your Air Fryer

Turn on your air fryer oven and wait for it to preheat. The preheat time can take anywhere from 2 to 6 minutes depending on the size of your air fryer and the temperature you're heating it to. A smaller air fryer will take less time, while a larger one will take a few minutes longer.

As a general guide, 300 degrees and below should take 2-3 minutes, 300-350 degrees should take 3-4 minutes, and 350-400 degrees should take 5-6 minutes. Once your air fryer is preheated, put your food in and set it to the desired cooking time.

How Do I Know If My Air Fryer Is Preheated?

If your air fryer has a preheat button, it will let you know when it's ready. If not, simply choose the temperature you want, and the gadget will tell you when it's reached it. As a backup plan for preheating, use the times listed in step three to know when your air fryer will be ready. Enjoy all of the crispy deliciousness!

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