Do You Really Need To Preheat Your Air Fryer?

Anyone who has waited 10 minutes for an oven to preheat knows that the process is a drag. The additional few minutes added to the cooking time can turn the most determined cooks into lazy takeout orderers. The same goes for an air fryer.

Dana Angelo White, the author of the "Healthy Air Fryer Cookbook," thinks that not preheating an air fryer is the biggest mistake you could be making. As tempting as it may be to skip this crucial step, she told Cooking Light that preheating an air fryer ensures the ideal temperature and airflow and can make all the difference between a perfectly crispy french fry and a soggy, boiled potato-like piece of stick. In fact, according to Reviewed, although some fryer manuals don't call for preheating as a mandatory step, the site found that preheating changes the entire air-fried food ball game

Ideally, you should be preheating your fryer to somewhere between 325 and 400 degrees Fahrenheit to ensure that everything cooks evenly. However, according to Air Fryer World, there's good news for people who detest having to wait while the fryer preheats — not all food items require a preheated fryer. On the contrary, some food items cook better in a non-preheated fryer.

Whether you should preheat your air fryer depends on what you're cooking

According to Air Fryer World, some food items should definitely be cooked in a preheated air fryer, but others fare better in a non-preheated one. The golden rule when it comes to preheating a fryer is that doing so will make the fryer hotter and the outside of the food item crisper, and quite quickly, too.

Thick raw or frozen meats like whole chicken roasts should definitely not be cooked in a preheated fryer. A heated fryer will cook the thick meat from outside very quickly, making the skin crisp but leaving the center raw. The same goes for delicate foods like small vegetables that may burn outside and remain raw inside. If you're using the fryer to bake something, you want the cold fryer to heat slowly and cook the baked item gradually with it. When placed in a preheated oven, your baked items may look perfectly cooked outside, but the batter will remain undone inside.

As for anything else, go ahead and preheat the fryer! Reheating leftovers or cooking thin frozen foods should most certainly go in a preheated fryer. Anything that requires a golden crust and a crisp sear (think steaks, chicken tender, fries, mozzarella sticks) should also be cooked in a preheated fryer.

Overall, Air Fryer World suggested that if you forget to preheat a fryer, you should simply cook your food a little longer, and if you've already preheated it, the final cook time decreases by a bit.