When everyone gets an air fryer, they often have this question: Do you need to preheat the air fryer before cooking? There is much debate on this topic. With so many styles and sizes of air fryers, and their different cooking methods, the answer is not a simple yes or no.

Many experts believe that the simple step of preheating the air fryer can enhance crispiness and cooking results. But is it really necessary?

do you have to preheat an air fryer

What does preheat mean?

“Preheat” is a cooking term that refers to the process of heating an oven or other cooking appliance to a specific temperature before placing food inside. It ensures that the cooking environment is at the desired temperature when you start cooking.

So, do you still need to preheat the air fryer? Keep reading!

We know that cooking is essentially a process of transferring heat from a heat source to food. This energy causes physical changes in the shape of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates in food and speeds up chemical reactions.

Traditional ovens primarily use radiative heat transfer to heat food. Because ovens are large in size, it takes some time to heat the entire oven to the desired cooking temperature. This warming process, without preheating, can lead to food being heated before the actual cooking begins, potentially causing overcooking or uneven heating.

In contrast, air fryers have relatively small cooking spaces, and they use both convection and radiation as heat transfer methods. They utilize a powerful fan to evenly distribute heated air around the food, which speeds up the heating process. Especially the Typhur Dome air fryer, it heats up 30% faster than regular air fryers. This rapid heating helps ensure that food starts cooking quickly, reducing the need for preheating.

Guga's choice air fryer

Do you Need to Preheat an Air Fryer?

Our general answer is that, in most cases, you don’t need to preheat. It entirely depends on how sensitive the ingredients you’re cooking are to temperature.

When no need to preheat an air fryer

For meats rich in collagen and connective tissue, like chicken wings and chicken thighs, which are less sensitive to temperature, preheating or not preheating doesn’t make a significant difference in the final cooking results.

air fryer chicken wings

If you prefer not to preheat, but a recipe calls for preheating, you can simply add a little extra time.

Recipes that don’t require preheating: Air fryer chicken wings, Air fryer chicken thighs

When you should preheat the air fryer

For tender meats with little collagen, like chicken breasts, fish, and shrimp, which are more temperature-sensitive, not preheating can result in overcooking during the warm-up process.

Some baking ingredients also require preheating, such as cookies and cakes, which need to set quickly at high temperatures.

Steaks benefit from a preheated air fryer, ensuring a good sear and char. It also quickly cooks the outer layer while providing a rare or medium-rare texture.

air fryer steak

Recipes that require preheating: Air fryer steak, Air fryer chicken breast

In summary, for most foods cooked in an air fryer, whether you preheat or not doesn’t make a significant difference in cooking results.

How Long To Preheat an Air Fryer?

Compared to larger air fryers, smaller ones typically preheat faster because of their smaller cooking space, requiring less heated air. This means that small air fryers can reach the desired cooking temperature in a shorter time.

Generally, small air fryers may only need two to three minutes of preheating, while larger air fryers may require five minutes or more to reach the desired preheat temperature. The preheat temperature is usually the same as the cooking temperature.

The time needed for preheating can vary between different brands due to differences in machine structure and heating rates. Therefore, it’s best to refer to the manufacturer’s recommended preheating time when using an air fryer.

How to Preheat an Air Fryer?

There is a wide variety of air fryer brands and models on the market, each with different features and settings. Here’s how to preheat air fryers with or without a preheat function:

With a preheat function

First, determine whether your air fryer’s preheat function is automatic or manual. Some air fryers have a built-in preheat time function, which will automatically preheat once you’ve programmed the cooking time and temperature. However, certain air fryer models may require you to manually preheat the air fryer using the air fryer’s settings.

Without a preheat function

Some air fryers, such as the Typhur Dome, do not have a dedicated preheat setting. Here’s how to preheat in air fryers without a preheat function:

  1. Once you confirm that your air fryer doesn’t have a preheat setting, you can set the temperature to the recommended cooking temperature for your recipe or the desired cooking temperature.
  2. For smaller air fryers, you can preheat for two to three minutes, and for larger air fryer models (such as Typhur Dome), it’s recommended to preheat for five minutes. Once the preheating time is up, you can place your food into the air fryer and cook according to your recipe’s instructions.

What do you think? Did your air fryer preheat? Please let us know in the comments below!