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In this day and age, when more and more people are looking for healthier cooking alternatives, the air fryer has become a popular cooking appliance that emulates the results of deep-frying using just hot air and little to no oil.
The best thing about it is that everything can be air-fried – from prepackaged chicken wings and handmade French fries to roasted veggies and fresh-baked cookies.
There is, however, one thing you should do before cooking, and that’s preheating your air
fryer and today we’re here to help you learn how. But before we get into that, let’s first start with some air fryer basics.
The Process of Using an Air Fryer
Air fryers have a heating mechanism and a fan in the upper part of the inside. When you turn it on, heated air flows down and around the food in the fryer-style container. The quick hot air circulation allows the food to get crispy, as it’s similar to deep-frying but without the oil. The fact that you can get this result without all the grease makes the air fryer much healthier.
You can, if you wish to, add just a tiny bit of oil, like a few drops or a spoonful, to make the food even crispier.
Step-By-Step Guide on Using Your Air Fryer
If you’ve already purchased an air fryer, or you are on your way to do so, we believe our short and easy step-by-step explanation of how to operate it can give you more confidence in cooking with this appliance.
1. Fill the Basket With Food
There are different sizes of air fryers. The size determines the amount of food you can prepare and how many dishes you can make simultaneously. Open the basket, fill it with food, but don’t overfill it.
Circulating hot air around the food is how air fryers function. The circulation can be limited if you pack food too tightly, steaming the meal instead of crisping it properly, and the end result is that it will be cooked unevenly.
To be sure you don’t overfill the air fryer, don’t pack in all the food you can fit inside it. After you fill the basket with food, add 1 or 2 tablespoons of oil if you want. Although oil is not essential, it will aid in the crisping of the dish.
2. Decide on a Time and Temperature
Depending on the meal you’re preparing, air fryer baking time might range from 5 to 25 minutes.
3. Allow the Meal to Cook
To ensure the food crisps up evenly, you may need to rotate it halfway through the cooking process.
4. Keep It Clean
When you’re done cooking, don’t forget to clean your air fryer.
Why Do You Want to Preheat Your Air Fryer?
We’ll explore why with a simple example.
Let’s compare cooking with an air fryer with cooking on your kitchen stove or furnace.
For instance, you want to make fish or vegetables. When cooking on your stove, you will use a pan; if you use your furnace, you’ll use a pot.
With the first method, you don’t put your meat in a cold pan – you preheat the pan, make it sizzling hot, put some oil in it, and then throw in your meat or vegetables. Or, if you’re baking a delicious vegan casserole, you preheat the oven before you put the food in. That’s the way of cooking, and that’s how air fryers work, too!
The only time you shouldn’t preheat your air fryer is when warming up food leftovers or when baking bread that you can also bake in the oven. You place them in the oven and then check periodically if the bread is done baking or if the leftovers are heated.
But with most food, for instance, fries or chicken, you always preheat your air fryer. Luckily, the preheating only takes a couple of minutes, so it doesn’t cause any delays to your lunchtime preparation.
Types of Air Fryers
Even though there are various models of air fryers on the market, they can be divided into two main types: basket air fryers and convection oven air fryers.
A convection oven air fryer is a turbo oven with an installed air fryer. It makes air frying in your range a breeze with convection fans swiftly circulating heated air over the food, giving it a fine crisp.
A basket-type air fryer is a type that does exactly what it says – it cooks meals in a basket. The basket features a handle for convenient tossing/flipping of the dish at one or more intervals while cooking.
Air fryers can be further divided into digital, analog, and classic, and each of these is preheated differently. Let’s see how.
How to Preheat Your Air Fryer
You might have a robust digital air fryer, and if you put it to the highest setting, it will reach the temperature in two to three minutes. It’s fast and quick, way faster than a regular oven.
If you have the classic air fryer, that one is a little less powerful, but still, it will reach the desired temperature in a couple of minutes, and you’re ready to go.
Digital Air Fryer
Choose a temperature, and hit go. For example, say you want to preheat your air fryer to 50 degrees Celsius (120 degrees Fahrenheit). You only need to set the temperature and the air fryer will do its job. You’ll hear a beeping sound signaling that the appliance is preheated, and you’re ready to start cooking.
Analog Air Fryer
An analog air fryer features two LEDs – one is a temperature indicator and the other indicates that the power is on. You also have a knob for the timer. You can set the temperature and then turn the knob. Usually, this type of air fryer is really quiet, and although the tech is older, it works great.
Initially, the temperature indicator LED is green, and when the air fryer reaches the desired temperature, the green LED indicator will turn off, alerting you that it’s preheated.
Classic Air Fryer
The classic air fryer is the easiest to use. It will signalize when it’s preheated with a bell.
What Happens if I Don’t Preheat the Air Fryer?
If you don’t preheat your air fryer, a variety of problems might happen:
- Cooking time will increase.
- The food won’t get as crispy.
- If you’re cooking in stages, the first batch will take longer to cook, and if you’re not careful, the following batches will burn.
- The meal may be overcooked or undercooked.
- Every air fryer has a unique wattage that warms up at a different rate.
- Follow the instructions in the recipe; if you don’t, your dish might not turn out as planned.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Do I take the basket out of the air fryer while preheating it?
A: You should keep the basket in. Many models won’t even turn on if the basket isn’t in place.
Q: Can I use baking paper to preheat my air fryer?
A: No! Food is used to weigh down the baking paper, or they will burn while preheating.
Step-by-step guide on using your air fryer
- Fill the Basket With Food
- Decide on a Time and Temperature
- Allow the Meal to Cook
- Keep It Clean
Due to their convenience, speed, and method of cooking, air fryers are here to stay. In terms of preheating – think of this appliance like a stove that’s quicker and you can’t get wrong!
Most air fryers have their unique method of alerting us when it has reached the desired temperature.
Please be aware that you can also buy an air fryer that doesn’t come with this feature, so shop wisely!
Already have an air fryer? Share your favorite recipe with us! Looking to buy an air fryer? What type looks the most appealing to you?