Should I Preheat My Air Fryer for Chicken?

If you are looking to prepare your food with ease and speed, there’s no better way than using an air fryer. Preheating your air fryer will prevent any damage caused by high heat, but it’s also important whether you should preheat your air fryer when cooking chicken or not.

Should I Preheat My Air Fryer for Chicken?

Yes! you should preheat your air fryer for chicken. If you are cooking breaded chicken, it is best to let the air fryer preheat for a few minutes. But most other food items do not require a preheated air fryer. Air fryers work by circulating hot air around the food at high speed, utilizing convection heating the same way that an oven does.

Because of this process, there isn’t really a “preheating” period like you’d have with your regular oven or toaster oven—the air in the air fryer will immediately start getting circulated as soon as you turn it on.

However, preheating your air fryer can be helpful for some foods and recipes. In this guide, we’ll cover the topic of should you preheat your air fryer for chicken and why and when you should use this technique.

Should I Preheat My Air Fryer for Chicken

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Why Preheat an Air Fryer?

Preheating an air fryer can cut the overall cook time in half. This means that a meal that used to take you 30 minutes to make can be ready in 15 minutes. If you are short on time, preheating the air fryer is essential.

When you don’t preheat the air fryer, it takes longer for the food to cook, releasing more steam and losing some of its flavors. The less time that food is exposed to heat, the better it will taste!

Preheating your air fryer also helps with consistency. If you don’t preheat your appliance first, there is no way to know how long it will take for each piece of food to cook correctly. This inconsistency can lead to unevenly cooked meals or under-cooked chicken breasts! Preheating helps ensure that every item in your basket gets heated evenly throughout, so there’s no need for guesswork at dinner time.

The best part about using an air fryer is that it helps you make healthier versions of your favorite foods without sacrificing taste or texture. Air frying requires very little oil (or no oil at all, depending on what type of food you are making), so it is an excellent alternative for people looking to eat healthier meals without cutting out their favorite foods entirely!

How Long Should You Preheat an Air Fryer?

Generally, your air fryer should preheat in about three minutes. This is true for both smaller capacity models and larger capacity ones—the time it takes to heat up isn’t affected too much by the amount of space in the machine.

However, you may find that a larger-capacity air fryer takes a little longer to preheat than a smaller machine, that the opposite is true. We recommend checking after two minutes if you are in a hurry and want to make sure your meal gets cooked on schedule!

How Do I Preheat My Air Fryer?

Preheating the air fryer means turning it on and setting it to the desired temperature, whether 350 degrees for homemade french fries or 400 degrees for chicken thighs. Make sure that the preheat light has turned off before adding your food.

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How Do You Know If My Air Fryer Is Preheated?

The preheat button in an air fryer allows you to set the desired temperature, and it will automatically tell you when the temperature has been reached, and it’s officially preheated.

A light or display screen on most models will let you know if your machine has reached its maximum temperature capacity and can begin cooking.

The light will go out, or the display will read “hot” once complete preheating. Some air fryers are equipped with a built-in timer that can save you from forgetting about an item that might be burning inside of your machine.

An air fryer needs to be set to the proper temperature before turning on. This is accomplished by choosing the desired temperature and timing from settings, and it will tell you when it’s reached that point.

It may seem an air fryer is a complicated appliance, but using it really is simple. If you follow the instructions in this article, your food will cook quickly and easily.

The first thing that you have to do is preheat your air fryer. Doing this ensures that the proper temperature is reached by the time you put the food in so that it cooks evenly and quickly.

Chicken in Air Fryer

What Temperature Do You Air Fry Chicken?

It depends on what kind of chicken you’re cooking.

Generally speaking, minor cuts of chicken such as boneless skinless chicken breasts should be cooked at 375 degrees F for 15 minutes. More significant cuts such as legs and thighs do better when cooked at a slightly higher temperature of 375 degrees F for 20-25 minutes.

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Do You Preheat an Air Fryer with the Basket in or Out?

This can be a risky move. The reason being is that the basket may be too hot to handle after preheating, and if you put your food on the hot metal, it may burn or stick. This probably won’t be an issue if you’re a seasoned air fryer user.

However, if you’re new to using an air fryer, I recommend waiting until the appliance is fully preheated before adding your food. You may even want to run your air fryer without anything in it for a few minutes before preheating with the basket to see how long it takes for the basket to become uncomfortable to handle.

Preheat with Basket Out

This is another way that people choose to preheat their air fryers. This method requires taking out the basket and placing empty food on it before putting it back into their appliance when they are ready to begin cooking. Some people prefer taking out their basket because it heats up much more quickly than when left in the air fryer during preheating.

Do You Preheat Air Fryer with Oil?

You can use oil in an air fryer just like a traditional oven.

Some recipes, like these Air Fryer Stuffed Mushrooms, require a small amount of oil to brown them and get them crispy.

For the best results, use 1/8 teaspoon of oil per cup of food. For example, if you are cooking 2 cups of sliced mushrooms, you would use 1/4 teaspoon olive oil (1/2 tsp = 1 TBSP).

You can use your favorite type of oil when cooking in an air fryer. My go-to is always extra virgin olive oil for its healthy fats and great flavor.

What Happens If You Don’t Preheat the Air Fryer?

If you don’t preheat the air fryer, it can cause the temperature to drop when you first turn it on. If you don’t preheat your air fryer, you might have some really soggy food. To avoid this, always preheat your air fryer before using it.

If your air fryer is heating up slowly, it might be because the oil isn’t hot enough. If this is the case, you can heat up the oil in the air fryer by pressing the cool button for 2-3 minutes or by heating it in a pan on the stove.

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Can You Preheat Air Fryer With Parchment Paper Inside?

You can use the parchment paper in the air fryer; it can help make cleanup more accessible because it will keep the bottom of your air fryer from having food baked onto it. Line the bottom of your air fryer with parchment paper before turning on the appliance and allowing it to preheat. That’s all there is to it!

If you use parchment paper in your air fryer, keep a few things in mind.

  • Be sure that any oil or liquid in the food you’re preparing doesn’t touch the parchment paper; otherwise, it could burn or catch fire.
  • Always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for using parchment paper in an air fryer (if they have any).
  • If using parchment paper keeps making your bottom too hot when using your air fryer, consider lowering the temperature by 25 degrees.

Read Also: Best Air Fryer Made in USA

When To Preheat Air Fryer (and When Not-to):

Preheating the oven or pan is necessary before placing the food inside. But when it comes to air fryers, preheating isn’t always needed. In fact, sometimes it’s even recommended that you don’t preheat at all! So how can you tell whether or not to preheat? It depends on what you’re making.

If the recipe calls for a hot oven or pan (usually 450 degrees Fahrenheit or hotter), it’s best to preheat the air fryer for about 5 minutes. This will give the food that crispy exterior you want and prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the air fryer.

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Air Fryer Safety Tips & Mistakes to Avoid

The air fryer is used for cooking food with less oil, making it an attractive appliance for those who want to eat healthier but still enjoy fried foods.

Here are some tips for operating your air fryer safely:

Monitor your Food: Always monitor your food carefully during cooking so that you do not overcook or undercook it. If you notice any smoke coming from the appliance, turn off the power immediately and allow time for the unit to cool before touching anything inside of it.

Read Manual: We know it’s boring. But there are some essential tips and tricks that will help keep you safe while you cook up a storm in your new air fryer.

Use Tongs: Using tongs is a great way to avoid burning yourself, especially when cooking with hot oil or other liquids. We recommend using a sturdy pair to handle the weight of what you’re cooking and long enough to keep your hands far from any hot surfaces (like the air fryer basket).

Check for Doneness: There’s nothing worse than biting into a still-raw piece of chicken after a long day at work! To avoid that scenario, always use a meat thermometer to check for doneness before serving your food. 

Chicken in Air Fryer 1

Do’s & Don’ts of Using Air Fryer

Using an air fryer is a great way to enjoy your favorite fried foods with much less of the fat and calories that come with deep-frying. But if you’re not careful, you can be at risk of burns and other injuries. Before you get started on your first batch of homemade fries, check out these do’s and don’ts for keeping things safe:


  • Use the air fryer only with the basket in place.
  • Always preheat the air fryer for 1-2 minutes before placing the food inside.
  • Use a cooking spray or a small amount of oil to prevent foods from sticking.
  • Preheat it for at least 1 minute before putting food inside. This will help cook the food faster and more evenly.


  • Don’t put frozen or raw vegetables straight into the air fryer without preheating them first. They will stick and burn if you don’t preheat them first.
  • Don’t use metal utensils in your air fryer, as they can scratch its nonstick coating. Instead, use silicone tools or wooden ones like chopsticks, tongs, or wooden spoons to remove food from the basket while cooking.


In conclusion, the short answer to whether you should preheat your air fryer is no, but there are certain cases where you’ll want to do so. Preheating can be helpful when cooking frozen items or cooking something that has a crisp exterior and tender interiors, like fried chicken and fried fish.

Preheating is also essential if you’re looking for crust outside your food. And finally, if whatever it is your air frying needs to be cooked at a high temperature or for a long time, it’s worth preheating first for extra efficiency and safety.

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