How to preheat Ninja Air Fryer before cooking:
So you’ve got a new Ninja Air Fryer but you’re not sure whether to preheat your air fryer before cooking. The Ninja quick start guide recommends to preheat the unit by selecting the air fry setting. Then you need to preheat your air fryer to to 390F (200C) and set the timer to 3 minutes. This helps to create the best cooking results with crispier food.
Ninja even offer some extremely helpful guidance on cooking temperatures, the amount of oil required and the recommended cooking temperature.
What is an air fryer?
An air fryer is a small form of convection oven which you can use on your kitchen countertop. It is a popular kitchen appliance which is used to create food which has the appearance of being deep-fried. For example, creating crispy chicken without ever having to submerge the food in oil. A fan in the air fryer circulates hot air around at high speed. This then produces a crisp layer on the outside of the food. Air frying is a healthier way of cooking, to the reduced amount of oil being used to achieve the same results as deep fat frying.
Should you use the Ninja crispier plate?
We recommend using the Ninja crispier plate every time you use your air fryer, as it promotes overall browning of the food. The crispier plate produces the crispest outcomes. This is because food is elevated in the air fryer, so the air can go underneath the plate and evenly crisp whatever you have cooking. If you do not want the food you are cooking to be crispy, then it’s best to remove the basket.
How do you know when your air fryer is preheated?
Air fryers sometimes have a preheat function, depending on the model you have. In this instance, all you have to do is press the button to preheat. If your fryer does not have this function, the easiest way to preheat an air fryer is to set the temperature at which you wish to cook your food. We largely cook our food at 400 degrees. Press “on” and let your air fryer heat for between 3-5 minutes.
Always check your air fryer manual. Some air fryers may not be equipped for preheating and it could be dangerous. Preheating is not recommended if the manual says not to preheat.
Do you preheat the air fryer with oil?
No oil is needed during the preheating process. Whilst the air fryer is coming to temperature, you should not put it in the bottom of the air fryer. You may wish to use oil to mix with your ingredients before putting them into the fryer, but this is not always necessary.
Leave the air fryer basket in whilst preheating. If you remove the basket to preheat, this might mean the basket is cold and take longer for the item to heat up. The cook time will vary depending on the make and model of your air fryer. Check the cooking recommendations in the fryer manual.
How long do you preheat the air fryer?
There is no set amount of time to preheat your air fryer, as it will depend on the model. The Ninja air fryer guide recommends that you preheat your air fryer for three minutes to ensure the best cooking results. Check the operating manual guide for the specific preheating instructions tailored to your air fryer.
Occasionally, you may not need to preheat an air fryer as it depends on the type of food you are cooking. Frozen foods which need to be cooked thoroughly through the centre require a longer cook time. You do not want to preheat the air fryer in this instance, as the outside of the food will cook far quickly than the middle. Therefore, potentially risking your food not being cooked properly all the way through.
The best time to preheat an air fryer is for a precooked item such as frozen french fries. The food is already part-cooked, and you want to make the outside crispy whilst you heat it. This means you want the air fry setting to be on preheat. Another example, is cooking a piece of steak to get the outside seared and crispy, whilst leaving the inside with a rare-medium rare texture.
How to get a crisper plate of food:
Set the temperature to 400 degrees, and leave the air fryer to preheat for 3-5 minutes. It’s worth checking your air fryer recipes for advice before cooking. For the Ninja air fryer, always preheat for crispier results. You don’t need to preheat if the recipe advises against it, or depending on the food being cooked.
To get a crispier plate of food with the Ninja air fryer, use the crispier plate. The air can evenly crisp ingredients by going underneath the crispier plate. Arranging the ingredients with space in between and ensuring no overlapping can help with crispiness. This is because the air has more room to move around the food, and it is not too close together. By moving the food around during the cooking process, this helps to get the food even crispier.
Can you put aluminium foil at the bottom of the air fryer?
You can absolutely put aluminium foil at the bottom of the air fryer. This might actually save you time in the long run, as it will help to reduce the amount of cleaning you have to do. The foil will catch all the drips and spills from the food. Air fryers can turn greasy and dirty during the cooking process. Foil can save the hassle of scrubbing away the grime from the device.
Just be careful not to put the foil over the heating element of the fryer. You risk blocking the airflow of heat and prevent the foods from cooking properly.
We don’t recommend using parchment paper whilst you are preheating your air fryer. There is a risk the paper will fly around due to the air circulating around the fryer. This could risk the parchment paper hitting the heating element of the fryer and potentially burning. Parchment paper is safe to use once the food is placed on top to heat so it can no longer fly around.
Preheat an air fryer
If you are cooking french fries, vegetables or even baking some bread for the first time in your air fryer, we recommend following the directions of your manual. Different models carry different cooking times and safety instructions, so it’s worth always referring back to the manual for guidance. When you air fry, you can preheat the unit for between 3 minutes to 5 minutes depending on the size of your fryer. Air frying is a healthy way to cook, ensuring crispy foods in a matter of minutes depending on the temperature.
Preheating can ensure the best cooking results with crispier foods. Enjoy cooking with your air fryer and let us know how you got on. Are you going to preheat your air fryer?