How to Preheat Ninja Air Fryer According to 3 Steps and 4 Precautions

To preheat or not to preheat your brand new air frying appliance? That’s the concern for many of us who are using a Ninja air fryer for the first time. The answer is yes, you need to preheat the air fryer before cooking, but what are the right steps to preheat it?

After using ninja foodi air fryers for 3 years, I will show you a step-by-step guide. With our pro tips, you will learn it faster. Sometimes you may get hurt when preheating the ninja foodi air fryer, so it’s necessary to know about the precautions, make sure you read till the end

Then, let’s get into it!

3 Steps to Preheat Ninja Air Fryer

Preheating your air fryer for the first time may be intimidating. But here’s the deal, it is as simple as pressing a few buttons on your Ninja. Adjust the temperature to approximately 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Then adjust the timer to 5 minutes and wait.

It always takes me less time to cook after preheating my Ninja. But there is this one time I used the appliance while it is cold.  I had to wait for almost 15 minutes for my first batch of fries to cook. Although the second batch took less time.

With that said, here are quick step-by-step guidelines to follow:

Step 1: Clean the Air Fryer

The ninja air fryer is dishwasher safe, so make sure your Ninja air fryer is clean before preheating. Why is this important? 

A new appliance will off-gas, which I refer to as a new appliance smell. If it’s a second or third use, then you have to worry about leftovers. It may take longer than the set time to preheat.  

Step 2: Prep the Unit for Preheating

Next, place your Ninja air fryer on a flat, stable surface, and plug it in. I have a non-slip silicone pad that I place my air fryer on. But you can use a non-slip mat if you have one.

Step 3: Preheat the Unit

Press the power button and set the temperature between 350°F to 400°F. Then preheat it for 3 to 5 minutes.

After preheating your air fryer. Open the basket and coat the inside with a non-stick spray. Then add your food and start cooking. 

Precautions When Preheating the Air Fryer

Air fryers are user-friendly and safe. But they are electrical appliances that can get very hot. So, it is important to take safety precautions.

1. Read the Manual

Not all air fryer brands work the same way. That’s why it is important to read and understand the user manual to avoid accidents. You need to know how to identify the different control buttons or knobs. The manual contains several illustrations showing the whole appliance.

2. Choose a Safe Surface

It is important to choose a safe surface for your air fryer. A safe surface should be non-slip and fire-proof or fire-resistant. I prefer a silicone pad or mat because it is non-slip and fire-resistant. It always protects my kitchen counter from the hot base of the fryer.

3. Stability

Your air fryer can get very hot by the time it preheats. So, you can’t risk it tipping over. That is why you need a surface that is not only non-slip and heat-resistant but also stable.

4. Use the Appliance in a Ventilated Space  

Preheat your appliance in a well-ventilated space. If you didn’t know, your fryer uses fans to circulate hot air when preheating or cooking. This can cause off-gassing or smoke if the appliance is new or dirty.  

How Do I Know When My Ninja Air Fryer is Preheated

Time is what you should concern yourself with when waiting for your Ninja air fryer to preheat. You will know it is preheated when the countdown timer hits zero. The appliance will turn off when the timer is zero. Then, you can pull out the basket and prep it for cooking. But, the preheat time depends on the recipe you are cooking. Don’t remove the basket before the preheat cycle is over.

How Long to Preheat Ninja Foodi Air Fryer

It is helpful to preheat your Ninja Foodi air fryer before putting food in the basket. But remember when I told you to preheat an air fryer for 3 to 5 minutes? Well, you may have to increase the preheat time a little bit when using the Ninja Foodi. It may take this specific Ninja air fryer about 8 minutes to preheat.

Adding food during or before the preheat cycle is complete may lead to overcooking. Why does it take longer for the Ninja Foodi to preheat? It’s a bit larger than the others. So, there is more air for the fan to circulate and reach the ideal temperature.  

Is It the Same Method to Preheat All Kinds of Ninja Air Fryers

You are excited about using your Ninja air fryer for the first time. Yet the recipe you have requires you to preheat the appliance. You should proceed and preheat the air fryer. The manual is not against preheating. But what do you do in the following scenario?

preheat ninja air fryer

Air Fryers with a Preheat Function

If your model has a preheat function, then it must have a preheat button. Look it up on the control panel of the appliance.

You may think to yourself that you only have to press the button to preheat. That’s true. But you also have to tell the preheat function when to stop by setting the temperature and time. The function will let you know when the preheating cycle is complete through an alert.

Air Fryers without a Preheat Function

Most if not all Ninja air fryers don’t come with a preheat button. You just have to input the preheat temperature and time. Then run the appliance until the time is zero to complete the preheat cycle. No special alert on this one. Instead, the air fryer will automatically go off.   

Must You Preheat Ninja Air Fryer all the Time?

Most Ninja air fryer manuals tell you that preheating gives better results. The word better suggests that you can still get good results without a preheat cycle. But, you may have to preheat all the time when cooking foods like popcorn. This food type needs the air fryer to be super hot at the start of cooking.

What better results can you expect from preheating?

  • It takes a fraction of the time to preheat compared to an oven
  • It takes less time to cook certain types of food after a preheat cycle
  • Your veggies will come out caramelized in no time
  • Makes delicious steaks that are juicy on the inside and crispy on the outside
  • It’s easier and quicker to make a juicy hamburger 

When to Preheat Ninja Air Fryer?

1. The manual says to preheat

You need to preheat the air fryer if the manual says it is a must to do so. Yet, you may not need to preheat if the manual only recommends you to do so.  

2. A recipe says to preheat

You need to do a preheat cycle if a recipe calls for it. Such recipes need the air fryer to be super hot the moment you put the food in the basket. This helps reduce cooking time and save energy.

3. When cooking crispy foods

Preheating helps remove moisture from the surface of the food much more quickly. This speeds up the cooking process, making the food crisper.

4. When in doubt or if you choose to

Sometimes is best to preheat when in doubt or if you want to. But remember that not all recipes need the air fryer to be very hot at the start of cooking. 

When Not to Preheat Ninja Air Fryer?

1. A recipe says not to preheat

If your recipe says no to preheating, please do not do it. You may end up burning your food. Low temperatures will do just fine with this kind of recipe.  

2. When reheating leftovers

You need low temperatures (around 250°F) to reheat leftovers. But when you preheat (anything above 300°F). You will be recooking the food instead of reheating it. This can end up burning your leftovers.

3. If you want moist food

The whole idea of preheating your appliance is to increase the temperature and remove moisture. So, not preheating helps you retain moisture in your food. 

Ninja Air Fryer Manual PDF

Use the Ninja air fryer manual to do the following.

  • Identify the different parts of the air fryer
  • Know the different buttons and their functions
  • Learn all the safety precautions when operating the appliance
  • Confirm if preheating is a must all the time
  • Know how to assemble and disassemble removable parts like the basket
  • Learn how to clean your air fryer
  • Use all the helpful tips for reference 

How to Preheat Ninja Foodi Dual Basket Air Fryer

After going through the manual for the Ninja foodi dual-basket air fryer. You will realize that preheating isn’t mentioned anywhere in the manual. But here is what you can do to preheat:

  • Select the cooking function you want to use (in this case air fry)
  • Use temperature arrows on zone one to set the temperature (such as 400°F)
  • Set the time by using the time arrows (we recommend 5 to 10 minutes)
  • Then press the match cook button followed by the start/pause button
  • This will sync the settings from zone one to zone two
  • Allow the timer to countdown to zero to complete the preheat cycle

Do You Preheat an Air Fryer with the Basket In or Out

The basket must be intact when preheating your appliance. It needs preheating because it is part of the appliance that comes in contact with your food.

Also, avoid preheating your appliance with a foil-lined basket. The foil can blow inside the appliance, causing a fire hazard. If you must use parchment when preheating. Then use silicone liners, which are heavy enough not to blow around.  

Types of Recipes that Need You to Preheat Ninja Air Fryer

frozen bacon in air fryer Cook the bacon

In some recipes, preheating the Ninja air fryer is part of the cooking process. It provides consistency and keeps the cooking times accurate. Aside from making your dishes cook hotter and crisper, of course. 

Here are popular air fryer recipes that need preheating of the appliance:

Air Fryer French Fries

You can make your French fries taste salty, fluffy, and crispy by preheating your air fryer. Preheat the appliance to 400°F for approximately 3 minutes before cooking your fries.

Air Fryer Bacon

Air frying bacon is very simple in a preheated air fryer. Preheat the unit to 350°F for about 3 minutes to prepare crispy bacon strips that are mouthwatering.

Air Fryer Popcorns

Popcorn lovers will appreciate a preheated air fryer. It will turn a handful of corn grain into a basket full of popcorn in no time. Just preheat the air fryer to 400°F for 3 to 5 minutes before cooking. 

Wrap Up

Now, you know how to preheat the Ninja air fryer. It is as simple as pressing the air fry button. Then set the correct preheat temperature and time and hit the start/pause button. Don’t forget about safety precautions while doing this. The Ninja air fryer is an electrical appliance after all.  

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