How to Preheat Ninja Air Fryer: A Complete Guide

Air frying has become a popular way to cook food at home. It allows you to enjoy the flavors and textures of fried food, without the negative impact on your health. The Ninja Air Fryer is one of the most popular air fryers on the market today, but before you start looking up recipes, you’ll want to learn how to preheat Ninja Air Fryer machines.

The preheating process is quick and easy and has a significant impact on how your food turns out.

How to Preheat Ninja Air Fryer

According to theNinja Quick Start Guide, you should always preheat your Ninja Air Fryer for three minutes before adding your ingredients. There are two ways to preheat this beloved kitchen gadget: manually or by using the preheat button.

How to Preheat a Ninja Air Fryer Manually

Make sure your air fryer is empty before you plug it in and turn it on. Once your air fryer is turned on, you should set the temperature to what is required for the food you are cooking — usually between 350 and 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Next, select the preheat time based on the temperature you are cooking at. The preheat time is usually between two and five minutes, but you can consult the User Manual if you aren’t sure how long to preheat your Ninja.

Once the preheating cycle is over, you can place your food in the basket and cook it.

How to Preheat Ninja Air Fryer Using the Preheat Button

how to preheat ninja air fryer

If your Ninja Air Fryer has a preheat button, the preheating process is even easier. Once your Ninja is plugged in and turned on (and the basket is empty), simply press the preheat button. Once your air fryer is preheated, you can add your food to the basket and cook it.

As easy as it is to use the preheat button, you can also just select a temperature and let your air fryer run until it has reached the desired heat level. Then, add your food.

How Long Does it Take to Preheat a Ninja Air Fryer?

How long it will take your Ninja Air Fryer to preheat depends on the size of your air fryer and the temperature it needs to reach. According to theKitchen Strategist, you can expect the following:

  • 300F/149C: 2-3 minutes to preheat
  • 350F/176C: 3-4 minutes to preheat
  • 375F/190C: 4-5 minutes to preheat
  • 400F/204C: 5-6 minutes to preheat

Why Is Preheating an Air Fryer Important?

When you preheat your air fryer, regardless of which make and model you are using, you are ensuring that the fresh or frozen food you make will cook evenly. Food that is cooked at an even temperature turns out crispier and retains more flavor.

It’s especially important to preheat your air fryer when you are following a recipe. Most recipes assume that you will begin your cooking process by preheating your air fryer, so do not skip this step if you want the best results.

However, if the recipe specifically suggests not preheating your air fryer, it’s perfectly fine not to — which leads us to our next question.

Do You Have to Preheat Your Air Fryer Every Time?

As with most rules, there are usually exceptions. In the case of preheating your air fryer, it turns out that you can actually skip this step, but only in certain situations. When deciding whether or not to preheat your air fryer, consider what food you are cooking.

For some recipes, like those for baked goods, you typically don’t want to preheat your air fryer. It may cause the food to become too crispy on the outside while the inside is still undercooked.

Your air fryer will still cook your food completely if you don’t preheat it, your food just won’t be quite as crispy.

How to Safely Preheat Your Air Fryer

To safely preheat your Ninja air fryer, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Before using your air fryer for the first time, read through the instruction manual and follow the directions for preheating. Make sure you are following the instructions for your particular model.
  • When preheating your Ninja air fryer for the first time, you may notice a slight odor from manufacturing. Preheating the air fryer for three minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celsius) will get rid of those unpleasant odors.
  • Always make sure the fryer is clean and dry before you start preheating.
  • When frying frozen food, Ninja recommends that their air fryers are preheated for five minutes at 390 degrees Fahrenheit (199 degrees Celsius).

What Foods Are Better When Cooked in an Air Fryer?

Insider spoke to several expert chefs about their favorite foods to cook in an air fryer and here’s what they had to say:

Jess Dang, chef and founder of Cook Smarts, shared that she enjoys using bananas cooked in an air fryer in desserts. She slices them lengthwise and cooks them in the air fryer until they’re caramelized, then adds them to banana splits.

The head chef at ButcherBox, Yankel Polak, shared that he enjoys a good steak cooked in an air fryer. He also likes to make air-fried doughnuts using batter that is more like bread dough instead of “very wet.”

According to Homes and Gardens these are seven things that taste much better when air-fried:

  • Burgers and patties (homemade or pre-made frozen)
  • French fries
  • Leftovers (reheated)
  • Chicken tenders
  • Bacon
  • Roast chicken
  • Roast potatoes

How to Clean an Air Fryer

Just like how preheating your air fryer is important before cooking, cleaning your fryer afterward is important. To clean your air fryer, you will want to use dish soap and a dish brush. Avoid using abrasive cleaners and keep the following things in mind:

  • If your air fryer has separate pieces, be sure to take it apart for a thorough cleaning. In most cases, this is as simple as removing the basket(s) from the drawer.
  • Thoroughly clean each piece to remove any food residue and oil, then make sure each piece is completely dry before reassembling.

Cleaning your air fryer in between each use will not only ensure that it continues working optimally for a long time, it will also keep leftover food from interfering with your next recipe.

Mistakes to Avoid When Using An Air Fryer

Man using air fryer and laptop in kitchen

Skipping the preheat step — when following a recipe that calls for it — is just one common mistake many people make when cooking with air fryer. For the best results and a smooth air frying experience, try to avoid these frequently-made errors.

If you’re looking to try an old recipe in the air fryer, don’t assume you can use the same cooking temperature. According toTaste of Home, most recipes can be adapted by slightly lowering the cooking temperature and decreasing the cooking time.

Another mistake many people make is not checking the accuracy of their fryer’s temperature. The temperature your air fryer is running at may be different than the temperature you’re setting it to. According toMashed, you should check the temperature every six months or so using an oven thermometer.

Lastly, don’t make the mistake of using too much or too little oil when cooking food in an air fryer. Many people mistakenly believe that they don’t have to use oil when cooking with an air fryer, when you actually still want to use about anywhere from 1 teaspoon to 2 tablespoons of oil depending on what you’re cooking.

Even with that amount of oil, you can rest assured that the food you are preparing is still much healthier than it would be if it was pan fried or deep fried.


How can I be sure my Ninja Air Fryer is preheated?

The easiest way to check and see if your Ninja Air Fryer has been properly preheated is to open the basket and place your hand near the opening. If you can feel heat coming out and the basket is too hot to touch, your air fryer is more than likely properly preheated and ready to use. Just be careful not to get too close to the heat.

To make things even easier, some air fryer units also have a light that turns off when the fryer has reached the selected temperature.


Using an air fryer is a great way to enjoy the flavor and texture of fried foods without the messy, calorie-laden grease. The Ninja Air Fryer is one of the most popular and highest-rated air fryers on the market. When cooking with your Ninja air fryer, you typically want to preheat it to get the best results.

Fortunately, preheating your Ninja is a relatively simple and straightforward process, as long as you know what you are doing. After reading through this guide on how to preheat Ninja air fryers, you should now be well-informed and ready to get cooking.