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We all know the pain of reheating a slice of leftover pizza, only to discover that it has become limp, soggy, and sad. One of the biggest benefits of reheating leftovers in an air fryer is that they will stay as crispy as when they were first made.
Most foods will reheat fantastically in the air fryer. The only real exceptions to this are things with a high liquid content. This includes very saucy dishes, soups, and stews.
We have rounded up the top tips for reheating your leftovers using an air fryer, and given you a rundown on some of the best leftovers to do this with.
What is an air fryer?
An air fryer is a countertop device that functions in a similar way to a convection oven. They are designed to create the same effect as deep fat frying but without the need for any oil.
At the top of an air fryer, there is a fan and a heating element. This forces hot air down and towards the food contained within the air fryer basket. They need virtually no reheating and can cook food quickly, evenly, and consistently.
If you are cooking battered foods inside an air fryer, you should spray the outside with oil to ensure it colors. Food is cooked through a reaction known as the Maillard Effect. This is when amino acids brown as they are cooked.
How do you reheat food in an air fryer?
Different dishes will need a different length of time in the air fryer to reheat completely. That being said, here are some tips to help you.
We do not suggest placing frozen foods into your air fryer. Instead, you should allow them to thaw completely on the countertop, in the refrigerator, or in the microwave.
Turn on your air fryer and preheat it to 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 5 to 10 minutes.
Add the leftovers to your air fryer basket as you normally would, and place the basket back inside. If you are trying to reheat a lot of leftovers, we would recommend doing this in smaller batches to prevent overloading the air fryer.
Reduce the temperature to around 350 degrees Fahrenheit and leave the leftovers to reheat for 3 minutes undisturbed. Once this time has elapsed, pull out the basket and check on the temperature of your food.
If it is still not warm enough, return the basket to the air fryer and leave for a bit longer. We suggest checking on the temperature of your food at 1 or 2 minute intervals.
This method will not only warm your food, but it will also give it a crispy exterior. Once satisfied with the temperature, remove the basket from the air fryer and switch it off.
Allow the air fryer to cool completely before attempting to clean it.
What are some good leftovers to reheat?
This is by far the best way to warm up leftover pizza. Unlike heating it in the microwave, you will end up with a crisp crust and underside.
At the same time, the cheese on the top will melt perfectly and it will be as good as when it was first baked!
This should take 3 to 4 minutes at a temperature of 320 degrees Fahrenheit.
Steak has a tendency to become chewy and tough when placed in the microwave to reheat. It can be reheated in slices on the stovetop, but this tends to dry out the meat at the same time.
Reheating the steak in the air fryer locks in the moisture, keeping it juicy and succulent. For an extra layer of luxury, you could spoon a lump of butter onto the top of the steak before warming through.
Tortilla chips become soggy when exposed to air, meaning that leftovers are never as satisfying as the original.
Pop them in the air fryer and their original crunch will be restored in a matter of minutes. This makes the perfect afternoon snack that tastes just as good as any restaurant.
These are particularly good when they are covered in some kind of sticky sauce.
The air fryer will make the sauce caramelize on the outside while locking in the moisture to make a succulent mouthful.
Chicken nuggets, tenders, or anything else covered in breading, reheats perfectly in the air fryer.
They have a tendency to become soggy as they cool, but reheating them like this means that the exterior will become as crispy as when they were originally fried.
These will take around 3 to 4 minutes at a temperature of 320 degrees Fahrenheit.
Reheating french fries has always been a disappointing venture. No matter what, they become soggy, limp, and lifeless. Once you have tried using an air fryer to reheat them, you will never use another method again.
The outside of the fries crisps up to its original golden hue, while the interior remains soft and fluffy.
What are some other ideas?
There are many things that will reheat beautifully in your air fryer. These include most Chinese food, donuts, tacos, onion rings, vegetables, fish fingers, and dumplings. Burger patties, tater tots, and rotisserie chicken all work well too.
Egg rolls, calzones, garlic bread, and burritos are other good choices. Honestly, an air fryer can reheat almost anything perfectly.
Check out these healthy air fryer recipes!
Tips for Using an Air Fryer
Not everything will cook at the same rate, so keep checking on your food to ensure it doesn’t burn.
You should not put foods coated in a wet batter into the air fryer. Instead, opt for things with a crumb crust. Likewise, wet and oily foods are not best suited to air frying.
You should regularly turn and shake any food contained within the air fryer basket. This is because they will not heat evenly if you do not.
Richmond Howard started Meal Prepify in 2019 and has helped over a million people learn how to meal prep, get better at meal planning, and create a kitchen they love to use. He’s an avid home chef and loves to bbq, grill out, and make awesome food for family and friends. He’s been featured on MSN, Renaissance Periodization, and Good Financial Cents.