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I 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 become just as crispy as when they were first made.
You should 100% be using your air fryer to reheat food if you’ve got leftovers in your fridge.
You can reheat just about anything in an air fryer The only real exceptions are foods with a high liquid content like saucy dishes, soups, and stews.
In this post, I’ll show you how to reheat food in an air fryer and some of my favorite leftovers for reheating. I’ll also make sure to tell you exactly how long and what temperature to run your air fryer at.
Even if you’re asking yourself how to meal prep when you hate leftovers, it’s essential to recognize that the process doesn’t need to be boring or take much effort. The key is to prep several ingredients and use them for different meals throughout the week/month.
Be sure to check out my list of air fryer meal prep recipes for more ideas!
- What Is an Air Fryer?
- Why Use An Air Fryer Over A Microwave To Reheat Food?
- How To Reheat Leftovers in Air Fryer
- The 15 Best Leftovers for Reheating in an Air Fryer
- Advantages of Using an Air Fryer to Reheat Food
- What Foods Can I Not Reheat in The Air Fryer?
- Summary: Reheating Food in Air Fryer is the Best Method
What Is an Air Fryer?
Say goodbye to greasy guilt, as air fryers use hot air instead of gallons of oil to cook up your favorite treats. You’ll be chomping on golden brown French fries, succulent fried foods and crispy chicken wings in no time. With an air fryer, last night’s dinner can be transformed into something delicious and exciting.
But wait, there’s more! The air fryer is a multi-talented kitchen assistant that can tackle everything from baking to grilling. It’s like having a chef, but without the salary.
Its compact size means it won’t hog your precious counter space. It’s also easy to clean, so you can spend more time enjoying your food and less time scrubbing.
Oh, and did I mention that air frying can help save you some serious cash? That’s right! Air frying is energy-efficient, and uses a fraction of the electricity required by a conventional oven, microwave, and other cooking equipment.
The only downside is having to clean the air fryer quickly. Sometimes I’m in a hurry and just have to use the microwave because it’s a bit easier.
Why Use An Air Fryer Over A Microwave To Reheat Food?
Microwaves have been the go-to for quick reheating, though sometimes they just don’t cut it. One major downside is that they can leave your food a soggy mess. This is especially true for crispy foods like fried chicken, air fryer fries, and fish.
By using hot air for cooking food leftovers, you can expect a crunchy texture that’ll make you think it’s fresh out of the oven.
Additionally, reheating food in air fryer uses less oil or no oil at all, making it a healthier option compared to traditional reheating methods.
Reheating your leftovers in an air fryer is a game changer, however, consider that certain foods may not fare well with this method.
How To Reheat Leftovers in Air Fryer
Reheating your leftovers in an air fryer is simple.
Different dishes will need a different length of time in the air fryer to reheat completely
Preheat air fryer to 400 degrees. This will probably take you about 5 minutes.
Set your leftovers into your air fryer basket and place the basket inside the air fryer. You can add a spritz of olive oil for some extra crunchiness.
If you are trying to reheat a lot of leftovers, I would recommend doing this in smaller batches to prevent overloading the air fryer. You can also do a larger batch by reheating it for longer and giving it a toss halfway through.
Once reheated, lower temperature down to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and reheat leftovers for 3 minutes.
If it is still not warm enough, return the air fryer basket to the air fryer and leave for a bit longer. I suggest checking on the temperature of your food at 1 or 2 minute intervals.
This method will not only warm your meal but food reheated in the air fryer turns out with a crispy exterior. Once you’re happy with the temperature, remove the air fryer basket from the air fryer and turn it off.
Allow the air fryer to cool completely before attempting to clean it.
The 15 Best Leftovers for Reheating in an Air Fryer
1. Leftover Chicken Wings
Fried chicken wings are by far best reheated in an air fryer. This will give the reheat fried chicken the perfect crispy exterior as though they just came out of the fryer.
I recommend giving the leftover wings a quick spritz of oil just to give it some fat to crisp up. You can also coat your reheated chicken wings in your favorite sauce.
2. Roasted Chicken
Any kind of roasted or grilled chicken will be great heated up in an air fryer. Reheating chicken in the microwave will just make it rubbery and it might come out hot, but it’ll just get cold halfway through eating.
3. Leftover Vegetables
Leftover vegetables are best reheated in an air fryer! If you reheat leftovers of veggies in a microwave they’ll be soggy, wilted, and they won’t stay warm for long. Reheating the vegetables in an air fryer will keep them hot, crispy, and almost like you’d just made them the first time.
You might be surprised, but you can actually reheat a hamburger in an air fryer. Stick the whole thing in and it’ll get warmed all the way through. You’ll also have a crispy bun and exterior to the meat that is delicious.
5. Chinese Food
Chinese food is almost always fried the first time it’s made and then tossed together with a yummy sauce.
This means that the best way to reheat Chinese fried foods is to use an air fryer. This will re-crisp up the Chinese food and give it that same good texture you had the first time you ate it.
6. Baked Potato
Baked potatoes are almost always perfectly cooked in an oven initially. When it comes time to eat your leftover potato, a microwave just won’t quite do the trick. It’ll heat the potato unevenly and it’ll end up just being mush.
Reheat a baked potato in an air fryer to get the best results!
Reheating leftover quiche is a tricky thing. The microwave won’t do it justice. You’ll end up with soggy and rubbery eggs. An oven will work but takes quite a bit longer to preheat and reheat.
Reheating quiche in an air fryer basket is the perfect middle ground. The air fry quiche will be crispy on the edges like it was just perfectly cooked for the first time.
8. Egg Cups / Egg Muffins
Egg cups or egg muffins are a great protein-packed breakfast that you can make ahead of time. The only downside is that reheating them in the microwave can make them taste rubbery or chewy.
Reheating them in an air fryer will crisp up the edges.
9. Fried Fish
If you try to reheat fried fish in the microwave, it’ll just come out mushy. The air fryer will give the battered outside a crispy finish while keeping the fish flaky on the inside. Fried fish won’t take long at all so keep a close eye.
Steak has a tendency to become chewy and tough when placed in the microwave to reheat. You can reheat steak in slices on the stovetop, but this tends to dry out the meat at the same time.
Reheating 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.
11. Tortilla Chips
Tortilla chips become soggy when exposed to air, meaning that leftovers are never as satisfying as the original.
Pop them in the air fryer basket 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.
12. BBQ Ribs
Ribs are fantastic when you heat them up the right way. Give them an extra glaze of bbq sauce before reheating them.
The air fryer will make the sauce caramelize on the outside while locking in the moisture to make a succulent mouthful.
13. Chicken Nuggets
Fried 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 chicken in air fryer means that the exterior will become as crispy as when they were originally fried.
To reheat chicken nuggets will take around 3 to 4 minutes at a temperature of 320 degrees Fahrenheit.
14. French Fries
Reheating leftover 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 fries, you will never use another method again.
The outside of the leftover fries crisps up to its original golden hue, while the interior remains soft and fluffy.
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 air fryer temperatures of 320 degrees Fahrenheit.
Advantages of Using an Air Fryer to Reheat Food
Air fryers are a convenient option for reheating foods due to their speedy performance. In fact, these appliances can heat up food in a matter of minutes, typically taking less than five minutes. This feature can save a lot of time compared to other cooking techniques.
In addition, reheating food in air fryer can prevent it from overcooking or burning. The air fryer works by circulating hot air within the air fryer helps to evenly distribute heat, ensuring that your food is heated throughout without being charred or overdone.
Reheating leftovers is incredibly easy for most air fryers. Simply, place your food in the air fryer basket and let the air fryer do the rest.
Plus, air fryers are generally easy to clean and maintain, which makes them a convenient kitchen appliance.
Finally, reheating food in air fryer can help maintain the crunchiness and flavor of your food. It brings out the best in foods meant to have a crispy texture, such as French fries or chicken tenders.
The hot air circulation in the air fryer can help revive the crispiness of the food, making it taste like it was just freshly cooked.
What Foods Can I Not Reheat in The Air Fryer?
While air fryers are versatile appliances that can reheat a wide variety of foods, there are some exceptions.
It’s important to note that reheating foods with a high water content, such as soups and stews, in an air fryer is not recommended. This is because the hot air may evaporate the liquid content, leaving you with dry or burnt food.
Similarly, some foods like bread or delicate pastries may become too crispy or hard when reheated in an air fryer.
Warning: Not all air fryers are the same, and some may have specific recommendations for reheating food.
Be sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions before attempting to reheat any food in an air fryer.
1. Preheat the Air Fryer
When you preheat the air fryer, it only takes a few minutes and can make a big difference in how your food turns out! If the air fryer is hot right when your food is put in, you’ll get an extra crispy exterior. This is especially helpful if you’re reheating any kind of chicken or meat.
2. Don’t Overfill It
One of the biggest mistakes people make is mistaking how much food is needed in their air fryer. Air fryers depend on hot air circulation around the food. If there’s too much food then the air can’t circulate.
If you have a lot of food to reheat, then one option is to simply regularly turn and shake your food within the air fryer basket.
3. Spray With Oil
You definitely don’t want to have super oily foods in your air fryer. It can cause it to gunk up and the food may not heat well.
That being said, a light spritz of oil can help your food get a nice crispy edge. I really recommend this if you’re reheating chicken or dry veggies like broccoli.
4. Use Foil or Parchment Paper
The biggest disadvantage of cooking food with an air fryer is that it can be messy. It’s just another couple of things to clean up. Putting foil in your air fryer pan can drastically reduce the mess and clean-up required. If you don’t have aluminum foil on hand, you can also put parchment paper in the air fryer basket.
5. Check Your Food Regularly
When you’re reheating food in air fryer, it’s good to check it regularly. Different kinds of food need different amounts of time for reheating.
The last thing you want to do is burn your precious restaurant leftovers. Check every 2-3 minutes until it’s done.
Summary: Reheating Food in Air Fryer is the Best Method
When using an air fryer, reheating leftovers is one of the most important things to get right when it comes to dieting or meal prepping.
I strongly recommend that you reheat food in air fryer! It takes a bit more clean-up time, but it makes the best food by far.
I recommend running the air fryer at 400 degrees and starting with 2-3 minutes and then 1-2 minute intervals for best results.
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.