How to Reheat Fast Food in an Air Fryer


woman using an air fryer

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Air fryers are quickly becoming a staple in many households across the world. The modern appliance has a unique selling point: to fry your food using nothing but hot air instead of oil. But how good is the air fryer when it comes to reheating fast food items in particular?

You’ll only need 5-10 minutes to reheat fast food in an air fryer. That includes preheating the appliance to 320 degrees Fahrenheit and then putting in your burger, pizza, fries, and anything else! It’s best to turn or stir your food occasionally so that it reheats evenly. When it’s done, you’ll be able to enjoy your delicious fast food as if it were freshly made!

If you want to know how to reheat any kind of fast food in your air fryer, you’ve come to the right place. Here, we’re going to explore everything you need to know to get the job done.

By the end of this article, you’ll not only know how to reheat various types of fast food in your air fryer, but you’ll understand why this is a much better way of doing it than using your microwave.

Let’s get to it.

How Air Fryers Reheat Fast Food

First of all, let’s clear the air (no pun intended) about air fryers and how they’ll work to reheat your fast food in the first place. 

You see, air fryers don’t actually ‘fry’ anything at all. Instead, they heat up the air and force it to circulate around the food you load into the basket. The end result is almost the same as if you were to fry the food in oil, which is probably why the name ‘air fryer’ became a reality.

The bottom line is that air fryers are essentially small convection ovens that fit on your kitchen counter.

Still, despite the lack of oil being used in the process, air fryers can make almost anything taste amazing. And that’s especially true when it comes to reheating your fast food.

Preheat Your Air Fryer Before Reheating Fast Food

Unlike when using a microwave, you must preheat your air fryer before using it to reheat fast food. Typically, preheating an air fryer for 5-10 minutes is enough before reheating fast food.

Why? As mentioned in the previous section, air fryers work using convention, much like an oven which also requires preheating.

Firstly, preheating your air fryer will ensure that it’s hot enough when you start loading your fast food items into the basket. That way, it’ll start reheating immediately without any delay.

Suppose you put your burgers and fries in the air fryer while the appliance is still cold. As the air heats up, the food items will only reheat gradually, which is a problem. 

In effect, you’d be steaming your fast food items rather than reheating or “air frying” them, leaving them soft and soggy when you remove them.

Preheating the air fryer means your fast food items will begin reheating as soon as you put them in. They’ll end up crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside, just the way they’re supposed to be!  

How To Reheat Fast Food In An Air Fryer

Alright, let’s get to the step-by-step process of reheating fast food in an air fryer. Since there are so many different types of fast foods out there, we’re going to look at a few of the most common types: burgers, pizzas, and crispy fried foods. 

To top it all off, we’ll also look at common carbs that you might get from a fast food joint like rice, noodles, and pasta as well.

Burgers

Note: Do not preheat the air fryer when heating up burgers. Burgers are the exception to that rule because they are a combination of different food items (buns, protein in between, vegetables, and sauces) all in one. 

The problem with reheating a burger in a preheated air fryer is that the different parts will heat up unevenly. As a result, you might end up with a hot and juicy burger patty but a dry bun.

Here’s how to reheat a burger in an air fryer:

  1. Place the burger in the air fryer and heat it for 4 minutes at 320 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Next, turn the burger over and continue heating it for another 2 minutes.
  3. Carefully remove the burger (it’s hot!) and enjoy!

Pizzas

Note: Yes, you can and should preheat the air fryer before reheating pizzas.

Pizzas are another great fast food item to reheat in an air fryer. Here’s how to reheat pizza:

  1. Preheat the air fryer to 320 degrees.
  2. Lay the pizza slices inside the air fryer side-by-side. Ensure that they don’t overlap because the cheese might cause them to stick to each other.
  3. Check on the pizza after 4 minutes. Some pizza slices reheat faster than others because of the thickness of the dough and toppings. 
  4. If the pizza slice isn’t hot enough, continue reheating it. Only do this for 30 seconds at a time to prevent overheating or burning the pizza slices.
  5. When they’re ready, carefully remove the pizza slices with utensils. Don’t stick your hand inside the air fryer basket because it’s still scalding, and you could hurt yourself.

Crispy Fried Foods

Fried chicken in air fryer

If you’re reading this article, the odds are high that you’re thinking about reheating crispy fried items like fried chicken, nuggets, or even french fries.

Let’s start with how to reheat fried chicken and nuggets. Here’s what you’ll need to do:

  1. Do not reheat the fried chicken straight away. Instead, let the fried chicken reach room temperature naturally first.
  2. When the chicken is ready, preheat the air fryer to 375 degrees.
  3. Put the fried chicken into the air fryer’s basket. Be sure not to pile the chicken on top of each other, and allow for plenty of space between each piece. That will allow the hot air to move between each piece and heat them up thoroughly.
  4. Heat the fried chicken for a total of 4 minutes. Halfway through, you can turn the chicken pieces to ensure they are heated evenly.

You can reheat french fries in an air fryer much in the same way as you would fried chicken. However, here are a few essential tips to remember:

  • Try to avoid piling your french fries. That’ll make it difficult for the hot air to reach each individual fry and reheat it evenly.
  • Don’t be afraid to do things in batches. If you’ve got many fries to reheat, divide them into smaller amounts to ensure that each will be adequately reheated and come out crispy.
  • Check on your fries more frequently. As soon as you think they’re crispy enough, you can stop reheating them. Typically, five minutes is the most you’ll need to reheat fries, regardless of the type of fries they are.

Rice, Noodles, Pasta

Fast food joints and takeaway restaurants tend to offer common types of starches or carbs like rice, noodles, and pasta. These items can also be reheated in an air fryer, but with a few slight differences.

Here are the steps:

  1. You don’t have to preheat your air fryer when reheating rice, noodles, or pasta.
  2. You do, however, need to put the food in an air fryer pan or a plate that’s safe to use in an air fryer.
  3. Reheat the food for 10 minutes at 320 degrees. If the food isn’t hot enough, continue reheating for 5 minutes at a time, checking on the food frequently.
  4. Note: When reheating rice, noodles, or pasta, you’ll need to stir the food every few minutes to ensure that it’s evenly-heated throughout.
  5. Carefully remove the food from the air fryer and serve.

What An Air Fryer Won’t Reheat Very Well

Unfortunately, some items from a fast food restaurant won’t reheat very well in an air fryer. Basically, anything that’s liquid, like soups and sauces.

Remember: an air fryer works the same way as a convection oven by circulating hot air around the food item. That method is very effective at reheating solid food items because the heat can travel right to the middle, whether it’s french fries or a burger.

To reheat soups and sauces, you might want to stick to conventional methods like using a saucepan on a stove.

Bonus Tips For Reheating Fast Food In An Air Fryer

Regardless of the type of fast food that you’re reheating in an air fryer, here are some timeless tips to get the most of the process:

  • Check frequently – the beauty of air fryers is that you can easily remove the basket to check on the food inside before putting it back in. Doing that every few minutes will help you heat the food up sufficiently and prevent overheating or burning it.
  • Don’t overcrowd the basket – Air fryers are all about circulating hot air. So, don’t pile or overload the basket with food items. Give each item enough space, and don’t be afraid to reheat items in batches.
  • Give the air fryer room to vent – Be mindful of the air fryer’s vent and make sure it has enough space to let its hot air out efficiently.

Chef Rooney

I like to cook. It makes me happy, and I know it does the same for others. If you ever want to learn how to make a great dish, just ask!

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