How Does an Air Fryer Reheat Food and Is It Safe to Use?

The air fryer is the latest and greatest of all appliances, and while pretty much everyone has adopted it and has one on their kitchen counters these days, we don’t often think of reheating food in an air fryer the way we think of the microwave. But it can be an excellent aid in reheating delicious leftovers.

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Still, you might be wondering how this gadget reheats your food, what is happening to your food as it is heating, and if it is even safe in this climate of chemicals and toxins. Fortunately, all the answers to your questions are here.

How Does an Air Fryer Reheat Food?

How Does an Air Fryer Reheat Food

An air fryer is pretty self-explanatory. It uses convection heating, which means it moves warm air molecules to where the cooler air molecules are to replace them. An air fryer does this through, what else? Air!

The gadget circulates hot air throughout its interior, where food sits in a basket. The air then moves against and around the individual pieces of food, heating them up from the outside. This process is why the air fryer is an ideal appliance for crispy foods like mozzarella sticks or chicken strips.

The heat begins from the outside and works its way in, locking moisture into a crispy exterior.

It is a lot like deep frying except you are spared massive amounts of oil.

Hacks for Reheating Food in an Air Fryer

Hacks for Reheating Food in an Air Fryer

  • Keep individual pieces separate. The trick to using an air fryer is to get the air to circulate throughout each piece of food you are reheating.

If you pile a bunch of foods together or on top of each other, the air will not be able to get to all sides of the food, leaving you with unevenly heated and unevenly crisped food.

  • Coat with oil. Yes. You still need oil. This reality seems to be surprising to many, but the factor that crisps food is oil.

The air will combine with the oil to crisp the outside of the food, but you cannot get crispy food without some form of oil. Even when reheating food, you will often be advised to spray a bit of cooking oil on the outside to lock in moisture and enhance the crisp.

Of course, you are using much less oil than you would if you were deep frying.

  • Avoid casseroles and other mixed dishes. The air fryer is not the place to reheat rice, spaghetti, or tuna casserole.

Despite the common saying these days that the air fryer can cook “anything,” the reality is that the air fryer is designed to cook individual pieces of crispy food.

Is It Safe Though?

Yes. Reheating your leftovers in an air fryer is perfectly safe. You are using electricity to generate convection heating by circulating air molecules.

The only factors some might consider unsafe are the chemicals in the non-stick surfaces, and the chemical reaction that creates acrylamide when heating food. Acrylamide is a known carcinogen, which means it can cause cancer.

To avoid any problems related to these issues, make sure you don’t scrape the surface of your non-stick air fryer and release those chemicals. Typically, when metal is used on non-stick surfaces, the chemicals locked in can be released into food. Don’t do that.

In terms of acrylamide, this issue is like any other issue with reheating food. There are dangers to grilling over fire, problems with losing nutrients in boiling, and issues with deep frying with oil. There is very little acrylamide generated in an air fryer, and certainly not enough to worry about if you use the appliance a couple of times a week.

In the end, reheating your leftovers in an air fryer is simple and easy, and it can be a great way to get your mouthwatering food on your plate.

What do you think? Have you investigated how an air fryer reheats food? Or whether it is safe? Let me know what you have found in the comments. I love to hear from my readers!

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