When purchasing an air fryer, one of the key features buyers consider is whether the appliance has a preheat function. Preheating allows the air fryer to reach the target cooking temperature before food is added, which can help ensure meals cook evenly and thoroughly. So does the popular Bella Pro Series air fryer preheat? Let’s take a closer look.
How Preheating Works in Air Fryers
In a traditional deep fryer, oil is heated up to a high temperature before food is submerged in it. This allows the oil to quickly transfer heat to the food for fast, crispy, and evenly cooked results. Air fryers work a bit differently since no oil is used. Instead, a heating element and powerful fan circulate super hot air around food to mimic deep frying. Preheating an air fryer allows the air inside to thoroughly heat up before cooking begins. This allows the air to immediately start crisping and browning foods right when they are added.
When an air fryer doesn’t preheat, food is added to a cold cooking chamber. The heating element and fan then have to work harder and longer to gradually bring the temp up to the target level. This can lead to uneven cooking, with the outsides getting overdone before the insides are fully cooked. It also typically takes longer to get foods crispy without preheating. So preheating creates the optimal cooking environment right from the start.
Does the Bella Pro Series Air Fryer Preheat?
The Bella Pro Series air fryers are a popular mid-priced model sold widely online and in stores like Walmart, Target, and Best Buy. The Pro Series line includes several sizes like the 2.6QT, 4QT, 6QT, and 10QT models. So do any of these preheat?
According to the instruction manuals for the Bella Pro Series air fryers, none of them have a preheat function. There is no preheat button or preheat settings included on any model. Instead, you simply add food to the basket, set the temperature and timer, and start cooking. The heating element and fan will gradually bring the air up to temperature after the cooking cycle begins.
Are There Any Workarounds for Preheating a Bella Pro Air Fryer?
Since Bella Pro air fryers don’t come with preheat functionality built in, is there any way to manually preheat them? There are a couple of possible workarounds users have tried:
Use a Lower Cooking Time
Some owners will set the fryer to the desired temp, but then set the timer for just 2-3 minutes. This brings the air up to temperature before food is added. Next, they add the ingredients, reset the timer to the full cook time, and proceed as normal. This essentially mimics a preheat. However, it requires babysitting the fryer to manually add food after the short preheat period.
Start Cooking at a Higher Temp
Another option is to set the temperature 25-50°F higher than the recipe calls for. Once the food is added, the heating element will turn off once the overshoot temp is reached. As it coasts down to the target cooking temp, the fryer effectively preheats. The downsides are you need to estimate the correct overshoot temperature, and some foods may start overcooking as the fryer temp decreases.
Use a Smart Home Device
If you have a smart home hub like Google Home or Amazon Alexa, you can create a “routine” to preheat the fryer. Set up a sequence where the fryer turns on and runs for 5 minutes, then sends you a notification or alarm to add food. This gives time for preheating before the full cook time starts. But it requires owning compatible smart home gear.
Is Preheating Necessary for the Bella Pro Air Fryer?
While the Bella Pro Series air fryers lack a dedicated preheat function, many users find they can still get excellent results without a manual preheat. The Pro’s powerful 1,700 watt heating element and high-speed fan recover heat quickly once food is added. This allows it to start crisping and browning immediately, even without a preheating head start.
Many owners report the Bella Pro air fryer can produce nicely cooked foods like french fries, chicken wings, fish sticks and more without any preheating needed. The manufacturer seems confident in the fryer’s performance, given the lack of a preheat setting.
That said, some recipes and foods may come out better if you take the extra time to preheat the fryer manually. Denser foods like steaks, chops, and chicken breasts tend to benefit more from a preheated cooking chamber. Prepared frozen foods also seem to cook more evenly with a preheat, since they go into the fryer partially frozen.
Tips for the Best Results Without Preheating
Here are some tips to get the best outcomes when using your Bella Pro air fryer without preheating:
- Use shorter cook times for foods like fries, nuggets, or onion rings. These cook quickly so overcooking is common.
- Flip or shake foods mid-way through cooking to expose all sides to the hot air.
- Spray or brush a light coating of oil on foods to aid browning without preheating.
- Cut dense meats into smaller pieces to reduce cook time and allow them to heat through.
- Let frozen foods thaw slightly before air frying so the insides cook through.
- Consult a Bella Pro air fryer cookbook or app for recommended temps and times.
- Always check food a few minutes early when cooking without preheating to avoid overcooking.
The popular Bella Pro Series air fryers unfortunately do not come equipped with a preheat function. However, many owners find they can still achieve crispy, delicious air fried meals without needing to preheat the fryer manually. Using lower cook times, prepping foods properly, and monitoring cooking can help ensure great results. But those wanting to air fry very dense foods or large frozen items may want to take the extra time to preheat the fryer before adding food. This can provide that extra assurance foods will cook evenly when no built-in preheat is available.