The Best Air Fryer French Fries Recipe

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Learn how to make perfect, crispy air fryer french fries at home! They’re healthier than regular oven-baked or fast food fries so you can eat them guilt-free.

Homemade fries in air fryer

Crisp, golden-brown exterior, fluffy center – that’s how I like my fries. However, some homemade air fryer French fries recipes yield hollow, dry, greasy, flavorless, or limp fries.

I decided to follow the lead of America’s Test Kitchen with this one and do a little bit of soaking, a lower-temp fry, then higher temp to crisp them up. They turn out so good!

You’ve got a little bit of hands-on action, but you still get beautiful, delicious, fresh air fryer French fries in under an hour!

Tips for Making Homemade French Fries in the Air Fryer

Here are some tips to make sure you get crispy homemade french fries perfectly suited to your liking:

To Peel or Not to Peel?

Feel free to peel the potatoes, if that’s how you roll. I prefer keeping the peels on, rustic style, and just washing them well beforehand. Still tastes great and I’m happy to skip the peeling step. 😉

Rinse and Soak the Potatoes

Soaking potato fries

Rinsing the sliced potatoes only takes a couple of minutes. You will notice the water is cloudy when you first add it to the potatoes. Then after the 2nd or 3rd time, the water remains clear.

After the rinsing, just cover the potatoes with hot tap water and let soak for 10 minutes. This rinsing and soaking helps to remove excess starch. Removing the excess starch helps us get the potatoes nice and crispy.

Pat the Potatoes Dry

Patting fries dry

You want to pat those potatoes dry after the soaking because the oil will adhere better to dry potatoes and it helps to prevent soggy fries.

Toss the Potatoes in a Separate Bowl

I find it easier to toss the potatoes in a bowl rather than the air fryer basket, so that’s part of why there’s so much transferring back and forth. Less broken fries when tossing in the bowl too.

After you toss them the first time, put them into the air fryer basket for the first cooking phase, and set aside the bowl for later.

French fries in air fryer for the first time

Toss and Redistribute Regularly

Every time you toss your french fries, you get that additional flavor from the residual oil and salt in the bowl. We want to toss and redistribute the potatoes regularly to get even cooking and browning.

So how do you know when to remove your fries from the air fryer to re-toss? After the first frying phase, they should turn from white to blond, like so:

Tossing french fries with oil and salt, blond color

Once they look like that, re-toss them in the bowl and then put them back into the air fryer. Do this every 5 minutes or so until they’re a nice crispy golden brown.

Alternatively, you could just cook a single layer of the potatoes in the basket, but that seems way more time consuming to me. I’d rather have a pile of fresh French fries ready to eat than go batch by batch.

How Long to Air Fry French Fries (Thick vs. Thin Fries)

Cutting thick fries

Cutting the fries a little thicker (like in the image above), at ½ inch, helps prevent hollow centers and allows the fluffy inside to really shine in contrast to the crisp outside. The only downside is that thicker fries take longer to cook.

While I prefer these thicker fries here in the recipe, there are some positives if you decide to go for the thinner, shoestring fries: it takes less cooking time, about 15 minutes total.

Cutting thin fries

With the thin fries, there’s more of the crispy outside than a fluffy center when it comes to that ratio. So if you like more crispiness, there ya go. They may tend to be more hollow in the center though.

Also, you can use a mandoline slicer for super easy and fast skinny fries! This is the one I have.

Skinny air fried french fries

Air Fryer Fries – FAQ

Do you have another question that isn’t answered below? Leave a comment and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

How Many Fries Does This Recipe Make?

You start out with 1 ½ pounds of potatoes, but I weighed my fries once all was said and done and ended up with 11 ounces of fries. The USDA says 3 ounces or 12-15 fries is the recommended serving size.

I didn’t count the fries because there are all different sizes and it could vary quite a bit, so weight seemed like more accurate info for you. 🙂

Which Air Fryer is Best for French Fries?

I have the large Philips XXL air fryer, which is 3-pound or 4-quart capacity. Works great for this amount of fries! And everything turns out so good in the air fryer!

In terms of which air fryer is best for french fries, all of them should provide similar results. If you want help finding the perfect one for you, check out our air fryer reviews + buying guide.

Are Air Fryer French Fries Healthy?

Compared to deep-fried french fries and oven-baked french fries – yes! Because the air fryer uses less oil, these fries are lower in calories and contain less fat.

If you want to make them even healthier, you can try using less oil or salt with your fries, but that will also make them a bit less flavorful and you may not get them as crispy.

As an alternative that doesn’t sacrifice flavor or texture, you can use a healthier cooking oil. I use organic avocado oil myself and it works great. You can learn more about which cooking oils are healthiest in this post.

Air fryer french fries

Final Thoughts + Serving Tips

I know the cooking process sounds a little high maintenance from just reading the recipe, but I promise it is still easy and goes pretty fast. Especially once you get the hang of things! I promise you the end result is worth it too – delicious crispy fries!

Serve these air fryer french fries alongside your favorite burger recipe (try these cheesy spinach burgers or this juicy burger recipe), this cheeseburger soup, or any of these other main dish meals. You can also enjoy these with your favorite dip or even homemade ketchup!

Before you go, let me know: which do you prefer – thick fries or thin fries? Comment your answer below!

This recipe was slightly adapted from the Air Fryer Perfection cookbook.

Check out more of our favorite air fryer recipes:

Crispy fries next to ketchup

The Best Air Fryer French Fries Recipe

5 / 5 (1 review)
Prep Time: 20 minutes | Cook Time: 30 minutes
Yield: 11 ounces | Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ pounds russet potatoes, washed and dried
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Cut potatoes lengthwise into ½-inch thick slices or planks, then slice the planks into ½-inch thick sticks for the fries.
  2. Place the potatoes in a medium or large bowl and add enough water to cover them. Drain and repeat until the water stays clear.
  3. Cover potatoes with hot tap water and let sit for 10 minutes. Drain water and pat potatoes dry with a clean lint-free towel or paper towel.
  4. In a dry bowl, gently toss potatoes with 1 tablespoon oil. Transfer potatoes to air fryer basket. Set bowl aside for later. Cook at 350° F for 8 minutes.
  5. Dump potatoes into bowl and gently toss to redistribute. Return potatoes to air fryer and cook until softened and potatoes have turned from white to blond, 5-10 minutes.
  6. Transfer potatoes back to bowl and gently toss with remaining 1 tablespoon oil, ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon garlic powder. Return to air fryer and cook at 400° F, until golden brown and crisp, 15-20 minutes, tossing gently every 5 minutes to redistribute (it may be easier to quickly toss in the bowl than the basket).
  7. Transfer fries to a plate and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.
Ingredients: Cooking Oil, Pepper, Russet Potatoes, Salt
Meal Type: Side Dish, Dairy Free, Egg Free, Meatless
Categories: Finger Food and Dips, Air Fryer

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