How to make perfect Air Fryer French Fries

Hand-cut French fries are one of my guilty pleasures.

Cooking them in the air fryer is easy but requires similar steps to frying them in oil in order to achieve the perfect texture: a brown, crisp exterior with a hot, fluffy center.

A pinnable image of Air fryer French fries.

What are the Best potatoes for Air Fryer French fries?

I’ve been busy writing a post on how to select the perfect potato for your recipe — which isn’t quite ready for publication just yet.

For air frying, I prefer Russet or Round White potatoes. Russet potatoes are pretty common across the United States while the Round white potatoes are more regional to the Eastern US.

Purple potatoes are also a good choice but are sometimes difficult to find.

Lastly, sweet potatoes make great french fries as well and if you’re craving them to be more sweet than savory, try tossing them in a bit of cinnamon-sugar. The results are amazing.

An image of Russet potatoes.
Russet Potatoes

Which oil should I use to make air fryer French fries?

Our final frying temperature will be 400°F, so any oil with a smoke point at or above 400°F will be fine.

Olive Oil – just plain olive oil will do here. Plain “regular” Olive oil has a smoke point of 410 °F.

NOTE: Extra virgin olive oil has a smoke point lower than 350° F and could smoke up your kitchen from overheating when we use the 400°F setting.

Vegetable Oil – has a smoke point of 428°F.

Peanut Oil (refined) – Refined Peanut oil has a smoke point of 450°F.

Can I cook Air Fryer French Fries with NO OIL?

The short answer is yes. Yes, you can.

However, without any oil the fries will cook unevenly, have less browning, and be a little drier than those pictured. The oil aids in browning and helps keep the fries moist.

Do I have to pre-soak the fries to make air fryer french fries?

Soaking the cut potatoes sticks is the secret to the crisp texture of the fries. The initial rinse draws out the starch, making them more rigid and less likely to stick together.

The secondary hot soak blanches them until slightly limp.

An overhead image of a batch of air fryer French fries  with a side of ketchup and salt and pepper shakers.

Make it a Meal:

Depending on what you have a craving for, these fries make an excellent side for Chicken Tenders, Hamburgers, chicken wings — or just about anything!

An up close image of air fryer French fries. crispy and brown exteriors with fluffy interior.

For full ingredients and printable instructions, scroll down the the recipe card below.

1. Russet or Round White Potatoes

2. Olive Oil

3. Salt

4. Ground black pepper (optional)

French Fry Cutter [paid link] (optional) If you do not have a fry cutter, you can simply cut them with a knife. The fry cutter definitely makes it easy work — especially if you plan to make french fries often but it is 100% totally up to you. Personally, I love mine.

An image of the vegetable cutter I use for French fries.

Air Fryer – I only have tried two brands and I like both. Emeril 360 Air Fryer [paid link] (three-tier rack type) and the Power XL Air Fryer [paid link] (basket-drawer type) in the 6-qt size.

Air fryers smaller than 6-qt seem too small even for a single person who might want to cook two things at once like chicken tenders and french fries, so I’d recommend going with the larger model if at all possible on any brand you choose.

An image of a glass bowl filled with raw potato sticks which have been soaked and dried for frying.

For full instructions, scroll down to the printable recipe card below.

Making delicious French fries (AKA: Air Fryer Chips) in the air fryer follows the same basic steps as traditional deep fat frying, but working with an air fryer takes a certain amount of finesse.

As I said before, for best results, you cannot always just set it and walk away. For best results, you will need to shake the basket or rotate the trays for more even browning between each addition of time.

But I promise, if you follow the simple instructions, you will have another reason to love your air fryer.

An image of  French fries being dipped into a small bowl of ketchup/
Air Fryer French Fries 14

Air Fryer French Fries

Ronda Eagle | Kitchen Dreaming
Creating perfectly crisp and tender french fries in the air fryer is easy with these proven steps. This recipe creates the perfect texture: brown, crisp exterior with a fluffy center. Never experience limp, lifeless fries again!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Course side
Cuisine American
Servings 4 servings
Calories 166 kcal

Equipment

  • Air Fryer
  • Vegetable Cutter

Ingredients
  

  • 1.5 lbs potatoes, russet
  • 1 TBSP Oil
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper , to taste (optional)

Instructions
 

  • Wash and peel the potatoes.
  • Cut the potatoes lengthwise into 1/2-inch thick planks, then stack the planks and cut into 1/2-inch sticks. Repeat with all potatoes.
    If using the vegetable cutter mentioned in the post, place whole potato into the vegetable cutter and use the lever to cut the potatoes into sticks.
  • Place the raw potato sticks into a large bowl and rinse until the water runs clear.
  • Using the same bowl, cover the raw potatoes with hot water and soak for 10 minutes to parboil them. Drain the potatoes and pat dry. Dry the bowl.
  • Place the potatoes in the same dry bowl and toss with oil then transfer to the fryer basket or trays. Place the basket or tray into the air fryer and fry for 18 minutes at 350°F. At the middle of the cooking time, remove the basket (or trays) and toss to redistribute the fries for more even cooking.
  • Before the last fry, add your seasonings. We use salt and ground black pepper, to taste. Return the basket to the air fryer. Increase the temperature to 400°F and cook for 15-18 minutes or until your desired doneness. Toss the fries midway to promote even browning.
    Taste and re-season as needed.
  • Serve immediately.

Nutrition

Calories: 166kcalCarbohydrates: 31gProtein: 4gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 299mgPotassium: 709mgFiber: 2gSugar: 1gVitamin C: 10mgVitamin E: 1mgVitamin K: 6µgCalcium: 22mgFolate: 24µgIron: 1mgZinc: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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