Golden brown homemade air fryer French fries are simply the best. You won’t believe how crispy and flavorful they are, with hardly any oil!
Why you’ll love it: You’ll find yourself making these fries again and again. They are delicious and easy (and pretty irresistible).
How long it takes: 15 minutes (plus soaking time if desired)
Equipment you’ll need: sharp knife, air fryer
Servings: 3 (but it’s easy to make more)
Guess how many ingredients are in these air fryer French fries? Two! One large potato and a half tablespoon of olive oil. All right, if you want to add salt and pepper, that’s two more but do they really count? Nah.
Guess how many ingredients are in a popular brand of store-bought frozen French fries? Just a minute, let me count: Potatoes, Vegetable Oil (Sunflower, Cottonseed, Soybean, And/Or Canola), Modified Food Starch, Rice Flour, Salt, Dextrin, Cornstarch, Leavening (Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Sodium Bicarbonate), Dextrose, Xanthan Gum, Annatto (Color), Disodium Dihydrogen Pyrophosphate. Twelve!
Guess which French fries I would rather eat and serve to my family?
Do homemade air fryer French fries taste great? You be the judge, but I know we find them absolutely irresistible.
About these Fries
I love the air fryer when it comes to making crispy and healthy “fried” food. This countertop appliance is similar to a convection oven in some ways.
Hot air is circulated around the food on a rack, producing a crispy product without the added oil and extra calories of deep frying. Just a bit of heart healthy olive oil is added to these French fries for flavor, eliminating most of the fat and calories that deep frying adds.
I’ll get you started on making your own air fryer French fries right here and give you lots of helpful tips. You’ll find the printable recipe card near the bottom of the post with complete instructions, measurements and nutrition information.
What you’ll Need
The ingredients are so simple! You might already have them on hand. You’ll need:
- Potatoes – choose a Russet potato for a classic restaurant french fry flavor and texture (keep reading for more info on this).
- Oil – We use olive oil but avocado oil would also work well.
- Salt & Pepper – Salt and pepper are optional seasonings. Is salt really optional, though? What’s a french fry if it’s not salty? Use as much or as little as you’d like, but we give you a starting point in the recipe card below. Check out the “Make it Your Own” section for more seasoning ideas.
How to make Air Fryer French Fries
Scrub and slice. Slice scrubbed potatoes into one-quarter inch French fries. These are skinny fries similar to fast food restaurant fries. If you prefer thicker cut fries, that’s fine but they’ll take a bit longer to fry. A mandolin works best to cut evenly sized fries but a sharp knife is fine, too. Be careful of your fingers!
Soak potatoes. This step is important for crispy fries–don’t skip it! Soak the cut potatoes in a large bowl of cold water for at least 20 minutes. Soaking removes some of the starch. The potatoes can be soaked longer than that if you want, even overnight in the refrigerator.
Dry the potatoes. After the potatoes have soaked, rinse them, drain them and dry them thoroughly. Spread them out on paper towel or a lint free dish towel and pat them dry. Wet potatoes equals soggy fries!
Season them. Put the potatoes into a dry bowl and add oil, salt, and any other seasonings you like. Stir well until they are coated.
Air fry in batches. Preheat the air fryer and “fry” those fries until they are golden brown. Don’t overcrowd the fryer. You want to have space between the fries so they crisp up. That means you probably will have to do the fries in batches. You can make as many fries as you like. Just double or triple the recipe and continue to air fry in batches.
Keep cooked fries warm. If you’re not serving the fries immediately, spread the cooked fries on a wire rack in a warm oven (175-200ºF) to keep them warm and crisp (see recipe notes). You can also toss them all back in the air fryer for 1-2 minutes to rewarm them immediately before serving.
How Long To Air Fry French Fries
Cooking time will depend on the thickness of your fries.
- Skinny fries (1/4-inch) like the ones pictured take about 10-13 minutes
- Thicker fries (think steak fries – 1/2-inch or so) will take closer to 20 minutes.
- Frozen store-bought French fries take about 25 minutes, depending on the variety.
Check your fries often near the end of the cooking time to see how brown they’re getting.
The best Potato for French Fries
You might be wondering what the best kind of potato for French fries is. The choices at the store might feel a little overwhelming. We tested multiple types of potatoes and what we found is this:
Russet potatoes are most commonly used for fries so if you’re looking for that classic flavor and texture, choose russet. They also tend to be larger, yielding a longer french fry. When cooked, they have a fluffy texture on the inside and a crispy exterior.
Yukon gold potatoes
We also like Yukon gold potatoes because we find the flavor to be slightly superior to Russets, but they don’t have that classic fry texture.
Overall, we recommend russet potatoes for this recipe, but we suggest trying the recipe with different types of potatoes. Do side-by-side taste tests to determine which variety you like best. The good news is, both types are really delicious, as are red skinned potatoes (but they can make it slightly harder to achieve that fry shape).
Yes, definitely! You need much less oil to air fry fries than you do to deep fry them so they’re lower in fat and calories.
Soaking the potatoes after they’re cut draws out some of the starch which is naturally present in potatoes. This will result in a crispier fry. A thirty minute soak in cold water does the trick but you may soak them longer if you want.
After soaking, be sure to dry the potatoes before you fry them. Drain off the water and dry the potatoes on a clean lint-free dish towel or paper towels.
Make It Your Own
- Experiment with potato varieties. There are lots of different kinds of potatoes, each with unique properties. See which one you like best. Maybe you can have a French fry tasting party. Make sure you try air fryer sweet potato fries, too.
- Peeled or unpeeled? It’s up to you. We like to leave the peelings on. Be sure to scrub the potatoes thoroughly.
- If you want, these fries can be made with no oil whatsoever. Olive oil does add good flavor, though, and helps them get crispier. Other types of oil can be used.
- Try different spices. While plain salted fries are great, you could try adding black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, smoked paprika, chili powder, and so on. Raid your spice cupboard. They’re delicious with our all-purpose seasoning.
- Add grated Parmesan cheese for a real treat!
- Don’t want to bother cutting the potatoes? Make air fryer baked potatoes! They are so good and are perfectly baked in 40 minutes. We also love crispy air fryer halved baby potatoes.
- Looking for something green instead? Try air fryer broccoli or air fryer Brussels sprouts. So delicious!
French fry Dipping Ideas
While ketchup is always a great option, consider expanding your dipping repertoire.
- Fry Sauce (pictured)– easy French fry dipping sauce
- Healthy Ranch Dressing (add a teaspoon of chili powder to a half cup of ranch dressing to make it chili ranch dressing).
- BBQ Sauce Recipe – easy homemade barbecue sauce
- Mexicali Dip – so irresistible
- Make your own sriracha mayo! Simply mix together mayonnaise, sriracha (add a little or a lot, depending on how hot you like it), and a squeeze of lime juice.
- Easy Cheese Sauce – microwave or stovetop
- Douse your fries in your favorite chili, topped with cheese sauce.
If you like to prep ahead, cut the potatoes, submerge them in water, and store them in your fridge for up to 24 hours. When you’re ready to cook them, drain the water off, rinse them, dry them well, and continue with the recipe.
Storage & Reheating Tips
Air fryer French fries are best eaten fresh. If you have leftovers (can’t imagine that scenario, but you never know), store them in the fridge for up to 3 days in an airtight container. They can be frozen in a freezer safe container or bag for up to 3 months.
The best way to reheat fries is to pop them back in the air fryer to crisp them up again when you’re ready to serve them. Other methods (oven, microwave, etc.) won’t make your fries crispy again. If your fries are frozen, there’s no need to thaw them first but they may take a minute or two longer to reheat.
- 1 medium Yukon gold or russet (Idaho) potato, scrubbed (peeled if you prefer)
- 1 to 2 teaspoons olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper, more or less to taste
- Slice the potatoes into french fry shape, about 1/4-inch thick (see note). If you have a mandolin, you may wish to use that. Thicker cuts (1/2-inch) are fine if you like that better. Cook time will increase (13-15 minutes). Submerge cut potatoes in a bowl of cold water and let soak for 20 minutes (or up to overnight in the fridge).
- When the fries are almost done soaking, preheat air fryer to 380ºF (4-5 minutes).
- Drain potatoes and pat dry with a paper towel or a lint-free tea/dish towel. Dry bowl and place fries back in bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to coat.
- Place a single layer of fries in the basket of the air fryer (you can also get away with a double layer) and cook for 10-13 minutes, shaking basket occasionally, or until fries are crispy and golden brown. You can pile them up a little bit but remember that the more air flow, the crispier your fries will be.
- Keep an eye on them towards the end. They brown quickly.
- Serve immediately or keep warm in oven (see notes).
- Yukon gold potatoes have a creamier texture; russet or Idaho potatoes are more like restaurant fries, fluffier and more mealy.
- Thicker cut fries (1/2-inch) are fine if you like that better. Cook time will increase to 13-15 minutes.
- Double or triple the recipe but cook them in batches.
- To keep fries warm: Put cooked fries on a wire baking rack placed on top of a sheet pan in a warm oven (175-200ºF). This will keep the cooked fries warm and crispy while you finish cooking the rest of the fries.
- Leftover fries will keep in a covered container (cool completely before sealing) in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Reheat briefly in the air fryer for best results. Frozen fries do not need to be thawed before reheating.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.