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Air Fryer French Fries

October 4, 2021 | Laura

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These fries are the best air fryer fries! If you are looking for those fluffy, somewhat crispy, but still soft fries then this is the recipe for you! Think McDonalds fries but made at home in the air fryer.

Air Fryer French Fries

Salty, Fluffy, & Delicious

I know, I know.. you're probably asking what this recipe has to do with Halloween. This recipe went along with the movie, The Shining. During the tour of the hotel, Danny is asked what his favorite food is, and he replies, "french fries and ketchup."

This seemed like the perfect opportunity for me to eat a ton of french fries so I went for it.

I didn't just want to create another french fry recipe. While I love actual fried fries, I felt like the perfect recipe already existed. Check out Serious Eats' Perfect French Fries Recipe. You won't regret it.

What I couldn't find is a perfect science-backed air fryer french fry recipe so I quickly jumped on the job! The air fryer is a game changer when it comes to French fries. This recipe is for those of you that pick out the somewhat limp, somewhat crispy McDonalds' fries on purpose. If you like your fries SUPER crispy, this recipe isn't for you.

These air fryer french are fluffy, slightly crispy, salty, and a little bit limp. In my book, that is the perfect fry. This air fryer french fries recipe makes for the perfect snack, appetizer, or side dish and consists of basic ingredients.

31 Days of Halloween

These air fryer french fries are a part of my 31 Days of Halloween. For each day in October, I come up with a cocktail recipe and snack recipe that perfectly matches a scary movie, Halloween movie, or a fun spooky activity. Check it out for all of your Halloween snack and drinking desires!

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Air Fryer French Fry Ingredients

*Some of these ingredient links may be affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.*

Russet potatoes: These kind of potatoes are high in starch and low in moisture making them the best contestant for a french fry. They will give you a fluffy result.

White Vinegar: Vinegar will prevent over-browning since it washes off those extra sugars. It also slows down the breakdown of pectin so the fries are slightly crisp.

Kosher salt: Gotta have salt on french fries!

Oil: This will help brown the fries a bit in the air fryer and prevent sticking. This recipe calls for a lot less oil than a traditional deep fryer French fry recipe. I use vegetable oil, but you can also use olive oil or avocado oil if you wish.

Don't have an air fryer?

I highly recommend you check out J. Kenji López-Alt's Perfect French Fry Recipe. These fries are fried, have a crispy texture, and delicious. I give them a 5-star rating. He also goes into all of the science of why these french fries work!

Air Fryer French Fries Recipe

How to Make Homemade French Fries in the Air Fryer

➊ The first task is peeling and cutting two pounds of russet potatoes. Using a sharp knife, cut the fries 1/4-inch by 1/4 inch. While cutting have a large bowl of cold water and keep the fries submerged in the water until ready to use.

➋ In a large pot, add cut potatoes, 2 quarts of water, 2 Tablespoons of vinegar, and 2 Tablespoons of kosher salt. Put pot on high heat and bring to a boil. Boil for 10 minutes. Drain out the hot water and dry potatoes with paper towels.

➌ Optional, but HIGHLY RECOMMENDED: Place fries on a baking sheet making sure the fries are not touching. Place potatoes in the freezer. For best results, you want to keep the fries in the freezer overnight. However, in a time crunch, you can skip the freezer completely or put in for about an hour. Just know your fries won't be as fluffy!

Air Fryer French Fries Recipe

➍ When ready to air fry, coat the fries with a little oil, and lightly oil the rack in your air fryer. Place the fries in the air fryer basket in a single layer and so they are not touching. You may have to cook in 2 batches depending on how big your air fryer is. Cook the fries at 400° for 10-14 minutes, shaking the basket halfway through the cooking time, until the fries are cooked through and golden brown.

*I like to cook mine for 5 minutes, shake the basket, and then cook for an additional 5 more minutes. At the 10-minute mark, check for doneness and continue cooking in 2-minute intervals until done.*

➎ Immediately after cooking, sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt over the fries.

Homemade Air Fryer French Fry Recipe

What to Serve with Air Fryer French Fries

Homemade Ranch Dressing; Who doesn't love fries dipped in a little bit (or a lot) of ranch? Especially when it's homemade ranch!

✽ Ketchup; If you're here because of my 31 Days of Halloween and you're watching The Shining, you gotta eat these fries with some good ol' ketchup. Danny's favorite!

Sparkling Red Cherry Rum; Keeping up with The Shining movie night, have some red rum with your fries and ketchup!

McDonalds French Fries Air Fryer

Air Fryer French Fry Science

French Fry Science

From left to right: No pre-work + No freeze (Control); No pre-work + Freeze; Boiled + No freeze [cooked 14 min]; Boiled + Freeze

French Fry Science Air Fryer

From left to right: Soaked + Freeze; Boiled + No freeze [cooked 10 min]; Soaked + No freeze

If you are interested in all the details about french fry science, go read J. Kenji López-Alt's French Fry Post. This air fryer french fry recipe is based off of his findings. I'll sum it up.

First, let's talk about parboiling in vinegar water.

Inside each cell that make up potatoes, you will find starch and sugar. When the starch is in the boiling water, it will swell and burst. When things burst, you get the insides everywhere. This is no different. The starch is released everywhere.

In addition, the cells are held together by something called pectin. If the pectin breaks down before the starch bursts everywhere → no crust, the fries will fall apart, and/or a hollow inside.

Also, too many simple sugars → too much browning.

Parboiling in vinegar (acid) helps both these issues. It will rinse off the simple sugars to prevent browning too much. It also activates the enzyme, pectin methylesterase (PME). Basically, this enzyme helps pectin stick to the cell walls giving you a fry that doesn't fall apart.

The answer to fluffy fries? Freezing.

The ice crystals break the cell walls, and when heated, steam is formed giving you a fry with a fluffy inside.

At the end of the day, I don't think an air fried french fry can beat out a fried one. The air fryer ones did not get as crispy, BUT I like that.

Once again, if you are one of the ones that likes the super crispy French fries, get a pot of oil and do it the old-school way. If you find yourself wishing there were more squishy fries in your fast food bag (the best fries, in my opinion), then continue on!

For this recipe:

*Some of these ingredient links may be affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.*

French Fries in Air Fryer

Air Fryer French Fries

By Laura | Laura The Gastronaut
Prep Time: 10 minutes | Cook Time: 25 minutes | Freezer Time: 8 hours | Total Time: 8 hours 35 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

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These fries are the best air fryer french fries! If you are looking for those fluffy, somewhat crispy, but still soft fries then this is the recipe for you! Think McDonalds fries but made at home in the air fryer.

*Some of these ingredient links may be affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.*

Ingredients

• 2 pounds russet potatoes, cut 1/4-inch by 1/4-inch; let soak in cold water while cutting
• 2 Tablespoons white vinegar
• 2 Tablespoons kosher salt, plus some to taste for finished fries
• 1-2 Tablespoons vegetable oil

Instructions

In a large pot, combine potatoes, 2 quarts of water, vinegar, and salt. Place on high heat and bring to a boil. Boil for 10 minutes, drain, and dry potatoes with paper towels.
*Optional, but HIGHLY RECOMMENDED*: Place fries on a baking sheet in a single layer so they are not touching and put in freezer. For best results, allow to freeze for at least 8 hours.
Prior to cooking, toss fries with oil so they are fully covered.
In a single even layer, arrange fries in a lightly oiled air fryer. Cook at 400° for 10-14 minutes, shaking the air-fryer basket halfway through cooking time, until fries are cooked through and golden brown. *I like to cook for 5 minutes, shake, cook for another 5 minutes, and then cook in 2 minute intervals until done.*
➎ Immediately sprinkle with salt.

Adapted from: Serious Eats Perfect French Fry Recipe

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Let me know by leaving a comment below and sharing on Instagram. Tag @laurathegastronaut and hashtag it #laurathegastronaut.

Category: Appetizers & Snacks, Sides, Vegetarian Cuisine: American
Keywords: air fryer french fries, best air fryer french fries, air fryer recipes, homemade air fryer french fries

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More Delicious Appetizers

Air Fried Jalapeno Fries (another great and spicy air fryer recipe)
Jalapeno Honey Barbeque Chicken Wings (you can't go wrong with chicken wings- plus, you can make these in the air fryer too)
Avocado Jalapeno Dip (one of my favorite dips- spicy and creamy)
→ Check out all of my appetizer recipes!

Bon appétit!

October 4, 2021 by Laura Bullock

*This Air Fryer French Fries blog post and recipe may contain some Amazon affiliate links. These link to products that I personally use and recommend. If you purchase anything using my links, it will not cost you anything. It will though give laurathegastronaut.com some financial support which helps me keep this blog running. Thank you for reading my blogs and your continued support.