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Easy Air Fryer Fries Recipe

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Wondering why your air fryer fries are soggy? Want them to be perfectly crisp and golden? This fuss free air fryer French fries recipe will give you exactly that! Learn why potatoes go soggy, how to prevent it, and how to make air fryer fries that are fluffy on the inside and crisp on the outside. Keep reading for the easy recipe and ALL THE TIPS!!

Air fryer fries on a paper lined board with ketchup

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How easy is it to make air fryer fries?

There are tons of air fryer fries recipes out there, claiming to be the best. Personally, I’ve found them all to be faffy, complicated and generally not methods I have time in my busy life for!

I mean, who has the time for triple cooked chips? Cooking them once takes long enough, surely?!

It’s easy enough to make air fryer French fries. But making good fries? Now that’s a different question.

I’ve tried so many different methods this past week, it’s been intense. After all my experimenting though, I’m pleased to say I’ve come up with a really simple recipe.

Striking a balance between achieving seriously crispy fries vs the amount of work that goes into it, was a challenge.

The key to making crispy air fryer fries easily? Soak them overnight. No coating in flour, cutting with the aid of a ruler or cooking them 400 times… just soak them. This takes out all the unnecessary faff but still makes crispy, delicious fries.

This technique doesn’t work so well for air fryer roast potatoes though. I still recommend par-boiling those.

Perfect for pairing with air fryer chicken breasts, air fry salmon bites and air fryer peppers and onions. Or you could even load them up, like these Greek fries with tzatziki sauce!

An air fryer basket filled with air fried fries

How long does it take to air fry French fries?

This is all relative. It depends on a few varying factors. Like how big your fries are, what variety of potato you’re using and what brand of air fryer you have.

On average though, to get nice crispy fries, it will take somewhere between 8-14 mins. And you will probably need to cook in a few batches, to allow the air to circulate properly. Air fryer sweet potato fries also have a similar timing.

Unlike air fryer chips, which are usually a little softer. So batch cooking doesn’t really matter there.

French fries soaking in a bowl of water on a decorative board

How do you make air fryer fries crispy?

There are lots of ways to achieve this, but I’ve found the simplest method is to start by soaking them overnight.

Doing this removes the excess starch with very little hands on time. Starch is something we want to get rid of, as that holds on to moisture. Not what we want in crispy air fryer French fries!

And know that size matters. The larger your fries, the longer they will take to cook. And, therefore, become crispy. Stick to uniform thin and short cut fries for best results.

Leaving the skins on can also help to crisp them up. This works well for simplicity, as there’s no need to peel them! Which is a time saver too. Win!

Someone forking air fryer French fries on a plate

Why soak potatoes before air frying?

Soaking potatoes before air frying helps to remove all that extra starch. Starch holds on to moisture, which, when you want crispy fries, isn’t ideal.

You can par-boil them instead to achieve this, but I find this adds more faff and unnecessary hands on time.

Cut soaked and dried fries in an air fryer basket

What are the best potatoes for air fryer fries?

Floury potatoes are always the best for French fries. They puff up more easily and usually get a fluffy middle with a crispy outside, when cooked properly. Varieties include Maris Piper, King Edward and Russet.

Waxy potatoes are better when you want a creamier texture. Like mashed potato, potato salads and boiled potatoes. Varieties include Charlotte, Annabelle and Jersey Royals.

Two plates of air fryer fries with pots of ketchup

Ingredients and substitutions

Confused about what ingredients to buy? Not sure about a substitution? Here’s everything you could possibly need to know…

In a dish like air fryer fries, there are only a few ingredients. So there’s nowhere to hide. Using the best quality ingredients that you can afford, will reap the best tasting fries.

  • Potato – Floury varieties are best. Think Maris Piper, Russet and King Edward. Size also matters. Smaller fries with skin on get more crispy. So don’t choose huge potatoes! Use smaller potatoes, which will give you a higher percentage of fries with more skin. (The larger the middles, the less fries that will have skin on.) They should be about 7cm long.
  • Oil – You will taste whatever oil you use, so choose wisely. I find a spray oil works best, as you don’t want to oversaturate the fries. 1-2 sprays per batch is more than enough. I found an extra virgin olive oil spray which works well. But go with what your tastebuds like. (Don’t use sprays with lecithin in, as they can ruin the non stick coating of your baskets.)
  • Salt – This is purely from a taste point of view. I don’t add salt to potatoes in the air fryer as it can mess with moisture. So use whatever salt you like to season your fries with, just before eating. I like sea salt.
Fries soaking in a glass bowl of cold water

Recipe tips and troubleshooting

Here are a few tips I’m sure you’ll find helpful when making this recipe. Remember, I make the mistakes so you don’t have to!

  • Size matters. Cut small, thin fries for the best results. I found that 6mm thick by 7cm long works best. Use smaller potatoes so that more fries have skin on. This really helps them crisp up.
  • Don’t salt your fries before or during cooking. Salt draws out, and absorbs moisture. This can result in fries that stick together and taste a little too salty. Season after they’re cooked for best results.
  • Leave the skins on! The skins bubble and crisp up really well in an air fryer, so it’s always best to leave them on.
  • Dry your fries thoroughly before attempting to cook. You need to remove as much moisture as possible to guarantee crispy air fryer fries.
  • The potato you use is important. Choose a floury potato, such as Maris Piper, King Edward or Russet for best results.
  • Use a spray oil instead of pouring. And spray your fries while they’re in the air fryer basket, just before cooking. Over time, potato that sits in oil seeps more moisture. And we don’t want that!
  • Use your judgement, and practice! All air fryers differ, as do potatoes. This recipe is a guide, but over time, you will find what works best for you and the equipment/ingredients you have available.
Cooked air fryer fries in a Ninja basket drawer

Time management

Have limited time? Struggle with recipe timings? Or juggling around other things? Here’s some time managing info to make your life easier.

  • You need to soak the fries for between 12-24 hours. So if you want them for tea on Monday night, cut them and leave to soak at room temperature on Sunday evening. Easy.
  • Remember to allow time to thoroughly dry the fries, and pop them in the fridge for 30 minutes for further drying.
  • You can batch cook these in advance and freeze them. Making them the perfect addition to a midweek meal! For specific instructions, see the ‘Can you freeze air fryer fries‘ section later in the post.
A paper lined plate of air fryer french fries with a napkin

If you like this recipe…

…you might also like:

Easy Air Fryer Fries – Step by Step Picture Recipe

Please note the 12-24 hour soaking time needed before cooking.

(For a printer friendly version, see the recipe card at the end of this post)

Ingredients

Here is what you will need to serve 2.

  • 2 x Floury Potatoes, about 7cm long *
  • Spray Oil, for cooking
  • Salt, to taste

*I used Maris Piper. King Edward and Russet would also work well.

Essential equipment

  • Chopping Board
  • Sharp Knife
  • Large Bowl
  • Kitchen Roll or Large Dry Tea Towel
  • Wire Rack or Baking Sheet
  • Air Fryer

Instructions

Preparation

First, cut your potatoes (2 x about 7cm long) into fries using a chopping board and sharp knife. For optimum crispness, you want them to be about 6mm thick and 7cm long.

Cut fries on a chopping board

Then pop your fries into a large bowl and cover with cold water. Mix it all around with your hands, you’ll notice the water becomes cloudy.

This is starch, we want to get rid of that! So drain the water and top it up with fresh cold water. Completely covering all the potatoes.

Fries soaking in a bowl of cold water

Now cover with cling film and leave to soak at room temperature for between 12-24 hours.

How to cook air fryer fries

After the fries have soaked, you need to dry them. Drain the water from the bowl and dry each fry using either kitchen roll or a large dry tea towel.

When you’ve dried them all, spread them out on a wire rack or baking sheet and chill for 30 minutes.

Refrigeration dries things out. This will help to remove any water that you may have missed.

Dried soaked fries on a wire rack

Now preheat your air fryer to 190ºC/374ºF. (I have a Ninja Foodi MAX dual AF400. I put it on air fry for 2-3 minutes at the relevant temperature to preheat.)

Once preheated, place a handful of fries into the basket(s). DO NOT overcrowd, or your fries will steam instead of crisping. Spray with a little oil and shake. Then spread them out and air fry for 4 minutes at 190ºC/374ºF.

Fries placed in air fryer baskets

Next, give the drawers a little shake and spread them out again. Air fry at the same temperature for a further 4 minutes.

Part cooked fries in an air fryer

They should be starting to turn golden, but probably won’t be crisp yet. At this point, it’s a judgment call. Air fry again at the same temperature, for around 2-5 minutes, until cooked to your liking.

It’s wise to open and check every minute or so, until they’re cooked exactly how you want them. (After you’ve cooked one batch, you’ll then know how long you need to cook the rest for.)

Crispy cooked fries in a Ninja dual air fryer

Remove the fries and place on a wire rack or baking sheet. Then continue to air fry in batches, until all your fries have been cooked.

Once all your fries are cooked, you can quickly reheat/crisp them up again by tossing back into the air fryer for a minute or two. Then salt to your taste, and serve.

Alternatively, you can keep them warm in an oven on a low temperature whilst you’re batch cooking.

Someone dunking an air fried fry into tomato ketchup

Can you freeze air fryer fries?

Yes! You can absolutely freeze homemade air fryer fries!

Simply cook as per the recipe above, stopping after the one 4 minute cooking time. Allow to completely cool, then transfer in a single layer to a freezer bag. Freeze for up to 1 month.

To cook from frozen, preheat your air fryer, and air fry at 190ºC/374ºF for 4-8 minutes. Shaking once or twice throughout.

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Air fryer French fries on a paper lined board with ketchup
Someone forking air fryer French fries on a plate
Air fryer fries on a paper lined board with ketchup

Easy Air Fryer Fries - Printable Recipe

Yield: 2
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Soaking Time: 12 hours
Total Time: 12 hours 17 minutes

Crisp on the outside and fluffy in the middle, these moreish air fryer fries are everything you want in a side!

Ingredients

  • 2 x Floury Potatoes, about 7cm long *
  • Spray Oil, for cooking
  • Salt, to taste

Essential equipment

  • Chopping Board
  • Sharp Knife
  • Large Bowl
  • Kitchen Roll or Large Dry Tea Towel
  • Wire Rack or Baking Sheet
  • Air Fryer

Instructions

Preparation

  1. Cut your potatoes into fries about 6mm thick by 7cm long. Keep the skins on.
  2. Rinse in a large bowl of cold water. It will become cloudy. Drain the water and fill with fresh cold water, then cover and leave to soak at room temperature for 12-24 hours.

How to cook air fryer fries

  1. Drain the water and dry each of the fries in kitchen roll (or a large dry tea towel). Spread out on a wire rack or baking sheet and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes. This helps to remove any excess water.
  2. Preheat your air fryer to 190ºC/374ºF. Throw a handful of dried fries into your air fryer and spray with a little oil. Give them a shake then space them out in a single layer. DO NOT OVERCROWD or they will steam and not become crisp. Air fry for 4 minutes at 190ºC/374ºF.
  3. Shake the basket(s) and spread them out again. Air fry once more for 4 minutes at the same temperature.
  4. Give the fries another shake. From this point, you will need to air fry them again, at the same temperature, for between 2-5 minutes. Until they are as golden and crispy as you want them to be. I recommend checking them every 1-2 minutes, just in case.
  5. Repeat until all your fries are cooked. You can either spread your cooked fries out on a wire rack and reheat in the air fryer before serving, or keep them warm in a low oven. Salt to taste before serving.

Notes

*I used Maris Piper. King Edward and Russet would also work well.

See the main post for a more detailed, step by step picture recipe.

Be sure to read the sections Ingredients and Substitutions, Recipe Tips and Troubleshooting and Time Management for lots of helpful information before you begin making this recipe. You can find them in the main body of this post.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 223Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 308mgCarbohydrates: 37gFiber: 4gSugar: 2gProtein: 4g

Nutritional information on kitchenmason.com should only be used as a general guideline, I am not a certified nutritionist. Please always check labels for allergens where applicable.

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Other tasty air fryer side recipes

About Emma Mason

Emma is a professional blogger. Utilising over 20 years of cooking experience, she’s passionate about making your life easier, one recipe at a time! Drawing on her 12+ year background in recipe research and development, photography, copy writing and marketing, Emma has turned kitchenmason.com into a successful career. Known as ‘the organisation queen’ among friends, she is passionate about creating easy to follow recipes that anyone can follow and enjoy. She lives in Nottingham (UK) with her husband, daughter and 2 naughty cats. In her spare time she can be found reading a good book, training at the dojo preparing for her black belt grading, or dreaming up the next crazy colour combo for her hair!

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