20-Minute Air Fryer French Fries Recipe

By now, it has become more or less common knowledge that French fries may or may not have come to us from France, but rather, from Belgium. As the story goes, the French-speaking citizens of that municipality had long been quite fond of fried fish but found themselves searching for an acceptable alternative when their pond froze over. They successfully turned to the humble potato for sustenance (via BBC). But what if we were to tell you that French fries don't even have to be "fried" per se? Well, at least not deep-fried. 

Thanks to the creative culinary skills of wellness coach and recipe developer Miriam Hahn a French fry that does not require deep-frying in order to achieve the golden, crispy-on-the-outside, light-and-fluffy-on-the-inside perfection that pretty much everyone on the planet is fond of (in some form or another) is well within your reach. All you need is an air fryer, which you probably already own (and if you don't, this recipe for air fryer French fries will likely inspire you to change that).

Gather your ingredients for your golden-crisp air fryer French fries

As long as you have access to an air fryer, you're almost set. You'll just need four ingredients: four potatoes, a tablespoon of oil, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Although our recipe developer prefers russet potatoes because she feels they produce the crispiest finished product, she also says that it's fine to use any variety of potato that you might have on hand. Hahn also prefers organic potatoes because they are grown without pesticides, but that part is, of course, up to you. 

As for which oil to use, Hahn's favorite for making French fries is avocado oil. Because it has the highest smoke point of all commercially available oils, it's ideally suited to cooking at a high enough temperature. However, you should feel free to swap it out for any other oil with a high smoke point.

Next on the agenda: giving those dirty potatoes a thorough scrubbing

Hahn recommends keeping the potato peels on the potatoes. Hooray, because that will save you quite a bit of work. On the other hand, it also means you'll have to really make sure to wash your potatoes thoroughly, and because potatoes grow in the dirt, as Hahn points out, you'd be wise to use a vegetable scrub brush to make your job easier. You'll also want to cut out any "eyes" growing from the potato's skin, which are actually potato sprouts. Although they're perfectly safe to eat, they're not traditionally part of the French fry experience. 

The time has now come to trot out your best slicing skills

To handily turn a potato into French fry-like slices, you'll want to use a sharp knife that's at least as long as the potato. To begin, Hahn advises cutting the potato in half lengthwise and then laying the halves flat-side down. Next, slice the halves lengthwise at intervals of between one-quarter and one-half-inch width. Then, flip each slice over so that it's laying on its widest side, and slice lengthwise again into strips at intervals of between one-quarter and one-half inch. If your slices end up thicker, that's okay, but it will require some extra time in the air fryer. 

Immediately submerge the French fry slices in cold water

Because potatoes are full of starch, they naturally start turning brown as soon as they're exposed to oxygen (via Taste of Home). Therefore, you'll want to submerge them in cold water as soon as you're done slicing, which can slow the oxidization process. In addition, Hahn says that letting the slices soak for at least 20 minutes removes excess starch, which can inhibit cooking.

While your potato slices are enjoying their bath, take out a bowl big enough to hold all the slices plus enough room to toss them with your oil, salt, and pepper. And while you're at it, you might as well measure out your oil and have your salt, pepper, and any other seasonings you might wish to use at the ready. 

Toss your French-fry slices in oil, and season to taste

Once your bowl, oil, and seasonings are ready, pat your potato slices dry with a clean dish towel, place them in the bowl, and toss with your oil. Next, shake on your desired amount of salt and pepper, and mix well. Don't be afraid to use your hands, but if your potato slices are on the thinner side, you'll want to do your tossing gently to avoid French fry breakage. At this point, if you feel like leveling up with a sprinkle of smoked paprika, garlic powder, and/or Old Bay seasoning, then by all means, do so. 

Your air fryer awaits

Just like deep-frying, air-frying does not go well in crowded quarters, and that means cooking in batches — at least if your goal is the crispiest golden air fryer French fries imaginable. Place a single layer of French fry slices in your air fryer's basket. Set the temperature to 380 F and the timer for 15 minutes. Halfway through the 15 minutes, give the basket a few shakes before continuing. 

At the end of 15 minutes, if your French fries aren't quite brown enough, add another three to five minutes. Repeat for each batch (the number of batches you'll need will depend upon the diameter of your air fryer basket), and serve immediately. On the off chance that there are leftovers, you can reheat them in the air fryer for two to three minutes.

20-Minute Air Fryer French Fries Recipe
5 from 32 ratings
All you need to make these delicious and crispy air fryer French fries is an air fryer and some potatoes, which you probably already have at home.
Prep Time
Cook Time
French fries, air fried and waiting to be served
Total time: 20 minutes
  • 4 russett potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Optional Ingredients
  • Smoked paprika
  • Garlic powder
  • Old Bay seasoning
  1. Wash your potatoes thoroughly using a vegetable scrub brush, removing eyes, if any.
  2. With a sharp knife, cut the potato in half lengthwise, then lay the halves flat-side down and slice lengthwise at intervals of between one-quarter and one-half inch width. Finally, slice those lengthwise again at the same width.
  3. Submerge the potato slices in cold water for at least 20 minutes.
  4. Dry the potato slices with a clean dish towel, and place in bowl.
  5. Toss potato slices with oil, salt, pepper, and/or optional seasonings.
  6. Place a single layer of potato slices in your air fryer's basket, and set the temperature to 380 F. Set the timer for 15 minutes.
  7. Halfway through the 15 minutes, give the basket a few shakes before continuing.
  8. At the end of 15 minutes, if your French fries aren't quite brown enough, add another 3 to 5 minutes.
  9. Repeat for each batch.
  10. Serve immediately (leftovers can be re-air-fried for 2 to 3 minutes).
Calories per Serving 197
Total Fat 3.7 g
Saturated Fat 0.5 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 37.6 g
Dietary Fiber 4.9 g
Total Sugars 1.7 g
Sodium 505.0 mg
Protein 4.4 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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