Crispy outside, tender inside, and seasoned to perfection, these Air Fryer French Fries are the pinnacle of satisfaction. This recipe is THE method to make perfect French fries from scratch in the air fryer!

Air fryer french fries with ketchup

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Yes folks, I am one of the cool kids now: an air fryer owner! (After copious research, this is the one we settled on based on price and capacity.)

The very first recipe I set out to master: French fries.

What is an Air Fryer

For those who are new to the appliance, an air fryer is essentially a super-powered countertop convection oven.

The top contains a heating element and fan, which blows hot air down and around the food on a rack below, cooking it quickly and making it crispy (like Air Fryer Cauliflower). It even makes scrumptious Air Fryer Pork Chops!

Unlike a standard oven, air fryers can preheat in minutes and their compact size means the food is ready faster (hello, Air Fryer Grilled Cheese on demand).

One of the biggest appeals of an air fryer is that it can crisp food with very little oil.

This makes it easy to create healthy versions of foods that are usually cooked via deep frying, like Air Fryer Potato Chips, Air Fryer Onion Rings, and Air Fryer Brussels Sprouts.

  • For example, French fries are healthier in an air fryer, because unlike a deep fryer where the potatoes are completely submerged in a large amount of oil and also absorb the oil, you only need 2 teaspoons of oil to cook a generous batch of fries in the air fryer.
  • For reference, air fryer French fry calories are around 107 for 4 ounces, compared with 335 calories for a similar-sized serving of fries at McDonald’s.

Less oil means less mess.

No grease or messy, sizzlingly oil to clean up at the end.

Air fryers are also FAST.

  • They heat up in 3 minutes.
  • Convection cooking is faster (why I love making Air Fryer Baked Potato; it’s quicker than the oven and doesn’t heat up my kitchen!)
Seasoned air fryer french fries

The Best Homemade Air Fryer French Fry Recipe

This recipe is based on my go-to oven Baked French Fries. <—If you don’t own an air fryer and want fries that are healthy, that recipe is fabulous and yields the crispest possible fries in the oven, without the grease.

After testing different air fryer French fry times, potato varieties, cut sizes, and even numbers of fries in the basket, I can say with complete confidence: these are the best air fryer French fries ever!

Secrets to the Crispiest Air Fryer French Fries

Air frying fries that are supremely crispy, piping hot, and dead ringers for their deep-fried restaurant counterparts comes down to five components:

  • The type of potato
  • How you cut the potato
  • Soaking the potato
  • How many layers of fries you cook in the air fryer at once
  • Total cook time
French fries in an air fryer

Pick the Right Potato

When it comes to which potato to use for air fryer French fries, you have two options: Yukon gold potatoes and Idaho potatoes (also called russet potatoes). Each will yield a different result.

  • Russet potatoes resulted in fries that were crispy outside, drier inside, and tasted most similar to fries you would eat in a restaurant.
  • Yukon gold potatoes resulted in fries that were equally crispy outside, but that had a firmer, creamier inside. Thanks to their naturally buttery taste, the French fries made with Yukon golds also had a richer flavor.

While Yukon golds are my favorites for Oven Roasted Potatoes and Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes, when it came to making a healthy version of classic French fries in the air fryer, russet potatoes did the best job.

Feel free to try both potatoes and pick your favorite! And you MUST try Air Fryer Sweet Potato Fries at some point too.

Potato being cut on a cutting board

How to Cut Potatoes for Fries

To create fries that crisped but didn’t burn, I found that cutting the potatoes into matchsticks that were ¼-inch wide on each side and 3 to 4 inches in length worked best.

  • In order for your fries to cook evenly in the same amount of time, it’s important for them to be cut the same size.
  • I suggest using a mandoline (like this one) for easy cutting and to ensure uniform fries.

To Peel or Not to Peel

When making air fryer French fries, you do not need to peel the potatoes if you do not wish to. Personally, I like the bit of texture the skin adds as well as the vitamins in the skin, so I leave the skin on (the same is true of my Sweet Potato Fries and Roasted Fingerling Potatoes). If you prefer the skin off, you are welcome to peel them as you like.

Sliced potatoes in a bowl of water

Soaking: A Crispy Essential

While it may seem like a pain, soaking the potatoes in hot water for 10 minutes prior to cooking them in the air fryer is essential.

  • The water removes excess starch, allowing the fries to be their crispiest.
  • Instead of cold water, I like to use hot water to cook the potatoes slightly. This creates the “double fried” effect that makes many restaurant fries so addictive.
  • Be sure to pat your soaked potatoes very dry with kitchen towels or paper towels so they crisp nicely.
Crispy air fryer french fries

How Many Layers Can You Cook at Once?

One of my biggest frustrations with the air fryer is that, despite the basket’s large overall volume capacity, in order for certain foods to crisp properly, they need to be cooked in a single layer.

Since the surface area of the basket is small, that means you end up making a lot of batches, taking away from the air fryer’s quicker cook time.

To determine whether or not you could fit more fries into the air fryer at once, I tested a few different methods. Here is what I found.

Potato slices in a kitchen appliance basket
  • Single Layer of Potatoes. Cooking just one layer of potatoes at a time resulted in the best, crispiest fries. The downside was that I needed to make at least 4 batches, which extended the recipe’s total time.
Potatoes in an air fryer

  • Double Layer of Potatoes. My next test was to see if I could stack the potatoes in two layers. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the double-layer fries, while not *as* crisp as the ones I cooked in a single layer, were still delightfully crispy and very satisfying. This approach also cut my number of batches in half.
  • Three Layers or More. When I stacked the potatoes in three layers or more, they were noticeably less crisp and representative of “fried” fries. I would not recommend this method.

For us, the double layer was the perfect balance between crispiness and faster recipe time.

Homemade Air Fryer French Fries Cook Times

The amount of time you need to air fry French fries will vary based on your model and its power, how thickly you cut the fries, and how many layers of potatoes you cook at once.

  • I primarily tested these as Ninja air fryer French fries, as this is the model I own. My cook time was 8 minutes. Other popular air fryer models include the Phillips, the Vremi SkinnyTaste air fryer, and budget-friendly GoWISE USA.
  • Plan to air fry french fries at 375 degrees F for 8 to 16 minutes, turning them once partway through.
Sliced potatoes in a bowl

Seasoning Ideas

I’ve suggested my go-to seasoning blend with garlic powder here, but you have plenty of options!

  • Ranch. Add onion powder and dried dill.
  • Cajun. Toss your fries with Cajun easoning for a bold, lightly spicy flavor.
  • Italian. Try your air fryer fries with some Italian seasoning for a delicious Italian spin. (Pair these with the basil yogurt dip from my Zucchini Fries recipe.)
  • Seasoning Salt. Add seasoning salt for addictive salty and garlicky flavor. Omit the kosher salt, as seasoning salt is already salty.
  • Curry. For warm and richly-spiced fries, try adding curry powder.
  • Parmesan Truffle. Enjoy an elegant, restaurant-worthy spin by adding truffle salt and topping your finished fries with freshly grated Parmesan.

Sauce Ideas

One of the best part of fries is dipping!

Of course ketchup is classic, but don’t miss out on one of these other yummy recipes, or use your own favorite dipping sauce.

Storage Tips

  • To Store. Place leftover fries in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • To Reheat. In the unlikely event of leftovers, you can reheat the baked fries in the air fryer at 375 degrees F or by preheating your oven to 400 degrees F and placing an empty baking sheet in the oven while the oven preheats. Spread the leftover fries in a single layer on the hot pan (or in the air fryer basket), and recrisp. Nothing replaces the just-cooked taste (the fries will dry out a bit), but they do perk up. I found air fryer fries reheated even better than regular fries, since the lesser amount of oil inherently prevents them from getting soggy.
  • To Freeze. Freeze fries in a single layer on a baking sheet until solid. Transfer the frozen fries to an airtight freezer-safe storage container or ziptop bag for up to 3 months. Reheat from frozen as desired.
Easy air fryer french fries

What to Serve with French Fries

Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe

Easy-To-Use Air Fryer

This extra-large air fryer achieves maximum crispiness, is easy to use, and holds more than its smaller-sized counterparts.

Air fryer french fries with ketchup

Did you make this recipe?

Let me know what you thought!

Leave a rating below in the comments and let me know how you liked the recipe.

This recipe serves 3 to 4, but trust me—you’ll want the whole batch to yourself!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Make Air Fryer French Fries Without Oil?

Yes, can make air fryer French fries with no oil at all. They will be slightly less crisp and satisfying, but still yummy. Be sure to spray your basket with nonstick spray.
The amount of oil needed is so little, however, I find that the improved texture and flavor is worth it.

How Many Layers Can I Air Fry at Once?

The rule of thumb is that for maximum crisp, do just 1 layer and make sure the food isn’t touching so air can circulate. However, since fries are so thin, I found that I could air fry 2 layers at once and still had good results.

Air fryer french fries with ketchup

Air Fryer French Fries

4.84 from 18 votes
How to make PERFECT crispy air fryer French fries. Fries in the air fryer are the best! Healthy, fast homemade fries with little oil needed.

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Total: 40 mins

Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 1 large or 2 small/medium russet potatoes* or Yukon gold potatoes, about 1 pound
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil**
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt plus additional for serving
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • OPTIONAL: ½ teaspoon dried dill weed Italian seasoning, or dried herbs of choice (see blog post above for more ideas)
  • OPTIONAL: pinch cayenne pepper see blog post above for more ideas
  • Toppings optional fresh parsley, chives, freshly grated Parmesan cheese (or nutritional yeast)

Instructions
 

  • Scrub the potatoes and peel if desired (I leave the peels on). Slice in half lengthwise, then cut into 1/4-inch-wide slices (a mandoline is the best way to get even fries; watch your fingers!). Turn the slices on their sides and cut into 1/4-inch sticks. If the sticks are long, cut them in half so that your fries are about 3 to 4 inches.
  • Place the potatoes in a large bowl, then pour very hot tap water over the top so that it covers the potatoes by at least 1 inch. Let sit 10 minutes. <—Must do! If you skip the soaking step, the fries will not be as crisp.
  • If you’d like to keep the fries warm between batches, preheat the oven to 200 degrees F and keep a baking sheet handy.
  • Preheat the air fryer to 375 degrees F according to the manufacturer's instructions. (For my air fryer, that is 3 minutes of preheat time).
  • Drain the potatoes, then transfer them to a clean towel and dry as completely as you can, changing the towel as needed. Rinse and wipe out the bowl you soaked the potatoes in, then return the potatoes to the bowl.
  • Drizzle the potatoes with the olive oil and sprinkle with salt, garlic powder, black pepper, and any other desired seasonings. Toss to coat, making sure the spices and oil are well distributed.
  • FOR FAIRLY CRISPY, SATISFYING FRIES IN FEWER BATCHES: Place the potatoes in the air fryer basket, doing no more than two layers (my air fryer is 5 1/2 quarts and I can add about 1/3 of the fries). Make sure the fries are not completely packed together so that the air has plenty of room to circulate. Cook the fries for 5 minutes. Slide the basket out and use tongs to toss the fries. Return to the air fryer and continue cooking for 3 to 7 additional minutes, until crispy and golden brown. The time can vary by several minutes based on your air fryer model. Check on them a few times during the last few minutes to make sure they don’t burn and make note of the time for future batches.
  • FOR MAXIMUM CRISPY FRIES IN MORE BATCHES: Place the potatoes in just one layer in the basket, being careful that they don't touch much or overlap. Cook for 4 minutes, slide the basket out and flip with tongs, then continue cooking for 4 to 8 additional minutes, until the fries are as crispy as you would like (again, the time will vary based on your model, so check them several times during the last few minutes and adjust as needed).
  • Remove the fries to a baking sheet or serving plate and immediately sprinkle with kosher salt.
  • Repeat with remaining potatoes, keeping the cooked fries warm on a baking sheet in the oven between batches as desired. Discard any liquid the potatoes have given off that has collected at the bottom of the bowl. Sprinkle with any extra desired toppings. Enjoy!

Notes

  • *Russet potatoes are drier inside and give you a fry more similar to what you’d have in a restaurant. Yukon golds will give you fries with firmer, creamy insides and crispy outsides. We love both! Feel free to use your favorite or try them both ways.
  • **You also can make air fryer fries with no oil. Coat the air fryer rack with non-stick spray to prevent sticking.
  • TO STORE: Place leftover fries in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • TO REHEAT: In the unlikely event of leftovers, you can reheat the baked fries in the air fryer at 375 degrees F or by preheating your oven to 400 degrees F and placing an empty baking sheet in the oven while the oven preheats. Spread the leftover fries in a single layer on the hot pan (or in the air fryer basket), and recrisp. Nothing replaces the just-cooked taste (the fries will dry out a bit), but they do perk up. I found air fryer fries reheated even better than regular fries, since the lesser amount of oil inherently prevents them from getting soggy.

Nutrition

Serving: 1(of 4)Calories: 92kcalCarbohydrates: 17gProtein: 2gFat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gPotassium: 391mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 2IUVitamin C: 5mgCalcium: 13mgIron: 1mg

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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55 Comments

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  1. I’ll admit I love my Ninja and it has become the primary oven in our house. I went for a multifunction unit, the 5in1 grill/fry/bake/roasts. I do not have enough counter space for a large appliance that does one thing.

    I love your systematic approach to recipes and appliance selection. Using my hope for the best method we’ve had many more meals with french fries since the Ninja arrived. I used your baked sweet potato fry recipe with the Ninja and they were crispy and delicious. I’m looking forward to trying this recipe.

    1. Hi Beverley! I’ve never tested this recipe in that particular model, so I can’t say for certain, but I believe it would work fine. If you decide to try the recipe, I’d love to hear how it goes!

      1. Erin
        I did frozen French fries in my Actifry and they were great. When you use frozen fries no oil is required. I will do this again.
        Thank you for your great recipes and tips Erin5 stars

  2. This is my favorite recipe so far for homemade french fries. Air fryer is definitely better than baking and oil frying.5 stars

  3. Didn’t work for me, followed recipe exactly. Maybe the brand of air fryer, not sure? I have the PowerXL. I went nearly twice as long and even though the coloring was golden brown, fries were a bit soggy. Good flavor though. Next time I will try at higher temp3 stars

    1. So sorry to hear this didn’t work out for you Steve. Without being with you in the kitchen it would be hard to know what went wrong. I know how disappointing it is when trying a new recipe and it not coming out as expected. I (and many other readers) have really enjoyed these fries, so I truly wish it would’ve been a hit for you too!

    1. Hi Laurie! I have not tested this recipe in an oven on an air fry setting so it would be hard to say. If your oven is a convection oven they are generally the same thing. I would then recommend making the recipe as written but just watch the timing on cooking the fries. If you try it out, let me know how it goes!

  4. The french fries were delicious! Do you have air fried chicken tenders recipes? My grandchildren would love them but my air frier does not have temperature settings just time setting.

    1. Hi Delia! No, I’m sorry, I don’t have an air fryer chicken tender recipe yet. So glad you enjoyed these fries! Make sure to check out all of my other air fryer recipes: https://www.wellplated.com/category/recipes-by-type/air-fryer/

  5. These are so delicious!! So crispy and perfect – I will never need another air fryer french fry recipe again – thank you!5 stars

  6. Our Ninja is relatively new. We are always pleased with the results it gives. These French fries were no exception. Before tossing the fries after the initial 5 min cook, I pulled one out to sample. My wife took a bite and her eyes lit up. She couldn’t believe these were not deep fried.
    Tasted really good.
    I like crunchy fries and found a few in my batch. These were the ones cut smaller.5 stars

  7. Way to salty & didn’t care for the addition of pepper to my fries. This is a great recipe, soaking potatoes, etc. thanks for posting. I’m new to air frying, but these are way better than frozen processed fries. Next time I’m going to only toss in olive oil and add salt as needed. I also have a Ninja Air Fryer xl should I be using the max crisp and adjust the time or use the 375 as stated?5 stars

    1. Hi Cindee! So glad you enjoyed the recipe. I suggest using the time as stated in the recipe card! Hope this helps!

  8. Oh. My. God…..

    The fries are very good, but I got a headache reading down to the actual recipe…

    Post a recipe….or write a book…but don’t do both, holy cow 🙄

    1. Hi Mitch! Uhm I think you didn’t read the recipe IN the recipe card! You simple had to hit the “jump to recipe” button and it takes you right there!

  9. We have had a heck of a time finding an air fryer that we just love. We’ve recently purchased the Instant Pot Vortex Plus and really like it so far. Anyhow, this recipe was delicious! I added some Trader Joe’s onion salt, and smoked paprika, and cooked for an extra 4 minutes (I probably didn’t cut mine thin enough). My husband and toddler devoured them!5 stars

  10. Preheat, then take the basket out to load fries? Doesn’t taking the basket out to load defeat the preheating?

    1. Hi Michael! Nope, it does not defeat the purpose. Your air fryer will still be hot when placing the basket back in. Also your basket won’t cool down that much when loading the fries (careful, everything will be hot) Hope this helps!

  11. ABSOLUTELY thankful for sharing our passion for french fries and you more advanced technique development with the airfryer… Hi, from Guadalajara, Mexico!!!

  12. I was so happy to find your recipe. I did exactly like you wrote & they turned out better than we expect! Will use this recipe again & again! Thank you.5 stars

  13. Tried these for the first time tonight and they turned out perfectly. They were really crispy and tasted great.5 stars

    1. Hi Lisa! I did not get a temp of the water. Just make it sure it is very hot. Hope you enjoy them!

  14. Super yummy and easy! Went great with my homemade portobello mushroom burgers. My hubby and I approve! 💛5 stars

        1. Hi Kathryn! I like to use hot water to cook the potatoes slightly. This creates the “double fried” effect that makes many restaurant fries so addictive. If you’d like to read more about it, you can find all this information in the blog post above.

  15. Great logistics and well worth every step you have prepared us to take! Your explicit directions were helpful and open for change if needed. I have a Breville Air Fryer and needed to be set at 375 degrees for first 5 minutes, and I adjusted to 395 degrees for additional 9min. They were light brown crispy on the outside, bendable and creamy Russet on the inside. I used a White Truffle Oil to toss with a Himalayan truffle salt. Finished with grated Parmesan Reggiano! Magnifico 🥰5 stars

    1. I’m so happy that you enjoyed the recipe, Jacqueline! Thank you for sharing this kind review!

  16. These were delicious! I just threw all of them in the air fryer at 390F. I didn’t do them in batches, they took longer obviously but they turned out crispy and DELISH! Thanks so much!5 stars

    1. Hi Aziza! So glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you for this kind review and feedback on cooking them all at once!