This Method for Cooking French Fries in the Air Fryer Might Be the Best Yet
My TikTok algorithm has reached a point where I cannot partake in a brief scroll through my “for you” page without being targeted by at least one air fryer recipe. Once again, my phone knows me better than I know myself. In my latest browsing session, I came across @prohomecooks, who said that he had tested six techniques for the best air fryer french fries and found the best one. Strong words, man.
Now, I am no stranger to air fryer french fries — in fact, I have an easy recipe for ‘em right here. Admittedly, my technique is much more streamlined than this TikTok technique, which claims to be the best. I obviously was curious to know if the added steps really do make a better fry or not. Well, there was only one way to find out, so I grabbed a bag of russets and got to air frying.
How to Make Air Fryer French Fries
First, slice a russet potato into 1/4-inch matchsticks. I don’t have the fancy fry chopper that he uses in the video, but there’s no shame in chopping by hand. Next, bring a pot of water to a boil and add a teaspoon of baking soda. Boil the sliced potatoes until the exterior is slightly softened, about 10 minutes. Then drain the potatoes, toss them in oil, and arrange them on a cooling rack set over a sheet pan. Let chill for 30 minutes in your fridge.
After they’re chilled, pop the fries into your air fryer basket (they should be in a single layer without touching each other) and fry at 330°F for 15 minutes. Let them hang out for about 15 minutes afterward before air frying again — this time at 380°F for seven minutes. Finally, give ‘em a good sprinkling of salt and serve them with your favorite dipping sauce.
My Honest Review
There is no denying that this method is much more convoluted than simply cutting potatoes, tossing them straight into your air fryer with a little oil, and then enjoying them. That said, I think that this is a smart, valid way to elevate your air fryer french fries. Parboiling the fries in a basic solution is a great way to soften up the interior while also drawing the potato’s starch to its surface, thus jumpstarting the browning process (science!).
Air frying the potatoes two times at two different temperatures is also a very insightful method. Typically, deep-fried french fries are first blanched at a lower oil temperature between 275°to 325°F before they’re fried again at 350° to 375°F. This ensures that the interior of the fry is fully cooked without the exterior of the fry becoming too dark. All of this is to say that while the method is more involved, it is most definitely worth the extra steps.
If you’re short on time (or patience — I get it), you can always cut up your potatoes and fry them once in your air fryer. The result will be tasty and fine. But if you choose to follow this method, your fries will be better. The interior of the fries was soft and creamy while the outside was a deep golden-brown. Was parboiling, chilling, and frying two times a little bit annoying? Yes. But was it worth it? Without question.
My Tips for Making Air Fryer French Fries
- Don’t cut your fries too thin. This is not the time to try out homemade shoestring fries. Because you’re parboiling, you need a fry that is thick and sturdy enough to hold its own without breaking in half, so make sure that your fries are no smaller than 1/4-inch matchsticks. The thinner the fries, the less time you’ll need to parboil them.
- Do a practice batch. All air fryers are different and you know yours better than anyone, so it’s not a bad idea to keep a close eye on the timing for the second fry. Mine took a little bit longer than seven minutes to get nice and golden-brown.
- Enjoy immediately. Like most things that are coming out of your air fryer, these are best enjoyed right out of the basket. If you’re making several batches, you can always keep them warm in a 200°F oven.