Most people find it virtually impossible to make oven baked fries that are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, like fast food chains pump out by the ton. Surprisingly, air fryers work basically the same way that convection ovens do, with a couple of important differences.
Near the top of the air fryer ’s cooking chamber is a metal coil (like the kind you find on an electric range). Above this is an exhaust fan that pulls the hot air rapidly upward, so that it circulates around the inside of the cooking chamber, ensuring that the inside of the air fryer is evenly heated throughout.
It also ensures that the food is being constantly hit by a fresh wave of hot air. People are understandably skeptical, having tried so many times to make wonderful, fast-food quality fries at home, and having been disappointed over and over again.
Of course, “great” is a subjective word, so you’ll probably have to try them for yourself to decide if they live up to that label. So you won’t feel as bad about eating them (which tends to make things taste better by itself).
Air fryers can work with as little as 1 tablespoon of oil (Philips advertises that their air fryer can reduce fat by up to 80%). Perhaps even more impressively, air fryers make wonderful sweet potato fries.
An air fryer, on the other hand, can serve up restaurant-quality sweet potato fries by the basket, all in a matter of minutes. Given the overwhelming success of the Philips Air fryer, it’s no surprise that the market has been flooded with imitations.
The major differences from one model to the next come down to basket size, level of programmability, and of course price. While they’re not necessarily big appliances (they don’t take up as much room as, say, a toaster oven or even a microwave), space is at a premium in many people’s kitchens.
On the other hand, if you’ll be cooking for three or four people at a time, as opposed to one or two, you may appreciate the larger basket size of an XL model. One of the nice features of all air fryers is that because they cook so fast, even if you have to buy one with a smaller basket, this shouldn’t be a deal breaker.
You’ll still be dishing out batches of healthy faux-fried food in short order. Some models come with preset programs for different kinds of food, so it’s just a matter of pushing a button.
Other people may prefer to experiment with cooking time and temperature on their own to see what works best. Like we mentioned before, there are plenty of air fryer brands on the market vying for your dollar.
Crispy and golden, homemade air fryer French fries are simply the best. One large potato and a half tablespoon of olive oil.
Guess how many ingredients are in a popular brand of store-bought frozen French fries ? Just a minute, let me count: Potatoes, Vegetable Oil (Sunflower, Cottonseed, Soybean, And/Or Canola), Modified Food Starch, Rice Flour, Salt, Detain, Cornstarch, Leavening (Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Sodium Bicarbonate), Dextrose, Nathan Gum, Annette (Color), Disodium Di hydrogen Pyrophosphate.
Guess which French fries I would rather eat and serve my family? I love my air fryer when it comes to making crispy and healthy “fried” food.
This countertop appliance is similar to a convection oven in some ways. Hot air is circulated around the food on a rack, producing a crispy product without the added oil and extra calories of deep-frying.
Just a bit of heart healthy olive oil is added to these French fries for flavor, saving a ton of calories. Slice scrubbed potatoes into one-quarter inch French fries.
Serve air fryer French fries with your favorite dipping sauce, including ketchup, homemade ranch dressing, or homemade barbecue sauce. Or douse them in your favorite chili, smothered with cheese sauce.
Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper Place a single layer of fries in the basket of the air fryer and cook for 10-15 minutes or until crispy and golden brown. Serve immediately, or see notes to keep warm while air frying additional batches.
It’s easy to double or triple, but you’ll still want to cook them in batches so the air can flow around them and make them super crispy. If you choose to make a large batch, put cooked fries on a wire baking rack placed on top of a sheet pan in a warm oven (175-200ºF).
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases. RachelCooks.com sometimes provides nutritional information, but these figures should be considered estimates, as they are not calculated by a registered dietitian.
Please consult a medical professional for any specific nutrition, diet, or allergy advice. Changes I would make: None are necessary, but they’re a fun blank slate for lots of good seasonings.
The fan that circulates the air in the fryer and chips everything up so perfectly is on the loud side, at least in my model. The Philips website says the fan noise can be up to 65 decibels, comparable to a vacuum cleaner.
I followed the directions that came with the fryer and peeled and chopped the potatoes, soaked them in cold water and dried them, then air -fried them with a little oil and salt for 15-20 minutes, shaking them once or twice as they cooked. As a side dish for two people, I could easily fit plenty of fries in my air fryer.
I think just about any “sturdy” vegetable would air -fry up nicely with a little of oil and salt, and I could see that throwing a few veggies in the air fryer would make for a fast, easy side dish with just about any dinner. It needed a few minutes to heat up, but it was hot by the time I was finished slicing the sprouts and tossing them in a little oil and salt.
But if you’re looking for that crackly, melt-in-your-mouth sensation you get from traditional deep-fried foods, an air fryer isn’t going to do that. The exception to this is frozen fried foods that you reheat in the air fryer, like tater tots and fish sticks.
This food has already been fried prior to freezing, so you’re really just heating it up and making it crispy. Straight from the air fryer, these foods truly do taste super close to fried.
Personally, I love cooking in my air fryer (I have this Cuisinart combo-oven ; a few other people on the team have the Phillips model). Emma Christensen is the Editor-in-Chief of Simply Recipes, and has over 10 years of experience creating food and content for web and print.