It’s official that you no longer need excessive saturated hydrogenated fats for the perfect French fries. Now all you need for these air-fryer fries is an air fryer.
Everyone knows what French fries are; they are fried potato strips from France, hence their name. The first part of that description may be accurate, but the second part may obscure the facts. There’s a long-standing argument over where these delicious crispy fried potatoes come from. Legend has it that French fries were brought to America by American solider having tried them during the war in Belgium. So, the French part of the name may only refer to the language spoken in parts of Belgium and not the country they’re from.
What Potatoes Are Best?
Floury potatoes are essential to the outcome of the fries. Waxy potatoes won’t crisp up as much as the floury varieties owing to their higher water content. Waxy potatoes are usually those red in colour, and if you’re unfamiliar with the texture, imagine trying to make a French fry with a baby potato. When this water evaporates, the fry will hollow out and lose the fluffy texture associated with the perfectly cooked French fry.
Washing the Starch of Air-Fryer Fries
Starch clings to potatoes once they’re peeled and cut. This excess must be washed off so the potatoes can cook and crisp. Starch prevents crispiness by reducing the ability of water on the potato’s surface to evaporate, leading to limp French fries. They’ll also take on a darker brown colour as starch contains sugar, and they’ll begin to caramelise quicker. To avoid this, rinse the potatoes under a cold tap until the water runs clear, then drain.
Note: If you plan on using the cut potatoes later, keep them submerged in water, or they’ll begin to oxidise and turn brown.
Blanching the Potatoes
Potatoes should be blanched for truly fluffy air fryer fries. Blanching means partially cooking foods in boiling water and then chilling them in iced water. The time depends on thickness, so the actual time for these air-fryer fries is minimal. I recommend cooking for somewhere between 4-8 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fries. Don’t overcook the potatoes, or they’ll fall apart when handling. This step aims to soften the potatoes, so they’ll cook in the air fryer. If you skip this step, you risk having perfectly golden-brown fries with a hard interior.
However, it’s crucial to drain, chill, and dry the potatoes before proceeding to the next step. In my experience, allowing the hot potatoes to drain will also dry them in the residual cooking heat. However, they will also continue to cook the potatoes. Therefore, I find it best to cool them down in cold water, then pat them dry.
How to cook Air-fryer Fries
To cook these air-fryer fries, they must be dry. Start by heating your Air Fryer to 220oc. Then, in a bowl, toss the potatoes with sunflower oil. Once the Air Fryer is hot, add the potatoes and air fry for 18-20 minutes until crispy. Shake the basket every couple of minutes to separate the potatoes once they’re cooked, season with salt and serve hot.
- 4 Large Potatoes Maris Piper, Cut into Thin Strips
- 15 ml Sunflower Oil
- Salt to Taste
- Run the potatoes under cold water for 5 minutes until the water runs clear, then drain.
- Bring a pot of water to the boil. Add the potatoes, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 4-8 minutes, depending on thickness, until the potatoes are tender, and drain.
- Allow the potatoes to cool, then pat dry with a kitchen towel.
- Heat the Air Fryer to 220oc.
- In a bowl, toss the potatoes with sunflower oil and set aside.
- Once the Air Fryer is hot, add the potatoes and air fry for 18-20 minutes until crispy. Shake the basket every couple of minutes to separate the potatoes.
- Season to taste and serve.