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What Are the Best Potatoes for French Fries in an Air Fryer? (A Complete Guide)

The best side dish for a meal is French fries.

Even the most simple burger will be made better when complimented with some crispy, crunchy potato sticks.

French fries are one of those dishes that you’d love to get any time and every time your friends come over for dinner. It’s always good to have more than enough prepared and ready so it’s available to everyone.

There are many different varieties of potatoes used in making French fries, but which ones are considered the best? If you want to enjoy a snack with your friends that’s delicious, here are some factors that should be considered when deciding which type of potato is best for French fries.

What are the best potatoes for French fries for air frying?

The best and most popular potatoes used today in some of the biggest restaurants including McDonald’s are Russet potatoes, also known as Idaho potatoes. They contain high amounts of starch with low moisture. These potatoes are ideal because they can make golden brown, crispy outside and fluffy inside French fries with minimal oil requirements. Russet potatoes are the perfect blend of not being too wet nor too dry.

Potatoes are the main ingredient in French fries. The type of potato used determines how long it takes to cook, what its texture is like when cooked, and whether or not it can be boiled for a crispy exterior without burning the inside.

To ensure that you have perfect French fries every time, consider these 6 key factors:

Potato type

What kind of starch does your potato contain? Does it contain high levels of amylose (the starches that absorb water) or amylopectin (the starches that are water-soluble)?

Potato texture

Does your potato have a dry, waxy skin or is it moist? This will determine the texture of the French fries you prepare. Russets are sturdy enough to hold up during the deep-frying process without falling apart when removed from the oil, even if overcooked. They have a high starch content and possess the best flavor for French fries, which makes them an ideal potato for this purpose.

Boiling time

How long does it take for potatoes to cook in boiling water? Certain varieties can be boiled for up to 30 minutes without burning their insides, while others need 10 minutes at most.

Crispy exterior without burning

How long should your French fries be fried in hot oil before they are crispy? The best potatoes will fry the potatoes to make them crispy and golden brown without burning.

Soluble fiber content

Potatoes with high soluble fiber content result in crispier, less greasy French fries that have fewer calories than those made from low-fiber potatoes.

How to make the perfect homemade French fries

Step 1: Peel and rinse the potatoes under running water

You also have the option of not peeling your potatoes. A lot of people recommend this because the skin helps create an even crispier texture.

Step 2: Cut the potatoes into long and thin sticks

Try to cut them all into similar sizes, about 1/4 of an inch thick and lengthwise across the height of the potato.

Step 3: Place the potato sticks in a large bowl with cold water

Let the potato sticks soak in it for 2 to 3 hours. Alternatively, you can also seal the bowl up with Saran Wrap and store it in the fridge overnight for 12 hours.

Step 4: Drain the water and pat down the fries with dry paper towels

Make sure to get each one of your French fries as dry as you can. Pat them down gently to soak up any moisture that is still left on the outside of the potato sticks.

Step 5: Spread the cut potatoes evenly on the air fryer tray

Give each little French fry its own space. Try to avoid letting them touch each other and don’t cram them in. Do not stack any of them on top of each other. This will allow the hot air to circulate in between and around the entire each French fry. This will promote that extra golden brown and crispy texture that we all know and love.

Step 6: (Optional) Spray some oil onto your French fries using an oil mister

In order to provide a similar flavor and texture to deep frying French fries, we recommend that you use an oil mister, which will spray a very light coating of oil all over your French fries. You don’t need to use it a lot. And don’t worry, there will be way less oil than if you were to deep fry it.

Step 7: Preheat the air fryer to 380 degrees Fahrenheit and set

You want your air fryer to be piping hot before you throw in your tray of cut potatoes. This will ensure that you get the best texture and will also help with speeding up the cooking time.

Step 8: Air fry your potato sticks for 12 to 15 minutes

At 380 degrees Fahrenheit, you’ll want to let your potato sticks cook for a total of between 12 and 15 minutes.

Step 9: Halfway into cooking, flip your fries over

Flipping your fries over will help the circulated hot air reach the bottom portion of the fries that wasn’t easily accessible to the air originally. This will help create and even cook.

Step 10: (Optional) You can double air fry your French fries

If you want to have extra crispy French fries, then you’ll want to try the double air-frying French fry method. Immediately after cooking your original batch of French fries, stick them back into the air fryer for another one to two minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit. This will create an extra crispy outer layer for you to enjoy.

What makes potatoes make crispier fries?

If you want to make the crispiest, most textured French fries possible, then you’re going to have to look for potatoes that have a high amount of starch content. With more starch as a component of potatoes and less water, this combination can result in a very crispy French fry product. If the potatoes you choose are low in starch, then most likely they will be high in moisture. This will likely result in a less crispy type of French fry.

When picking out the potato with the highest starch content, you also want to soak your potato sticks in cold water so that you can leach out the starch. If you have too much starch in your potatoes, the likelihood of your French fries turning dark brown before they crisp up is higher. In fact, the secret to a crisp texture in your fries is to soak them in water. As the starch draws out of the potato sticks, it will create a more rigid outer layer of the fries.

Another method you can use is to grab an oil mister and spray a small amount of oil all over your French fries before you add them to the air fryer for cooking. As the oil heats up in the air fryer, it will help extract any moisture from the outer layer of the French fry.

People also recommend that you keep the skin on your potato sticks. This is because the skin has a more likely tendency to become crispy than the flesh of the potatoes. You don’t have to put on too much.

After you’ve done this, we recommend that you double air fry your French fries to seal in the interior moisture and harden the exterior layer.

How many potatoes do you need?

People to FeedNumber of Potatoes
This table shows the number of people and how many potatoes it would take to feed that number. This is based on medium-sized potatoes that weigh approximately 0.5 pounds each.

Why soak potatoes for French fries?

Soaking potatoes in cold water helps get rid of starch.

In order to get the best results with your French fries and potato wedges, you’ll want to soak them before cooking. Soaking potatoes will help release their natural starches. To avoid soggy and slimy French-fry disasters, it’s important not to oversoak potatoes.

Leaving the French fries in water to soak for about 2 to 3 hours should be plenty of time to pull out the necessary amount of starch. However, there are a few people who recommend that if you really want to, you can leave it in the fridge for a total of 12 hours or overnight until you’re ready to air fry it.

Another note to consider is that we don’t recommend you using anything but plain water. Soaking your potatoes in salt water is not good for potatoes. It will result in a mushy, unappealing texture and taste. Just stick with unsalted water.

What happens if you don’t soak the fries?

Starch makes things crumbly and soft, and that’s the opposite of what you’d want in French fries. In French fries, you want them firm and crisp. Starch is a sugar that, when cooked, turns brown. It doesn’t necessarily cause the texture to become crispy.

Another reason for soaking and reaching out as much starch as you can from your French fries is that when starch is introduced to a lot of heat, it begins to produce some levels of acrylamide. Acrylamide is a type of toxic compound that is produced in a variety of foods when cooked. Acrylamide is still a substance being studied by scientists, but it has been linked to certain types of cancer. Even though it is unavoidable in much of our daily diets, it’s always recommended to limit your intake to its recommended level.

Why double air fry French fries?

Double frying is the best method for getting French fries that are even more crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. It can be done by cooking them in one batch and then cooking them again before serving.

The potatoes should end up with a lower water content so they will remain crispy when cooked twice. The key factors to consider for double frying include dehydration time, oil temperature, potato size and weight, which determine how long it will take to cook.

How to store your French fries

If you have leftovers, it is important to store them in either the refrigerator or freezer the right way. The best way to do this is by bagging and sealing them up as quickly as possible. You can also use a freezer bag that is resealable. Make sure you take out all the air from the bag before you seal it up.

In the case of whether to refrigerate or freeze it, we highly recommend you freeze your uncooked or leftover French fries. This will help them last longer.

Sliced potatoes can last up to several months inside the refrigerator and over a year if left sealed in the freezer. Whole potatoes can last up to several months if left outside in a cool, room-temperature pantry. However, once your French fries have been cooked, we recommend leaving them in the fridge for no more than 3 to 4 days.

How to reheat French fries in an air fryer

Reheating your French fries in an air fryer is quite simple.

  1. Give your French fries a spray of oil
  2. Spread the French fries over the air fryer tray
  3. Preheat the air fryer to 375 degrees Fahrenheit
  4. Place the French fries in and let them cook for 3 to 6 minutes

Are Yukon Gold potatoes good for air frying?

Yukon Gold potatoes are higher in moisture, lower in starch, and waxier than russet potatoes. This makes them less likely to break down during the cooking process. They have a very fine skin that is easy to peel off once cooked, and they also have a good balance between white flesh and yellow skin.

Don’t forget about the oil

The key to making perfect French fries is using the correct amount of oil. Oil helps create a crisp outer layer and a flavorful inside, while also adding moisture that prevents the potatoes from getting soggy. The best type of oil for frying is olive oil, as it has a high smoke point and doesn’t taste like much once fried in it.

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