Cook air fryer frozen french fries for a guilty pleasure that you don’t have to feel guilty about. It’s an easy side dish that turns out crispy without all of the extra grease and it works for frozen straight-cut, curly, and crinkle fries.
I find this is the best way to cook french fries when you are cooking a smaller amount for the meal. It takes less time than the oven, which has to be preheated and has a longer cook time.
Air fryer french fries are a healthier alternative to deep-fried fries. They’re a good option for those looking to reduce their oil intake and calories while still enjoying traditional french fries.
However, if you’re looking for the classic deep-fried taste and texture, nothing quite matches the real thing.
Air Fryer French Fries vs Deep Fried
French fries are one of those foods that you can’t stop eating once you start. Air frying french fries have a few differences compared to deep frying french fries.
- Cooking Method:
- Air Fryer: In an air fryer, french fries are cooked using hot air circulated rapidly around the food. It’s a convection-based cooking method that requires little to no oil, as it relies on hot air to crisp up the exterior.
- Deep-Fried: Deep-frying involves submerging the fries in hot oil, typically at a temperature around 350-375°F. The fries are fully immersed in the oil, which cooks them quickly and crisps up the exterior.
- Taste and Texture:
- Air Fryer: These are often lighter and slightly less crispy french fries compared to deep-fried ones. The texture can be more akin to oven-baked fries. They may have a drier, less oily texture. For better results, try lightly spraying the french fries with cooking spray. This allows them to crisp better while not being full of extra oil.
- Deep-Fried: Deep-fried french fries are known for their crispiness and rich, indulgent flavor. The deep-frying process results in a golden and uniformly crispy exterior with a tender interior.
- Health Considerations:
- Air Fryer: Air-fried french fries are considered a healthier alternative to deep-fried fries because they use significantly less oil. They contain fewer calories and less unhealthy trans fat. However, they are still a processed food and should be eaten in moderation.
- Deep-Fried: Deep-fried french fries are higher in calories and can contain more unhealthy trans fats due to the oil used for frying. Consuming deep-fried foods regularly can contribute to health issues like obesity and heart disease.
- Preparation Time:
- Air Fryer: Air-fried fries usually take a bit longer to cook than deep-fried ones, as the air fryer may require multiple batches to achieve the desired crispiness. Cooking time can vary, but it typically ranges from 15-25 minutes.
- Deep-Fried: Deep-fried fries cook very quickly, usually in just a few minutes, making them a faster option for immediate gratification.
- Bag of Frozen French Fries
- Cooking Oil Spray
- Salt and Black Pepper
What Frozen Fries to Use
This method works with most different types of fries that you can buy in the supermarket.
This recipe is for straight-cut french fries (like your favorite fast food fries) but you can also apply the same cooking process as curly fries and crinkle cut fries.
Thicker fries, like steak fries or waffle fries, will require a longer cooking time and shoestring fries will take less time than what I have listed in the recipe card.
Also, check out my homemade air fryer french fries.
How to Cook Frozen French Fries in Air Fryer
French fry producers have caught on to heart health which is why many brands also sell frozen fries that can be cooked in the oven. I still prefer the air fryer, though.
Air fryers have better air circulation and require even less oil to get those crispy fries.
- Spray air fryer basket with cooking oil and add french fries. Does not need to be a single layer, but do not fill more than a ¼ of the basket at a time for best results. If cooking more, it is best to cook in batches.
- Cook at 360 degrees Fahrenheit and set the timer for 5 minutes. Give the basket of the air fryer a good shake or stir, then cook an additional 5-7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Garlic Parmesan:
- Toss your fries with minced garlic, grated Parmesan cheese, and a drizzle of olive oil. Bake or air fry until the cheese is melted and golden.
- Cajun Seasoning:
- Dust your fries with a mix of paprika, cayenne pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and oregano for a spicy kick.
- Truffle Fries:
- Drizzle your fries with truffle oil and then sprinkle with truffle salt and chopped fresh parsley for an elegant and aromatic twist.
- Curry Fries:
- Toss your fries with a mixture of curry powder, cumin, coriander, and a pinch of cayenne for a flavorful and spicy option.
- Loaded Fries:
- Top your fries with cheese, bacon bits, sour cream, chives, and a drizzle of ketchup or BBQ sauce for a hearty treat.
- Ranch Seasoning:
- Create a ranch seasoning by mixing dried dill, garlic powder, onion powder, and a bit of salt and pepper. Sprinkle it over your fries.
- Lemon Pepper Fries:
- Sprinkle your fries with lemon zest and freshly ground black pepper for a bright and zesty flavor.
- Paprika and Rosemary:
- Season your fries with smoked paprika and chopped fresh rosemary for a smoky and earthy taste.
- Buffalo Fries:
- Toss your fries in buffalo sauce (a mix of hot sauce and melted butter) and top with crumbled blue cheese and green onions for a spicy and tangy kick.
Favorite Dipping Sauces
I’m not much of a ketchup fan so my favorite sauce go-to is always ranch dressing and honey mustard.
Here are a few more you may not have thought of:
- Barbecue Sauce: Sweet and tangy barbecue sauce pairs well with the salty goodness of fries.
- Ranch Dressing: Creamy ranch dressing is a versatile choice, and you can find various flavored versions, such as garlic ranch or spicy ranch.
- Honey Mustard: A blend of honey and mustard creates a sweet and tangy dipping sauce.
- Buffalo Sauce: Spicy buffalo sauce adds heat and flavor to your fries.
- Sriracha Mayo: Combine mayonnaise and Sriracha hot sauce for a creamy, spicy dip.
- Garlic Aioli: A garlic-infused mayonnaise dip, often with a hint of lemon juice and fresh herbs.
- Cheese Sauce: Melted cheese, such as cheddar or nacho cheese, makes for a rich and indulgent dip.
- Chick-fil-A Sauce: This is a four-ingredient copycat recipe of Chick-fil-A’s popular sauce that many love to dip their waffle fries into.
- Fry Sauce: A special blend of mayo, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, pickle brine, paprika, and cayenne whipped together make this famous fry sauce. It originated in the Western part of the US and has become well-known and popular at local fast-food chains.
Recipes for French Fries
I’m happy to eat french fries all on their own, especially loaded fries. But if you are planning a meal to share with others, you might want to put a bit more on the table.
Leftover fries are also an excellent ingredient for breakfast, I kid you not.
Refrigeration is Not Ideal: Do not store uncooked or cooked french fries in the refrigerator, as the moisture in the fridge can make them soggy and less appealing.
French fries are the type of meal that is best to consume at the time of cooking. If you wait even 30 minutes, they begin to get cold and soggy. They get a really starchy flavor too.
Reheating: When you’re ready to enjoy your stored french fries, it’s best to reheat them in an oven or air fryer to regain their crispiness. Avoid using the microwave, as it can make them soggy.
There isn’t much this little kitchen machine can’t cook with the same satisfying crunch as the deep fryer or oven.
Show me how you eat your fries on Instagram and Facebook!
Try these other frozen air fryer recipes!
Air Fryer Frozen French Fries
- ½ Bag of Frozen French Fries, curly, crinkle, or straight-cut
- Cooking Oil Spray
- Salt and Black Pepper, to taste
- Spray air fryer basket with cooking oil and add french fries. It does not need to be in a single layer, but do not fill more than a ¼ of the basket at a time for best results. If cooking more, it is best to cook in batches. Close the basket.
- Cook at 360 degrees Fahrenheit and set the timer for 5 minutes, stir, then cook an additional 5-7 minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
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