Air Fryer French Fries
One of the things we’ve missed most, during these pandemical times, has been getting a big basket of fries to share with the table — or to mindlessly nibble on at the bar, while the bartender keeps the cocktails comin’. And though takeout has been a gastronomical hallmark of the past year, let’s face it: takeout French fries just aren’t the same. They get cold and saggy by the time they make it home, and even if you warm them up in the oven, the texture is still nowhere near that of piping hot fries fresh out of the deep fryer. Luckily, air fryer French fries are an impressively close second.
There are a few secrets to truly awesome air fryer French fries. First, size and shape are key, so take your time when julienning the potatoes to get the perfect thickness. Second, when blanching the potatoes, always make sure the water is seasoned enough. Potatoes love salt (of all foods, they can handle the most and still stay palatable), so don’t be afraid to make your blanching water as salty as the sea — especially since the tubers only stay in the water for three minutes.
Finally, air fry the julienned potatoes in batches and spread them out on the tray, so they really crisp up and don’t just steam. Once all the batches are finished, you can warm them up all together in the air fryer for a few minutes before sprinkling them with our favorite, crunchy flake salt.
The result? Super crispy fries full of fresh potato flavor. And boy, are they good with ketchup! In fact, we were going to make a fancy sauce for these fries in the test kitchen … but we loved them with ketchup so much, we ate the entire batch before we could even begin dreaming up another sauce. (Oops!) No matter what you dip them in, these french fries will be fantastic for everything from backyard happy hours to burger night to sharing with the (dining room) table.
Our tip: Watch your fingers when julienning the potatoes! All their starches can make them slippery, so wield your chef knife with care.
Servings: 2 to 4
Kosher salt, to taste
2 large russet potatoes (about 1 ½ lb)
1 Tbsp vegetable or canola oil
Gelson’s sea salt flakes
Ketchup, to serve
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season generously with kosher salt.
Meanwhile, wash and peel the potatoes, leaving the skin on the ends. Carefully slice each potato in half lengthwise. With the potatoes flat-side down, cut ¼” slices lengthwise. Lay the slices flat and cut ¼”-thick strips, producing julienned French fries.
Line a sheet pan with a fitted cooling rack or line a large platter with paper towels.
Blanch the potatoes for 3 minutes in the salted water, stirring frequently.
Using a spider or tongs, carefully remove the potatoes from the water, shaking to remove excess water before placing on the cooling rack. Spread the blanched potatoes in a single layer, and allow them to cool for 5 to 7 minutes.
Transfer the potatoes to a large bowl. Pour the vegetable oil over them and gently toss to coat.
Working in batches, place the potatoes on the air fryer sheet pan and spread them out, leaving a little space between each French fry. Cook in the air fryer for 8 minutes at 400°. Turn or agitate the fries, and cook for 4 minutes more.
Transfer the French fries to a large bowl and season with a couple pinches of sea salt flakes.
Re-crisp the fries before serving: put the entire batch back on the air fryer sheet and cook for 2 minutes at 400°. Serve immediately with ketchup.