These air fryer garlic fries are perfectly crisp and loaded with cheese and garlic! Naturally grain-free and gluten-free.
Like I mentioned in my last post, these Air Fryer Baked Apples, I am in love with my air fryer. Not because I’m trying to avoid oil (I’m happy loading my food with healthy fats!), but because it heats up so quickly and is super energy efficient.
While you can find some frozen French fries without a long list of less-than-desirable ingredients, most brands contain stuff I’d prefer to avoid. So let’s make some homemade air fryer fries!
These fries were made in a PowerXL Vortex Air Fryer- 7qt, and all of the fries fit easily in there. You don’t need to put them in one flat layer, provided you shake the basket well a few times as they cook.
What type of potato to use
Russet potatoes would be the classic choice. Most restaurants use those.
Yukon Gold potatoes also work and some people prefer their more buttery and sweeter taste. But the interior won’t be as fluffy as with Russet potatoes!
Red potatoes will not work. Don’t try that. If you need to use up some of those, try these amazing Red-skinned Mashed Potatoes.
If you have another type of potato that you’d like to use, google whether or not it’s good for French fries. I accidentally used the wrong potatoes the first time I made these fries and the result was awful.
Do I have to soak the potatoes?
Kinda. The potatoes won’t crisp up nicely if you don’t. Soaking them helps them release some of their starch, which helps them crisp up.
Then you’ve got yourself some French fries that are crispy on the outside and light and airy on the inside. They’ll be a bit soggy and floppy without soaking.
Can I skip patting the potatoes dry?
Nope. If you don’t pat them dry with some paper towels or a clean tea towel, then the olive oil won’t stick to the potatoes. If the olive oil doesn’t stick to the potatoes, then you’ll have soggy fries.
What kind of oil to use
The best oils to use in your air fryer are:
- avocado oil
- extra light olive oil
- light olive oil
- peanut oil
- grapeseed oil
- sesame oil
- refined safflower oil
- sunflower oil
For this recipe, anything except avocado and sesame oil would be best due to their neutral taste. Some people like to use avocado oil for their fries, but I personally don’t like the taste.
Why can’t I use whatever oil I want?
The above oils have high smoke points. Other oils with lower smoke points, such as regular olive oil and extra virgin olive oil, lose many of their nutritional benefits if cooked at high temperatures.
You also don’t want to have any smoking issues. Air fryers have the heating elements or coils close to the food. If the oil and food start smoking… that’d be bad.
That said, I see a ton of air fryer French fry recipes calling for extra virgin olive oil. I’m guessing that if all you have is extra-virgin olive oil, you can still use it without issue.
Trying to avoid oil?
If that’s you, I highly recommend getting an oil mister. Two or three pumps of oil using an oil mister is enough for these French fries.
If you don’t want to use cheese, just omit it. I list Parmesan as the first cheese option in the recipe because that’s what almost everyone has on hand, but I much prefer Pecorino Romano.
The sweet chili ketchup
With all the garlic and cheese, I actually enjoy these fries most served without any condiments. But you can, of course, serve these fries with whatever you like on your fries.
If you want something a little different, try the sweet chili ketchup recipe below. For that, you need, ketchup, basil and sweet chili sauce. It’s super easy.
You can find sweet chili sauce in the international section of most full-sized grocery stores. It’s not super spicy, though, so if that’s what you’re after, you can add a little sriracha.
If you want to avoid store-bought ketchup, try my Homemade Ketchup!
Let me know if you try these air fryer French fries! I’d love to hear what you think about them.
Air Fryer Garlic Fries
For the French Fries:
- 2 medium (1 pound / 907 grams total) russet potatoes
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- ½ teaspoon table salt
- ¼ cup Parmesan or Pecorino Romano
- 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
For the Sweet Chili Ketchup:
- ½ cup ketchup
- 4-5 large basil leaves about ¼ cup
- 2 tablespoons sweet chili sauce
- 1 medium or large clove of garlic minced
For the French Fries:
- Fill a large bowl, big enough for all the fries, with ice (or at least cold) water.
- Peel the potatoes, if desired.
- Slice the potatoes into ¼” fries. If you cut them larger, they'll take quite a bit longer to cook.
- Place the cut fries in the ice water while you slice the rest of the potatoes.
- Let the fries sit in the ice water for 15 minutes. After 10 minutes of soaking, preheat your air fryer to 365 °F (185 °C) for at least 5 minutes.
- Remove the fries from the water and pat them dry with a paper towel or a clean tea towel.
- Toss to coat the fries with the olive oil and salt.
- Put the fries in the air fryer and cook at 365 °F (185 °C) for 7 minutes, shaking the fries after about 3 minutes.
- After the 7 minutes, stir the fries again, making sure that none have gotten stuck to the bottom. Turn the heat to 400 °F (205 °C) and cook the fries for an additional 7-10 minutes, shaking the fries after 3-4 minutes, or until they are your desired doneness.
- Take the fries out of the air fryer, and toss them with the cheese and garlic.
- If you have a smaller air fryer and need to make the fries in batches, turn your oven to 225 °F (107 °C). Place the cooked fries on a sheet pan and put them in the oven for up to 1 hour.
For the Sweet Chili Ketchup
- To the bowl of a food processor fitted with an S-blade or a high-speed blender (using the jar meant for making nut butters), add all the sauce ingredients.
- Pulse until smooth. Transfer the sauce to an airtight container and store in the fridge until ready to use, up to 5 days.