Update: I tinkered around some more and came up with a better recipe. So now check out my new best air fryer chips recipe… and this time I really mean it.
It's a sad fact of life that while you can make just about anything in an air fryer, and they are great for experimenting with, most people just use them for chips. Okay, perhaps 'sad' isn't the correct word here since chips rule, and I love eating them. However, I always found air fried chips a bit disappointing. The lack of fat involved when air frying makes them healthier, sure, but it also seems to make them somewhat less delicious. What you end up with is something very much like oven chips, which is fine, but why bother buying and cutting up potatoes to make theoretically delicious and 'healthy' chips, when you could just buy a bag of oven chips and get the same result? Exactly.
So recently I started experimenting with multi-cooking chips, using my Ninja Foodi Max SmartLid, which is the best air fryer for my purposes, since it doubles as a Instant Pot-alike multi-cooker, plus Ninja sent me one in the post without me having to pay for it. Get in!
I'm not going to pretend that multi-cooking chips is an exotic method that nobody else has ever heard of before, but if you're new to it, you're in for a treat. And if you're not new to it, you can read my method and try it out instead of what you do at present. Or you could say, 'Wow, what a crap method; there's no way I would do it like that.' This is the internet, after all. You can then move on to how to make perfect air fryer chicken and the best things to cook in an air fryer.
A quick note for Americans: chips are what Britons call fried potatoes cut into rectangles and eaten hot. Chips are bigger than fries and smaller than potato wedges. Those things you call chips? We call those crisps. Confusing, isn't it?
1. What are the ingredients?
What seriously? We're making chips. Get some potatoes. If you can find big enough King Edwards, they work very well. Boring old Maris Piper is also very good for chips. I am not quite sure what type of potato Albert Bartlett uses, as I always just refer to them as 'Bartletts', but whatever they are, they also make good chips.
Here's a dirty little tip for you, though. You know those spuds they sell in supermarkets as 'baking potatoes'? They are a great size for cutting easily into chips, they're cheap and they taste… not too bad at all. You can also buy them individually rather than having to purchase a massive sackful every time, and unlike other unbagged potatoes, they come pre-washed as opposed to all covered in soil.
2. What is the method?
1. Cut your potatoes into chips. I use a chef's knife for this but you could get some kind of device off the internet (opens in new tab) if you are pernickety about all your chips being exactly the same size and shape.
In our handy guide to mistakes everyone makes with their air fryer, you will find 'overloading your air fryer'. This is something to staunchly avoid when making chips as well. For absolutely ideal results, I would actually put the chips on racks in my fryer, spaced out from each other. Perhaps this is a little impractical if you are trying to feed a family of six in a hurry, so feel free to use the basket as normal. But seriously, don't pack in too many chips or you will probably end up with a soggy and unsatisfying result, even with my ace method.
2. If your air fryer requires pre-heating, pre-heat to 140ºC/280ºF. Unfortunately all air fryers are different so you may find you need to experiment over a few batches of chips, and end up changing the temperatures to ones that suit your own air fryer better, but 140/280 is a good starting point.
3. Give your chips a good spray of sunflower or rapeseed oil (not olive oil), making sure they are all coated. You could try using a spoonful of oil from a bottle, but oil sprays are much better for this, and all things air fryer-related. Air fry your chips for about 8-10 minutes – again, they all vary so I don't want to be too dogmatic about this. Give them a toss half way through and a further spray of the magical oil. You should now have some chips that are just starting to crust but look essentially raw. Yummy, huh?
4. Take the chips out, put them on a big plate and let them cool for, let's say, half an hour? Or as long as you can stand to wait really. Some people put the chips in the fridge at this point but that seems a bit much to me.
5. Okay, now put them all back in the air fryer, spray sparingly, and this time cook at 180ºC/360ºF, for 15-20 minutes. Again, the time will vary depending on how close to Hades' hellish inferno your air fryer gets, and how closely you followed my very clear instruction to not overload the damn basket.
6. Put some salt, or whatever you like, on your chips and eat them. I actually use truffle oil on mine, but then I am a big ponce who lives near an artisanal food market.
3. Thanks, that was great. Is there a way I can make cooking chips even more complex?
You're welcome! And yes, you could go for triple cooked chips! This is much the same as twice cooking, but you parboil your potatoes first for 5 minutes. This helps remove more of the starch, which many chefs agree makes the chips you eventually get even better. It does mean you have to wait while the boiled potatoes – or chips if you prefer to cut them up first – cool and dry out before you can even start air frying, though.
- More air fryer info
- How to use an air fryer – a beginner's guide
- Absolutely everything you need to know about air fryers
- How to clean an air fryer