I've found the best air fryer chips recipe ever – and a faster one that's almost as good

Triple cooked chips or fries for 10x the flavour, crunch and golden deliciousness? Or merely double cooked for less effort?

Air fryer chips/fries montage
(Image credit: Getty/Ninja/Tower)

Air fryer chips – aka air fryer fries in America, where ‘chips’ means something else –must currently be one of the world's favourite dishes. Air fryer sales have gone through the roof and chips are both the first thing that a lot of people cook in one and, in some cases, quite probably the only thing. I am pretty partial to chips myself, and periodically try to find the ultimate cooking technique for them.

As potato chip/fry/wedge recipes go, this one is relatively labour intensive, although it's still not exactly fine dining. If triple cooking potatoes seems a bit much, scroll down and you'll find a double-cooked air fryer chips recipe which, as you can imagine, is less laborious but still highly effective. Why not also try my perfect air fryer chicken recipe – it's another one of the best things to cook in an air fryer – or Millie Fender's guides to air frying excellent dishes – and also some somewhat less excellent dishes that people on TikTok like.  

A bit of background for you. As ever, I used my Ninja Foodi Max SmartLid, which is the best air fryer I've tried – it's also the best multi-cooker, with no fewer than 15 cooking functions, and a handy, built-in temperature probe for meat. That's not much use for chips though, unless you are really into your microgastronomy. I couldn't honestly tell you what the optimum internal temperature of a chip is, if I'm being frank.

Chips or fries? Well, in terms of the perfect size, what I am looking at here is almost the exact mid-point of an American fry and a British chip. It's way smaller than a wedge. It's a Frip. Or is it a Chry? 

Anyway, let's crack on. Why, to not make these chips would be one of the worst mistakes you can make with an air fryer!

Triple cooked chips/Triple cooked fries

1. Gather your ingredients

Not a lot to discuss here. Ingredients are an oil spray – rapeseed or sunflower oil, not olive oil – and, of course, 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 the UK's Albert Bartlett uses, as I always just refer to them as 'Bartletts', but whatever they are, they make superb chips. In fact, they are what I used when developing this recipe.

Seasoning is up to you. Salt, pepper? I wouldn't recommend vinegar on this type of chip but it's a free country. One seasoning I do recommend is Bart Fajita seasoning. It's spicy salt, basically. Tastes great. Truffle oil and/or truffle salt also works well, especially if you are a bit of a ponce.

2. Cut your potatoes

Air fried chicken and chips

(Image credit: Duncan Bell)

I used to do this in a rather haphazard way but eventually realised that I needed to be quite meticulous about cutting the spuds so all the chips/fries/frips were the same size. I am not sure whether peeling is a good idea or not. Peeled potatoes look more like chips once cooked, but unpeeled are more nutritious and look good in their own way too. 

Luckily I edit our best chef's knife guide, so I have a good blade arsenal. Personally I prefer the extra heft of a good German cook's knife for this. Another excellent, if slightly more exotic, option is to go nuclear with an Oriental vegetable chopper – those things take absolutely no nonsense from any potato, I can tell you.

My food photography isn't quite Nigella standards but from the photo above you can see the sort of size I'm talking about here. Quite small. 

3. Cook your chips: part one

Le Creuset saucepans

Reach for your pans… Actually just one will do, unless you are feeding 30 people

(Image credit: Le Creuset)

If your air fryer is inna multi-cooker stylee, like mine, you could do phase one in it, but I think a saucepan is easier. Just boil some water and add your chips – or put in your chips, add some water and let it boil; it doesn't make a lot of difference. You only want to boil for a minute or two, this isn't so much about about cooking them as such, it's to kick the process off and remove some of the starch.

A lot of recipes say you should then let the potatoes completely cool, and then refrigerate them. Tom Kerridge even suggests spacing them out on a rack. I feel like life is probably way too short for that, so I make do with draining them, letting them steam dry in the empty saucepan and then leaving them to dry out and cool slightly for 15 minutes or so in an oven on its lowest possible heat, spaced out on a large baking sheet. 

4. Cook your chips: part two

Air fryer time! Preheat if required, keep your chips as spaced out as possible – nb: it may not be all that possible – and give them 10-15 minutes on 160ºC/320ºF, shaking at least once during this time. It's hard to be totally specific here as air fryers vary so much in terms of performance, so you might need to experiment.

The important thing to note here is that you should not use any oil. I don't know why but this seems to work better, for me. Depending on your taste, and how your air fryer performs, you could consider using oil at this stage but not in the final stage. Up to you, guv'nor. 

Again, you are now meant to let your chips cool. Again, I am too impatient to let this happen completely, so I give it 10 minutes while helping myself to a nice big vat of wine, before my partner has time to polish off all the vino.

5. Cook your chips: part three!

Having fun yet? Now it's time to liberally oil-spray your chips and take the highway to the air fryer danger zone, at 180ºC/360ºF. You need to cook for 15 minutes, shaking and lightly respraying every 5 minutes or so. The result should be perfect air fried chips. If not, you either didn't follow my instructions properly – why didn't you follow my instructions properly? – or your air fryer is so different to mine that you will need to slightly tweak the temperatures and cooking times next time around. You'll get there soon enough, I promise.

Twice cooked chips/double cooked fries

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?

Oil spray is your air fryer's best friend

The family that oil sprays together, stays together (and eats chips together)

(Image credit: Tesco)

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. Just follow the recipe at the top of the page. 

Duncan has been writing about tech for almost 15 years, during which time he has attended every event going, apart from Apple ones, as he mysteriously doesn't get invited to them. He has covered everything from smartphones to headphones, TV to AC and air fryers to the movies of James Bond and obscure anime. 

Duncan's current brief is everything to do with the home and kitchen, which is good because he is an excellent cook, if he says so himself. He also covers cycling and ebikes – like over-using italics, this is another passion of his. Duncan also edits T3's golf section because fuck it, someone has to. Dave Usher does all the real work on that bit, though. In his long and varied lifestyle-tech career he is one of the few people to have been a fitness editor despite being unfit and a cars editor for not one but two websites, despite being unable to drive. He also has about 400 vacuum cleaners, and is possibly the UK's leading expert on cordless vacuum cleaners, despite being decidedly messy. A cricket fan for over 30 years, he also recently become T3's cricket editor, writing about how to stream obscure T20 tournaments, and turning out some typically no-nonsense opinions on the world's top teams and players.

Before T3, Duncan was a music and film reviewer, worked for a magazine about gambling that employed a surprisingly large number of convicted criminals, and then a magazine called Bizarre that was essentially like a cross between Reddit and DeviantArt, before the invention of the internet. There was also a lengthy period where he essentially wrote all of T3 magazine every month for about 3 years. 

A broadcaster, raconteur and public speaker, Duncan used to be on telly loads, but an unfortunate incident put a stop to that, so he now largely contents himself with telling people, "I used to be on the TV, you know."