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.
I should really have called this piece How to make perfect air fryer chips… and this time I really mean it, as I previously wrote the same story with a different and less refined recipe, using mere dual cooking rather than triple. If you are in a hurry, I would stick to the double-cooked air fryer chips aproach, as you still get excellent chips and it's less laborious. You can also try my perfect air fryer chicken recipe – it's another one of the best things to cook in an air fryer.
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.
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
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
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.
- 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