How to cook frozen French fries in the air fryer – the healthier way to enjoy fries without deep-frying! Made in 20 minutes, use store-bought frozen French fries for perfectly crispy fries every single time! Tips on seasoning, cook time, and reheating leftover fries are in the recipe card below.
No more messy deep frying or soggy french fries! Air frying has transformed the way we cook. It’s one of the quickest, most efficient ways to prepare so many different dishes. We use our Ninja Foodi multi-cooker on a very regular basis…almost daily! It’s great for reheating leftovers and making meals fast.
Air Fryer Frozen French Fries
Before I discovered air frying french fries, we would make them in the oven. This resulted in uneven cooking, some were soggy, and some were burned. It didn’t seem to matter whether I used shoestring fries, waffle fries, curly fries, or any other shape. They never turned out the way they do in a fast-food restaurant.
And forget deep frying french fries. There was too much mess and so much grease!
Now, we only use the air fryer to make french fries. The air fryer makes them so crispy on the outside and tender (not dry!) on the inside. It’s my favorite way to make them for burgers!
Why this is the best way to make french fries:
- It’s simple. There’s nothing fancy about this method. Simply dump a bag of frozen fries into the air fryer, season, cook, and enjoy.
- It’s versatile. You can use any shape of french fry you like: curly, waffle, shoestring, steak fries, seasoned, or unseasoned.
- It’s fast. From frozen to fried, these are done in about 20 minutes. Plus, there’s minimal clean-up.
- It’s (more) health-conscious. Fries aren’t exactly “healthy” but frying them with less oil makes them a little better for you than deep frying.
Making french fries in the air fryer vs. oven vs. deep fryer
Whether you are cooking frozen or homemade french fries, there are three main ways to prepare them:
Air Fried French Fries: This method is the easiest way to get crispy fries. There’s also minimal mess to clean up, especially when compared to deep frying. Using the air fryer ensures you have perfectly crispy french fries every single time.
Baked French Fries: While it’s simple, baking doesn’t always leave you with the best results. I’ve never been able to get that perfectly crispy texture using the oven. Plus, some of the fries can easily dry out on the inside while others are undercooked.
Deep-Fried French Fries: Using a deep fryer is a great way to get crispy, hot, salty fries. The oil also makes a big mess and splatters everywhere. Plus, the oil is an extra cost that’s poured out at the end of cooking. Not to mention, it’s the least health-conscious option.
Are french fries healthier in an air fryer?
French fries get a bad rap for being an unhealthy junk food because they are usually deep-fried and heavily salted.
Air frying allows you to reduce the amount of oil drastically and control the amount of seasoning added. All of this without compromising the fried and salty flavors! It may not be nutritiously more healthy, but it is a better choice than deep frying.
What You Need to Make Crispy Air Fryer Fries
- Air Fryer: You can use a traditional air fryer unit or a multi-cooker with an air fryer function.
- Frozen French Fries: All different types of fries will work for this recipe. You can use different brands, too: Ore Ida, generic brands, etc. (more info below)
- Seasoning: This recipe uses a pinch of salt, but you can season with any seasoning you like.
- Cooking Spray: Light cooking spray is all you need to crisp up these french fries.
- Condiments: Don’t forget to grab your favorite dipping sauce, fry sauce, yum yum sauce, ketchup, mustard, etc.
How to Cook French Fries in an Air Fryer
This is such an easy way to get the best fries you’ve ever had!
Add the frozen fries to the basket of your air fryer. Season with salt and pepper or the seasoning of your choice. See the suggestions below.
Then, lightly spray the fries with olive oil spray. This helps them crisp up even more.
Set the air fryer to cook for 10 minutes at 400°F. After 10 minutes, shake the basket and continue cooking for another 5-10 minutes or until the fries reach the desired crispiness.
Shaking the air fryer basket or tray rotates the fries and helps cook them evenly. This also makes sure the texture is the same on every fry.
Note: If the fries have air fryer instructions, refer to those for the cooking time and temperature.
To serve, transfer the cooked fries to a plate, and add any final seasonings before diving in!
Why are my fries not crispy in the air fryer?
If the fries aren’t crisping up, it’s likely that the air fryer is overcrowded or the air is not hot enough. You may also need to increase the cooking time.
The age of your air fryer, basket shape, and amount of fries will impact the cooking time, too. Use the info in the recipe card as a guideline.
Should frozen French fries be thawed before frying?
You do not need to defrost the french fries before air frying. The great thing about using the air fryer is that you rarely need to defrost what you are cooking. Simply dump the fries straight from the freezer and cook!
Ideas for Seasoning Frozen French Fries
Can I season frozen fries? Yes, you can! If you’re wondering how to make frozen fries taste better, the secret is in the seasoning!
You can amp up frozen fries easily with seasonings and herbs you likely already have in your kitchen. Simply add the seasoning to the fries before cooking. When using fries that are already flavored, use caution when adding additional seasonings.
Here are some seasoning ideas for french fries:
- Make them gourmet. Sprinkle with onion powder, garlic salt, and fresh rosemary.
- Lawry’s Seasoning Salt
- Cajun or Creole Seasoning
- Drizzle with truffle oil after cooking.
- Classic salt and pepper
- Italian seasoning
- Garlic and parmesan cheese
Air Frying Different Types of Fries
There are so many different kinds of french fries out there. You can do all of them in an air fryer, but you made need to adjust the cooking time to more or less, depending on your desired crispiness.
Here are some different types of French fries:
- Curly fries
- Waffle fries
- Tater tots
- Crinkle cut fries
- Seasoned and unseasoned fries
- Potato wedges
- Steak fries
- Shoestring fries
Tips for the Best French Fries
Don’t overcrowd the basket. Allowing enough room for the hot air to circulate is important for the best and most crispy french fries. Most air fryers have an indicator to show the maximum fill line. One bag of french fries will fit in the basket of a 4-quart air fryer.
Shake the basket. For even cooking and the best results, make sure you shake the air fryer basket to rotate the french fries as they cook.
Seasoning. Don’t be afraid to get creative with different seasonings. Season before cooking with homemade seasoning or store-bought rubs. Alternatively, add grated parmesan or drizzle truffle oil over the fries just before serving for a gourmet twist.
Different types of fries. Make the french fries homemade or from the freezer section. This method will work on any shape of French fry. Adjust the cook time as needed.
How to serve French Fries
Don’t forget the dipping sauces! Try BBQ sauce, ketchup, mustard, ranch dressing, and more.
Reheating and Storing Leftover French Fries
Use up the leftover french fries for poutine or a different take on nachos.
Store the leftovers inside an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To reheat the french fries, program the air fryer to 350°F for 5-7 minutes or until crispy and warm.
Recipe FAQ and Expert Tips
Can you cook store-bought frozen French fries in an air fryer?
Yes, frozen french fries can be cooked in an air fryer. These can be store-bought or homemade.
Should I preheat my air fryer for frozen French fries?
It’s not necessary to preheat an air fryer. There are many sources that say this makes the food even better, but I haven’t noticed a difference.
How do you crisp french fries in an air fryer?
For additional crispiness, you can use the broil function on the air fryer or extend the cooking time. Use this with caution as they can quickly burn or dry out.
How much oil do you put in an air fryer for french fries?
No oil is needed to cook frozen french fries in the air fryer.
These are the best frozen fries! It’s an easy side dish that we love to serve with our air fryer hamburgers. Make these just like your favorite fast-food fries and use your favorite seasonings and dip them in your favorite sauce.
Best, Crispiest Air Fryer French Fries
- 16- ounce bag of frozen French fries
- salt to taste (I like to use seasoning salt)
- olive oil spray
- Place the frozen fries in the basket of your air fryer. Sprinkle with salt and spray lightly with olive oil spray.
- Cook for 400 degrees for 10 minutes. Shake the fries and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes until crispy.
- This method works on any type of french fry.
- Season the fries before cooking. When using fries that are already flavored, use caution when adding additional seasonings.
- If the fries have air fryer instructions, refer to those for the cooking time and temperature.