The air fryer has been something of a revolution, cooking food faster and cheaper than in an oven. Yet, for everyone that loves it, there are a bunch of people who hate the results and say that an air fryer can’t compete with a deep-fat fryer.
Truth is, the two cooking methods are completely different, and getting the right results in an air fryer mean cooking in a slightly different way, as our guide on how to use an air fryer demonstrates. Here, we’re going into the detail of how to cook fresh chips: it’s the recipe that we use when we test air fryers.
There are loads of different recipes online, and each will give you slightly different results. Our best advice is to use this as a guide and adapt it to suit your needs.
First, a word on potatoes. To make chips you need large starchy potatoes: these have a soft texture that will give you that crispy coating and fluffy interior. Our favourite chip potatoes are Désirée (the red ones) but look for King Edward or Maris Piper if you can’t find these.
What you’ll need
- An air fryer: any from our best air fryer list will do the job
The short version
- Peel and cut the potatoes
- Add chips to water and parboil
- Add oil
- Shake the chips
- Add chips to a pre-heated air fryer
- Shake while cooking
- Serve up
Peel and cut the potatoes
Your first job is to peel and slice the potatoes. How thick you go will depend on the results you want. We find that a slightly thinner cut for fries works best, but go fatter if you prefer the look of a chunky chip. We cut the potato into slices the width we want and then cut down the slices into long chips. Cut up as many potatoes as you need to make the right number of chips.
Air fryers work best when there’s a single layer of food, but don’t go beyond any max fill marks on your air fryer or you’ll get poor results; sometimes you have to cook in batches. That’s the same as using a regular deep-fat fryer at home, so it shouldn’t be an issue.
Add chips to water and parboil
At the minimum, sliced potatoes should be soaked in water for at least 20 minutes. This removes some of the starch, to give crispier results. At this point, you can save time and just rinse and pat dry the chips with kitchen towel, skipping to the oil stage (step 3). However, we prefer to par-boil our chips first.
Bring a large pan of water to a boil, and then simmer for five minutes before draining the pan. Boiling the chips helps pre-cook them, softening the potatoes up for that fluffy interior.
Around three tablespoons of oil is good for cooking in an air fryer, either measured out or, once you get the hang of it, free-poured. Any regular cooking oil will do, as long as it has a high ignition point. Don’t use olive oil.
Shake the chips
Air fryers need evenly coated food to get the best results. We find the best way to do that is to shake the oil-covered chips in the pan, with the lid on. Shaking roughs up the edges, too, giving a better finish to the chips. Don’t be too vigorous, or you can shake your chips to bits.
Add chips to a pre-heated air fryer
Let your air fryer pre-heat to 200°C with a timer set for 20 minutes. Once it hits temperature, pour in the chips and spread them out as evenly as possible. At this point, it may look a bit like a soggy mess, but don’t worry, as the cooking process starts, the chips will crisp up and separate.
Shake while cooking
Air fryers work best when hot air is circulated evenly around food. This means you need to shake your food through cooking to move it around, or you won’t get even results. Two to three times during the cooking process should do it. If your air fryer has a handle on the basket, shaking is easy; if not, like ours, you can use oven gloves or tongs.
Make sure the food is cooking evenly, and stop the cook when they look done; if the chips haven’t cooked properly, then up the cooking time. Sometimes, we’ll finish off at our air fryer’s hottest temperature (240°C) for the last couple of minutes.
At the end of the cooking time, you’ll have a delicious portion of chips, crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside. After serving, add any seasoning and condiments that you want, and enjoy.
Technically, yes, but you’ll get very different results. Waxy potatoes won’t work very well and tend to go harder and lack the fluffy interior that you get with starchy potatoes.
Some people suggest adding salt, pepper or paprika before cooking; we don’t bother and use oil only.