Rinse potatoes to wash off any dirt on the skin. Cut potatoes into ¼-inch sticks (no need to peel).
Place the sliced potatoes into a large bowl of cold water, making sure all the potatoes are completely submerged. Let fries soak for a minimum of 10 minutes (if in a rush) and up to 20 minutes (this is ideal). This helps to remove excess starch and will help the fries crisp up more in the air fryer.
Thoroughly pat them dry using a few kitchen towels. This is extremely important, as moisture will lead to soft fries, so dry them completely. Tip: Toss with 1 tablespoon cornstarch to soak up any excess moisture.
Season and Air Fry French Fries
Once dry, place in a large bowl and toss well with oil and seasonings.
Place the fries in one even layer in the air fryer basket and bake at 400°F for 10 minutes (I had to separate my fries into two batches). Shake the basket and put in for another 5 minutes, this ensures even crisping of fries. To make the fries extra-crispy, before air frying for the 2nd time, either spray them gently with a cooking spray, like Pam, or add those fries to the bowl in which you had seasoned them, and then add them back to the fryer basket for 5 minutes. If not crisp, place in for another 2 minutes. Total time is roughly 15 minutes per batch of fries.
French Fries with Crisplid
Place the fries in one even layer in the mesh fryer basket. Position the basket on top of a metal trivet fit inside the steel pot of the Instant Pot. Seal with Crisplid and bake at 400°F for 10 minutes. Using tongs, flip the fries for even cooking and bake for another 5 minutes.
Submerge the sliced potatoes in cold water for 10-20 minutes. If you are in a rush, 10 minutes is good, but 20 minutes is ideal. The longer soaking time removes more starch from the potatoes.
Dry the potatoes thoroughly. After the 10-20 minute soak, it's very important to dry the potatoes as much as possible. I had to use multiple kitchen towels to achieve an extra dry exterior. Too much moisture leads to soggy fries. Feel free to toss the fries with 1 Tablespoon cornstarch to rid of excess moisture.
Don't overcrowd the fryer or fryer basket. No matter which method you choose, it's important to have space between the potatoes so the hot air circulating in the air fryer reaches all parts of the potato and they crisp up. This means you may have to do your fries in batches, but the extra effort is well worth it.
Double or triple the recipe. This homemade fry recipe can easily be doubled or tripled to feed a crowd. As always, bake the fries in one even layer and in batches. Simply place the cooked fries on a wire baking rack placed on top of a baking sheet in a warm oven (200 degrees F) while you bake the remaining batches. This will keep the cooked fries warm and crispy.
To make the fries extra-crispy, before air frying for the 2nd time, either spray them gently with a cooking spray, like Pam, or add those fries to the bowl in which you had seasoned them, and then add them back to the fryer basket for 5 minutes.
Note: The nutrition facts below are my estimates and include seasonings. If you are following any diet plan, I recommend cross-checking with your preferred nutrition calculator.