So I agreed and a few days later the Philips Airfryer arrived. I don’t thing I’m alone in immediately thinking about fries, so it was barely out of the box before I was cutting up potatoes to give it a whirl.
The first thing I learned is that air-fried fries are not necessarily quicker than deep frying. Fries will still take 24 minutes to cook. There was no denying though, that I definitely didn’t miss the smelly deep fryer and having to use a whole bottle of oil in it! The second thing I learned is that even air fryers require a little oil – about a tablespoon or so.
I made a few batches to get the hang of it, but after just a bit of experimentation, these beauties emerged from my Airfryer.
They were both beautiful and delicious. Perfectly satisfying. Done right, with the right potatoes, they definitely rival deep-fried fries. No kidding!
Anyhow, the first thing many people asked me is if I have any air fryer tips now that I have experience. I jotted a few points down, here goes.
Also, if you’re interested in learning more about air fryers in general, consult our official guide. Best Air Fryers 2016
Tips for using an air fryer
I love fries and frankly, I was in love with the idea of easy, delicious and relatively guilt-free fries. Clean-up of the Airfryer was also dead easy and the cooking basket can even go in the dishwasher. I kept thinking that for fries alone, this device would be perfect for any household with kids (young or old).
That said, I think we all want appliances that are good for a number of dishes, so I was anxious to try it out with other things. That’s my plan for the next couple of weeks while I try it in my kitchen. I plan to try sweet potato fries, vegetables and chicken wings for sure. I’m sure I’ll think of more. Stay tuned for a follow-up post on how the Airfryer made out and let me know if there’s anything in particular you might like me to try.
How to make air-fryer French fries
The quantity in this recipe accounts for the max capacity of a Philips AirFryer™ basket, which is 8 US cups in volume (900 g / 2 lbs) of uncooked sweet potato fries. Feel free to cut the quantity in half, but don’t try to cook more in one batch. If you do cut the quantity in half you may need to reduce the cooking time a bit at the end.
In various experiments with this recipe, at one point I was left with half a batch (4 cups uncooked / 450 g / 1 lb ) already tossed in oil, that wouldn’t fit into the machine. Rather than put them in water, I left them in the tossing bowl and sprayed the top with cooking spray to prevent browning.
I used white sweet potatoes because I got these four (pictured above) weighing a ponderous 1.5 kg at a farmer’s market table for just a buck.
They used to be far more prevalent in the northern US and Canada because they grew better in those regions.
Fries made from white sweet potatoes will be a bit less sweet, and fluffier, than fries made from orange sweet potatoes.
White sweet potatoes are called “camote” in some parts of Latin America, where they are more popular than the orange ones.
Please use whatever you wish — the white or the orange! Both will work.
I do not know about eating the peel of sweet potatoes; I will research sometime to see if other people eat it, but right now it doesn’t appeal to me. I do know, however, sweet potatoes once peeled will brown on you almost as fast as you can look at them.
So you have move fast once you start working with them, having a plan and being able to follow it through without interruption.
It’s not the end of the world if they do brown — after all, we’re hoping to brown them in cooking — but still.
Above you saw them about 5 minutes after peeling and you will have noticed some browning already.
If you need to pause at this point for any reason, get them in a pot of cold tap water, enough water to cover them completely.
Cutting the sweet potatoes into fries
Up next on our schedule comes the question of cutting the potatoes into fries.
You can use a chipper, but be sure it is a good sturdy one that you trust to stand up to a lot of force, and can truly secure to a work surface, as you are going to have to really lean on it. I mean really lean on it.
The contradictory nature of sweet potato fries is that unlike potato which is relatively soft and reasonable at going through a chipper and then firms up and crisps when cooked, sweet potatoes are harder than rocks when raw going through a chipper, but can go very soft and mushy when cooked.
The operative phrase from above there right now is “hard as a rock.” Literally.
If you are not sure your chipper can stand up to the level of brute force you are going to have to exert, then don’t risk breaking your chipper over it. Use a knife instead but be wary of the knife slipping on you: this stuff is as hard as cutting through a squash rind.
If you are cutting a large amount of sweet potato fries at once, or will be cooking them up later, get them covered in water in a large pot of water. Drain them well afterwards before proceeding. They could be fine overnight this way in a fridge, dunno. But I would set the bowl of water with them in it out a few hours before using to warm them up some.
If you are moving onto cooking them right away, then put them straight into a large bowl that allows you enough tossing room.
Now, add the 1 tablespoon of oil, and just using your hands, toss the fries around until they are all coated.
If you need to let them sit a few minutes at this stage, they should be fine once the surfaces are coated in oil, but to be sure you could spray the top of the bowl lightly with cooking spray. (You might even be able to freeze them at this point covered in oil, who knows? I’ll have to research this one day, I know the frozen raw sweet potato fries come coated in oil to prevent browning.)
Try making this recipe first with just the 1 tablespoon of oil; that should be enough for most people’s tastes. But the next time around, if that wasn’t, you could add a second tablespoon of oil, or, also spray the fries with some cooking spray.
Instead of the oil, you could use 1 tablespoon of duck or goose fat that has been zapped in the microwave for about 10 seconds: just enough to melt it without making it hot.
With that length explanation out of the way, here’s the brief version.
Cooking the sweet potato fries
- All the hard work and thinking is done now, the actually cooking of them is easy. Put them in the basket of your air fryer, and:
- Cook for 15 minutes at 160 C / 320 F;
- Raise machine temperature to 180 C / 350 F;
- Take out, toss (I put them back in the bowl they were oiled in for the tossing);
- Put fries back into basket and back into machine;
- Cook another 5 minutes;
- Take out, toss again;
- Put fries back into basket and back into machine;
- Cook a final 5 minutes;
- Take out and serve piping hot.
And this steadily brings us to the end of our journey! Hopefully you’ve enjoyed the ride and learned something new on how to make French fries in an air cooker. Feel free to share and leave comments and all that, all feedback is greatly appreciated and only fuels our desire to bombard you with content. Enough chit-chat now, it’s cooking time!