These easy air fryer shoestring fries are our new go-to burger side dish. They are a healthier alternative to traditional French fries, they’re kid-friendly, and they can be gussied up to suit your tastes.
Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen | Healthy Air Fryer | America’s Test Kitchen, 2021
In the realm of fries, the flavor of shoestring fries is hard to beat. Their thinner shape allows for more of our favorite part—the crunch.
Instead of cutting them by hand, we used a spiralizer to quickly cut potatoes into thin, even strings. Then we cut them into manageable 4-inch lengths. This was followed by rinsing to remove excess starch and a thorough drying with paper towels.
We coated the fries with just 2 tablespoons of oil, which made them perfectly golden while still maintaining a dry, crisp exterior.
We found that frequently tossing the potatoes ensured the most even cooking and the best browning. You will need a spiralizer with a 1/4-inch (6mm) noodle attachment for this recipe. Serve these fries with your favorite dipping sauce.–America’s Test Kitchen
Air Fryer Shoestring Fries FAQs
How long should I soak the potatoes before frying?
The key here is starch removal – so you might want to plan ahead a bit. Any amount of soak time will help rinse/release the starch – ensuring the deliciously crispy texture of your fries. The soaking process will also help to keep them from sticking together in the air fryer. Be sure you give them a good ten-minute bath at least – and up to 3 hours, if possible.
Can I make these fries if I don’t have a spiralizer?
Sure thing. Just use your best, sharpest kitchen knife – because a dull knife is a dangerous thing. Peel and rinse the potatoes, then cut them into thin, (1/4- to 1/8-inch) slices. Stack a few of those slices up and cut them lengthwise into thin sticks, then toss the sticks into their bath water. Repeat until you’re out of potatoes.
Why are my air fryer fries soggy?
You have likely tried to cook too many fries at once, resulting in uneven cooking and soggy fries. Arrange only enough fries to make a single even layer in your air fryer basket, work in batches if necessary.
What types of seasoning can I add to these fries?
To fancy up these air fryer French fries, try one of the following spice combinations.
Rosemary and lemon – before the final 5 minutes of cooking, toss the fries with 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary. Before serving, toss with 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest.
Coriander and dill – before the final 5 minutes of cooking, toss the fries with 1 teaspoon ground coriander and 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper. Before serving, sprinkle with 1 teaspoon minced fresh dill.
Air Fryer Shoestring Fries
- 1 pound russet potatoes unpeeled
- 2 tablespoons canola oil or other mild vegetable oil
- 1/4 teaspoon table salt plus more if needed
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper plus more if needed
- Trim off the ends of the potatoes. Using a spiralizer fitted with a 1/4-inch (6mm) noodle attachment, cut the potatoes into ribbons. As you spiralize, cut the ribbons into 4-inch (10-cm) lengths with kitchen shears.
- Submerge the potatoes in a large bowl of water and rinse to remove excess starch. Drain the potatoes in a colander and repeat the process as needed until the water remains clear. Drain the potatoes one final time, then transfer to a paper towel–lined rimmed baking sheet, and thoroughly pat dry.
- Toss the potatoes with oil, salt, and pepper. Arrange in an even layer in the air fryer basket.
- Place the basket into air fryer and set the temperature to 350°F (175°C). Cook, using tongs to toss gently and separate the potatoes every 5 minutes to prevent sticking, until crispy and golden, 20 to 25 minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We’d love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
These shoestring fries made in the air fryer are so wonderfully crispy. I used my handheld spiralizer that only cuts into 1/8-inch spirals. It took a bit of time doing it by hand but the thickness worked well. I gave the potatoes a rinse then soaked for 2 hours while I completed a few errands. I think the soaking helped remove quite a bit of the starch and I love an early prep.
I used my Instant Pot Air Fryer lid and skipped a preheat since the recipe didn’t call for it. I didn’t increase the oil and used the 2 tablespoons of oil for my 570g of potatoes. My first thought while they were cooking was that there was still too much oil but the end result after 25 minutes was perfect. I still may try and reduce the oil just a touch next time for an even healthier version.
There are a lot of interruptions that will take you away from other items that are cooking. At one point I had to choose whether to attend to the chicken on the stove or the potatoes but luckily I had a great partner in the kitchen to help out. My air fryer lid doesn’t have a multiple timer function so using a separate timer was a must.
I like the fact that you don’t have to stick to the 1/4-inch ribbon, so next time I’ll try the julienne blade on my mandoline for a faster prep time.
Oh, so easy and so good are these air fryer shoestring fries. This recipe makes the actual process of cutting these little beauties a breeze.
Although I have had my air fryer for quite some time, I hesitated making shoestring fries, as cutting them by hand never seemed to produce even sized potatoes, which made even baking difficult. The 1/4-inch noodle attachment produced a perfectly sized ribbon and the scissors easily cut the ribbons into 4-inch pieces.
I loved leaving the skins on, one less step and healthier. A couple of water rinses of the potatoes seemed to remove all of the starchiness and the 2 tablespoons of oil was just enough to produce a nice color and crunch.
As to the cooking times, because my air fryer was on the older side, the basket was on the smaller side. Hence, I could not get the fries into a single layer. I went with it anyway and made a point of gently turning them every 5 minutes as suggested until they were on the well-done crunchy side. They were absolutely perfect.
I bumped them up a notch by making the tasty coriander and fresh dill variation. My plan was to serve them on top of a grilled salmon burger. I followed the directions for applying both the coriander and dill and it worked well. So well, the fries never made it to the top of my burger as planned. Rather, after adjusting the salt, I proceeded to eat every single last fry myself. No guilt here though, they’re air fried! Definitely putting this recipe on my regular rotation!
Originally published June 29, 2022
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
These air fryer shoestring fries are a fun dish to pair with burgers or sandwiches. Aside from shaking the basket every 5 minutes, they baked up nice and crispy allowing me to prepare the rest of the meal while they fried away.
I have a very basic plastic handheld spiralizer which is difficult to work with, but once I discovered the technique of sticking a fork in the potato to hold it in place, it moved along quickly. Air fryer shoestring fries would make a lovely base for a fried or a poached egg too. I will definitely be making this again, planning for one potato per person.
Served as a side dish with grilled portobello mushroom sandwiches and a salad.