So you went out to eat recently, and your meal came with French fries. Yum!
As you pull out your leftovers, you might wonder about the best method of reheating them. If you want your fries to be crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, the air fryer is going to be your top choice.
Ready to learn more about how to reheat fries in air fryers so you can enjoy your decadent treat within just a few minutes? Read on and learn!
Understanding Why an Air Fryer Is Great for Reheating Fries
With the various kitchen appliances you likely have to reheat fries and other foods, you might wonder why the air fryer is the best option. Let's take a look.
How an Air Fryer Works
If you need a quick refresher, an air fryer works by circulating hot air through the basket, providing even heat on all sides of your food. It works similarly to a convection oven, which you or your recent ancestors might have used for reheating purposes.
This heated air promotes crispness and even browning on your leftover French fries thanks to a consistently high temperature within the fryer and the movement of air.
Related: What Is Air Frying?
Why an Air Fryer Is Better Than a Deep Fryer to Reheat French Fries
While a countertop deep fryer is good for making French fries in the first place, it's not as good to reheat fries. A lot of oil needs to be used, so this not only adds fat to the fries but it also creates a lot of cleanup for you later.
Why an Air Fryer Is Better Than a Microwave to Reheat French Fries
A microwave will be faster when it comes to reheating fries in an air fryer, but the end result will likely be soggy fries, which nobody wants. If you're looking for crispy fries, opt out of using the microwave.
Why an Air Fryer is Better Than a Traditional Oven to Reheat French Fries
A traditional oven can be used to reheat leftover French fries, but it will take quite some time. There's also a good chance of burning or overcooking them since you won't get the same level of crispness in an oven.
How to Store Leftover French Fries for Best Results
To reheat fries in an air fryer actually begins beforehand, when you go to store your leftovers. Here are some tips on putting your fries away so they're most likely to become crisp and delicious once you're ready to reheat them:
- Make sure the French fries are cooled before putting them in the refrigerator. If you've eaten at a restaurant, by the time you get home, they're probably going to be cool enough. If you've made homemade fries, though, you may need to let them sit out for 20-30 minutes to ensure they're only lukewarm when you go to put them away.
Note that your leftover fries, like all leftovers, should be put in the fridge within two hours for food safety purposes.
- Store your fries in small portions. You won't want to reheat fries in air fryers only to have leftovers from that. Only plan on reheating what you will eat in that sitting.
- Put your French fries in an airtight container to keep them from absorbing refrigerator odors or getting soggy. If they're in a styrofoam takeout container, transfer them to a glass or plastic container that shuts securely, or wrap them in foil.
- Don't crush your leftover fries together. It's best to keep them in a single layer if you can, when you reheat fries. This will prevent them from sticking together or getting crushed.
The Steps to Reheat French Fries in an Air Fryer
Whether you're reheating thin fast food fries, thick steak fries, waffle fries, sweet potato fries, or any other type of fried potato, the basic steps will be the same. Keep in mind that some of the specifics might vary slightly depending on the size of the potato pieces.
Preheat the Air Fryer
Always preheat the air fryer before cooking anything, including leftover fries. Cooking evenly will depend on having a nice, hot environment. Your air fryer should have a preheat function, so be sure to use it.
Related: Do You Have To Preheat An Air Fryer?
Choose the Right Temperature to Reheat French Fries
You won't want to use too high of a temperature for reheating French fries. I recommend 350 degrees, which is as hot as a typical traditional oven but not so hot that your fries will burn before they get that nice, crispy coating.
You may find other air fryer recipes that suggest higher temperatures; I would just caution you that the higher you put your heat, the more frequently you'll need to check the air fryer to make sure nothing is burning.
Set the Cooking Time on Your Air Fryer
This is where things might be a little different depending on the type of fries you're heating up. Thin fries will take less time than thicker cut fries or waffle fries.
I would start with 3 minutes with the intention of adding another couple of minutes if needed.
Again, some air fryer recipes might suggest a longer start time, but I think the shorter time can help you better avoid overcooking.
Spritz the Air Fryer Basket With Cooking Spray
If your leftover fries are already on the oily side, you can skip this step. If they're pretty dry, it's a good idea to spritz the air fryer basket with a little cooking spray. This will help crisp up the fries and will also prevent sticking.
Just a little spray is plenty, and you should do this right before you add your fries, not when you're preheating the air fryer, as leaving the oil on there too long can actually ruin the finish on the basket.
Add the French Fries
It's time to add your fries! Make sure they're in a single layer and spread out as evenly as possible. If you're reheating a large batch of French fries, you may need to do this in two different batches.
Simply lay the fries in the air fryer basket so they're not touching (or touching as little as possible), then close the basket and let the air fryer work its magic.
Be Sure to Shake the French Fries
You'll want to shake the air fryer basket halfway through the cooking time. Since French fries reheat quickly, this will entail standing close to the air fryer so you can keep a good eye on the time.
At the halfway mark, give the basket a shake so most of the fries flip over. If you're heating thin fries, this will be plenty. If you have waffle fries or thick steak fries, though, you may need to take tongs and flip them manually.
Decide If You Need to Reheat Fries Longer
Once the timer goes off, evaluate your fries. Are they hot and crispy? If not, they might need another minute or two.
Remember, you can always add more time, but if you burn them, you can't take that time back. So start with just one minute, then check them, and repeat as needed. Make sure you shake the air fryer basket halfway through each minute to keep those fries from getting too cooked on one side.
Season Your French Fries and Serve Immediately
Once your leftover French fries are almost as delicious as they were when they were freshly cooked, you'll know it's time to pull them out. Serve these right away so they taste fresh.
If you'd like, you can add some seasoning to create some interest and give your leftover fries a different taste than they had when they were first cooked!
Enhancing the Flavor of Your French Fries
While it's perfectly fine to simply remove your crispy French fries from the air fryer and start eating them, you might consider adding more flavor.
Consider Sticking to the Basics
Salt and pepper are a great way to go when you reheat fries, and everyone has these basic seasonings on hand. Sprinkle and eat.
Add Complementary Seasonings
Another option is to use a variety of other spices you have in your spice rack. Paprika (sweet or smoked), garlic and onion powder, Cajun seasoning, herbs like dill or thyme, or even a little powder from a ranch seasoning packet can be great additions to your leftover fries.
Sprinkle With Vinegar
Some people in the UK and Canada like to sprinkle their French fries with malt vinegar, which can be a tasty way to eat them. Just a small amount, perhaps a teaspoon per serving, is plenty.
Think About Your Dipping Sauce
You might be a French fry purist, preferring to eat them as they come, or you might like to dip your fries in ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard sauce, barbecue sauce, ranch dressing, sour cream, or some other condiment. Experiment, and you might find a new favorite dipping sauce!
Troubleshooting Issues You May Encounter
For the most part, following the steps above will allow you to enjoy delicious reheated fries with the help of your air fryer. In case you do have some trouble, though, here are some tips to consider when you reheat fries:
- Overcooking: You can avoid this by checking your French fries frequently and shaking the air fryer basket every minute or two.
- Uneven reheating: Again, shaking that air fryer basket halfway through cooking will help the fries cook evenly. Also, not overloading the basket will help.
- Limp or soggy fries: If your fries don't get crispy in the air fryer, it's possible they started off too soggy in the refrigerator due to not storing them in an airtight container.
- Bland flavor: While air frying your leftovers can result in delicious fries, they might not taste as great as they did when they were freshly cooked. Storing them only for 1-2 days at maximum and adding some salt and other spices when they come out of the air fryer can help.
If you have leftover French fries and want to know how to reheat fries in air fryer, follow the process described. The main tips to keep in mind are to store your leftover French fries correctly, reheat them in small batches, and keep a close eye on the cooking time. This should result in hot, crispy fries every time!
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