Shoestring Fries Air Fryer Recipe : A Comprehensive Guide

shoestring fries air fryer recipe

Are you a fan of shoestring fries but want a healthier alternative to deep-fried versions? Look no further than the air fryer! This innovative kitchen gadget allows you to achieve crispy, golden brown shoestring fries without all the excess oil and calories. In this comprehensive guide, we will break down the science behind making perfect shoestring fries in the air fryer, as well as provide tips, variations and a recipe to get you started.

The Science of Shoestring Fries

Shoestring fries, also sometimes called matchstick fries, are made from thinly sliced potatoes that are about the same width as a matchstick. Due to their small size, they cook quickly and have a crispy texture. When cooked in oil, the high temperature causes the water in the potato to rapidly evaporate, creating steam that pushes outward and makes the exterior of the fry crispy. This process is called "starch gelatinization," and it is the key to achieving the perfect shoestring fry.

In an air fryer, the cooking process is slightly different. Instead of being submerged in oil, the potatoes are exposed to hot air, which causes the exterior of the potato to crisp up. This method of cooking still allows for starch gelatinization, but with much less oil and therefore fewer calories.

Selecting the Right Potatoes

The key to making good shoestring fries starts with selecting the right potatoes. Look for firm, smooth potatoes with minimal blemishes or discoloration. Avoid potatoes that are green or have sprouts, as these can be signs of overexposure to sunlight, which can cause the potatoes to produce a bitter chemical called solanine.

When it comes to variety, the most commonly used potatoes for shoestring fries are russet potatoes. They have a high starch content, which helps to create a crispy exterior. However, you can also use Yukon Gold or Idaho potatoes if you prefer a more buttery flavor.

Cleaning and Preparing Potatoes

shoestring fries

Before making your shoestring fries, it is important to clean and prepare the potatoes properly. Start by scrubbing the potatoes under cold running water to remove any dirt and debris. Peel the potatoes if desired, although leaving the skins on can add extra texture and flavor to your fries.

Using a sharp knife or a mandoline slicer, slice the potatoes into very thin, matchstick-shaped pieces. Be careful to keep the slices as uniform in size as possible, as this will help ensure that they cook evenly.

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Tips for Making Perfect Shoestring Fries in the Air Fryer

Now that your potatoes are sliced and ready to go, it’s time to start cooking! These tips will help ensure that your shoestring fries turn out perfectly crispy and delicious:

  1. Preheat the air fryer. Just like with an oven, it is important to preheat your air fryer before cooking. This will help ensure that the hot air is evenly distributed, leading to crispier fries.

  2. Lightly coat the potatoes in oil. While you don’t need to deep-fry your shoestring fries, a light coating of oil will help ensure that they crisp up properly. Use a good quality oil with a high smoke point, such as canola or vegetable oil. Use only enough oil to lightly coat the potatoes – you don’t need to douse them in oil.

  3. Don’t overcrowd the air fryer basket. Crowding the basket can lead to uneven cooking and less crispy fries. Depending on the size of your air fryer, you may need to cook the fries in batches.

  4. Shake the basket halfway through cooking. About halfway through the cooking time, give the basket a good shake to redistribute the potatoes. This will help ensure that they cook evenly on all sides.

  5. Try different seasonings and dipping sauces. Shoestring fries are a blank canvas – you can season them with anything from garlic and herbs to spicy chili powder. Experiment with different flavors and dipping sauces to find your favorites.

Doneness Checks

The cooking time for shoestring fries in the air fryer can vary depending on the size of your potatoes and the temperature of your air fryer. Here are a few tips for checking the doneness of your fries:

  1. Check for color. When your fries are ready, they should be a golden brown color. If they are still pale, they may need more time in the air fryer.

  2. Test for crispiness. The exterior of your fries should be crispy and crunchy, while the interior should be soft and tender. Test a few fries to see if they have the right texture.

  3. Use a food thermometer. If you want to be extra sure that your fries are cooked through, use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature. Shoestring fries should reach a temperature of at least 160°F to be safe to consume.

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Shoestring Fries Air Fryer Recipe

close up view of air fried shoestring fries

Ready to try making shoestring fries in the air fryer for yourself? Here’s a simple recipe to get you started:


  • 2 russet potatoes, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Preheat your air fryer to 400°F.
  2. Slice the potatoes into matchstick-shaped pieces using a sharp knife or a mandoline slicer.
  3. Place the sliced potatoes in a mixing bowl and toss with the canola oil, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper.
  4. Arrange the potatoes in a single layer in the air fryer basket, making sure not to overcrowd.
  5. Cook for 10-12 minutes, shaking the basket halfway through cooking, or until the fries are golden brown and crispy.
  6. Serve hot with your favorite dipping sauce.


Once you have mastered the basics of making shoestring fries in the air fryer, you can start experimenting with different flavors and variations. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Parmesan and Herb Fries: Toss your cooked shoestring fries in a mixture of grated Parmesan cheese, chopped fresh parsley, and garlic powder.
  • Sweet Potato Fries: Swap out the russet potatoes for sweet potatoes for a healthier, slightly sweeter twist on shoestring fries.
  • Truffle Fries: Drizzle your cooked fries with truffle oil and sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley.
  • Chili Cheese Fries: Top your cooked fries with warm chili and shredded cheddar cheese.


Shoestring fries are a classic comfort food, and now they can be made healthier and more convenient with an air fryer. By following the tips and recipe in this guide, you’ll be able to make perfectly crispy, golden brown shoestring fries in no time. Experiment with different flavors and seasonings to find your favorites, and enjoy this fun and tasty snack without the guilt!

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    FAQS On Shoestring Fries Air Fryer Recipe

    Can I Make Shoestring Fries Using An Air Fryer?

    Absolutely! Air fryers are a great tool for making crispy and delicious shoestring fries without all the extra oil and calories.

    What Kind Of Potatoes Should I Use For The Shoestring Fries?

    Russet potatoes are the best choice for shoestring fries as they have a high starch content, resulting in a crispy exterior and a fluffy interior.

    How Do I Cut The Potatoes Into Shoestring Fries?

    To achieve shoestring fries, peel the potatoes and cut them into long, thin strips, about 1/4 inch thick. A mandoline slicer or a sharp knife can be helpful for achieving uniform cuts.

    How Do I Season The Shoestring Fries?

    After cutting the potatoes, toss them in a bowl with some olive oil, salt, and any desired seasonings, such as garlic powder, paprika, or herbs. Make sure all the fries are evenly coated.

    What Temperature And Cooking Time Should I Use In My Air Fryer?

    Preheat the air fryer to 400°F (200°C). Place the seasoned shoestring fries in a single layer inside the air fryer basket. Cook for approximately 10-15 minutes, shaking the basket occasionally for even cooking, until the fries turn golden brown and crispy.

    Can I Make Shoestring Fries Without Oil In The Air Fryer?

    While using a small amount of oil is optional, it can help enhance the flavor and crispiness of the shoestring fries. However, you can also achieve decent results by simply spraying the potatoes with cooking spray or omitting the oil altogether.

    Can I Make Shoestring Fries In Advance And Reheat Them In The Air Fryer?

    Yes, you can prepare the shoestring fries in advance and store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. When ready to serve, preheat the air fryer and reheat the fries for a few minutes until they become crispy again.