Healthier Fries From Your Air Fryer

Indulge in your favorite fast-food fries—minus the deep-fried fat—at home

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Four types of fries made in an air fryer on serving platters with dips and napkins underneath
From left: Potato fries with rosemary, garlicky parsnip fries, garlicky yuca fries, and sweet potato cinnamon fries.
Photo: John Walsh/Consumer Reports

Call it a guilty pleasure or an essential part of your weekly diet—we’re not judging. But there’s something special about hot fries, crisped to perfection, that make these delectable sides so hard to resist. Fast-food chains have their own methods of turning out these tasty snacks, but for a homemade fry without all those calories, an air fryer is the way to go. 

“Cooking at home gives you the power to influence your health,” says Marisa Moore, a culinary and integrative dietitian. “You can enjoy crispy and delicious homemade fries using an air fryer or convection oven.” Since their inception just over a decade ago, air fryers have surged in popularity, making them a primary kitchen appliance that some households can’t live without. These countertop cookers are praised for their effectiveness in making everything from brownies to bacon to sea bass with little to no oil and in a fraction of the time it would take if you used your stovetop or oven. It’s not hard to see why they now have a cultlike following.

Consumer Reports tests and rates each air fryer in our lab based on criteria that include the efficiency of its controls, how quiet it is while operating, and how easy it is to clean.

More On Air Fryers

And performance really varies: Our top-rated Chefman locks in an Overall Score of 87, and our lowest-rated model, the Instant Vortex 4-in-1, earns a 47. If you’re shopping around, see our air fryer buying guide for more information.

A taste test found that most models do a pretty decent job at making popular air fryer foods like chicken wings, chicken nuggets, and—you guessed it—fries.

“Achieving flavorful fries at home is only limited by your creativity,” Moore says. “I like to leave the skin on white or sweet potato fries for more fiber, and toss in garlic, paprika, and other seasonings to pump up the flavor.” 

I put this advice to the test in my own kitchen, trying out the recipes below for potato fries, sweet potato fries, parsnip fries, and yuca fries using our highly rated Gourmia GAF686 Digital Air Fryer. A few pantry staples and some sprigs of fresh herbs are all you need to create these healthy alternatives to fast-food faves, from KFC’s potato wedges to Red Robin’s steak-cut fries. Read on for the recipes, and enjoy flavorful fries in 20 minutes or less.

@consumerreports DIY fries—minus the deep-fried fat found in fast-food options 🍟. Tell us: What’s your favorite fry dipping sauce? #airfryer #airfryerrecipes #fries #cooking ♬ original sound - Consumer Reports

Potato Fries With Rosemary

Rosemary Potato Fries with ketchup

Photo: John Walsh/Consumer Reports Photo: John Walsh/Consumer Reports

At KFC, expect to add 348 calories to your meal if you eat 10 wedges. Those scrumptious sides are typically prepared in a chicken-flavored seasoning, then double fried. You won’t get the exact same taste at home with this recipe, but it will easily become a new family favorite.

2 medium russet potatoes with skin on, scrubbed 
2 teaspoons olive oil 
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper 
¼ teaspoon cayenne 
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary

Directions

  1. Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise; then cut each half into five wedges (each potato should yield roughly 10 pieces). For extra-crunchy wedges, soak the cut potatoes in ice water for about 30 minutes and then pat dry before seasoning. This helps to remove some of the starch and gives your potatoes that extra crisp.
  2. Preheat the air fryer to 380° F. 
  3. In a large bowl, toss the potato wedges with oil, salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. 
  4. Place the potatoes in a single layer in the air fryer basket or tray flesh-side down and cook for 8 minutes. Using heat-resistant tongs, turn the wedges over and cook for an additional 8 minutes or until browned and cooked through. 
  5. Sprinkle the fries with rosemary and serve immediately. 

Nutrition per serving: 110 calories, 2 grams fat, 0.5 gram saturated fat, 20 grams carbs, 3 grams fiber, 4 grams sugars (0 grams added), 2 grams protein, 200 mg sodium.

Makes 4 servings.

Sweet Potato Cinnamon Fries

Sweet Potato Fries with Cinnamon on a serving platter with ketchup

Photo: John Walsh/Consumer Reports Photo: John Walsh/Consumer Reports

Arby’s sweet potato waffle fries have anywhere from 250 to 490 calories, depending on the serving size. But these home creations, sprinkled with a dash of cinnamon, have a fraction of the fat and a flavor that tastes more high-end eatery than fast-food chain.

2 medium sweet potatoes with skin on, scrubbed 
2 teaspoons olive oil 
¼ teaspoon salt 
¼ teaspoon black pepper 
½ teaspoon cinnamon

Directions

  1. Preheat the air fryer to 380° F.
  2. Cut the sweet potatoes in half lengthwise, then cut each half into five wedges (each sweet potato should yield roughly 10 pieces). 
  3. In a large bowl, toss the potato wedges with oil, salt, pepper, and cinnamon. 
  4. Place the sweet potatoes in a single layer in the air fryer basket or tray, flesh-side down, and cook for 8 minutes. Using heat-resistant tongs, turn the wedges over and cook for an additional 8 minutes or until browned and cooked through. Serve.

Nutrition per serving: 110 calories, 2 grams fat, 0.5 gram saturated fat, 20 grams carbs, 3 grams fiber, 4 grams sugars (0 grams added), 2 grams protein, 200 mg sodium.

Nutrition perk/bonus: These are packed with the antioxidant beta carotene.

Makes 4 servings.

Garlicky Parsnip Fries With Parsley

Garlicky Parsnip Fries with Parsley on serving platter with honey mustard

Photo: John Walsh/Consumer Reports Photo: John Walsh/Consumer Reports

The gold standard for fast-food fries comes from none other than The Golden Arches—McDonald’s. But as irresistible as its fries may be, just one serving, about 12 to 15 skinny fries, will run you 224 calories, according to Carb Manager, a keto and low-carb diet tracker and app. These parsnip fries have a similar size and texture, and don’t come anywhere close to those calories. 

1 pound parsnips, peeled 
2 teaspoons olive oil 
¼ teaspoon salt 
¼ teaspoon black pepper 
2 cloves garlic, chopped 
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Directions

  1. Cut the parsnips in half crosswise, then in half lengthwise, and then into shoestring fries. For extra-crispy fries, parboil the parsnips for 3 minutes, then pat dry before seasoning.
  2. Preheat the air fryer to 380° F.
  3. In a large bowl, toss the parsnip pieces with the oil, salt, and pepper.
  4. Place the parsnips in a single layer in the air fryer basket or tray. Cook for 10 minutes (7 minutes if parboiled), then flip the fries with heat-resistant tongs. Sprinkle with garlic and cook for an additional 10 minutes (7 minutes if parboiled), until browned and cooked through. 
  5. Sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately.

Nutrition per serving: 115 calories, 2.5 grams fat, 0.5 gram saturated fat, 21 grams carbs, 6 grams fiber, 5 grams sugars (0 grams added), 2 grams protein, 160 mg sodium.

Nutrition perk/bonus: Parsnips have twice the fiber of potatoes.

Makes 4 servings.

Garlicky Yuca Fries With Parsley

Garlicky Yuca Fries with Parsley on serving platter with cilantro dip

Photo: John Walsh/Consumer Reports Photo: John Walsh/Consumer Reports

If you love a steak-cut fry, you know that the good ones have just the right amount of seasoning, coupled with a crispy outside and a pillowy soft texture on the inside. Red Robin gets that, which is why its steak-cut fries are a restaurant favorite. It even offers guests an opportunity to enjoy them bottomless. But trust us, those fries will cost you: 370 calories for one serving, to be exact. On the other hand, these thick-cut yuca fries, tossed with garlic and sprinkled with parsley, give your palate a punch without the blow to your daily diet.

1 large yuca root, peeled
2 teaspoons olive oil
¼ teaspoon salt 
¼ teaspoon black pepper
2 cloves garlic, chopped 

Directions

  1. Cut the yuca in half crosswise, then in half lengthwise, and then into shoestring fries. (Longer yuca roots may require additional cuts.) For an extra-crispy fry, parboil the yuca for 5 minutes, then pat dry before seasoning. 
  2. Preheat the air fryer to 380° F.
  3. In a large bowl, toss the yuca pieces with oil, salt, and pepper.
  4. Place the yuca in a single layer in the air fryer basket or tray. Cook for 10 minutes (7 minutes if parboiled). Then flip the fries with heat-resistant tongs. Sprinkle with garlic, and cook for an additional 10 minutes (7 minutes if parboiled), until browned and cooked through.
  5. Sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately.

Nutrition per serving: 185 calories, 2.5 grams fat, 0.5 gram saturated fat, 39 grams carbs, 2 grams fiber, 2 grams sugars (0 grams added), 2 grams protein, 160 mg sodium.

Nutrition perk/bonus: This has about 20 percent of the daily value for vitamin C.

Makes 4 servings.

Best Air Fryers From CR’s Tests

With so many air fryers on the market, it may be hard to whittle down the right one for you. But CR’s test engineers have put almost three dozen models to the test, assigning them an Overall Score based on their performance in key categories. Below are the top five from our ratings in alphabetical order. For our full review, go to CR’s air fryer ratings.


Headshot of CRO Home Editor Tanya Christian

Tanya A. Christian

I've spent more than a decade covering lifestyle, news, and policy. At Consumer Reports, I'm happy to sit at the intersection of these specialties, writing about appliances, product safety and advocacy, consumer fairness, and the best tools and products to help you spruce up your home. When I'm not putting pen to paper, I'm exploring new cultures through travel and taking on home makeover projects, one room at a time.