The first item I tried in my new air fryer was frozen French fries. Which I love. I figured I might as well try a few other variations, so I went with air fryer frozen waffle fries. Because all forms of almost-fried potatoes are favorites in this house!
- Frozen waffle fries
- Cooking spray
Pretty easy, right?
Disclosure: I have omitted the cooking spray more than once and had no issues with my fries. In theory, without the spray they will stick to the basket. This is probably variable depending upon the type and brand of fries you buy, so use the spray the first time and then, if you’re feeling brave, experiment without it another time.
What is a waffle fry?
A waffle fry is simply a variant of a French fry. Waffle fries are lattice shaped, obtained by quarter-turning the potato before each next slide over a grater. This lattice shaped potato is then typically deep fried.
How the air fryer works
I have an Instant Pot and my air fryer is a lid that goes right on it. What a relief – I did not need another whole appliance! The lid does take up a fair amount of room, but at least it’s not as big as most of the other choices out there.
The lid is basically an intense heating element. The default temperature for air frying is 400F. It also circulates air while cooking the food. This results in some differences between the cooking methods:
- Speed to preheat: the air fryer takes less than 5 minutes (exactly 3.5 when I timed it) to come up to temperature. I’m sure it helps that it is only heating a very small area within the Instant Pot’s stainless steel inner pot. This is compared to the 15-20 minutes it takes my full-sized oven to preheat to 400F.
- Speed to cook: Long ago I adopted the habit of cooking frozen fries (all shapes) for about double the time suggested on the package. Whenever I followed the package instructions, they were too soft and mushy for us. I like a little crisp to my fries! This means I end up baking the fries for 45-60 minutes. In the air fryer, this time is much shorter! I usually go for 18 minutes, but it does vary a little by type (see below)
- Flipping the fries: when using the oven, you need to remove the baking sheet about halfway thru the cook time and flip the fries with a spatula. The Instant Pot air fryer lid beeps at you when it’s time to do this. And the fries are in a basket, not in an even layer. I have found it easiest to simply lift the basket and give the fries a good shakey-shake to mix them up a little. This helps promote even heating, and it’s a lot faster and simpler than turning with a spatula.
- Texture of the fries: well, this is what it’s all about, right? Especially with waffle fries – they have all those extra edges, and every edge needs to get a little crispy! In the oven, I get a few burnt fries and a few that are a little soft but am trying for most of them being crisp on the outside and tender inside. This happens more evenly and near-perfectly with the air fryer.
Once you make frozen waffle fries in the air fryer, you'll never want to make them any other way!
I air fry frozen waffle fries the same as I do frozen French fries: 18 minutes at 400F. However, it is common for me to decide to add another 2 minutes after the cycle completes. This is very dependent upon how many fries I put in the basket. So I stick with 18 minutes and decide at the end of the cycle whether more time is needed.
This approach is specific to the Ore-Ida brand of waffle fries, and the Instant Pot Air Fryer Lid. I would expect other brands to cook differently. And even more to the point, other Air Fryers probably have different settings. One of my friends has a Ninja Air Fryer, and her results indicate that it runs hotter than my air fryer. You might need to adjust for all these variables when using your air fryer. Your best bet is to start with a shorter cooking time at first, as it is super easy to add another 2-minute cycle at the end of the cook time.
Waffle fries, just like other fries, are simply delicious with ketchup (or a dipping sauce of your choice!) But you can also take them one step further and turn them into Irish Nachos - a great St Patrick's Day or game day appetizer!
Air Fryer Waffle Fries
- 8 oz Waffle Fries frozen (½ bag)
- Cooking spray
- Spray the air fryer basket with cooking spray to prevent sticking.
- Place frozen fries in the basket and inside the Instant Pot inner pot, then place the air fryer lid in place. Set timer for 18 minutes.
- Air fryer will beep when it is time to turn the food (after 11 minutes for an 18-minute cycle). Remove the lid, shake the basket a few times, then replace the lid and resume the cycle.
- Air fryer will beep and go into cool down mode when the cycle is complete.
Nutrition values are estimates only, using online calculators. Please verify using your own data.
If you love potatoes like I do, you should check out my French Onion Potato Bake - a delicious twist on scalloped potatoes!
And in addition to the Irish nachos listed above, consider making Reuben Dip for St Patricks or game day. Because you can never have too many dips to choose from!