Your Air Fryer Is Superior For Reheating French Fries

Reheated french fries can be one of the most disappointing leftovers of all time. While most foods can be easily warmed up in the microwave to a reasonable facsimile of their former selves, french fries only get soggy on the outside and bone-dry on the inside. This has led many home cooks to give up on the idea of reheating entirely, settling for frigid french fries as a leftover snack. But if you have an air fryer in your kitchen, you can easily reheat french fries without making them inedible. In fact, they might turn out to be almost as tasty as fresh ones.

Potatoes' high starch content allows fries to suck up water during the cooking process, resulting in a moist interior and a crispy outside. However, the fries soon release this moisture through steam and condensation, leaving their insides dry and grainy while the exterior turns soggy due to the exposure to water. 

While the air fryer will not rehydrate the interior of your french fries, it will crisp up the outside in jiffy. The warm air will also reactivate any leftover oil on the surface of your fries, resulting in a crunchier finish. Your fries won't be fluffy and flawless, but certainly crisp and hot, perfect for dunking in sauce to cover up the small loss of moisture.

Tips on using the air fryer to reheat fries

Overcrowding is your biggest concern when it comes to reheating french fries in an air fryer. Stuffing your air fryer's basket  with too much food can block the hot air from circulating inside the appliance. This leads to uneven heating and prevents the exterior of fries and other foods from turning crunchy. Don't dump all your fries into the fryer basket so they're piled on top of each other — arrange them in a single layer with the least amount of overlap possible, cooking in batches, if necessary. The same logic applies when learning how to make oven fries that don't suck. Overcrowd the pan, and the potatoes will steam and turn soggy instead of crisp.

Cooking time is the second most important factor. Some guides recommend setting your air fryer as low as 325 degrees Fahrenheit to reheat fries, while others say you should go as high as 400 degrees F. Any temperature within this range should work, but make sure to check on your french fries after around five minutes, and air fry only until they're golden brown. Remember: your goal should be reheating, not cooking them further, so check frequently to avoid any burnt leftovers.

Other ways to revive leftover fries

Whether you're trying to reheat some potato wedges or crispy shoestring fries, there are other methods besides the air fryer that can breathe new life into your leftovers. If you don't have an air fryer, you can also use your oven or stovetop to reheat your french fries back into crispy perfection. These methods aren't as fast or efficient, but they get the job done. 

To use the oven, set it to relatively high heat and bake your fries on a baking sheet until they crisp up. You can also try setting the fries directly on a wire rack to encourage air circulation and make them crispier, similar to reheating bacon. On the stove, place your fries in a skillet over medium-high heat and toss them around for a few minutes, or until crispy.

Once you've finished reheating your fries, you can enhance their flavor further by seasoning them with your favorite condiments and spices. Garlic powder, paprika, and even sumac make wonderful additions to leftover fries. Toppings are also great French fry accompaniments that can mask the less-than-fresh texture of your leftovers. Grated parmesan and truffle oil are savory finishes that are sure to make you fall back in love with your day-old fries. A sauce such as nacho cheese or aioli can cover up both dry and soggy textures, and irresistible toppings such as bacon bits make everything better.