Quick & Crispy Air Fryer Sweet Potato Fries
You can make crave-ably crispy sweet potato fries in just 40 minutes, from start to finish! This lightened-up recipe uses minimal oil, no cornstarch, and no soaking is required—but the result is still perfectly crisp & SO flavorful. I’ll walk you through how to make sweet potato fries in the air fryer using my quick & simple low-stress method.
Best Sweet Potatoes for Homemade Fries
For the crispiest air fryer French fries, you need to use a low-moisture, high-starch potato. But, the most common sweet potato varieties have more moisture and less starch than regular potatoes. Which can make it harder to make crispy fries! So, when choosing which variety to use for your homemade air fryer sweet potato fries, it depends on what’s most important to you: the classic bright orange color, or the crispiest texture?
- For orange sweet potato fries, use Beauregard sweet potatoes (purplish-red skin) or jewel sweet potatoes (light orange skin). These are sweeter, less starchy, and have more moisture, so they’re more ideal for a creamy sweet potato soup, mash, or cookies than they are for fries. But they’ve both got that vibrant orange flesh, and they’ll get decently crispy in the air fryer. (And they’re a better choice than garnet sweet potatoes, which have even more moisture.)
- For the crispiest sweet potato fries, use Hannah sweet potatoes (light brown skin, white flesh) or Japanese sweet potatoes (purplish-red skin, yellow flesh). These are much denser and starchier, more like regular potatoes—which makes them great choices for crispy fries! Neither has that classic orange color, but they’ve still got the sweet-and-creamy flavor sweet potatoes are known for.
Ingredients for Air Fryer Sweet Potato Fries
- Sweet Potatoes. I used orange-fleshed Beauregard sweet potatoes for my air fried sweet potato fries, but you could also use jewel sweet potatoes. If you want extra-crispy sweet potato fries, consider using a starchier variety like white-fleshed Hannah sweet potatoes or yellow-fleshed Japanese sweet potatoes.
- Avocado Oil. Just a drizzle of oil will go a long way to help your sweet potato fries crisp up! High smoke point oils are best for air frying—like refined avocado oil (~500°F), refined or light olive oil (465°F), or refined coconut oil (450°F). Skip lower smoke point oils like extra-virgin olive oil (325°F) or unrefined coconut oil (350°F), which release harmful byproducts when heated past these temperatures.
- Salt & Pepper. I like to air fry sweet potato fries with just simple salt & pepper, but feel free to get creative with other seasonings. Add spices like garlic powder, chili powder, paprika, cayenne, cinnamon—whatever calls to your taste buds!
For another easy air-fried snack recipe, try my air fryer kale chips!
Can you make sweet potato fries without cornstarch?
The short answer: Yes, you can make crispy sweet potato fries in the air fryer with no cornstarch at all—and I think they taste better! In many recipes, people add cornstarch to create a crispy coating on fries. Since sweet potatoes are lower in starch & higher in moisture, adding some starch can help absorb moisture, which makes them crispier. So, if you’d like to try it out, feel free to add 1 Tbsp of cornstarch to this recipe!
When I’ve tested this air fryer sweet potato fry recipe with cornstarch, it does help them crisp up a bit more—but it also makes them sort of sticky, and they turn out less flavorful. Using cornstarch to dry out the texture also dries out some of the sweet flavor, which just isn’t worth it for me. I’d personally rather have a less-crispy, more-flavorful sweet potato fry than a crispy fry with no flavor!
How to Cut Sweet Potatoes for Fries
Whether you’re cooking veggie fries in an oven or in an air fryer, how you cut them makes a huge difference. The thinner your fries are, the crispier they’ll get—without any cornstarch or long soak times! And, cutting them as uniformly as possible ensures they’ll cook more evenly, so you don’t end up with some overcooked & some undercooked. Here’s how I cut my sweet potatoes:
- Peel the sweet potatoes if you’d like, or you can leave the skin on. (I peeled mine, but leaving the skin on can actually help them get crispier!)
- Start by cutting off both ends of each sweet potato, so the ends are flat.
- Next, slice your sweet potatoes lengthwise, aiming for slices around ¼-inch to ⅜-inch thick. To make this easier on myself, I used a mandoline with the slicer set to the largest setting. But you can also cut your slices with a sharp knife and a steady hand.
- Then, cut each sweet potato slice into sticks, again aiming for uniform fries that are ¼-⅜-inch thick.
Should sweet potato fries be soaked before air frying?
The short answer: No, you don’t need to soak sweet potato fries for the air fryer, but you can if you want to. So many recipes insist on soaking air fryer fries for 30 minutes or as long as 8 hours. Supposedly, because this will remove excess starch & help the fries become crispy—even though this step often doesn’t make much difference. Since sweet potatoes are already naturally low in starch, I say spare yourself the time and don’t bother soaking them (unless you want to)!
How to Make Sweet Potato Fries in the Air Fryer
- Cut your sweet potatoes into thin, uniform sticks around ¼-⅜-inch thick.
- If needed, preheat your air fryer to 370°F (190°C).
- Optional: Rise the fries & soak them in cold water, if desired. (I’ve made air fryer sweet potato fries with a soak and without soaking, and they turn out great both ways!)
- Pat your sweet potato fries dry with paper towels or clean kitchen towels. (Even if you don’t rinse or soak your fries, take a moment to pat them down and get them as dry as possible. Drier fries = crispier fries!)
- Then, season the fries with oil, salt, pepper, and any additional seasonings you’d like. (If you want to add cornstarch, do so now.)
- Add your fries into the preheated air fryer, arranging them in an even layer in the basket so they’re not stacked or overcrowded. (With homemade sweet potato fries in particular, air frying in smaller batches with lots of space between the fries can help them turn out crispier.)
- Cook sweet potato fries in the air fryer for 20-25 minutes at 370°F, checking on them as they go. (Toss them halfway if you want, but I usually don’t.) You’ll know they’re done when they’re crispy & browning at the edges!
You can see this whole process in action in my Easiest Air Fryer Fries video!
Quick Tips for Crispy Air Fryer Sweet Potato Fries
If you’ve already made a batch of homemade sweet potato fries in the air fryer but they’re just still not getting as crispy as you want, come back and try these quick tips:
- Try a Starchier Potato. Instead of an orange-fleshed sweet potato, try using a starchier Hannah sweet potato or Japanese sweet potato for crispier fries.
- Leave the Skin On. The sweet potato skin can actually help your fries crisp up nicely, so skip peeling them next time!
- Cut Thin, Uniform Fries. Remember, thinner sweet potato fries will get crispier in the air fryer, and they’ll cook more evenly if they’re all the same size. Better to cut them too thin than too thick!
- Try Soaking and/or Adding Cornstarch. Try the rinse and/or soak if you skipped it with your last batch, or try adding 1 Tbsp of cornstarch to the recipe. I personally didn’t notice a difference with these added steps, but other folks do—and you might, too!
- Cook Smaller Batches. For the crispiest batch, cook air fryer sweet potato fries in a single, even layer, so no fries are stacked & there’s room for heat to circulate. (Of course, you don’t have to cook in batches this small, but it’s worth trying if you’re wanting to increase crispiness!)
- Increase the Cook Time and/or Temperature. The simplest strategy for extra-crispy sweet potato fries is to just cook them longer, and/or turn up the air fryer temperature to 400°F for a crispy boost. If you make either change, just be sure to monitor closely as they cook!
Air Fryer Sweet Potato Fries
- 16 oz sweet potatoes, (2-3 large, or 3-4 medium-to-small potatoes)
- 1-2 Tbsp avocado oil
- ½ tsp salt
- black pepper, to taste
- (optional: 1 Tbsp cornstarch)
- Optional: Peel sweet potatoes if desired.
- Cut sweet potatoes into fries using a mandoline or knife. First, cut off both ends of the sweet potato, then cut it in half lengthwise. Next, slice the potato lengthwise into slices ¼-⅜-inch thick. (I used a mandoline with the slicer on the largest setting.) Finally, use a knife to cut each slice into sticks for fries. (Smaller fries will turn out crispier!)
- Preheat air fryer to 370°F (190°C) if needed. (To keep fries warm after they cook, preheat your regular oven to 180°F / 80°C.)
- Optional: Add fries to a sieve or colander and rinse with cold water. If you want to soak the fries, transfer them into a bowl and fill with in cold water, so they’re completely submerged. Let fries soak while air fryer preheats, or as long as you prefer.
- Pat fries dry with paper towels. Get them as dry as possible!
- Toss sweet potato fries with oil, salt, & pepper in a bowl.
- Add seasoned fries to bottom of preheated air fryer basket, in a single, even layer so they’re not stacked or overcrowded. (Cook the fries in batches as needed. Taking the time to cook more batches will make them crispier in the end!)
- Air fry sweet potato fries for 20-25 minutes, until crisp and golden-brown. (You can flip them halfway if you want, but I usually don’t, and they turn out great!) If desired, season cooked fries with additional salt or seasonings.
- To keep them warm, add cooked fries to a wire rack on a baking sheet and transfer to a preheated oven (180°F) while you air fry the remaining fries. (Or, you can reheat all of your cooked fries in the air fryer for 2-3 minutes to refresh them before serving.)
- Serve hot and enjoy!