McDonald’s french fries are legendary! The appearance and scent of these iconic savory treats are unmistakable. Perfectly golden, salted, and crisp on the outside and fluffy and soft on the inside, McDonald’s fries are undoubtedly America’s most beloved french fries. Have you ever considered preparing them at home?
Sure, it would be easier to visit the McDonald’s drive-thru to satisfy your french fry craving. But preparing this delicious treat in your air fryer is the healthier way to go!
McDonald’s Fries Vs. Our Air Fryer Copycat McDonald’s Fries
When you order McDonald’s french fries, you’re aware that you’re not ordering health food. But let’s take a peek at both ingredient lists and compare.
- vegetable oil
- canola oil
- corn oil
- soybean oil
- hydrogenated soybean oil
- natural beef flavor (including hydrolyzed wheat and hydrolyzed milk)
- dextrose (a natural corn-derived sugar used to achieve a uniform golden hue)
- sodium acid pyrophosphate (prevents graying after freezing)
- kosher salt
- granulated sugar
- white pepper
- apple cider vinegar
- beef pan drippings (used to achieve natural beef flavor)
- peanut oil
Our air fryer copycat McDonald’s fries consist of more straightforward ingredients. We also air-fry our fries, while McDonald’s deep-fries theirs (and not just once, but twice).
Although our copycat fries may take more time to prepare, you’ll feel better about indulging in them. Serve them up with some freshly grilled burgers or enjoy them on their own!
Air Fryer Copycat McDonald’s Fries Recipe
- 8 cups cold water
- 3 tablespoons kosher salt (divided)
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon white pepper
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 4 medium russet potatoes
- 2 tablespoons beef pan drippings (from 1 pound of 80 percent ground beef)
- 2 tablespoons peanut oil
- Pour the cold water into a large bowl. Mix in 2 tablespoons of kosher salt. Then mix in the sugar, white pepper, and apple cider vinegar. Set the bowl aside.
- Wash and dry the potatoes. Then peel the potatoes and cut them lengthwise into 1/8-inch-thick strips.
- Place the potato strips into the large bowl with the prepared liquid. Cover with aluminum foil or plastic wrap, and place the bowl in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
- Remove the bowl from the refrigerator. Drain and rinse the potatoes under cold water in a colander. Using paper towels, pat the potatoes as dry as possible. Set the potatoes aside on a large plate.
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook the ground beef until it is no longer pink. After you’ve finished cooking the ground beef, transfer the beef drippings to a small bowl. Save the ground beef for later use.
- Pour the peanut oil into a small bowl.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Transfer the potatoes from the plate to the prepared baking sheet. Arrange the potatoes on the baking sheet so that the pieces are side by side.
- Using a pastry brush, coat the fries with the beef drippings and then the peanut oil. Evenly sprinkle the fries with the remaining tablespoon of kosher salt.
- Lightly coat the basket of your air fryer with cooking spray and set heat to 330°F.
- While the air fryer is preheating, place the baking sheet of fries in the freezer for about 5 minutes.
- Remove the baking sheet from the freezer. Place 1/4 of the potato strips into the air fryer basket and cook them for 4 minutes. Do not place the baking sheet back in the freezer.
- After 4 minutes, flip the fries in the basket with a spatula to brown all sides evenly. Continue to cook the fries for an additional 3-4 minutes or until the fries are crispy and slightly brown. Transfer the fries to a cooling rack.
- Repeat steps 11 and 12 for the remaining potato strips. Serve immediately. Enjoy!