I love a theme party and any excuse to get way too into something relatively meaningless. I fully commit.
So when a family member suggested we have a watch party for the new Halloween movie, I happily undertook creating a scary-good menu. On the dinner list: salad dressed with blood-red vinaigrette, steak and orange habanero salsa, and deep-fried sweet potato fries shaped like pumpkins.
With Halloween inching closer, I thought it’d be smart to tweak that sweet potato recipe for the air fryer for this week’s AirFryDay. It’s a festive snack or side dish for your own spooky party and is incredibly easy to make. Here’s what you need to know.
2 large sweet potatoes (or as many as you want to make)
Salt, pepper, and garlic powder
Using a knife, cut the sweet potatoes in rounds roughly 1/4 inch thick. You want to have a bunch of sweet potato circles once finished.
Using a cookie cutter shaped like a pumpkin — or other spooky shapes — press hard through each round to cut the sweet potato into shape.
Coat the fries with oil, the season heavily with salt. Add a heavy pinch of pepper and garlic powder.
Air fry at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes. Enjoy!
This recipe is incredibly simple. With a little elbow grease, you could knock this out in roughly 25 minutes. Obviously, the most time-consuming portion of the process is shaping the fries. A few notes on that.
First: Please, please be careful while cutting the circular rounds of sweet potato. Cutting those circles can prove unstable, since the potato can roll. If necessary, slice a sliver off the bottom of the potato, which will create a flat surface.
Credit: Here’s me, cutting up sweet potato with a cookie cutter.
Second: the cookie cutter. These were the cutters I bought, which came with a pumpkin, bat, ghost, and cat shape. While pumpkins make the most sense — you know, orange and all that — I loved all of the shapes, so I made all four into fries. It’s really not difficult, you may just have to really push at times. If that hurts your hand, lie a dish towel over the cutter.
From there, it’s just seasoning the fries and air frying. The 400-degree heat produces a blackened exterior and fluffy interior. In truth, we’re just roasting cutely shaped vegetable here, but the air fryer is awesome at roasting vegetables. Here’s how the final product looked.
Come on, how cute are those?
My fries took about 13 minutes to cook, but I suspect 15 minutes would be the norm for most, since my air fryer typically cooks things quickly. Basically, just check the fries to see if they get crispy and if they’re fork tender.
OK, so…something to admit: The deep-fried version of this recipe tastes better. It just does. That’s because deep-fried fries are perfect and delicious. The exterior of the fry gets a bit more bubbly and crisp, while the interior is light and airy. The air-fried version, meanwhile, has more of a rough and a softer interior. It’s still tasty, but it’s not deep-fried.
But deep frying is also less healthy, requires a lot more oil, creates a huge mess, and can be dangerous for less experienced cooks. You sure as hell aren’t going to deep fry in less than 30 minutes.
Cooking pumpkin-shaped fries in the air fryer is way more practical and still quite tasty. If you’re having a Halloween party, I know from experience that they’ll be a hit. Give yourself a half hour, grab some dipping sauces, and you’ve got a real treat on your hands.