Air fryer pumpkin fries, are savory-sweet and made crispy in the air fryer with a little oil, a baking “pie” pumpkin, and are seasoned just right with cumin, turmeric, and smoked paprika. Serve with your favorite sauces for a seasonal side dish or festive treat.
Did you know that you could make pumpkin fries in the air fryer? Had you ever even heard of pumpkin fries? Well if you have never heard of such a thing then you are not alone! You can certainly make fries with any type of hard winter squash – even butternut squash fries!
Until a friend of mine mentioned that they were looking forward to pumpkin fries this fall, I had never even given them any thought! But oh my goodness, I was really missing out! Of course, I already knew about basic french fries from russet potatoes, sweet potato fries made out of sweet potatoes, and even zucchini fries, – but never did I ever realize that you could make these tasty, curvy, crispy, pumpkin fries out of a…pumpkin!
Check out this post with all the vegan pumpkin recipes – both sweet and savory – from Veggie Fun Kitchen!
A few things to know about pumpkin fries
- You can’t make them with the same type of pumpkin as you use to carve a jack-o-lantern. The texture will be stringy or mushy and the flavor bland. Use a “pie” pumpkin or similar winter squash. (Suggestions will be in the blog post below.)
- These pumpkin fries are made perfectly in the air fryer with very little oil. You will need to make them in batches though.
- You can dip the pumpkin fries in ketchup of course, but I have some other super yummy dipping sauces that would work too! (And in case you are wondering, they are all vegan, with many of them being oil-free.)Try my:
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Ingredients needed to make air fryer pumpkin fries
- One small to medium-sized pumpkin – Make sure to use a sweet pumpkin that is suitable for making pumpkin pies. I’ve given some suggestions below. But basically, if the pumpkin is labeled as a “pie” pumpkin or a “baking” pumpkin then you should be good! You don’t want a super small pumpkin, but you don’t want a super larger pumpkin either – or you will be making pumpkin fries all day! The number of fries you will be able to make will depend on the size of the pumpkin you use.
- olive oil – I like the robust flavored olive oil. You can also substitute in any oil of choice that allows for high temperature. I sometimes like to use melted (vegan) butter for flavor. Don’t use dairy butter as it might burn.
- cumin, smoked paprika, turmeric, sea salt, and black pepper to taste – Smoked paprika gives these fries a nice smoky flavor. If you don’t like that smoky taste, you can substitute with mild-tasting sweet paprika.
- You will also need an air fryer for this air fryer pumpkin recipe.
Which type of pumpkin should I use for pumpkin fries?
Well, the type of pumpkin you should definitely NOT use is the type sold in pumpkin patches (and stores) that is intended to carve into a jack-o-lantern. Those types of pumpkins are going to have the wrong texture and flavor. They are intended to carve well – not necessarily to taste good!
If you find a pumpkin labeled as “used for baking”, or called “sugar pumpkins”, or “pie pumpkins”, that will be perfect. You want a pumpkin with dense sweet flesh for making these pumpkin fries.
You can also use butternut squash to make pumpkin fries – because butternut squash and pumpkins reside in the same family! They are both winter squashes. And the good news is that, unlike fresh pumpkins, butternut squash is available all year long. Read more about the best pumpkins to use for baking in this article by The Kitchn.
For some other delicious recipes using winter squash, try my:
How to make air fryer pumpkin fries
The exact ingredients with measurements can be found in the recipe card below along with more concise abbreviated instructions. Read on for more details, tips, and tricks so that you will feel confident making this recipe.
Step 1: Prepare the pumpkin
After you have sourced the best pumpkin for pumpkin fries, prepare it for air frying. Wash and dry the pumpkin. Cut the pumpkin in half, cutting off the top stem part and hard bottom part. Scoop out the seeds. Cut each half into one-half to one-inch slices. Carefully peel off the skin from each slice. Use a sharp knife and work carefully and slowly.
There is one pumpkin you probably won’t need to remove the skin from. The tender-skinned Kabocha pumpkin has a thin edible skin – as long as the pumpkin is fresh and young. I have used this lovely green-skinned roasted pumpkin in my Autumn Spinach Salad with Roasted Pumpkin and in my Pasta Salad with Roasted Pumpkin. Both are delicious.
Step 2: seasoning the uncooked pumpkin fries
In a large bowl, mix all of the seasonings, cumin, turmeric, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper, along with the oil. You will be adding the peeled pumpkin slices to the seasonings so make sure to use a large enough blow.
Add the sliced pumpkin to the bowl and mix to ensure they are all evenly coated. I usually end up massaging the seasonings onto the pumpkin slices by hand.
Step 3: Time to make your air fryer roasted pumpkin fries!
A few things to keep in mind about the air frying process
One thing to remember about cooking in air fryers is that every air fryer cooks a little differently. I have three different air fryers and if I cooked this exact recipe in each one exactly the same, then I would get three different final results.
The first time you make this (or any new recipe in the air fryer) check often after the halfway point. Things suddenly start cooking fast in an air fryer and until you know how your air fryer will do with a particular recipe, it’s just best to check the cooking/doneness progress often.
Also, keep in mind that you will be cooking your air fryer pumpkin fries in batches. It is important that the fries not overlap each other at all. If they come even close to touching they will end up mushy. Depending on the size of your pumpkin and and the size of your air fryer basket, expect to cook the air fryer pumpkin fries in two-three batches.
Time to air fry!
Preheat the air fryer to 360°. It’s important to wait until the air fryer has fully preheated to put any of the pumpkin fries in the basket. Some air fryers preheat at warp speed which means the air fryer is going to get extra hot while it is preheating.
Have the pumpkin fries right ready to go so that you can add them to the basket as soon as the air fryer has preheated.
Either use a liner or spritz your air fryer basket with cooking spray if it needs it. (Again, every air fryer is different and not all need it.) Place the cut and seasoned pumpkin in the air fryer basket in a single layer without them touching. Remember that you will be cooking the pumpkin fries in batches.
Air fry at 360° for 15 minutes. Remove the basket and flip the fries over halfway through the cooking time. Remember though that the actual cooking time is going to be a little bit different for every air fryer. Check often after you turn the fries.
The pumpkin fries should be cooked through (fork tender) on the inside and a little bit crispy on the outside. These air fryer pumpkin fries will not reheat super great if you have leftovers, so only make as much as you can eat in one sitting.
Are you looking for some other delicious plant-based recipes you can cook in your air fryer? You might like one of these!
The printable recipe card for air fryer pumpkin fries
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Air Fryer Pumpkin Fries
- 1 air fryer
- 1 med pumpkin see notes
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- black pepper to taste
- Wash and dry the pumpkin. Cut the pumpkin in half, cutting off the top stem part and hard bottom part. Scoop out the seeds. Cut each half into one-half to one-inch slices. Carefully peel off the skin from each slice unless you are using a tender-skinned pumpkin like a Kabocha pumpkin.
- In a large bowl, mix all of the seasonings, the cumin, turmeric, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper, along with the oil.
- Add the sliced pumpkin to the bowl and mix to ensure they are all evenly coated. I usually end up massaging the seasonings onto the pumpkin slices by hand.
- Preheat the air fryer to 360°. The time to preheat is not included in the total cooking minutes above.
- Once the air fryer is preheated, you will be cooking the pumpkin fries in batches. Depending on the size of your air fryer basket, you will need to do 2-3 batches. Arrange the fries in the basket in one single layer and air fry at 360° for 15 minutes. Remove the basket and flip the fries over halfway through the cooking time.
- The fries should be crispy and cooked through. Every air fryer is different. If this is the first time you are making this recipe, remove one fry at the end of the cooking time. Break it in half and sample it. If the fries are not crispy and cooked through, continue air frying for another 5 minutes.