French fries are arguably the perfect snack or side dish when you are craving something crisp, salty, savory, and satisfying. In this post I share the easiest way to make perfectly crisp French fries each time you make. Tossed in a special shaker seasoning, these French fries make one of the best and super addictive snack. I also share the steps for oven baked and air fryer French fries.
About French fries
Some may say French fries are really nothing other than deep fried potatoes, but in order to truly appreciate French fries at their best, there are a number of factors to take into consideration. Beyond that, certain techniques will ensure that you are creating the optimal texture and flavor that will make your efforts worthwhile.
After all, if you are going to go through the process of making French fries at home, you may as well make the best tasting fries possible. With the option to customize them to suit your diet, such as choosing the best oil for frying and choosing the best technique to fry, making these at home may be a better option for a lot of us.
Not all potatoes are the same. Besides shape, size and color, the biggest factor that will affect your French fries is the amount of starch in the potatoes. For the best fries with the lightest interior and crispiest exterior I have found that Idaho or russet potatoes yield the best results. These potatoes are high in starch and low in water and sugar content.
The other key ingredient to consider here is the oil that you will use to fry your potatoes. What you want here is a neutral oil that will not impart a great deal of flavor. After all, you really want the potato to be the star here. Also to be considered is the smoke point of the oil that will hold up at high temperatures.
Taking these two factors into consideration, good choices for cooking French fries are peanut, canola, or vegetable oil as they are neutral and have relatively high smoke points.
Once you have chosen your potatoes and the oil in which you will fry them, it is time to move on to the actual preparation of the finger chips.
How to make French fries (stepwise photos)
Preparing potatoes for making French fries
1. The choice to peel your potatoes or not is totally up to you. Some may prefer the ease of leaving them unpeeled, in which case you must be sure to scrub your potatoes thoroughly before cutting. Peeling them will give them a more uniform look, but you will be losing some of the nutrients that the skin has to offer. Again, the choice is yours. I peel them.
2. The next step is cutting the potatoes. For this it is best to use a large standard chef’s knife and a cutting board. You are going for fries that are about ¼ to ⅓ inch thick. The best way to approach this is to cut a long slice off of the potato so that it has a flat side that you can rest it on.
3. From there, make vertical cuts of uniform thickness. Once the entire potato is cut, cut them lengthwise. Alternately, you can stack the slices and cut them vertically into long sticks.
4. As soon as the fries are cut they must be put in a bowl and covered immediately in ice cold water. This will not only prevent them from turning grey, but will also draw some of the starch away from the surface of the potatoes. This is important because it will eliminate the chance of the fries sticking together when they cook. A minimum of 1 to 2 hours soak in the refrigerator is all they need. I also prefer to add some ice cubes to the pot.
5. After that, simply drain the water and pour fresh ice cold water to the same bowl. We are rinsing the potato sticks here with the ice cold water. Drain to a colander.
6. Wipe them with a clean kitchen cloth to remove any starch on the surface of the potato sticks. At this stage I also prefer to separate the long and short sticks so they can be fried in separate batches. This way they will fry uniformly.
7. After that you will transfer them to a tray for quick drying, to minimize the splatters while frying. Do not let the fries sit too long, we need to fry the cold potato sticks.
Oil blanch fries
8. While your potatoes are drying you can proceed with getting your oil up to temperature for the next step which is oil blanching. A large, heavy bottomed pan/ pot or Dutch oven works well here. You can start by filling the pot about halfway with your oil and heat it gently to about 300 degrees F (148 to 150 degrees Celsius). If you do not have a deep fry thermometer, fry them on a medium hot oil. But for best results, I insist you use it so you fry it at right temperature.
9. Once it has reached that point, you can begin blanching your fries, being careful not to crowd the pan/ pot.
10. After about 3 minutes you can remove them from the oil.
11. Drain them on to a wired rack or a perforated tray and allow them to cool completely. Continue on with frying the rest of the fries, draining them well afterwards and allowing them to cool completely before proceeding with the actual frying.
How to deep fry French Fries
12. Once your fries have been oil blanched you can move forward with the deep frying process. You will use the same oil you used to oil blanch but start at a higher temperature. It is important to use a thermometer for this step, raising the oil to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (176 degrees Celsius).
13. Gently lower the fries into the oil, being careful not to overcrowd the pan/ pot.
14. They will rise to the surface and begin to take on color in a few minutes. Once they are golden light brown you can carefully remove them from the oil and allow them to drain on a wired rack.
The finishing touch for your French fries can be as simple as a generous sprinkle of fine salt. Without a doubt, this is both classic and delicious. However, if you wish to take your French fries to the next level, give this shaker fries seasoning a try.
It is a savory mix of garlic powder, onion powder, dried basil, oregano, dried red chili flakes, paprika and black pepper. Sprinkle this generously onto your hot fries and enjoy a well-rounded flavor that really makes your French fries sing!
Add the French fries to a large bowl and sprinkle the seasoning as much as you need. Toss them. Season each batch separately and serve them right away. Also note that the French fries will begin to lose their crispness as they sit any longer, especially after the seasoning.
How to oven bake French Fries
For those who are interested in making French fries at home without deep frying, you can achieve favorable results that are lower in fat. You will, however, sacrifice some of the crispiness of a deep fried potato. For this method you will cut and prepare your fries in much the same way.
Next, you will toss the fries with a neutral oil and spread them in a single layer on a large sheet pan so that they are not touching. Place them in a preheated oven set to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (205 degrees Celsius). Begin checking them after 20 minutes, giving them longer if they seem like they need a little more color. Season them at this point and enjoy.
How to Air Fry French Fries
If you are a fan of the air fryer, you can use it to make french fries by cutting and preparing them as suggested, tossing them with oil, then placing them in the basket of your air fryer that has been preheated to 375 F degrees. It is essential that you do not crowd the basket with fries so they can crisp up evenly.
It is best to shake the basket of the air fryer after about 6 minutes then begin to check them for doneness after 12 minutes. When they are crisp and golden with soft interiors, remove them from the basket and season immediately while still hot.
How to freeze oil blanched French Fries
For convenience, oil blanched fries can be frozen then fried later. For this method follow the same cutting, soaking, drying, and oil blanching procedure as mentioned above. Once they have cooled completely you can arrange them on a sheet pan in a single layer and place them in your freezer.
Once they are frozen, simply put them into freezer storage bags and freeze. You can keep these on hand for when the mood strikes. To finish these fries, you can fry, oven bake, or air fry from frozen. Season them when hot and enjoy!
French fries recipe
For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card
Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )
- 3 Russet potatoes (or Idaho or Maris piper)
- 1½ cups oil (peanut, canola or vegetable oil)
For shaker seasoning
- ¾ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¾ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon paprika (or ¼ teaspoon red chili powder)
- ¼ teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon red chilli flakes (optional)
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper (optional)
- Rinse and scrub the potatoes under running water. Peel the potatoes and cut each potato to ¼ to ⅓ inch thick slices (lengthwise).
- Then further cut them to sticks of ¼ inch to ⅓ inch each. Add them to a large bowl of ice cold water. I also add a few ice cubes to them. Rest for a minimum of 1 to 2 hours in the refrigerator.
- Drain the water completely and pour ice cold water again to the bowl. Rinse them in this water to get rid of excess starch. Do not use regular water at this stage. We want the potato sticks to be cold.
- Then drain to a colander and wipe dry with a kitchen cloth. Spread them on a tray and let dry while you heat the oil. I prefer to separate the longer and shorter fries at this stage so they fry uniformly in the oil. Do not wait for too long as we need to fry the cold fries.
How to fry French fries
- Pour oil to a deep heavy bottom pan or pot & begin to heat it on a medium flame. Ensure the oil is at least 3 to 4 inches high in the pan. Attach your thermometer to the side of your pan for best results.
- When the oil reaches 300 F (150 C), gently slide 10 to 12 potato stick to the hot oil (depending on the size of your pan. Ensure you don't crowd the pan and the temperature almost remains same while frying, a variation of 20 F or 12 C is just fine.
- After they are slightly cooked, for about 3 minutes remove them to a wired rack, lined over a tray. Spread them on the tray while you continue to fry the next batch of French fries.
- Once you are done with the blanching, heat the oil a little higher to 350 F (175 C).
- Refry the blanched French fries until golden and crisp. Remove them to the wired rack to cool down slightly.
- Add each batch of French fries to a large bowl or a brow bag and sprinkle the seasoning as much as you desire. Toss well and serve immediately before they cool down as they begin to lose their crispness.
- Fry the rest of the French fries in batches and serve right away.
Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.
For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.
NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)
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