The secret to perfect homemade crispy french fries
The perfect potato fries are just something that makes me happy. I mean, who doesn’t love crispy french fries right? It’s a thing of beauty.
Making homemade fries
As much as I love potato fries I don’t really make them all that often. The reason for that is that I am not a really big fan of my deep fryer. I just hate the smell of frying, but the end result is so good that I do make the occasional golden brown perfect potato fries. Also making the perfect french fries takes time. It is not something that is done quickly. Of course you can go for the frozen fries that are ready made in the freezer of most supermarkets but there is something utterly satisfying about homemade crispy fries from scratch.
It all starts with the potato
The very first rule of a good french fries recipe is to start with a good potato. The best results are from Idaho or Russet potatoes. Those contain less moisture and will get a crispier result. Don’t use the waxy potatoes or new potatoes. Another plus from russet potatoes is that they are long so that makes for perfect long french fries. Obviously you still need to cut them yourself into the right shape.
Once cut place them in a large bowl of cold water and add a little bit of lemon juice to prevent discoloring. Once they are all cut rinse them under cold water and make sure the water is clear. That means most of the excess starch and sugars from the potatoes are gone. Drain the potatoes and let them dry in a single layer on paper towels. Make sure they do not contain any leftover water or the hot oil will be spitting once you add the fries. So you cut potatoes in small fries. We all know what they look like right? The thinner you cut them the crispier fries you will get as there is less starch compared to the inside of the fries.
Once they are dry it is time for the first fry. Which oil is the best oil is a personal preference. I like to fry my french fries in odorless coconut oil. That has a high smoke point and is perfect for frying in hot oil. An alternative is peanut oil or canola oil or another vegetable oil. I heat my oil to a temperature of 130˚C (266˚F) and prebake the fries in batches. Make sure not to overcrowd your pan. So baking in batches is the way to go. Take them out of the fryer with a slotted spoon.
Once baked you place them again on a baking sheet lined with paper towels in a single layer. This will make them cool down quicker and will save you time.
Second bake – double frying
Now it is time for the second bake. In order to do that you get the oil to a higher temperature. That should be 180˚C (350˚F) and the second time should leave your fries being perfectly crispy and golden. Again turn them out onto a sheet lined with paper towels and sprinkle immediately with salt. The oil temperature is crucial here as too high and the fries will get burned quickly and not cook on the inside and too low and they will get soggy and no one likes soggy fries right?
This way you’re left with delicious fries.
I did actually eat triple baked fries in London some years ago and I fell in love with how crispy they were. Quite easily the best fries I’ve ever tasted. But to be honest making your own fries I find twice baked enough. Otherwise it becomes such a lengthy process. And it is already quite some work to get it done the right way. But perfect fries take time! And if you feel you want them to be super crispy? Try the triple baked fries.
While I love having french fries you can also use the same proces with potato wedges. Another great thing to do as soon as you did the second fry is to sprinkle some seasoning on top. Think about some onion powder or garlic powder or – even better – parmesan cheese. Or use some smoked paprika on top. I love the latter too.
Do not mistake this method to use for sweet potato fries as they do require a different way of preparing. Will go into more detail on that soon.
Also preparing fresh fries in an air fryer I have not done before but will definitely be trying that soon. Of course you can serve the fries with anything you like. I tend to go for my homemade mayonnaise but any other sauce will be delicious. Peanut sauce is another big favorite here. Use them as a side dish or as a snack! Or try them with this vegan mayonaise!
Which fryer for the perfect fries
Now there is a good question; I actually don’t use an actual fryer. I have a Dutch oven that I use for frying. A good cast iron skillet will work just as well. I find that works just as good as another kitchen appliance I don’t use for anything else other then frying. Which I don’t do all that often anyway. It does help to have a thermometer so you can check the temperature of the oil. Also during the cooking process it is important to keep the oil at the right temperature.
Why do you soak the potatoes in water?
As mentioned soaking the potatoes in water makes them release the excess starch and will prevent them from discoloration.
Why are my fries not crispy?
For the perfect fry it is important to follow all the steps. So first soaking, then draining and drying, then you go on to the first batch of frying at the lower temperature of 266˚F and then cool them down again and move on to the second fry. If they are still not crispy you might have skipped a step or you might not have let them cool down sufficiently. Make sure to cool them in a single even layer and also make sure that the oil has the right temperature. Or maybe you’ve used the wrong potatoes to make them. Apart from russel and idaho potatoes yukon gold potatoes will work as well.
Can I reheat leftover fries?
Yes you can. That is best done in an oven at around 200˚C (400˚F) for around 5-10 minutes. Spread them out on a baking tray in a single layer and bake them in the oven for about 5-10 minutes. They should be good to go again! It’s not a good idea to place them into the fryer again as that will just make them probably too dark and overcooked. Reheating them in an air fryer is also a perfect way.
The perfect crispy french fries
- 1000 g russet potatoes
- 2 liter oil for frying
- seasalt to sprinkle on top
- You don't even need to peel the potatoes as the skin can be just as delicious. Just wash them thoroughly, then cut into even sized batons. Soak them in cold water and then rinse until the water runs clear. Leave to drain on paper towels in a single layer
- Heat the oil in a fryer or wok using a thermometer and bring the temperature up to 130˚ C. (266˚F)
- In small batches fry the first lot for about 5 minutes. Turn out onto a large tray and leave to cool while you continue with the next batch.
- Once all done repeat the process but this time with oil at 180˚ C (350˚F). Fry until golden and turn out onto kitchen paper to drain. Sprinkle with salt and enjoy!
The nutritional values above are calculated per portion. The details are based on standard nutritional tables and do not constitute a professional nutritional advice.