The Right and Proper Way to Bake a French Fry

How to bake a good and crispy french fry at home. Here are three different methods we tried, each with different results from boiling and pre-baking to letting them soak.

As part of my french fry flavor creation for Alexia Foods, I needed to figure out the right and proper way to make baked french fries at home. How do you get that crispy goodness without filling a pot full of oil and dumping the potatoes straight into it? (Baked French Fries is kind of an oxymoron.) I tested a few methods to find the one that worked for me. I used a julienne cut and russet potatoes for all tests to keep things consistent.

Method 1: Pre-bake

Method: Preheat your oven to 375° F. Bake cut potatoes for 10 minutes. Remove from oven, cool, season and bake again, 7-10 minutes on each side until browned.
Results: These turned out nice, but I didn’t like all the turning, and having the oven on for longer than absolutely necessary during the heat wave we’d been having was not ideal. I also found it harder to get an even crunch across an entire tray of fries, as the turning was pretty gosh darn important to the success of these.

Method 2: Soak

Method: Add cut potatoes to large bowl and cover with warm water. Allow to soak for 20 minutes as you preheat your oven to 475°F. Drain the potatoes, pat dry and toss in oil to coat. Season and bake for 10-15 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through. Turn the fries and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until golden brown.
Results: These produced nice, crispy french fires, but they were also a bit time consuming with all the soaking, drying and then baking again. Still, the quality was good and the fries tasty.

Method 3: Boil

Method: Add cut potatoes to a medium saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil over a medium-high heat and boil for 8 minutes. Remove from heat, drain and pat dry. Toss with oil and seasonings. Broil for 4-5 minutes per side or until crisp.
Results: These took considerably less time total than the other two methods, which was nice. You had to be careful on the boiling time, so as not to overboil and end up with mashed potatoes, and you obviously need to remain close to the oven as the fries are under the broiler. This method produced crisp fries that were cooked through on the inside and plenty crisp on the outside.

Conclusion

All of these methods worked in their own way, and I ended up with crisp french fries that were delicious to eat each and every time. However, I ended up liking “boil then broil” method best. It was important to make sure your boiling liquid started cold, so as not to overcook the potatoes, but the time invested was considerably less. Plus, it also lent itself well to adding in a bit of extra flavor if you wanted, which I’ll tell you about tomorrow with my final french fry recipe that I submitted to the Alexia Reinvent a Classic Challenge!

Before you go, a few announcements. First, we just had a new post go up on the Piccolini TV site, and they revised the comment policy, so now it’s really easy to leave one! Second, I’m writing for Enough Time Moms for Day-Timer, and I’d love if you’d check out my first two posts: Saving Time in the Kitchen and 6 Tips to Meal Planning Success!

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Comments

  1. Thanks for testing all this out. I am going to try the boil-broil method. I prefer baked fries to the deep-fried ones. I don’t like the mess and time it takes to make them.

  2. Best of luck with all your neww writing gigs! Thanks for such an informative and helpful post.

  3. Patricia Wagner says:

    How do you think steaming the cut potatoes instead of boiling them would be? Thanks.

  4. This is great info. I am always on the hunt for the best baked fries and I love these different methods. I definitely think that the best recipe has a two step process and I am going to try the boil then broil method. I get why that method would work – cooked on the inside and crispy on the outside. Can’t wait. Your pics look scrumptious!

  5. wow…sounds delicious…
    first time here…love ur space..
    excellent recipe collection with awesome clicks..
    Am your happy follower now..:)
    do stop by mine sometime..
    Tasty Appetite

  6. Wow- great site. So glad I found it! And this is great info. I’ve only done with bake method, which results in fries that are a bit too mushy from what I’ve found. I love making sweet potato fries so I’m going to try the boil then bake method and see how it goes. Thanks!

  7. Hi Shaina, I recently began an Internet Cookbook Blog, http://www.magnoliacollectionrecipes.com. While researching the food blogs that appealed to me, I came across yours and fell in love with your Baked French Fries, your delightful looking family, & especially your connection to your Yugoslavia grandmother. My husband & I spent 5 weeks in Croatia, Slovenia, Montenegro,& Bosnia a couple of years ago. Absolutely loved the area, the people, & the food. I will be trying the boil & broil cooking method for the fries, next week after attending our 13 yr.old grandson’s birthday party tomorrow in south Alabama.
    Before beginning my adventure into the Internet world of cooking, I had written & self published four cookbooks with 250,000 cookbooks in print; then I retired to give extra time to aging parents. Guess I just couldn’t permanently stay away, so hear I go again!
    Next week, I plan to add some favorite website links to my site. If you can find the time, I would greatly appreciate you taking a look at my site. If you feel that it is worthy of a link from your site, I would be very flattered. I wish you & your family my best regards, Gene Westbrook

  8. I actually nuke my sweet potato fries quickly in the microwave before cutting to make fries.. This seems like a better approach – Thanks for sharing!!!

  9. That’s very interesting. My wife and I are always trying to get oven fries to crisp up. The best method we’ve found so far is to coat them in eggs.

    I will definitely be trying out your “Boil then “Broil” method!

  10. Thank you for the tips – My lunch will look better now :)

  11. Leave it to you Shaina to figure out such a great technique for all of us. Will this work for the sweet potato fries as well?

  12. Ashley DeMazza says:

    Hi my name is Ashley DeMazza. I am also Mrs. DeMazza to lots of five year olds at North Canaan Elementary School. I live in Falls Village, CT with Mr. DeMazza, also a teacher, and the two DeMazza daughters. I have been wanting to make some homemade french fries but was not sure what to do. Thanks so much for sharing!

  13. Totally brilliant. Fantastic fry tutorial!

Trackbacks

  1. [...] for me. I used a julienne cut and russet potatoes for all tests to keep things consistent.   Click here to read the entire [...]

  2. [...] substitute vegetable broth) 1 cup Guinness Draught salt and pepper to taste To Serve: 3-4 cups baked or fried french fries 1/2 cup cold white cheese curds Make the gravy. In a large saucepan, melt [...]

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