oven fries Recipes

oven fries

I am staunchly of the belief that if you really really crave something — I mean, if you’ve tried very hard to move on or distract that part of your brain/belly that rather rudely interrupts into your thoughts most days at 4 p.m. and screams “CHOCOLATE!” or “CAAAAAKE!” and it’s just not working — you should indulge it. I have no patience for baked doughnuts or sugar substitutes, and you can probably already guess that I cannot abide anything but cream in my hot coffee. Have a salad for lunch the day before and the day after, eat the steel-cut oats for breakfast, make hearty soups a regular part of your dinner rotation, but FTLOG, if you really want that chocolate cake, please, have that chocolate cake and then enjoy every last buttercreamed crumb of it.


scrubbed slicedbatons into cold watershort simmer quick drain

For me, said indulgences most often come in potato format. My love of french fries knows no bounds; they are, along with artichokes and bourbon, my desert island foods. Golden, crisp, glistening, glittering with a dusting of fine salt, heaped in a pile, I would eat a mile of baby field greens to have a single plate of the fries we used to get at a restaurant I was convinced used to use horse fat to fry them because I’m a monster and they were otherworldly. And so help you if you serve them with homemade mayo — so help you, because I love you and you will never get rid of me now.

ready to roast

Thus, I’m the last person I’d expect to be showering praise upon oven fries — that is, french fries that are baked instead of cooked as their name demands, but you’d be surprised rarely even someone as pedantic as me rarely actually feels like heating up a cauldron of oil just to have what they want the most. Were what came out of the oven secondary, unspecial, clearly a compromise coming from a vague notion of healthfulness, I’d probably own a deep-fryer by now. But in the very first month of this site I learned a technique for oven fries that made them exceptional. This came up again when we made Fake Shack Burgers earlier this year and you may have seen a glimpse of the 11 fries I hadn’t eaten while taking photos (because: pregnant. although: I would have done that anyway). I directed you to the 2006 post where it was buried but promised a refresh and then I had a baby and now a 5 month and 10 day turnaround is the norm.

oven fries

Which is too bad, because it takes about 10 seconds to learn. The secret to great french fries is to cook them twice. If you only fry them once, either the outsides get tough or the insides taste undercooked. The reason — as described in one of my favorite french fry essays of all time, that by Jeffrey Steingarten as collected in The Man Who Ate Everything — is that potatoes have a very high ‘thermal inertia;’ it takes a long time for heat to penetrate the center. When cooked twice, the first at a lower temperature to gently warm and tenderize the potato, and the second at a higher temperature to seal and crisp the edges, you get the french fries I dream about. A decade ago, I watched Michael Chiarello on TV emulate this two-step process for oven fries by briefly simmering his potato batons in water before roasting them at a high temperature and I’ve made mine this way since because they’re spectacular, spectacular enough that I get to have french fries in my life as often as necessary without being so calorically indebted and grease-splattered that I’m only allowed to consume water and bone broth for my non-fries meals. Hallelujah.

oven fries

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One year ago: Squash Toasts with Ricotta and Cider Vinegar
Two years ago: Potato and Broccolini Frittata
Three years ago: Roasted Pear and Chocolate Chunk Scones
Four years ago: Pear Cranberry and Gingersnap Crumble
Five years ago: Spicy Squash Salad with Lentils and Goat Cheese
Six years ago: Silky Decadent Old-School Chocolate Mousse
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Nine years ago: Pumpkin Muffins

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Six Months Ago: Salted Chocolate Chunk Cookies
1.5 Years Ago: Lamb Meatballs with Feta and Lemon
2.5 Years Ago: Yogurt Panna Cotta with Walnuts and Honey
3.5 Years Ago: Cinnamon Toast French Toast
4.5 Years Ago: Sour Cream Cornbread with Aleppo

Oven Fries
Inspired by Michael Chiarello’s technique

This works with either the classic Russet/Idaho potatoes used for traditional french fries, or with golden potatoes, such as Yukon Golds. The photos here show both. For fried potatoes, I prefer Russets, but for roasting, I prefer the Golds because their waxier state makes a more tender-centered fry with the more complex flavor you lose when not frying.

Yield: fries for 4 people

4 medium Yukon Gold or 3 smallish Russet potatoes (I find these to be equivalent in size, although the specific size isn’t terribly important)
3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
Fine sea salt

Heat oven to 450 degrees F.

Peel your potatoes if you wish; scrub them well if you do not. Cut potatoes into just-shy-of 1/2-inch batons. Place in a large pot and cover with an inch or two of water. Set heat to high and set timer for 10 minutes. If potatoes come to a boil in this time (mine usually do not), reduce the heat to medium. Otherwise, when timer rings, whether or not the potatoes have boiled, test one. You’re looking for a very “al dente” potato — one that is too firm to eat enjoyable, but has no crunch left. A good sign that they’re not too cooked is when you roughly tumble them into a colander, only one or two break.

Meanwhile, coat a large baking sheet with 2 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil and place it in the oven for a few minutes, so the oil gets very hot and rolls easily around the pan.

Drain your potatoes and immediately spread them on oiled baking sheet in one layer. Drizzle with last tablespoon of olive oil, sprinkle with salt and roast for 20 minutes, until golden underneath. Toss potatoes around to encourage them to color evenly and return them to the oven for another 5 minutes. Repeat this 1 or 2 more times (for me, 30 minutes total roasting time is the sweet spot), until your “fries” are deeply golden, brown at the edges and impossible not to eat.

Season with more salt while they’re hot, pile them on a platter and dig in.

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162 comments on oven fries

  1. I’ve been reading more and more articles about how conventionally grown potatoes are treated with chemicals, so potatoes are one of the things I buy organic. See more info below:

    With potatoes the chemical treatment is quite extensive.

    During growing season – They get treated with fungicides

    Before harvesting – They get sprayed with herbicides to kill off the fibrous vines

    After being dug up – They get sprayed again to prevent them from sprouting

    http://livingmaxwell.com/health-risks-conventional-potatoes

  2. Ooh – forget the pasta with spinach I was going to make. These will accompany my broiled chicken thighs tonight – perfect for a rainy, raw October night!!

  3. “I have no patience for baked doughnuts”

    Given the absolute flood of baked doughnut recipes on the internet these days (why? why?!), this is my favorite thing you have ever written. THANK YOU — and I can’t wait to try these, either.

  4. Unbeknownst to me, we used this exact method over the summer to make oven potatoes…which we then used for potato salad with a very light Dijon-mayo dressing and lots of herbs. If you have been a fly on the wall that night…good lord!

  5. I’m guessing this method would work well for sweet potato fries? I certainly hope so (and plan on testing this weekend). Previous attempts have made limp (but tasty) strips of orange carbs.

  6. I’ve had great luck using this boil and bake method (recommended by ATK) for making crispy home fries, so surprised I didn’t think of trying it with oven fries. I also appreciate that you consider 1 potato per person a portion vs. 4 portions lol Potato lovers unite! Thanks Deb!

  7. Sweet potato fries — I haven’t tried it but suspect it will. May need less simmering time.

    Anna — You should hear me mutter “IT’S NOT A DOUGHNUT. IT’S CAKE.” under my breath each time I’m faced with one. I should also admit that I’ve eaten them and they’re delicious, but as I prefer yeast doughnuts, and they rarely are, pass!

  8. You’d fit right in in Germany. They have Kaffee (Coffee) every afternoon. Which is really an excuse to drink a cup of coffee and eat a slice or two of cake. It’s one of my favorite things about visiting my in law’s. :)

  9. I made oven fried potatoes the conventional way last night. They were delicious, but remained soft on the inside and took forever to get crunchy on the outside. Looks like we will be eating oven fried potatoes two nights in a row!

  10. Oh, you’ve made me and my husband very happy people with this post. We both love poutine and I have a great recipe for it, but the bother and mess of boiling up all that oil – not to mention the danger, now that I have an active toddler and newborn to worry about – for the fries was making poutine nights a rare treat. I’ll be trying your method soon. Thank you!

  11. I sometimes simmer the cut up potatoes in chicken stock before tossing in oil and baking in the oven. It makes them ore intensely savoury. I might do them tonight now!

  12. Love oven fries..toss a teaspoon of vinegar into the water…it will stabilize the potato and provide some over cooking insurance.

  13. Definitely making these tonight! But, I do have to laugh at one comment. Okay two. Three smallish russets… Yield: fries for four people. You haven’t met my DH, have you. This might be enough for him, and I’ll be lucky to get a few. I hate spattering my kitchen up with oil, so a million thanks!

  14. I am so with you on indulgences, if you never give in you will just binge! That’s exactly how it is for me, just satisfying one craving at a time, sometimes it’s chocolate, cheese, bread….but today, make it fries. These look so good Deb! Thanks you. But I think I’ll scrub mine well and leave those skins on. I think they are more nutritious that way? At least that’s what I tell myself. It’s pouring rain here on the other side of NY (I live on the Western half) and cold. Need. Fries. Now.

  15. Help help I haven’t received my confirmation e-mail and really want to subscribe to the newsletter. Is the verification thing working but just slow?

  16. Potatoes and bourbon are some of my desert island foods too (also, passion fruit). I remember seeing something on America’s Test Kitchen years ago that suggested par-cooking them in the microwave before roasting them. I never tried it because I didn’t have a microwave, but I love this idea. Now I can have fries that are worthy of the homemade garlic aioli.

  17. This has to be the most amazing thing ever! I have a slight obsession with certain foods (fries, milkshakes, and vanilla ice cream WITH rainbow sprinkles), but fries are a main obsession. To the point where we had fries as an appetizer at our wedding (the venue had to go out and buy a french fry cutter because everybody knows frozen fries are just terrible). I can’t wait to try these – they’re going on the short list of things to eat once we’re in our new house (moving in a few days, and all of my pots and pans are packed at this point). *so so so excited*

  18. Alsoooo, thanks for the reminder about your lamb meatball recipe. It is awesome and resulted in my finest attempt at a fancy dinner for company!

  19. This is pretty much the method I use for making oven roasted potatoes as side dish (I usually steam for 10 min rather than boil) and they’re fantastic. Somehow, cutting them in the shape of fries rather than cubes makes them seem so much more decadent, though, so I’m going to try this next time and make myself feel I’m eating something naughtier and even more delicious than just roasted potatoes!

  20. Your comment on the chocolate cake made me very sad. I’m in the fourth day of detox because of high liver enzymes. My doctor told me to stay off gluten and dairy. :-( As one who likes my food, this is just devastating.

  21. I’ve made these from the recipe in your cookbook, and OMG, they are the best fries ever! I prefer them over fried fries. Homemade mayo is a great suggestion, and you’ve given me just the excuse to make them this week!

  22. Aha! I’m totally down for this mission since I too love potatoes in all their forms, but when I read that you coat the baking sheet with oil and roll the potatoes around in it, I had a moment of pause- ‘Won’t that get all gummy on my (already less than shiny) baking sheet’? But I see you covered yours in aluminum foil first- which may be just the solution. Small amount of guilt for waste vs. easy cleanup…

  23. I love how the ketchup in the first picture looks like it has a heart on top of the dollop! And oh, how we adore oven fries here. They’re in weekly rotation once our winter CSA starts (which, coincidentally, was last week). I might have just forsaken scalloped potatoes for these oven fries as tomorrow night’s main course. :)

  24. I haven’t thought about that book in years. Like, 15, come to think of it. If memory serves, there were one or two things he refused to eat — Indian desserts, maybe? A shame, because gulab jamun is one of my favorite of all time sweets. That’s on my list of things I really want to try in my own kitchen.

    We have a deep fryer — someone gave Rich an ill-fitting sweater one year and we marched right back to Macy’s, got the store credit and went directly to the kitchen section. It was between that and a slow cooker. Until recently, I’m happy we have the fryer, but with two little ones a full-time job, the slow cooker is getting used at least once a week.

    You look great, btw. I actually think losing the weight has been easier this second time around.

  25. How do you always read my mind? I give people the same speech all the time. Just eat the dang cake, people! But for me, it’s french fries. I talk about the best french fries I’ve eaten with the same enthusiasm as the story of the moment I fell in love with my husband. I have made so many versions of sub-par oven fries. I saw the shake shake version you put up, but was not sufficiently convinced to add a step. But these photos, oh my gosh. I am running out to get potatoes immediately. Thank you, as ever, for changing my life!

  26. Okay Deb, I will try these (just because of that bear costume photo! to die for!) but I’ve been making oven fries without the first step and they are marvelous each time… I guess I can’t even imagine how good these will be!

  27. Hi Deb, one tip I’d like to suggest is to use parchment paper instead of tinfoil. It works much better and it’s more environmentally friendly. 8)

  28. I remember when I learned this technique and it changed everything.

    Also, if you add a little splash of apple cider vinegar to the water, it’ll keep them from getting too soft and falling apart, even if they cook a little longer. It doesn’t affect the taste, just keeps them nice and firm.

  29. I saw the same episode of Michael Chiarello and have been making oven fries the same way! (RIP to that show and when the Food Network actually had shows that taught you how to cook. Though he always cracked me up with his gray salt. Dude must have bought stock in it.)

    These are a revelation. When I try to just bake them, they end up all shrively and sad, but the par-cooking makes such a difference. It’s the same process Kenji at the Food Lab uses for his extra crispy roasted potatoes (which, have you seen the new book? I nerded out in the bookstore over it, it’s spectacular.)

  30. Aluminum foil — Not necessary. I only used it because my pans are all destroyed and halfway to rusting; I didn’t want them touching my food directly. Re, parchment paper being better for the enviro, isn’t it coated in silicone, which is not biodegradable? And most recycling centers won’t take it? But aluminum is. Regardless, I use very little of either.

    Lesley — Sharp knife, and always bevel, i.e. create a flat side underneath whenever you’re cutting something round so that you can cut safely and neatly. I otherwise have zero knife skills, no tuck, not even trying.

    jennifer — No, you’d be surprised how fast cut potatoes drain.

    FYI, if anyone needs more french fry porn (yes, I just said that), this video is among my favorites. And their fries are not bad either!

    Sam — Not sure. I’ve gotten my test ones pretty quickly. MailChimp is the program here and they’re behind a lot of newsletters; it’s possible it went to spam. (and thank you!)

    Mary — Yes, thanks — I’d meant to mention that I suspect the par-cooking process could be done via steaming or microwave, whatever people prefer. This is why I included the ideal texture description.

    Emily — Oh, I definitely would. I have great respect for Tea Time and it’s variants around the globe, places that understand something I didn’t really “get” until I had a toddler — everyone needs a cookie at 4 p.m. Everyone. Next time you get that afternoon slump and snackiness, look at the clock. I’m willing to wager it’s at or near 4 p.m. exactly. (Or, this is what I’ve found in my sample population of the three speaking members of my family.)

    Christine — I had the same feelings about his gray salt. I (am ashamed that I) mocked him lightly over here. How I miss that kind of programming; I learned a lot.

  31. Actually, the “fry” in French fry doesn’t refer to how the potato is cooked, but rather, is a reference to their size/shape.
    Fry is a term for a juvenile fish. In Belgium (birthplace of the french fry) these fish were commonly caught and pan fried. When the rivers would freeze over, the locals would cut potatoes into small fry-shaped pieces and fry them instead.
    Thus, french fry.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_fries#Belgium

  32. And finally the reason “just baked” fries just don’t cut it! I’m going to try this method, thanks for the idea. Yours look soooooo goooood!

  33. Do you think this would work for sweet potato fries? I like to make these spicy southwestern sweet potato fries (oven baked) with a cilantro-lime sour cream dipping sauce. SO GOOD! Except…

    …the fries are never quite right. I’ve never managed to get a crispy outside without burning a fair number of them.

  34. I feel blasphemous even saying this, and I wonder who I even am anymore!?! When I make oven fries or roasted veggies here lately, I’ve been using olive oil cooking spray. Not olive oil “flavored” cooking spray that has all of that other stuff in it, but I there are brands where literally the only ingredient is olive oil. Whilst I love a generous glug of olive oil with everything, my stomach has been revolting here lately, and the spray helps me control the amount of oil I use. I can’t wait to try the double cooking method with oven fries.

  35. I have been making roasted potatoes this way for years. Maybe I will try slicing then differently to see if the kids will eat them in’french fry’ format

  36. As a Belgian, I am often horrified by the way foreign people make french fries (even as horrified that they think they originate from France…). Thank you for showing the world that you need to cook your fries twice in order to get real fries.

    That special taste that those wonderful fries at that restaurant had was probably because they were cooked in oxen fat, its the classic Flemish way of cooking fries although not a lot of people do it any more because they are afraid of saturated fats.

  37. This is how I have been doing oven chips (as we call them in the UK) for a while but have discovered that they are even better if you leave them to steam and cool completely before putting in the hot oil later.

  38. I love these!

    Did any one else find the olive oil flavor a bit too pronounced? Maybe I should buy better olive oil, but for now I’m sticking with peanut oil (inspired by 5 guys, although these are much better than 5 guys’).

  39. This technique is really interesting. Like other readers, I’m curious whether it would be a good idea for sweet potatoes: like you, I would think that it’d technically be possible…but would it actually taste good?

    Also, I’m super excited for your newsletter!

  40. If you ever find Kennebec potatoes at a farmer’s market stand – get them! They are the best ever for french fries, baking, soups, etc…my grandfather grew them and I’m lucky enough to have a local farmer grow them organically. I love baked fries, so thanks for the tips to make them better!

  41. Hi Deb, I use biodegradable Parchment paper which does not have any silicone. It is treated with an acid that gelatinizes the paper pulp and makes the coating non-stick. It is stable to about 420F and non-reactive. It is pourous so will soak up a little of the grease from whatever is baked on it. If it burns, well, it’s paper. Won’t hurt you.

  42. When you come to Toronto in October 2016 please do an event that your worshiping, non-blogging public can attend. Please? Pretty please with sugar on top?

  43. These look delicious. Plus now that it’s finally cooling down here I’m actually able to heat my oven to 450 comfortably. Whoop!

    Regarding aluminum foil vs. parchment paper: Parchment paper, indeed, is unlikely to be accepted by many municipalities in their recycling stream because of its silicone impregnation (which, relatedly, make composting it somewhat tricky). However virgin aluminum foil (foil made with non-recycled aluminum) takes a tremendous amount of energy to manufacture, but brands made with recycled aluminum require much less energy (making a soda can out of recycled aluminum, for example, can take up to 95% less energy than virgin cans). Aluminum foil can also be recycled (assuming it’s mostly clean and, in most municipalities, balled up) an infinite number of times, making aluminum foil made with recycled aluminum probably one of the most environmentally friendly options. As Deb alludes to, however, the most environmentally friendly thing to do is reduce your total consumption (reducing>reusing>recycling).

  44. Regarding the oven-baked sweet potato fries question: They’re quite good. Just made them this week. You can skip the boiling/almost boiling step and use a 400 degree oven with really good results. The one thing that’s nicer about sweet potatoes is they don’t stick to the pan as easily. Just toss the cut potatoes in the pan (without foil/parchment), drizzle a bit of oil on them and stir them around so they’re somewhat of evenly coated. Bake, stirring every ten minutes or so and they’ll be done in 20 to 30 minutes, depending on how thick your ‘batons’ are. They’re great with just a sprinkling of salt, though also good with a few shakes each of ground cumin, chili powder, cinnamon, garlic powder and black pepper baked on them. (If you choose this route, don’t skip a one of the spices – they balance each other nicely.)

  45. We are of one stomach and one heart. I love FFs so much. Like, I have my last meal on earth (if it could be planned) to include (besides chocolate bread pudding, obviously), a FF buffet with different cuts (waffle/curly/etc) and different sauces (mayo, obviously) included. I’ve never tried to twice cook method- I do though let mine “sear” on hot cookie sheets before I put them in the oven. Will definitely be doing this from now on- no one want to be beholden to a field of greens, especially in the winter times.

  46. I have never been able to master the oven fried method! Can’t wait to try this two step method. Side note: My husband and I loved watching Michael Chiarello so much (the most memorable show ever on FN for me was his show on making polenta and pouring down a huge polenta board on this picnic table outside in this magical garden and adding 2 or 3 different sauces on top. Everyone at the party just dug right in with forks. Sigh.)

  47. Haha! I agree with Anna. “I have no patience for baked doughnuts.” is I think my favorite thing I’ve ever read on your blog.
    And seriously, this post makes me want to drop everything, run home and make these fries immediately. And it’s 8am in my time zone :)

  48. Yes!!! I’m so excited to try these. I’ve never been impressed by oven-baked fries, but I’m such a french fry gal that it would really make managing my waistline easier if I knew I could indulge in them a bit more often by baking them. Great trick with double cooking them…makes total sense. Thanks Deb for sharing more of your genius!

  49. Oooooh. That looks amazing. And, it’s given me an interesting idea. I just picked up a kabocha squash, and had been planning on turning it into fries. I may have to use this method to make them!

  50. This is the same way Mom cooks roasted potatoes to go with steak or a standing rib roast (parboil the pots and throw them in the pan with the beef drippings–oh yum). She’s always said the secret is to parboil them first. Never thought about doing that for fries. Thanks!

  51. OMG! A woman after my own heart! French fries!!! (And bourbon. And anything else salty and crunchy – can you say potato chips?). I’m definitely trying this. Like maybe tonight? Thank you!!

  52. thank you thank you thank you!!! For the reminder that life is short and a piece of cake when it calls it’s siren call to you is not the end of the world. I try for the most part to get things right. But to be too entrenched and unyielding can be as unhealthy as being overly indulgent. Yesterday I craved coleslaw and potatoes. so that’s what I had for lunch and made up for it the rest of the day. Would I pass up having a piece of chocolate birthday with my grandsons? Not on your life. I’m definitely going to try the baked fries!

  53. I’m big into pressure cooking – which I think would be perfect for prepping the potatoes. Am I right? Anyone else thinking this way?
    I think 4 min in a steamer basket, drain, oil, pop in oven. ??
    The recommended time for chunky cubed potatoes (making mashed potatoes) is 6 min.

  54. No comment other than to say that I loved Jeffrey Steingarten’s book, and that he used McDonald’s fries as the standard by which all fries should be measured, and Heinz ketchup ditto.

  55. I will be sure to try this! I’m not averse to eating fried foods, but I hate frying at home what with the mess and lingering odors. And it always seems like a waste of oil.

  56. Using the version in the cookbook, I have had terrible trouble with this recipe. How on earth do I keep the oil from smoking? Google tells me that the smoke point of olive oil is WAY below 450, and indeed in a preheated 450 oven by few tablespoons of olive oil is a smoky disaster after just a minute.

  57. THANK YOU for this recipe. Trying them this weekend. Have family coming for lunch, was planning on grilling burgers and didn’t want to “fry” potatoes.

  58. Using other oils — Absolutely. My favorite for french fries that are fried is peanut oil. You can use another kind you prefer.

    showtune — I’m sorry that you’ve had trouble. I have never ever had an issue with the oil smoking in the oven and I roast vegetables in olive oil at high temperatures all the time. It might be the olive oil; I suspect there is a wide, suspect range of things being sold as olive oil these days. You might use a mix of olive oil and a neutral one you might use for frying.

    jwg — Been wanting to make a mushroom poutine, but for that, I would fry. It’s gotta be proper. However, every time I think about making a mushroom poutine, I start thinking about Russian kartoshka s gribami, which are so amazing but different and I don’t know which to make first … I’m basically paralyzed.

    Charlotte — Thank you, and what a great idea.

  59. I only have red potatoes….will they work? I can’t get these off my brain now! I fear if I buy more potatoes then I’ll just end up with the red ones sprouting..state of Maine deilemma.

  60. I love you.You always make me smile. I wish you lived next door. I love potatoes, cheese and scotch….so we’re somewhat kindred. This recipe sounds very interesting, I might just have to try it and give up store bought fries for good.

  61. I used russets and cut them into 1/2 in batons as suggested…and the 10 min boil time was waaay too long! Ended up with disintegrated potato hash by the time they went in the oven.

    I’d recommend 6-8 min for that size of potato.

  62. Do you think I can parboil the potatoes and then save them in the fridge and bake later? Less dirty dishes at once for me, but if you say no I will do it all at once!

    Here’s the real question though deb. It’s not really a question, more of a suggestion, or perhaps a plea. Can you do a homemade hobnob please? My boyfriend is addicted to hobnobs, “milk chocolate flavor coated oat biscuits” as it says on the box. I’d love to make him a less processed replacement, and the nubbly, whole-grain biscuit seems like it could be up your alley. Have you tried them? I volunteer to buy you a box if you say you’ll consider trying your hand at them. just say when and where.

  63. I love fries and am always looking for a slightly healthier version than the deep fried ones. I tried oven baked fries before and was not a fan however yours is different way of cooking it. Will give it a go. Thanks!

  64. I make oven fries about twice a week (husband = potato monster) and have never par-boiled them. With the (granted, fantastic) monster baking potatoes we get, fries bake to golden on the outside and light and fluffy on the inside with just about 30 minutes at about 400 degrees, flipped over half-way through. We don’t like greasy food so I don’t even oil them (just homemade ketchup and mayo on the side). I’m sure that it varies by potato variety, but the straight-up bake is a really satisfactory and much simpler option for us.

  65. I made this yesterday. Added garlic powder and dried parsley at the time where you put the salt and used peanut oil. It was delicious! Great technique, thank you for posting. One word of caution is that when you put your fries in the hot oil, because they are wet; it starts splattering everywhere. I would be unsure about the olive oil here – pretty sure it would smoke and burn too easily as it’s burning point is way below 450.

  66. Oven fries is something new for me because i just know about french fries. Oven fries give us free oil than french fries. I think the taste of oven fries not much different from french fries but for health it is better.

  67. “Yield: fries for 4 people”
    I snorted at this! No way would 4 people get to enjoy these in our house. Fries might not even make it to the table. Hahahaha.

  68. Deb, thanks for this as I was JUST lamenting that I wanted to make my own fries but don’t have any way to fry them. This is totally perfect for my dilemma!

  69. Made these tonight with sweet potatoes. They were…ok. Not really any different than when I roast them without the par boil. Also, the thing with roasting sweet potatoes is they move very quickly from brown to black — just a minute too long and that’ll do it.

    Of course, doing this recipe with sweet potatoes and not actual potatoes and expecting the same results is like when someone writes to America’s Test Kitchen and is like, well, I switched out shrimp for tofu, and used ground coriander instead of fresh cilantro. It was eh. And Chris Kimball’s like, dear reader, I hate you.

  70. Long time reader, first time poster. I made these tonight with yukon gold potatoes and peanut oil. They were outstanding! Actually, pretty much everything I make from your recipes turns out really well. I just want to say thank you, and I can’t wait for your next book.

  71. I was a cook many years ago and learned to refry chips (as we Canucks call em). They were known to grill cooks as Quebec Refries and everyone knows that no one does fries better than a Quebecker. Never knew why this worked so thanks. And thanks too for making me jones for chips! Gah!

  72. I see in your photos that you lined your baking sheet with foil. The recipe does not say to do so. Will they stick to the pan without the foil?

  73. I always keep a jar of confit garlic cloves in olive oil in the fridge. Use that oil to roast the fries and mash some cloves into the mayo to dip them in. If guilt threatens to overtake you, mince some fresh green herbs into the mayo. Voila! Salud!

  74. I am so pumped to try this. We LOVE oven fries but they are never as wonderful as these.

    Mia-if I read right…Deb said total cook-in-the-water time was 10 minutes, not 10 minutes boiling. Not sure if I’m misreading but if you started the timer after it started boiling, you cooked too long.
    Jillian-She said you don’t have to use foil, she just did because her pans are rusted and she didn’t want the potatoes to touch that. So well-oiled non-foiled should be just fine.

  75. Have you done something that makes print copies go all screwy? My desktop computer is not in the kitchen , it’s in the other end of the house, so I print out recipes I want to try. Lately the print is all spread out and difficult to read and the photos don’t show at all. I cook with my eyes as well as the recipe itself.

  76. Fry recipe looks great! As another commenter noted, I bake sweet potato fries at 400 without the par boiling step. I toss with avocado oil, salt and pepper and they take approximately 30 minutes. I toss only once at the 25 minute mark. Latest dipping sauce fave: 2% Greek yogurt mixed with a heaping of pickled jalapeños.

  77. I’m tempted by like 98% of your recipes, but I usually forget to try them out. This one, though, I HAD to have. Instantly. I’m a self-professed french-fry devotee, but my 40-ish gall bladder has rebelled against my long-time love, and I’ve been *really* missing my fries. (Evidence: When I went to see my doctor several years ago about the fact that french fries had begun to make me violently ill, he said, “So stop eating french fries. You’ll live longer anyway.” I looked at him blankly. Stop eating french fries? What kind of woman do you think I am, sir?) Oven fries have always struck me as a paltry substitute–a fact which has not stopped me from fixing them on a pretty regular basis but always with a defeated air about me–but I prepared these with a grilled filet mignon and a salad for our 12th wedding anniversary on Friday night. So easy. So simple. So fabulously FRIED(-tasting)…Thank you.

  78. Deb, I love getting your recipes, and bookmark the ones that are going on my own to-cook list. For some reason I didn’t bookmark these, but when I had some people over the other night, I thought how well your oven fries would go with the fried cod sandwiches with jalapeño mayo I was making. These fries were So Frigging Incredible that i have already changed my Thanksgiving menu to include them (roasted in turkey schmaltz). I love regular roasted potatoes, but (was it the shape?) these were so superior. I am still dreaming of them 36 hours later!

  79. Question about the water – I understand they don’t need to come to a boil … but should I start off with cold tap water or hot water?

    Normally when cooking potatoes I’d start with cold water and let it reach to a boil, but in a pot for 10 minutes I sincerely doubt my fries would get even slightly cooked (because my stove isn’t all that, and because I am bound to use whatever random type of potatoes my local supermarket stocks … probably not the recommended type : ).

  80. Definitely trying this! I’ve fried French fries using the two part fry method and they are AWESOME; but kind of a lot of work for the amount you get. And I want a lot of fries if I’m going to the trouble :)

  81. I thought my baked fries were good … I wasn’t cooking, but I did soak cut fries in water while oven heated.

    BUT, I tried it your way and they are outstanding! Had to laugh at myself for almost not trying it as the only difference being I put the potatoes in a pan for 10 min while the oven preheated. And heat the pan with a bit of oil. Anyway, excellent.

  82. My boyfriend has learned to get excited when I say I’m making a Smitten Kitchen recipe. This one was no different. Definitely the best oven fries I’ve ever had or made. I have plans on the horizon to attempt poutine with all components made from scratch and probably will fry the fries. That being said, I made these fries with a meat that had gravy, and couldn’t stop dipping them! So good. (Side note: If you have a slow cooker, I highly recommend throwing in a packet of dry onion soup mix, a chuck roast, and a can of cranberry sauce. There’s some kind of voodoo that makes it come out wonderfully). Thank you!

  83. You know, I had always seen twice, triple, quadruple etc etc cooked chips in restaurants, but never figured the same technique could apply to home cooked oven chips. I’m thinking that just sticking the oven on it’s highest temp might get extra crispiness round the outside as well :)

  84. Boy do I trust you on these ones, Deb! Because I know how you feel about poor substitutes, and I could not agree more. I am ready to try baked fries for the first time in my life.

    Check out all my kitchen exploration, life exploration, and more on thepastiche.squarespace.com

    Thanks!

  85. Do you think the first cook could be done in the microwave? I make a recipe where I almost fully cook unpeeled little red potatoes in the microwave (with just a little water), then smash them with the bottom of a juice glass onto an oiled baking sheet, brush with more oil, season, and them bake at 450 till they are very crunchy. Your recipe sounds like the same technique, just a different shape. I’d much rather microwave in a glass dish than bother with a pot of water on top of the stove–easier clean-up and frees up a burner.

  86. How far ahead of time can you boil the potatoes? Think it would work to do them earlier in the day, then fry/bake for dinner?

  87. Sharon — Yes, but they ARE fragile in that fry-shape so be gentle with them until you roast them.

    Laura — I haven’t changed anything with the print template, and it hasn’t had a photo on it in years (basically, when there’s a photo on, I get complaints about toner waste). If you have a couple minutes and want to send me a screenshot (thesmitten/gmail) of what’s happening, I can take a closer look. Thanks!

  88. Hi Deb,

    You are a genius. We had your burger recipe/technique and the oven fries and my family have you to thank for this wonderful meal. I did parboil the potatoes right before kindergarten pick up and began roasting after ultimate frisbee practice, about four hours apart and the kids declared it the best fries. I also tossed them with finely chopped garlic and parsley right out of the oven ala “Kidd Valley” garlic fries and it was divine. Thank you ever so much for writing here and for sharing your ideas n food.

    Megan

  89. I just tried these and have to say, they were fantastic. I was leery as I was afraid I had boiled them too long as there was a bit of crumbling, and then I didn’t have my oven hot enough (only 425). After 10 minutes they were still limp and pale and I was ready to throw them out. I looked your recipe up, cranked the heat to 450 and waited until they were perfectly golden brown. Unbelievable. So good. (I also learned to re-read the recipe beforehand) Thanks for a great technique I will use again and again!

    1. Adam — It might, but I don’t think it’s necessary for falafel. The first cooking is about getting the core of a sturdy vegetable softened, the second is about an outer crisp.

  90. Tried these tonight and they were SO good! I used Yukon Gold potatoes. My pot of water & potatoes did make it to the boil with a few minutes to spare, so I just turned down the heat a tiny bit. Baked for 25 minutes and decided they were as brown as I like them, although I might let them go an extra 5 minutes next time. And there will definitely be a next time because WOW what a flavor!

  91. I *love* French fries and will try this.

    I usually bake my fries on a pre-heated baking stone. Has anyone used this technique and a baking stone?

    Now I’m craving In-N-Out. Animal style, of course.

  92. Potatoes are one of my favourite foods. Fries especially, I can never resist a good fish and chips meal where the chips are the star of the show. I also cook fries this way and they are absolutely spectacular. I’m so glad you shared your method though, it seems I’m overboiling the potatoes just a tad too long and they fall apart and disappear into my mouth on the way to the oven. :)

  93. Silly girl, you have typo! Serves 4! That’s a single serving! Seriously, I’ll have to quadruple the recipe. One does what one must.

  94. Yum…these look delicious….i make oven fries and the sweet potato version regularly but they never look that good. I don’t parboil first so that may be the issue. Going to try and follow your method exactly this week. Thanks for sharing x

  95. Thse are THE BEST EVER! Seriously. I have made these twice a week for the last three weeks. Dang dang! We use coconut oil and yellow dutch potatoes and they are now everyone’s favorite thing. We like them even without any condiment.

    It even works with sweet potatoes, just boil less time and keep an eye out so they don’t burn. So good!

  96. So, not fries but a similar but easier idea for roast potatoes: using waxy red potatoes, cover the pan with foil for the first part (30 min?), which I think steams them. Then uncover (for 15 min?) to crisp. Cook’s Illustrated had the recipe years ago. Yum!

  97. I’m getting ready to make these for the second time tonight–they are so ridiculously good, and I’ve never had really good oven fries before this. They’d always been sort of “meh, I guess these are an acceptable substitute” but they’d never truly satisfied the craving for fries in the way that just a few of the really good ones can. These are crazy different, though. Last time I kept some plain ones aside and then tossed the rest with minced garlic and grated parm. The next morning found me eating the leftovers for breakfast. Don’t judge me–I was mentally patting myself on the back for holding out that long.

  98. These are amazing and I have made them a bunch since this was posted in October. Do not change a thing. But BUT, be careful when you take the hot oil pan out of the oven (not that you wouldn’t). I was using a new non-stick pan and the hot oil sort of just sloshed out and …. second degree largish oil splatter burns on my arm! No fun. That will not stop me from making these fries again and again, but I am throwing out that non-stick pan!!!

  99. I just tried making these with sweet potato and it worked really well. They baked a lot quicker than when I made them with regular potato, I imagine the higher sugar content in the sweet potato is to blame. So crunchy and awesome.

  100. Missed this recipe when you originally posted it but perfect timing for including it in the new newsletter! I’m having a group of girls over tonight one of whom can’t have rice, flour or dairy. I was going with oven fries as the carb, but was worried they would be lacking. And here you come to save the day! Thank you!

  101. Adding that sweet potatoes in coconut oil worked really well for me. I took them out after 20 minutes and they were mostly done, but my daughter was banging pointedly on her high chair by that point so, even if they weren’t crispy yet, they were officially done.
    If you like fun flavors, you can add cinnamon and chili powder as well. I threw those on my fries afterwards (I didn’t think the baby wanted chili powder), but they’d be even better tossed in it before going into the oven.

  102. This recipe is great. I have made it a half a dozen times and will make it again despite my getting a serious burn. I am writing this to remind everyone to use two oven mitts when taking the cookie sheet with the heated oil out of the oven. I was in a hurry and took the pan using only one mitt and didn’t have a good grasp of the sheet. The oil flew off the pan onto my left hand. No fun. So make the recipe, just be more careful than I was.

  103. whatever it is, chocolate chip cookies, crepes, FRENCH FRIES, sk you have yet to fail me. i can’t believe these came out of an oven thank goodness i didn’t make more or i would have unapologetically eaten them all myself

  104. Didn’t even know about your website before I searched for oven fries recipes. We are currently eating the BEST fries–oven or otherwise– we’ve had recently. Who knew a bit of boiling the potatoes could make all the difference in the world for oven fries?? Served with a mayo and sriracha sauce and they were awesome! So appreciative of your research and great recipe and explanation. I will be back for more recipes and tips from you!

  105. Hi Deb, Something you might want to know: when I put “oven fries” in the site search box just now, this recipe didn’t come up at all. I had to search for “french fries” to get it. (I knew it was in here, so it was just a case of making it show up.) You might need to adjust your tags or SEO or something.

  106. as someone who used to swear by microwaving potatoes before slicing and baking, this method hands down produces the best baked fries you can make. granted, a toddler and a five year old are far from the ideal sample size, but my goodness they devoured them!