Last weekend, we had 13 friends over for moules-frites. This — plus a big green salad, some crusty baguettes and more white wine than seems conscionable — is my favorite dinner party menu. It makes the easiest, surprisingly budget-conscious meal and might, if you play your cards right, make you feel ever-so-slightly like you’re on vacation somewhere European and full of sailor-types. Okay, maybe that’s pushing things but let’s run with it. I forgot to add, however that it’s best for 6 people, 8 at most. As soon as the mussels exceed the volume of your largest pot or the fries surpass the one large tray that fits in your oven (plus you have a salad you really only want to toss at the last minute), basically everything needing to be cooked à la minute, you’re going to have to hustle. I am constitutionally incapable of hustling; we ate dinner at 10.
I usually make my oven fries, but I decided that for a crowd it would be easier to let a fryer do the work and borrowed one from a friend (who is married to another friend who’s obsessed with fried chicken, I mean, I’m sure it’s just coincidence). Loosely following J. Kenji López-Alt’s directions, I prepped 7 pounds of potatoes the day before but as I stuck them in the freezer overnight, I realized that this was going to allot each person approximately 16 fries. Look, I know we all like to believe that we eat only 16 fries when we go out and that’s totally fine, but I think we can all agree that we are going to be happiest if person who makes your fries knows better and cooks accordingly.
So I went back to the store for another 7 pounds of potatoes and as I peeled and soaked and dried and fried and drained and only to fry these again later, 1. I began to understand why restaurants have a dedicated fry cook. 2. I decided to make these with a less complex twice-fried method and I did a quick search for the best starting temperature — and you can tune back in now, I promise the point is nigh — I landed on a 2009 Cook’s Illustrated recipe that boasted no peeling, no soaking, no deep-fry thermometer or deep-fryer needed, and that used 1/3 of the oil that the deep-fryer required, also meaning that you can also buy better stuff without going broke, and that claimed to absorb less. [This the cooking equivalent of searching to the ends of the earth for the dress you’re looking for only to settle for a nonreturnable second choice before finding it.]
You’d think I’d never want to see another french fry again after last weekend, but only if you don’t know me and my tireless devotion to fried potatoes better. Plus, how could I not want to find out? I was reminded as I was prepping these of my friend Valerie, who would sometimes make really excellent fries for our lucky kids at playdates and I would pester her in the kitchen, “Do you soak them to get rid of extra starch? You fry them twice at different temperatures, right?” And she looked at me like I had two heads and said “Non. I just fry them.”
And it turns out, both Valerie and Cook’s Illustrated were onto something which is that if you use the slightly waxier potatoes known as Yukon Golds (or yellow potatoes), which are far more delicious if you ask me anyway, you can put them right into a pot of cold oil that barely covers them and cook them over high heat for about 25 minutes almost completely hands off and drain off the most golden, crisp, glittering with fine sea salt heap of french fried happiness. And then, if you’re in it for the science, you can measure the oil you have leftover and discover that they’d absorbed all of 4 tablespoons, which will absolutely lead to french fries in your life more often. Guys, I am just here to help.
One year ago: Nolita-Style Avocado Toast (still my lunch at least half the days of the week)
Two years ago: Red Bean and Green Grain Taco Bowl
Three years ago: Broccoli Cheddar and Wild Rice Casserole
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4.5 Years Ago: Fig Olive Oil and Sea Salt Challah
Easiest French Fries
A few changes from the original: CI has you bevel your potatoes into perfectly batons and isn’t clear what to do with the edges. I use them all; thinner pieces will cook faster and darker and I will generally fight you for them.
Oil choices: Any neutral oil that can handle high frying temperatures will work; my favorite for french fries is peanut. You can add 1/4 cup of duck, goose or bacon fat for an even more delicious flavor.
Salt: Always salt your fries when they’re hot, hot, hot from the oil. The finer the salt, the better it sticks.
- 2 1/2 pounds (1 1/8 kg) Yukon Gold potatoes (about 6 medium)
- 6 cups (1.4 liters) peanut oil
- Fine sea or table salt
Scrub potatoes and dab them dry, then cut into 1/4-inch batons (see here for how I do it). Place in a 4 to 5-quart heavy, deep frying pan or Dutch oven and add oil; it will barely cover the potatoes. Turn burner to high and bring oil to a boil, which will take about 5 minutes. Cook potatoes for another 15 minutes; do not stir; they’ll just break. At this 20 minute mark, you can use tongs or a thin spatula to gently scrape loose any potatoes that have stuck to the pan. Continue to cook, stirring only if absolutely necessary, for 5 to 10 minutes longer, or until crisp and as golden as you like them. Use a large slotted spoon or spider to scoop potatoes from and spread them on prepared tray drain, tossing immediately with salt as you do.
You can keep fries warm in a 200 degree oven but the texture is really best right from the fryer.
417 comments on easiest french fries
Yesss. My father in law loves steak frites and my husband grew up with a deep fryer. I can’t get on board with owning one, so I found this recipe in CI and I’ve never looked back. Glad you measured the oil before/after, I never bothered but it’s nice to be able to fully believe the recipe! SO DELICIOUS.
LOVE these! Your oven-fried fries are beloved in our house. Question – what do you do with the leftover oil? Thanks!
I’m saving it — I think in the fridge but currently on the counter. It just seems too clean right now to get rid of; I wish I knew how long it could “keep” in the fridge or freezer. I normally strain it first but there was not a speck of anything in this.
I make Buffalo wings twice a year in the winter time, and since the oil gets mucky with cayenne, etc., I don’t use it for anything else. It keeps great in the freezer – I’ve thawed it out a full year later with no noticeable loss of quality.
Spanish cooks who fry potatoes for tortilla espanol tell me that potatoes don’t ‘dirty’ the oil as do other fried foods. Thus, you can save and re-use the oil.
Yep! That is correct. I live in Spain, and my mother in law never throws out her used oil. Save it until next time! =)
My grandfather and all of my great-grandparents were born in Spain and I’m seriously considering pursuing citizenship. And now all I want is tortilla!
I grew up in a house with a deep fryer (in the south). The oil lived in the deep fryer, which lived in the garage, until it got dirty and needed to be thrown out. This was probably anywhere from 1-3 months depending how often and what we were frying. We would re-use it for frying anything and everything that needed fried and throw out the oil once it looked dirty. Also, bacon grease lived in a crock on top of the stove, where it could easily be topped off. Not sure if this is sanitary but 28 years later I am still alive :)
The friend that I borrowed the fryer from said the same. He keeps the oil in the fryer and reuses it for months. I’ve decided to be much more relaxed about frying oil after I heard this!
Just an FYI, used oil, stored in a deep fryer or out in the open without a tight fitting lid can attract ants/roaches etc..(coming from someone in the deep south who hates bugs!!)
Well on the plus side what you can’t see won’t hurt you. I bet fried bugs taste just as good as anything else. You could probably frie a rubber hose and it would taste fine…
Yup. Deep-fried rat tails dipped in garlic butter….mmmm.
Grew up in a similar house. Old porch out back was where the deep fryer was kept. Basically just a big nasty pot of fat. We’re survivors.
I’ve done this fry method before and stuck the oil, after it cooled, in the freezer labeled as “fry oil.” It can be used up to 3-5 times. Thaw oil in fridge overnight, then move to counter so the oil can get back to room temp!
Once you’ve determined the oil has been *spent*, how do you dispose of it?
You put it in a disposable container in the trash, or if you’re super responsible there are oil recycling facilities in most places.
Deb, I just read that used peanut oil will last 1-3 months if refrigerated. (No used fish oil tho) Hope this helps
anything i fry in oil that doesn’t dirty the oil, i pour back into the bottle and save it for next time. i don’t put it in the refrigerator. i mostly make tortilla chips in it, but have made these fries once before too.
however if it’s meat i’m frying (chicken cutlets, etc), and/or something with flour that tends to sludge up the oil at all (fried pickles), i throw it out. i pour it back in the bottle and just put the bottle in the trash. (so generally when i fry i buy veg oil in the size bottle i’ll need, no more no less.)
These sound amazing but how oh how do you keep them crispy for a crowd?? Did you cook in batches and use the oven technique you mentioned?
With twice-frying, I did the last frying right before we ate. A bigger problem was that I also needed to cook mussels for 5 minutes before we ate. So I loaded them on a tray and kept them in the oven for 20 minutes. They may not have been as utterly flawless as they were from the fryer but they were still crisp and delicious; it turns out, nobody cares at all (they were gone before the mussels!).
Sounds easy enough. I think I’ll cook them on my BBQ so I don’t get the oil smell throughput the house! Yum!
Also, I might be kidding myself, but just wanted to mention that because there’s no spice or garlic or onion or meat, there was very little smell. But yes, if you have a BBQ you can do it on, that sounds awesome.
I read somewhere recently that if you fry in beef tallow, there is no smell. I have never tried this (nor will I probably), but it was a very interesting fact!!
Beef tallow is what use to make fast food fries so good, they stop using it years ago and the is why they are so sad now.
Portillos in Chicago still uses beef/veg blend – why they are so good
Deb, these sound AMAZING. Cannot wait to try. Question: can you keep and reuse the oil for future batches of fries (say a few weeks later)?
Yes, I’m going to try to. Hopefully someone will advise how long they think it keeps (or, you know, I’ll find out when I open it, eek).
Yeah, I asked the same question way down, about how long the oil can keep before it turns to crap. Deb, please update us all when you (try to) re-use it.
The NYT wrote about the cold fat method of frying potatoes back in 2010 here: https://dinersjournal.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/03/19/an-easy-way-to-make-french-fries/
According to the article, “the oil remains relatively undamaged (it never reaches the high temperatures that traditional french-fry cooking demands) and thus can be strained and reused a couple of times.”
Also, a non sequitur, but my favorite quote from the article: “Be very careful: at a certain point they will be very, very fragile — cooked but not yet crisp. I cannot help thinking of the nightmarish way a caterpillar liquefies in its cocoon before emerging as a butterfly.”
That quote may help me eat fewer french fries.
I’m so thankful for that quote too! Love french fries but hate creepy crawlies (and tight pants) even more. Can someone come up with something equally horrific for ice cream? Specifically coconut milk cookie dough flavor?
I have kept used oil in the fridge for months (5,6?) without noticing anything amiss with the next frying. I never tried cooling and refrigerating it again though because there was too much stuff (burned bits) in it. You might get away with it though since the fries apparently don’t leave anything behind.
yes. i also mentioned above but i do this for tortilla chips. (and have made these fries before too.) i don’t strain it (i simply stop pouring back into the bottle before the last tablespoon or two with the little black flecks in it goes in) and i don’t refrigerate it. never had a problem.
eventually between the oil that ends up on my little kitchen cart from transferring fresh chips to towels, or the oil that gets absorbed in the paper towels, or the oil that inevitably gets spilled a little while pouring it back in the bottle…i need to get a new bottle. or if it’s been a few times and the oil has that “fried” smell. it’s nothing gross at all and is probably fine, but at $1.99 for a new bottle, i just toss the old and start over, rather than risk less than fresh tasting chips.
Can you freeze them and even bake them at a later time?
My husband and daughter would love me forever if I made french fries at home! But how do you dispose of the oil?
I’m keeping it, but it depends on where you live. I’ve always heard that you’re not supposed to pour oil down the drain (although I’d imagine the kind of fat that solidifies would be more of an issue). I’m sure you could toss it out in the bottles you got it in but it’s possible your town waste mgmt has a preferred way.
If you have access to a compost pile, you can add your used oil to that.
No fats should be added to a compost pile!
I also have always been told not to pour it down the drain. I always cool it in the pan, then pour it into the trash into any empty container (ice cream, yogurt, etc.) that happened to be going in there. A container with lid is preferable but any vessel will do in a pinch as long as you take care to leave it sitting upright and pack the trash nice and snug around it.
I save large containers with lids – a big margarine tub, coffee cans, etc. Then I let oil and grease cool, pour it in, and keep it in the fridge until it’s full, then throw it in the garbage.
buy a container of oil that is just enough for what you need to fry. when you’re done, pour the oil back into the bottle once it’s cooled, and either throw it in the trash or save it for next time. (do it in the sink, and use a funnel if you need to :))
This may be a really dumb question but would sweet potatoes work fine with this recipe? Not sure if they cook that differently from white potatoes. Thanks a million!
It’s a great question because CI specifically says “This recipe will not work with sweet potatoes or russets.” I imagine that what happens is that they get tough on the outside and a bit hollow inside, which is why we usually twice-fry fries. I didn’t say nobody would eat them, though. :)
Tried this with russets tonight because they were all I had at the moment, (and how could we have burgers w/o fries?!) They came out perfectly! Delish!
PS Will never go back to frying, freezing and frying again!
These did not work. Like not at all. I scaled up to 3 lbs, cut the Yukon golds the right size, did everything as per the recipe, and 45 minutes of cooking later they were barely starting to brown. After an hour we were like screw it because we were hungry. Not good.
Can you use the same technique (cold frying) with Red Potatoes?
Red potatoes are waxier than Russets so I suspect they’d work better than them, but CI specifically warns against using this for other types of potatoes. The creamier nature of Yukon Golds is what I think makes this work.
My (Belgian) husband swears by “blanc de boeuf”–white cow fat. He does fry them twice, resting them in between. He would say yes to duck fat as an alternative but never to oil. His are always light and not greasy at all.
The biggest game changer is cutting up the potatoes fresh. And using the right kind of potatoes.
I am not surprised! Animal fats are usually solid at room temperature meaning that the fries seem less oily as they cool. Plus, more flavor. The reason I like peanut oil is that it gets cloudy when cold, almost like it’s trying to firm up, thus for oils we can easily buy in bulk, it’s about as good as I can find. (It’s for this reason that I like shortening for frying sweet stuff like doughnuts.)
But the real question: how did the two recipies compare? Best McDonald’s style french fries or French French fries? Was one a tiniest bit better or lots lots lots better?
Do you mean between the two twice-fried methods (Kenji’s vs. classic) I did for the party or between the party’s fries and these?
Kenji’s vs classic: would there be situations where you’d put the time and effort in for Kenji’s, or is the classic so much easier that it would win hands down no matter what?
I’m not sure I’d go through the effort, personally. I’d say they had a tiny bit more flavor and browned more evenly but it’s a lot of extra work. (His oven wings, however, should not be missed.)
The magic part of Kenji’s fries is that they stay crisp for a long time. It’s pretty much a given that McD’s fries are perfect when they’re just pulled from the fryer. Kenji’s stay like that for a long time, perfectly crisp, even when cool.
They are admittedly a bit more work, but honestly, they’re the best fries I’ve ever tasted. So for those times when the fries really matter, they’re the ones we make.
I……I think you’re my new hero.
Also you’d lose the fight over the crispy fries. They’re all mine. No one else can has.
I love this dinner party menu idea, however, I don’t eat mussels. Do you have any suggestions of something similar that I could make instead with that same european town by the sea vibe that’s budget friendly?? That sounds so appealing. Thank you.
Do you not eat clams either, i.e. is the concern seafood, shellfish or just meat in general?
I am also interested in this question. I’m allergic to shellfish but it developed when I was a teenager so I’ve been looking for a suitable substitute for a “mussels and fries” type of meal. I miss shellfish so, so much. My kingdom for a crab cake.
A Belgian favourite with fries are pan-fried sole fillets. Simply serve with a salad and homemade mayo.
Also, not a good replacement for shellfish, but one of my fav French traditions is having a quick omelette and fries for dinner. so so good!
Try some sort of mushroom-y broth-y dish made with butter, garlic, white wine, and lots of fresh chopped herbs.
I love, love, love french fries. ❤(Did I mention that I love french fries?) But I’ve never tried it at home because I really dislike the smell of fried oil in the house. Does anyone have any suggestions for keeping that smell from permeating the furniture, rugs and everything else?
One other commenter mentioned cooking the pot on a grill outside.
If there was a “like” button on here, I def. would have tapped it. As for doing it on a grill outside: a) It’s winter; a-squared) Lots of ppl. (me) live in apts. and don’t have outdoor grill options.
i hate that smell too, or really any cooking smell that hangs around. we live in a small one bed & have no stove hood or vent of any kind, AND we have carpet in the kitchen! AND i cook six days a week AND we are not raw vegans, so it’s the bane of my existence, lol. esp because it’s winter 8 months out of the year.
but these really weren’t that bad. (i made them awhile back when a friend posted about them on her blog.) that said, before i cook anything fried, seared, or consisting of seafood, i shut the bedroom & bathroom doors. i keep them shut until every last bit has been cleaned up after dinner – i.e. not just until i’m done cooking. if it’s warm enough, i crack some windows and/or turn on the fan. if it’s not, i burn a natural soy candle after dinner. then overnight i run our diffuser with orange & lemongrass oil in it at full blast. (i personally don’t care that much for the lemongrass smell but it’s good at getting rid of cooking smells and doesn’t hang around.) on the off chance i wake up and can still smell anything, regardless of the weather (well, except pouring rain) i crack windows, and then febreeze everything before we leave for the day. when we get home it’s chilly but everything smells neutral again. i use the fabric refresher in the spray bottle, not an aerosol. my favorite is the “milk and honey” from the sleep serenity line which i think is being discontinued, sadly. i like it bc the smell isn’t overpowering and it goes away. i don’t like for my things to smell like febreeze, i just want them to smell like nothing.
i also keep a couple of these crystal gel odor absorbers from the container store around our apartment. (i put one by the stove at night, and right now the other one is by the back stairs, but it travels around…i mostly have them because our downstairs neighbors were “burning incense” and the smell of skunk weed was killing me every night.)
I use boiling cider vinegar to clear cooking odors. Just leave the pan on the stove for a short time. Inexpensive and uses a kitchen staple. No vinegary after-odor.
Use peanut instead of vegetable oil. Almost no odor left when finished.
We cooked these last night. I used peanut oil, and opened the window and put a fan on (we don’t have a hood over the stove, so the fan in the window pointing out is our typical method when needed – even in the middle of winter). There was really no discernible smell after they were finished – and the house smells fine this morning.
I’d never thought of using a fan in front of an open window to blow smells out. That’s really clever. Thanks for that idea 😊
I loved the set up that a cousin of mine in the Netherlands had…. he fries everything in a shed outside so there is no smell in the house. That’s an idea I plan on borrowing.
not for city dwellers, alas.
My mom uses a plug-in single burner (is that called a hot plate?) on her patio for deep frying.
But Deb, what’s the deal if you’re making a super large batch? You know, 13 people worth fries? If the idea is to start them in the cold oil, won’t that be a bit time consuming to keep starting over with cold oil? I’m thinking this method is best if you’re making for a small crowd and your original method is best for a larger crowd?
The million dollar question! A few things: First, if you’re crazy like us and need to make 14 pounds of fries, nothing is going to save you, not even a deep-fryer. The one I borrowed used 4 to 5 quarts (quarts!) of oil and still the basket could only hold max 2 pounds at a time so you’re still doing several batches, although it’s just a few minutes, hands-off and you’re not fussing about trying to keep the temperature even on the stove. However, I’d use this method next time and use my biggest pot (8 quarts) and scale as much as I could fit, hopefully 6 pounds. I would probably just keep them warm in the oven and do a second batch, perhaps if you replace half the oil with oil from the freezer, it will cool quickly.
I’ve done this for a crowd at a cocktail party–used 2 enameled cast iron Dutch ovens, one recipe each, then staggered the start times. When those were done I poured out the oil, re-measured, added whatever cold oil necessary, then started over. It’s true I didn’t have MY cocktail until the last batch was in, but man I was a popular hostess that night. I have used this recipe for years–as an occasional treat, it can’t be beat.
Just made this for the second time – a single batch both times. Even so, I was the most popular person on the block :) Made Yotam Ottolenghi’s mom’s mayo http://www.ottolenghi.co.uk/ruth-s-mayonnaise-shop, not that any accompaniment is really necessary. Heaven!
This just changed my life and everything I hold true about cooking chips (as we brits call them).
Ack! I’ve got a peanut allergy in the family. What oil would you recommend in place of the peanut?
Most canola and vegetable oils are good for deep-frying (you can check the label) but don’t have much flavor. But you can enhance that by adding a little duck or bacon fat.
You had me at bacon fat…
I thought I saw an article interviewing Alton Brown about this very subject. His daughter has a peanut allergy, but he said there wasn’t any (or enough) trace of peanut in the oil itself to cause a reaction.
And here’s his tweet about it https://twitter.com/altonbrown/status/405740491884740608?lang=en
That said, I don’t take advice from twitter, so YMMV. I hope you find a substitute that works for you! Fries are amazing.
I had a friend who died from eating an egg roll fried in peanut oil. Please don’t use it if there’s the slightest chance.
I’m so sorry for your loss. That is awful.
oh my. how terrible. my daughter’s allergy is “mild” for a peanut allergy, but we avoid them like the plague.
I missed the link to the method for cutting the potatoes – how do you do it? :) Thanks!
This is the way we do it, with the exception that I use my mother’s Vegamatic, circa 1963. We get even, uniform piles of fries quickly, a lot easier than cutting up piles of Yukon Golds. And now I want fries… :)
A million years ago, my dad made homemade french fries for a teen party I had, and they were a huge hit! My friends talked about how good they were for years! Simple really can be best.
What an amazing father you have! Follow d always tasted better at friends house, I still remember the lunch my friend Linda’s mom made for us one day spurs of the moment, tostadas all homemade. Simple but made with much love.
Deb another winner – I love Yukon gold potatoes- they’re the best.
Btw, totally unsolicited endorsement: I picked up this “fancy mayo” for the party (even at my Manhattan grocery store, though, it was about half the price) and I’m ruined. I don’t know if I can eat fries with anything else, forever. So, if you see it at the store while grabbing your peanut oil and potatoes (vs. milk, eggs, bread) before the storm tonight… to hold you over until I make my own. ;)
This mayo is available in my grocery store and I look at it every time I walk down that aile. You’ve just given me the best excuse to buy it “because Deb said so!” 💋
The Belgian family recipe for a 8 min homemade mayo
1. Add 1 egg, salt, pepper, other spices if you prefer, (grain)musterd, simple white vinegar into a bowl
2. Blend all of these together first
3. While blending add the corn oil bit by bit until you reached your preferred consistency
This French family’s 35 seconds recipe for fool-proof homemade mayo, seriously hasn’t ever not work:
Crack an egg at the bottom of the tall container that came with your stick blender,
add a Tbsp of Dijon, another of vinegar and/or lemon juice, salt and whatever spice you want to play with, top it of with about a cup and a half of oil or so.
Sink your stick blender all the way to the bottom, start it and pull it slowly up. Watch the magic happen.
More oil makes it firmer, more lemon/vinegar makes it looser.
I have also been known to do the exact same thing straight in the clean glass peanut butter jar that will house the mayo.
This sounds good. I’ll try it. What have I got to lose? Think I might try it with half extra virgin and some dried tarragon. Thanks for the tip. 😊
If you do try it with olive oil, you have to be really light handed, I love olive oil but it overpowers mayo in a not so pleasant way. I usually use 1/4 EVOO to 3/4 grapeseed oil
Yes, I too have made mayo with olive oil and it was basically terrible, an off color and bitter. Gotta use something neutral.
Okay. Olive oil is out. Thanks for the warning.
I had terrible results even with 1/4 olive oil and 3/4 grapeseed. I make it in my food processor, and after some research found out that Cooks Illustrated claims that it’s the higher level of polyphenols in extra-virgin olive oil – apparently regular olive oil isn’t as susceptible. The polyphenols are coated in fatty acids, and when a blender or food processor breaks up those fat molecules to emulsify the oil & water, the polyphenol’s bitterness becomes more easily noticed. Whisking by hand won’t break up the fatty acids as much, especially if you add the neutral oil first and olive oil last, so you won’t notice the bitterness so much. Personally, I just stick to grapeseed or safflower oil for my mayo now.
I’ve never tried it in the food processor. Do you use the traditional drizzle of oil? Maybe the mayo goes through a little less processing with the immersion blender since you pull it through only once or twice?
It tastes really flat to me without a bit of olive oil, but I’m from southern France and I ironically always buy the cheapest organic bottle, and not EVOO when I can find it.
You use the whole egg, not just the yolk?
Yes, you have to use the whole egg, or it doesn’t work as well. I remember an episode of Good Eats where AB explains why, but I can’t remember.
It’s the long protein strands in the white tangling together, trapping the oil droplets between them in a sort of mesh. :-)
Hi Deb, I’ll have to try that mayo rec. I’m recently eating it again and the joy! Have you ever tried Sir Kensington’s Siracha Mayo? (I found it at Whole foods.) I eat it on everrryyyything: breakfast tacos, an offensive amount on grilled/roasted chicken, and most recently– as an adaptation to your pimento potatoes. Also, soy & GMO-free. Cheers!
Yeah, I’m definitely trying that. But this is my can’t-live-without-it mayo jam: https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B00KZ9H248/ref=mp_s_a_1_2_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1489901235&sr=8-2&keywords=sir+kensington+chipotle
IT’S SO GOOD.
(PS You are my French fry hero.)
I love everything Stonewall Kitchen does for several reasons:
*local (to me, anyway)
is your measure of the oil after cooling? it expands quite a bit with heat, if I remember correctly from my turkey frying days…
I did, not piping hot but still warm. It makes sense as 4T sounded a little low. But the bottles I refilled are still mostly full (and of course I spilled while pouring it out and then back in the bottles, maybe losing 2T). At most 7T? CI did much more accurate science on this; they sent out these and twice-fried fries to a lab for nutritional analysis and found that the “cold-start spuds contained about one third less fat than spuds deep-fried twice the conventional way: 13 versus 20 percent.”
To be clear, to me the appeal of these was that they were less work and used a bit less oil (and I had to buy less oil, because 4 quarts was expensive and I don’t deep fry enough to get any ROI on it), but I am absolutely not eating french fries for their health benefits. I’m eating them because they’re awesome and once in a while, it’s nice to have some excellent ones.
Is there a good 2nd use for the oil, or do you usually end up discarding the 6 cups (less 4 absorbed tablespoons) after making these?
…replying to myself… I just read up through the comments (I should really get better about doing this before responding to things/asking questions) and saw where you can keep it for another go. Basically, it sounds like you’re committing yourself to a life full of french fries, and that’s a life I can get behind.
If you want to try a fun family or party game, ask everyone which they like best and in what order: potatoes, rice, pasta and bread. It is always a hard decision, but potatoes rank #1 with me and french fries?! In CA, when I was a little girl, tomatoes were packed across the bay. The smell in the evening, even after dinner led me to crave french fries and ketchup every summer! Your fries look wonderful…all homemade crispy potato dishes (hash browns, home fries, etc.) are always the best! Because we do not have them very often, they are always a special treat. Thanks for reminding me of another great Cook’s recipe.
Oh man. Moules-frites are my absolute favorite! There is this restaurant in San Francisco called Plouf that makes the best moules with a variety of broths. Bonus: the male waiters all wear wool French navy sweaters.
I’ve never fried French fries before, but I may have to.
Love that place! I like the Thai version in coconut milk, but they are all so good. With a glass of Sancerre, hands down my favorite meal.
Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! We are going to San Francisco for spring break as it’s the kid’s senior year!!! The original plan was France during the summer but work and a move put an end to that. Now I get to have my moules while staying stateside!!!!
Summer is coming. I can’t fit into things yet. You don’t help. I resent you.
The snow is going to be as tall as my daughter tomorrow, so bathing suit season prep has been officially delayed until next week. (Also because of chocolate peanut butter something something for later this week, notsorry.)
You’re a shameless tease. I’ll be patiently waiting…
Mandy – I am addicted to your hilarious, angry and beautiful blog, and along with Deb and her magical recipes and way with words, yours is one of my favorites!! Just wanted to say “hi” and thanks to both of you for what you do!
I need to try this! 10 weeks pregnant and fries are a constant requirement of late.
How does the burner temp work with a glass top stove. I tried to make fried chicken about a week ago and the first batch instantly burnt because the recipe I used said “put oil in pot on burner and turn to high”. Turns out High on my glass top is way too hot! (It also takes longer… ugh…) I am out of luck??
Have you considered investing in a candy thermometer to measure the oil temp? That might help you figure out your stovetop’s settings. They’re usually not too expensive either, and should clip on the sides of a pan just fine.
I have a glass top stove. I tried the recipe, using a 8″ cast iron skillet, made a small batch, and used sunflower oil because that’s what I had. And because I refused to wait to try this.
I was concerned about the oil boiling-over, so kept the boil lower than Deb did as seen in her photo above; mine was bubbling but the bubbles were smaller.
Once the fries started turning color, I measured the oil temp, it was about 250F. If my pan had taller sides I would have turned up the burner to 8.
Oh my goodness Karen — thank you. Now I know what to do with all the oil, fried chicken. I’ve been wanting to try fried chicken for years!
I make fries just like this all the time. It’s a family favorite literally every time.
Wonderful! These look just like the fries that my straight-from-France grandmother cooked. And the oil/fat combo was kept on the unheated glassed-in porch all winter with no problem.
My question is, if you start with a cold pan, what do you do for batch #2 or even #4? I don’t think 7lbs of potatoes come out in one batch. Do you use multiple pans?
I talked about this above but I’d either have extra oil around (I suggested if some came from the freezer, you might get away with swapping only half the oil to cool it; actually cold potatoes might help too) and use one pot or do it in two. Plus you can scale this to your biggest pot; the nice thing is that it doesn’t need surface area to brown evenly, just volume. And, once they’re browning, they’re firm enough that you can stir them around if they seem to be coloring unevenly, but they shouldn’t.
Yes, Deb yes! I’m going to spend the rest of the day with Phil Collins’ ‘In the Air Tonight’ stuck in my head because, whether I knew it or not, I really have been waiting for this moment for all my life.
I just … I CAN’T EVEN! I want these fries soooo badly – especially since tomorrow will be a blizzard/snowday! Looks like 1 more trip to the store for me.
I’m just sad this post came out on a Monday instead of a Friday so that I could make this as my weekend project! Oh well, guess I’ll have to wait torturously. It looks delicious and so easy!!!!
‘ Guys, I am just here to help. ‘
Well.. Deb, I’m just here to love you :)
This sounds fabulous! I’ll give this a try this weekend! This sounds just so much better then the peeling-soaking-twice-frying-version, gah, who would have thought? :)
Great recipe, but what did you do with all of that leftover oil, and if you stored it for future use, how long will it last before it smells/tastes like crap?
The oil doesn’t smell or taste off — there’s no garlic or onions or meat or spices here — I’m going to refrigerate or freeze it. The nice thing is unlike the 4 quarts I needed for the fryer, we’re talking about 1 big (medium for non-NYC grocery stores) bottle here so it’s not an insane amount even if you only use it a few times. But it sounds like it should last longer.
Thanks, just wondering the length of time between uses–couple of days, few weeks, several months?
I’ll let you know but I can’t imagine it wouldn’t last months in the freezer and it sounds like if you only use it for potatoes, it’s not going to get gross as fast.
Sorry to be a PITA, but do you typically freeze your oil after using it, or just store in a cabinet? I never heard of freezing oil before. THANKS!
Is there a trick to crisp them up before they turn dark brown and taste over cooked (to me!)? I started Yukon golds on cold peanut oil, cooked them on high.
You can keep it at room temp. I always did in Cape Town.
I have a ton of pastured lard from a 1/2 pig I bought this summer. Could I use all lard instead of oil? I’m drowning in lard!
Sounds like a good way to go, you know? ;) I know lard is popular for deep-frying doughnuts and other desserts, don’t see why it couldn’t work here. Animal fats tend to have a lighter mouthfeel too.
I took a baking class at Zingerman’s in Ann Arbor, and they use half butter, half leaf lard for their pie crusts. Could you do that and stockpile some crust? It IS Pi day after all!
What’s the name of your special mayo?
Stonewall Kitchen Roasted Garlic Aioli.
We LOVE that mayo! Been buying it for a couple years now. :)
Better than your oven fries? Those are my absolute favorite! I wish I had Yukon golds in my house now to try this; I don’t think I can fight the storm-preppers in the grocery store today! I’ll have to wait until we dig out ;)
This is a wonderful way to do fries! We tried it several months ago (also making them to go with mussels), and I couldn’t believe how great they turned out and how easy they were to make. Then I promptly forgot all about them. Thank you for the reminder. I have a big bag of Yukon golds I bought this weekend and this is going on the menu for this week!
Bummed the mussel recipe link is broken.
Link now fixed, thank you. I still use this recipe: https://smittenkitchen.com/2006/08/moules-frites/ (However, I don’t follow it closely, it’s more like a big lump of salted butter, saute the shallots for a minute or two, add 1/2 to 1-inch of wine, season it well with salt and pepper, let it boil hard for 1 to 2 minutes, add mussels, once they’re open, shower with parsley).
I grew up in a French Fry house. Every one of us loves them and knew how to fry them up before we’d left grade school. We always used red potatoes (Gold weren’t even a thing then), but I’ve been noticing funny things about the taste of potatoes these days. I don’t know if my taste buds are changing or if it’s the potatoes. First off, I’ve never liked the gold ones – they just have a “funny” taste. But I’ve always LOVED reds, and they have now started to have that same “funny” taste (almost an after-taste). Now, I love white new potatoes (can sometimes be found near the gold potatoes – can only be bought one potato at a time – not in a bagful), but they are not available all the time. So, for me, it has to be russets… We always fried twice, but I might try soaking them, drying them, and then using this method.
You can keep used oil in the fridge for a few months, and in the freezer for a few years…
Never knew that about oil = fridge, freezer. Kept mine in a cabinet and it always smelled lousy later so I tossed it out.
Is it a bitter taste? I sometimes taste in red potatoes as well- think it is a build up of solanine?
Hi, Leti – Well, I’ve just gone to read about solanine – I’d never heard of it before, and it certainly looks ominous. But it’s not really a bitter taste – it’s more “nutty”… and reading about the solanine and the fact that it’s a natural pesticide certainly has me wondering about chemical pesticides – maybe I should try organic before I say it’s the taste of the gold that I don’t like…
Yes, potatoes are known to be grown with a lot of pesticides so it’s good to look for organic if you can. Here ( US) I can find organic russets for almost the same price as non organic but I have to check to see if they are turning green or not before I buy them. And organic always seem to sprout faster in my cupboard too so I have learned to use the bag quickly.
People often say that they’ll never live long enough to read all of the books in their house, and I completely agree; but I’d like to add that I’ll never live long enough to cook all of the recipes I’ve bookmarked from Smitten Kitchen.
Deb… I … I don’t know what to say… You may have just changed my life.
Can you cover the pot with a splatter guard while the fries are cooking?
I didn’t but probably should have. As long as your pot isn’t as full as mine (a 4-quart) shouldn’t be an issue.
This recipe may just get me over my fear of frying. What about the mayo? You know that really good kind you only find on the streets of Brussels and Paris?
These look amazing! Your a wizard! I need to try these soon!
This might just change my life – certainly for the better, but also, for the bigger pants size.
Quick question: does the oil spit and splatter much with this method? My biggest reason for never making fries before without a deep-fryer was not the smell or the smoke or the sheer volume of oil necessary, but the unfortunate prospect of having to scrub the 3-foot radius around and above the stove after the cooking is over.
Yes, I’m sure it will splatter somewhat when it gets hot enough – I usually use a pot much bigger than needed – often my stock pot…
Just tried the recipe – no splatter at all! The oil (in a Dutch oven) kept a lively but low boil throughout. The ‘frites’ were gorgeous!
I made mine in a 4 1/2 quart saucepan (4 large potatoes). The potatoes and oil came about half way up the side of the pot. I had no grease splatter on the counters or stove top. Now I did pat the cut potatoes dry with paper towels but I was very impressed at the lack of mess. I had the hood fan running as well and the filter plates were not loaded with grease either.
Also with the slight “oil smell” in the kitchen – I lit my catalytic alcohol burner and let it run for a few hours. Worked great.
These look amazing – I love how easy they are!
Hi Deb – longtime reader, first time question asker! What make or model is your cast iron pot? Have you ever done fried chicken in that thing? I’m looking for a more heavy duty option than what I have currently and yours looks to be perfect.
The one shown here is a Staub 4-quart braiser. Bought it a little over a year ago and it immediately became my most-used pot in the kitchen because it’s both a deep saute pan and something you can bake it. I can bake a ziti or the like in there too. I think of it as the second best Dutch oven you can buy; it’s great to have a big one (6-quart, although I use a 5-quart for most recipes) for big soups and stews; this is slightly lighter and thinner. You could definitely fry chicken in it; it’s about 11 inches across.
Regarding re-using oil, here’s a Food Lab post on clarifying oil with gelatin. I’d thought there was a follow-up post on using egg white, but I cannot seem to find it now.
These look wonderful ! I have a built in Miele deep fat fryer. I have had it for 8 yrs.ever since I did a complete remodel. I always store the oil in it. Curry catsup is the BEST condiment. We learned to love it when we lived in the Netherlands in the late 80’s. Use Alton Brown’s recipe for curry powder. Add it to taste to your best catsup and then add sugar and salt to taste. Let it set at room temp . You will LOVE it.
I’ve never been a ketchup fan, we didn’t have it in the house, growing up as my mother didn’t like it. I’ve always preferred the European, with mayo way. When my sister lived in Rotterdam, they ( fritters) were the best street food, ( except for maybe the stoop waffles). Is Pomme Frite still in Manhattan? They had great fries with all kinds of homemade mayo. What fancy kind did you get? Sir Kensington? I like mine with homemade tartare sauce too. ( I use, dill, not sweet relish). I can t wait to try this method!
I’m a Heinz loyalist. Pommes Frites was just down the street from me, destroyed in 2nd Avenue explosion almost two years ago but they’ve reopened on MacDougal, busier than ever from what I can see, so hooray for that.
And you’re me y the same with russet knowing that yes they’re going to end almost falling apart and add julienned onion too. Makes it amazing, though more fries you will eat with a fork qith the rest of your meal than with your hands. It’s the way my mom has always done it
This looks like a fabulous technique. Last time I made fish & chips, I cheated and bought the fries at a very good local place. Never again! By the way, I almost always fry outside on our gas grill, in a big cast iron pan. Keeps the smell and the mess outside, works for latkes and fish and whatever else I give myself permission to fry. And although I don’t live in the far. far north, a little cold weather (i.e., well below freezing) isn’t enough to stop me (although it can impact how easily the grill can heat up the oil!). Thanks again, Deb, for all you do for all of us.
Holy F–. My friend and I couldn’t get over how easy this was. We had to force ourselves not to fry the entire 20lb potato bag after making the first batch with a dutch oven and canola oil.
If it was slightly thick enough, they taste exactly like chiptruck fries. Imagine making a Poutine with these blessed fries?!
While it was the tempting fries that piqued my interest, I have to ask about the stoneware pictured. Dinnerware that looks great can only enhance an already fabulous dish! Are you willing to share the maker, pattern and color? I am on a quest to match my older stoneware. Many thanks, Debbie
Our stoneware is from our wedding registry and has been discontinued, the line was Calvin Klein Cargo. Some pieces here but not much. Great shape, though and none (in the original color) are chipped after 11+ years.
You might find some at Replacements. Can be pricey, but long-discontinued patterns can be available.
It works! Although this method goes totally against everything I thought I knew about deep frying, there’s no one I would trust more on the internet than you, Deb, so I went for it. Found some yellow fleshed potatoes in the pantry but only did a few as there’s just the two of us and really enjoyed them with our fish tonight. I rarely deep fry but will certainly do these again. You may have created a monster!
You bring them to a boil..which occurs at approximately 5min then you cook them for another 20-25 min. The question is: Still at a boil for thw whole time period? Just seeking clarification.
Also looking for clarification re: whether the heat is reduced from high after the initial 5min. Cooking tonight anyway so I guess we’ll find out!
Hi, we JUST NOW finished making these and they were a solid A+. So psyched about this recipe as we adore fries…we left our burner on high the entire time (so, for the first 5 minutes and then the next 20 after that) and they turned out so darn impressively yummy. Seriously, a life-changing recipe. (For calibration purposes, our stove is a Viking stove and can get very, very hot and we left it at that hot temp – worked out great!).
Another long-time reader, first time commenter. Thank you so much, Deb!
Boil for the whole time.
I think.. I might love you. Cue heart-eyes emoji
I have used this recipe/method for many years. It is loved by many who dine at our orchard. I use olive oil. I strain the cool oil and reuse several times without issue. This works for sweet potatoes, pre cooked cauliflower, carrots, broccoli, floured onion, and so forth. Your meal looks lovely.
Like the French, I prefer to do mine in a tub of duck fat. Especially with the mussels.
I’d never paid much attention to duck fat before we went to Quebec City a few years ago. Duck appears on almost every menu, so the entire city seems to be swimming in left over duck fat. I’d never had potatoes roasted in duck fat until then. I had no idea that potatoes could be so delicious. It was a game changer for me. My sister used to roast ducks every year for Christmas dinner and we’d throw out the seemingly gallons of fat they produced. I wish I could go back in time and rescue all that magic fat and bring it ahead to the present.
Oh you made my day! favourite son is coming to visit this weekend and guess what I shall be making for him ! I love it when we find ways to make life in the kitchen so much easier: more time with friends, less fuss and a happy palale. What more can we ask for? Thank you!
You are always fun to read, but you were really funny in this post!!!
I got excited about the fries, but then I remembered these sweet potato fries:
Which tasted great with the slow fry, but still: I was a little jumpy with that much hot oil on the stove that long and I didn’t know what to do with it when I was done. And I didn’t like the faint oil smell that lingered. I sort of decided at that point to leave the fries to the fry cooks at restaurants. Actually, I don’t fry much of anything unless I can do it outside on my grill burner in warmer months – that smell in the house is just too off-putting to me.
I have an even easier method of getting VERY good french fries.
One set of car keys
The ability to drive to a Wendy’s or Red Robin
Take car keys and gently push into car ignition
Drive to Wendy’s or Red Robin
Order several large orders of french fries (to go)
Pay for order
Set car aside
Set keys aside
Eat the french fries.
Dip french fries into frite sauce of your choice.
Well, by the time you’re home, the fries will be half-cold and soggy.
Don’t be an asshole.
I didn’t feel this comment was asshole-ish, but funny and on-point for my situation. I live within walking distance of several fast-food restaurants, hate frying food myself [usually only do so during Hanukkah], and don’t do dinner parties, so I have no need for this recipe. When I crave fries, I buy them already made [and eat them immediately, with lots of salt], or buy the frozen ones to bake in the oven [and eat them immediately, dipped in a mayo-Heinz mixture]. That said, for those who don’t live near restaurants, or do have dinner parties, or simply prefer to make fries themselves, I see the merit of this recipe. It’s just not for me.
At one time I might have agreed but when it’s a one hour drive one way to the closest Red Robin add to that the price for 14 lbs of fries would be cost prohibitive AND the fries would be cold. This recipe is the answer!! Plus your guests feel loved that you took the time and effort!
Oh wow! The colour of those fries looks insanely golden, it sure looks mouth-watering! Can’t wait to try your recipe! Have a great day! :)
This is the only way to make French Fries! I did a post on these a few years ago and they make THE BEST frites! My taste-testers concurred, in between swipes of ketchup and licking their fingers. I want an invitation to your next dinner party — and there is no such thing as an unconscionable amount of wine.
Trying this method this week! I’ve recently been trying french fries in a fryer and it just wan’t working. I’ve never seen this technique before – thanks for posting it!
I had written a comment this morning but it seems to have vanished. I am writing again in the hope that this doesn’t.
I am from India and we fry regularly. Atleast once a month (more during monsoon). We love to eat fritters, papads etc. We do not reuse the oil for frying but we use it for tempering spices for curries, parathas and dals. Please do not throw away oil. It is unnecessary. You can easily use it to roast veggies etc. Strain it and use it. I was really shocked to see the comments about throwing away the oil. It can definitely used to make Indian food. Please keep it in fridge if you use it rarely. We normally keep it on counter and it’s over in a few days.
For frying we use oils with high smoking point. I feel vegetable oil will not work.
Amazing recipe though Deb! I will direct my sister to your site. She had tried to fry 1kg potatoes when she was in college but it was a massive disappointment because in India we get only 2 types of spuds. Old and newly harvested. That’s it. All this beauty of waxy, fluffy and flaky potatoes is alien to us. I hope we get these sometime in future. She is in colorado and she will love this.
i made these thirty three weeks ago (lol, thanks instagram!) after a friend posted about them on her blog and we just had to try them. it’s really easy and it really works! while i’m not going to overstate things and say they were the best fries i’ve ever eaten, i can definitely say they were without a doubt the best fries i’ve ever made at home.
i also noted the very little oil absorption the same scientific way deb did – because when i returned the oil to the bottle it was still practically full. (and of course less what i slopped over the bottle pouring it back, and less what got absorbed by paper towels, etc.) :)
looks so delicious! but what do you do with all the left over oil?
Strained, cooled and poured it back into the bottles they came in and froze it for future use. Almost no smell, totally reusable.
I have a 22qt pot – one of those ridiculous ones only a restaurant should have. Do you think I could pull off 10-15lbs in one shot in this? I know they will fit, but the better question is if they will cook properly. Obviously it will take longer to get it to a boil, but once there, think it will be smooth sailing?
They seem to cook evenly in the oil, but once they begin to brown, they’re also finally firm enough that you can turn and stir a little in case there are spots cooking faster. I think you’ll be fine. But let us know how it goes too!
Question – after placing potatoes and oil into pot and bringing to a boil, do you continue cooking over High heat for the duration?
These look incredible. Thank you for doing the research. Do you cover the pan with a lid at any point, or just use a splatter screen?
Ah! I’d never seen the dinner party menus before – they all look great! Any recommendations for a vegetarian menu?
There’s a Winter Dinner Party, Vegetarian in the list (not as built out because I think you could go almost anywhere with it) but I also love doing black bean tacos with all the works, and big pots of three-bean chili. This is pretty and you can easily make a few with salads and sides.
I usually buy Russets when I want to buy large potatoes, but this past Sunday I decided to buy Yukons.
And then this posted.
If there is ever a ‘favorite Smitten Kitchen recipe’ poll, this is the one.
Last night I made your last two recipes & had them together – delicious! Although I have had very little Indian food in my life, I was intrigued by the little black lentils & bought some a few days ago to make your punjabi-style lentils. I was looking for something to go with it, and even though your suggestion of cauliflower & potato mix sounded great, it was more work than I wanted to do (I live alone) – so I just added some cauliflower to the black lentils and it worked beautifully. Still wanting to have something else with it, I saw your easy fries and said “that’s it!!” I used white Maine potatoes & they held up well even though in my uncoordinated first try of cutting them I messed up – even after trying to follow your picture! Dah! Never tried the cold oil technique before & was surprised how easy it was. All in all a yummy combination. As much as I would love to try the Stonewall Kitchen aioli I won’t pay full price for it. We have specialty stores here in Bar Harbor that sell their products, but they are closed for the winter. I will be seeing their booth at a trade show this weekend, so will look for the ingredients & see what I can make on my own! (I’m quite often more interested in making condiments than actual meals – I never buy tahini since it is so easy to make as well as much cheaper & better than store bought.) Just the day before seeing your moules-frites party pictures I had made mussels in white wine sauce (with plenty of butter) over vermicelli – so fabulous! Although we don’t do it often, we can forage mussels right from our shore close by – soooo much better when fresh from the ocean! Thank you so much for your recipes – you get me out of my comfort zone!
Would it be ok to prep the potato batons earlier in the day? Just keep in the fridge in water? Or would the moisture mess things up?
I’m trying to remember if yukon golds get brown or gray and can’t remember. For russets, you’d keep them in water. But if these down brown or get gray, an airtight container might be all you need.
Can you recommend a second choice for the oil. It’s tough for me to find large bottles of peanut oil. Also, what is the best way to dispose of six cups of oil? My mother used to solidify it in the freezer and then throw it out. Do you have a better idea?
I love to eat these fries dipped in Dijon mustard.
Youd Mother’s Apple Cake is the best cake I have ever eaten. It’s a staple here.
Depends on what you can get; look at the labels and see which ones are indicated for frying. I’d say vegetable or canola are the next most common. I didn’t dispose of the oil, I strained, cooled and kept it; it’s back in the bottles I bought it in and in the freezer. Can use again. Virtually no smell. Glad you like the cake!
Yup, you are right. 16 french fries is most definitely not sufficient;) Good judgment call. These look like they turned out perfectly crisp and delicious. French fries are my ultimate weakness!!!
I was JUST going to make your oven fries again this week. Looks like that plan is out the window. I can’t wait to try this, Deb! Thank you!
am I being slow today? Where does the 2nd frying come in? I see two time periods and draining and
oven time? Wish I could eat one right now.
You don’t. The magic (“easiest”) part of this recipe is that you use less oil and only have to fry once.
Does this make the worst mess ever in your kitchen? Is a splatter guard an effective partner against all the oil that gets all over?
The mess isn’t terrible but a splatter screen could help. Also using a bigger pot than needed, which I did not do.
It is the best way for all my large Pot-Luck gatherings., BUT , COULD YOU HAVE A ‘PRINTER FRIENDLY’ recipe without the rest of the pages. Please!!!!!!!
There is a print icon that leads to a print template at the bottom of each recipe, where it says “DO MORE:” You can also click CTRL + P from any recipe post and it will take you to a streamlined print template.
if using a commercial type gas stove -adjust your time down considerably. At the 5 minute mark the fries were starting to brown and were crispy and easy to handle/turn. I cut potatoes closer to 1/2 inch sticks. By 15 minute mark they were dark golden and well done.
Family loved them. Much faster than using the air fryer.
Question: Do you leave the burner on high the whole cooking time?
I wasn’t able to leave it on high for longer than it took to bring pot to a boil. I immediately turned the heat down to medium and then had to lower it even further. They kept a steady boil at med low to medium.
Great method though – the stove and counters were not splattered with oil.
I just love Moules and frites… I prefer dipping the frites in a basil mayo….DIVINE!!! You have me convinced I can make these and that I really want to make this for my birthday dinner next month. Yup. I think I’m going to do it!
Hi Deb, I just attempted these, following instructions exactly as far as I can tell, and they just didn’t come out crispy. They were nicely browned and tasted great, but were soft. Any ideas?
Someone else just commented similarly but I don’t have a good answer (yet!). You used Yukon golds and got good color on them? Oh, and what kind of oil did you use?
Used our supermarket’s generic peanut oil brand. Also, the potatoes were labeled “Fresh Yellow,” which is interesting. Maybe there are indeed different yellow potatoes with enough variation to produce different results…
Did they seam mealy? I once bought something that sounded like yellow potatoes (I can’t remember the variety) but were much more Russet-like, floury, less waxy. I wonder if that was the culprit. And of course I want to get to the bottom of it so we can warn others if there’s something to watch out for.
They seem kind of right in the middle – a little waxy, a little starchy. Maybe a twinge mealier than I’d expect Yukon’s to be but inside was still pretty creamy once fried. I searched around and am finding there are a few different yellow varieties but not much info on differences.
I had the same experience! I made them twice this week and both times they were absolutely delicious but definitely soft, not crispy. This was not a problem for my husband as he’s not a crispy fan (he raved about these), but for me the gold standard is the oven fries from your book. But these ones are so much easier! So if I could achieve crispness they would be perfect.
– Cast iron dutch oven
– Left on high (electric stove) the whole time
– Used half the amount of potatoes called for, and one bottle of peanut oil (750 mL)
– Peanut oil just covered the fries
– Batons probably about 5/8″ (maybe this is the culprit?)
– Yellow potatoes; the receipt says Yukon Gold (of course that’s no guarantee that they really are) but they were mealier than I would have expected
– Fries were VERY brown after about 19-21 mins total (including initial heating time, pre-boiling). Initially I thought that was because I halved the volume but now I’m thinking maybe I should have turned the heat down?
I hope that’s helpful! I’ll absolutely make them again (I’ve already recommended them!) but I’m hoping to achieve crispy nirvana.
I wonder if it’s the thickness; that’s over double what CI recommended. I wonder if this really just works best with skinny fries. Don’t have an answer yet, just thinking out loud…
Mine, which came out soft, were also on the thicker side. And in fact, the few thinner edge pieces did come out crispier than the rest.
I had the same problem (not so crispy), with both my skinnier and fatter fries. And the potatoes were labeled “gold” potatoes. But I noticed as I was cutting them that they were pretty soft, as if they had already aged for a while. Maybe that’s the problem? Maybe this recipe needs new, or newer, potatoes?
With so many variables, it is hard for all to get the same result. Another factor can be how the potatoes have been stored or how long they have been out of storage. The starch in potatoes starts to turn to sugar after time, plus they will lose moisture. Older potatoes with more sugar will brown faster etc.
Success! I made them again tonight, but closer to 1/4″ thick, and they crisped up perfectly. I think I might still prefer the oven fries, but these are much easier and faster!
I made them three times in one day (we had guests so there were 10 of us in the house!), with very different results each time.
1st attempt: started with room-temp oil, gradually turned down heat a little at a time after it began boiling, didn’t go below #6 (my stove’s dial goes to #9). Took 5-10 min longer than Deb’s but in the end were fairly crispy and turned out great. (PS I blitzed some kosher salt to a powder in my coffee/spice grinder and it adhered to the fries so well!)
2nd attempt: started with room-temp oil, turned down heat too low (#4 – it was still boiling so I thought it was okay, but clearly it was not hot enough). Absorbed tons of oil and never crisped up.
3rd attempt: started with warm oil (shortly following attempt 2), left heat at #8 the whole time with a splatter screen. Fries darkened nicely and looked promising but ultimately were soft; thankfully less oily than Attempt 2 but just okay. Not sure if they cooked too fast to crisp (?!) or if the warm start was the problem.
All three were from the same bag of Yukon Gold potatoes; same pot, same size batons (I measured). I plan to try again and mimic Attempt #1 and check oil temps as I go so I know for the future.
I made these tonight exactly as per your instructions using sunflower oil and waxy yellow potatoes, and though the fries looked beautifully browned, they were greasy and soft. I put plenty of newspaper and paper towels to soak up the extra oil, but this did not seem to help. I have always (like you) used the soak, fry, double fry method. Seems it still works better. Any thoughts about what could have gone wrong?
Hm, I’m totally not sure what happened but I’m sorry it wasn’t a hit. Are there more types of yellow potatoes than I might realize and maybe this wasn’t the same kind? (I mean, I know there are other yellow potatoes but my understanding was that they’re all close cousins and will work similarly.) For me, when they were brown, they were crisp (although I took them slightly darker than CI showed in their demo, I prefer them this way).
This has happened to me before. I think it depends on the the type of Yukon golds. I have made this many , many times and they usually come out perfect. However, once my Yukon golds were extra waxy (more like red potatoes) and they never browned and were soggy)
Put the potatoes in the cold oil??
Mind = blown.
Deb, once you prepped the potatoes the day before, you stuck them in the freezer so they don’t brown? Loose? In water? How does that work? I’ve never tried it!
I prepped them right through the first frying — I did the twice-fried method for the party because I believed there was no other good way to — and it’s actually a great trick. They could keep in the freezer for a day or for months; they’re basically what you’d buy as frozen fries at this point. If I weren’t doing the first frying the day before, I might keep the potatoes in water. But what I’ll actually make for now on are these :)
Tried these tonight – 4 large potatoes ws just right for the two of us. My issue was that they cooked much faster than the recipe suggested, before the 15 minute mark they were already what I would consider over browned. I had them on high in a cast iron Lodge “chicken fryer” pan. My gourmet partner said you should never cook on high with cast iron, or in an enameled Le Cruset dutch oven. Could that be the culprit of too fast frying?
I had the same issue. Potatoes were done much earlier than I planned. I didn’t cook them on high – just started the process on high until oil boiled. Then medium low to medium. I think you need to keep the oil boiling at the lowest setting that works with your stove.
After five minute mark, they were getting golden and crispy and were easy to turn, stir, etc.
It might be. I think you’re the third person to say this now, so it’s definitely a possibility. That said, I was using a Staub cast iron which is also enameled (it’s just black, so it looks like it’s not) and I’m completely convinced that the burner I used runs blazingly hot (i.e. medium is definitely medium-high for others, I usually adjust accordingly when writing recipes). However, I guess variances shouldn’t be a huge surprise. Oh, and I bet fry thickness counts too. I aimed for 1/4-inch but know I went slightly thicker in some. If yours were, say, consistently McDonalds thin, perhaps that’s all it took.
Decided to try these again, almost four years later, and had the same issue. They were over browned in less than 10 minutes from the point the oil boiled, and not crispy. Still delicious but I wonder if you need to turn down the oil from high to medium once it boils to slow down the cooking time?
You’re using yukon gold potatoes and a high-heat oil? What kind of pan? Definitely shouldn’t want to turn the heat down, because lower heat usually makes for soggier fries/more oil absorption.
Oh boy. These were awesome. Next time I’ll cut the batons just a little thicker than 1/4″ to get more potato flavour.
Thanks to all who replied about what to do with the leftover oil. I had no issues with splatter and there’s no smell. Bonus.
I believe I see fried chicken in my future.
To this, I can only say, “Oh, no.”
I’m an Idaho girl and love potatoes in all their various forms, but none as much as fries.
I just noticed the little Heinz packet–love! We’re teaching a DIY Condiments class (ketchup, mayo/aioli, and mustard) at the cooking school I run, these fries will be a great thing to make for sampling!
You really can bake them too… I don’t peel them or soak them. I do rinse them, lol. But I slice them up, spray the pan, spray them, and then bake for 20 min at 450. Sometimes if I’m really on top of it I’ll turn them halfway through. I check them at 20 and decide if they are crisp enough, and then cook longer if needed. Nice if you don’t like messing with oil…which I have always been reluctant to do with toddlers, lol.
thanks! I love your sense of humor!!!!
I don’t make french fries very often in fact not sure the last time, I don’t know if we still have a deep fryer. However after reading your article I’m ready to try again. I usually cut potatoes approx 1 inch cubes tossed with olive oil season with Italian spices and oven bake. You convince me to try this ‘cold oil’ method. Also Cook’s Illustrated always has interesting insight to cooking.
Finally the french fry gets treated like real food, not fast food!
A shout out to our sisters and brothers in arms from the realfood-project.com
These are easy to make and delicious. For info about reusing oil you can go to epicurious.com and find out more. Here is an excerpt from their article:
“Each time you reuse an oil, it gets more and more destabilized until it decomposes. The way the oil starts looking when it starts to decompose is very distinct. Robert Wolke, scientist and author of What Einstein Told His Cook, writes: “Hot oils tend to polymerize—their molecules join together into much bigger molecules that give the oil a thick, gummy consistency and a darker color.”
If your recycled oil is looking cloudy or has foam formed on top, it’s time for it to go. Bad frying oil might be tricky to gage with your eyes, but it doesn’t have a subtle smell. It’s that acrid, heavy scent you’ll pick up in front of take-out restaurants of ill-repute. Crack open your container and smell the oil you’re keeping periodically. If there is even a hint of rancidity or anything “off,” it’s time to toss it out.”
Hi Deb! Not sure if anyone else has asked this yet but do you think it would work with curly fries? I love my veggie spiralizer hahah
I hadn’t even thought of that but what a great idea, especially if they’re thin. But you’d have to use Yukon Gold potatoes and you might not be able to fit as much in the same amount of oil because they have more negative space. Let us know how it goes if you can. Because I want curly fries so badly!
Do you leave the temperature on high the whole time? I have a gas stove and it can go pretty high…
I did and I always think my gas stove is pretty hot on that burner but to be safest, the first time you use this method stay close so you can see if they’re browning faster than it did for me or CI. I mean, because I’m sure you were otherwise going to be three rooms away while oil was bubbling on your stove. ;)
Hi Deb, thanks for the interesting twist on fries. – I refuse to call them french fries, I’m from Belgium, so we know that we invented them, and anyway are preparing them much better than the French :-) and I do the twice fried version in the deep fryer, which is the classic recipe. I am curious to try your version.
Concerning the oil, you can reuse it up to 10 times; no particular need to put it in the freezer (everybody keeps the oil in the deep fryer in the cupboard).
I only had one red potato, but I had peanut oil, so I made these. They cooked up faster than I expected — I almost burned them — but they were delicious! No fuss! No mess!
So helpful to read all of these comments. We don’t do much frying (we normally do oven fries), but I wanted to try these for my French fry-loving guys. They cooked much faster than I expected – were pretty brown at the 15-minute mark – but I figured that was because I was only cooking enough for 3. They were nice and brown and delicious, but not really crispy. (We used Yukon Golds and peanut oil.). But still so good – we’ll for sure do these again sometime. Served with steaks and Ina Garten’s spinach gratin – a really nice Saturday night dinner.
I made these Friday night in my Tfal electric fryer. They were easy and delicious. I poured the room temperature oil in the fryer, added the sliced potatoes, and turned the temperature on the fryer up to 375…basically as high as it goes…25 minutes later I served crispy, delicious french fries to my dinner guests. This will be my go to method for french fries from here on out.
Debs… Didn’t quite work.
In UK YUKON Gold not often in evidence. Used Maris Piper – a go to floury variety advocated by many. Sadly the chips were looking too far on by 10-15 mins and had to drain and oven store while pan frying the plaice. Middles fluffy but outer layer not crisp. Presume oil too hot ? No clues in this or source article in Cooks Illustrated.
Interesting read “How to fry perfect chips” in the Guardian by the lovely and Exhaustively testing Felicity Cloake
Yikes! I tried this last night and the fries browned up (too much) before they had a chance to get nice and crispy. I probably need to turn down the heat a bit. I’m going to give it a go again, wish me luck!!
UPDATE! Second time a charm. My oil was too hot and my fries were too big. I lowered the heat and made sure my fries were closer to 1/4″ and viola! Perfect, perfect, perfect!
Just to chime in: Just made these and I am FREAKING OUT! Some of the best, crispiest fries ever–restaurant quality–and easiest method as well. Here’s what I used: “gold” waxy potatoes from Whole Foods, cast iron skillet, peanut oil to cover (why measure this?), glass top electric stove on high. Entire cooking time for beautifully browned fries was about 15-20 minutes. I moved them around after about 10 minutes bc I could see them getting well cooked. I would just suggest that everyone watch them for color.
This recipe is astounding. I got perfectly crisp, non-greasy frites for nearly no effort whatsoever. Thanks, SK!
Made for Moules Frites last night, fantastic! My Oxo mandoline has a 3/8″ preset julienne, so a bit bigger than yours, turned out great. Peanut allergy so used canola and about 1/2 duck fat from freezer for flavor. For Moules, used hard cider, carm. onions, mustard and tarragon – oh and some cream at the end. Yum.
Clarification 1/2 cup duck fat from freezer.
Whoa, this recipe is kind of a miracle! It’s all about what kind of potato! Yukon Golds are expensive, but this makes it so worthwhile. I was skeptical, but I just followed the directions and voila! These fries were delish! It took a lot longer than the stated time however – about 15 minutes longer, but still. A total keeper, and bizarrely, my house did not smell of fry oil at all. My stove barely got a splatter! In short, I think this recipe astounding. Thanks again Deb!
This really is a genius recipe! Thank you. And I was a geek and measured the oil before and after and it used 3 tablespoons. How is this possible? You are the best! And I’m thinking I can use that oil a few more times. What do you think?
So went to the writing of Saint Harold of McGee. He describes how the usual initial “cold” fry dissolves and aggregates the starch in the outer layer which forms the crispy bit. This is the equivalent of starting in cold fat for debs recipe. Extrapolating If u have a new ultra quick induction hob you’ll form a thin crust which will overheat and over brown.
I reran using traditional two stage heating with 120 C initial fry 15 min then few mins on 180 to finish much better results. So guess some will need to turn down the temp. Digital thermometers are a boon. Know your hob..
My family loves french fries. They especially love the now popular Garlic Truffle Fries that have popped up on menus in specialty restaurants in our area. But a trip to our favorite beer pub for a family of six is a bit of a splurge. So, I tried my hand at making them at home. I tried a variety of recipes, but it was hard to find one that produced good fries and in the kinds of quantities that we need to satisfy six or more people at once. Our favorites, April Bloomfield’s multi-step fries, are great, but require advanced planning, multiple pots, and freezer space that I just never seem to have (it’s like Jenga in there, so, NO.) Plus, frying fries the traditional way gets to be kind of a mess – and a labor of love for the person standing at the stove, shoveling fries in batches to the table for everyone else to eat. It’s too time consuming and requires too much cleanup. I got so frustrated with the mess and the timing of everything that I looked into buying a portable gas deep fryer that could fry up big batches at once. It’s still in my ‘saved for later’ cart on Amazon…but I just never could pull the trigger. It would require loads of oil, space in the garage, and, really, cleaning it once would probably deter me from frying every again. So, I decided awhile back that french fries were just going to have to be that special treat that were reserved for restaurant visits. That is, until these fries popped up in my twitter feed. One seemingly normal day last week, shining like a beacon in a sea of political tweets about Trump! Comey! Tillerson! Russia!, there was this peaceful, alluring picture of french fries. No peeling, soaking, freezing, or thermometer? Really? Oh, and what a coincidence! I’d just returned from a trip to Costco…. I had a ginormous bag of ‘gold potatoes’ in my basement, a cube of peanut oil in the garage, and about 40 minutes before my girls got home from school. I decided to give these new fries a try. When my girls walked in the door, their eyes lit up and within 10 minutes, the fries were g.o.n.e. They wanted more. So, the next time I made fries, I did two batches at once. More was better – and aside from a little extra cleanup, it was great that all the fries were ready at the same time and with minimal effort from the line chef. No timing, no rationing (save some for your sister! eat slowly, more will be ready soon….) Just a bunch of happy, hungry teenagers eating and chatting over big plates of fries after school. Since reading about them a few days ago, I’ve made, quite literally, 20 lbs of french fries. The girls are on spring break, friends are in and out playing games and watching movies, and these fries are what they keep requesting – and I haven’t minded making them. I have an inexpensive french fry cutter, a couple of dutch ovens, and that cube of peanut oil from Costco (though honestly, I have been able to reuse the oil multiple times and it’s still like new.) I can make two big batches of fries in under 30 minutes. While they’re cooking, I whip up some aioli, grate some parmesan, and one tray of fries become Garlic Parmesan Truffle Fries w/ aioli for dipping, and the other tray are simply salted for those who prefer traditional fries. I saved $400 on a deep fryer I really didn’t need, Lord knows how much money from frequent trips to the brew pub, and can put off purging and organizing my freezer for a day far in the future; so other than needing to make another trip to Costco for potatoes, life is good.
I just love reading your blogs! You had totally lost me with “frying twice” I was relieved when I read Valerie’s answer! Love it!!! And, like yourself, love my fries! Also, bless you for realizing “16 fries” is just not enough.
These fries are good, no question. And healthy-ish. And a pretty good reward for the effort. But… they’re not a patch on Kenji’s fries. We followed his recipe for our grandson’s 13th birthday party dinner of Ultra-Smashed Cheeseburgers and Fries. They really do taste just like McD’s, but (here’s where all that effort pays off) they’ll stay crisp for just about ever. Or 20 minutes, which is how long it took for the last one to be devoured. Even cold, they’re crisp. Seriously, everyone, including the adults, hoovered them up like starving teenagers.
We now keep a bag of them in the freezer, ready for the final fry, for those all-too-frequent French Fry emergencies. You know what I mean, when you need fries, stat!
Deb’s are easier and that’s more important to me. Who wants to go through all those steps Kenji lays out when the end result is pretty much the same? People devoured these fries too.
These are good, yes. And easier, no question. I’ve made them a number of times since the recipe first appeared in Cook’s Illustrated and we do like them. I’m just saying that there are times when I want to serve the very best fries I can make. On those occasions, I make Kenji’s fries. YMMV.
Especially loved the cutting technique. These fries were awesome. Looked like they were going to stick but wasn’t a problem at all. Very crunchy & as browned as we like them!
I have never met a potato I didn’t like. These look so easy and delicious!
You hit this one out of the ballpark! SO easy, SO inexpensive and SO tasty I texted my 3 grown children immediately (well after we consumed the fries) and told them they will NEVER make fries any other way!
Love your recipes !
Deb these fries are RIDICULOUS. How in the world does this work? This recipe is some kind of magic. I stood over my dutch oven of bubbling peanut oil watching these babies cook last night, thinking the entire time “There’s no way this is going to work”. But it did! And they were glorious! I put too much salt on them but we didn’t even care! We’re making homemade chili cheese fries with them later this week because we have no shame! Thank you for ruining my life! Exclamation points!
HELP – quick question – when I first saw this post from you Deb, I got into my head that my oil needed to actually be cold – as in stored in the refrig. So I bought two bottles of peanut oil and have had them in the fridge so that I could make this tonight. Now that I’ve re-read things, is the oil supposed to be room temp and not actually cold?? Thanks in advance!
I’d say room temperature but I also think you’ll be okay. It will heat, it just might take a few minutes longer. That said, a lot of people are commenting that theirs took less time so I think it’s safest to just keep an eye on it.
Quick update! I took the peanut oil bottles out of the refrig about an hour before cooking – so, not as cold as direct from refrigerator but not exactly room temp either. My store was out of Yukon Golds, so I grabbed a bag of “Gold Potatoes” which only said “yellow flesh” in the description – no clue what actual variety that means they were! Followed the recipe to a “T” using my Le Creuset enameled cast iron dutch oven and a gas stove. Getting oil to nice rolling boil was about 5-6 mins, then I modulated the temp off of High for only about the middle half of the 15 mins thereafter (although I never turned the dial below Medium). There were maybe 6-7 fries stuck to the bottom, so I only did one gentle stir/toss using tongs. Then the fries continued boiling for another 9 minutes before I scooped them out to drain and salt. They were TO DIE FOR. Zero problems with early browning at all. So, perfect results with: 1) somewhat truly “cold” oil, 2) “Gold” potatoes, not Yukon Gold, 3) gas stove on High most of time, 4) zero need for stirring, 5) no adjustments to time. I think the biggest thing I learned is BE PATIENT – the crisping and final color did not look obvious until literally the final 3-4 minutes.
Deb, I love your recipes and tried this yesterday. They were beautiful and delicious but not crispy. I fried them for a total of 22 min and they looked done. Do you think I should have fried them longer?
Maybe a little longer? Were they browned at all?
I loved the look of this recipe, so tried them for dinner last night. I used canola oil and Yukon gold potatoes. I sliced them slightly thicker–maybe 3/8 inch on average. Sadly, I don’t have a nice enameled or cast iron Dutch oven type pot, so I made them in a stockpot, which they filled about halfway. I was afraid to break them, so I didn’t stir them at the 20-minute mark but later wished I had. I cooked them on high for most of the time, but turned down to medium in the middle. Does anyone have an opinion on the strength of the boil that is desirable? On my stove, high produced a boil so vigorous that it was hard to see the individual fries amidst the froth, and medium produced a boil with visible steady medium-sized bubbles. The fries turned out good but not great. I love the brown crunchy fries best, so I purposely cooked them to slightly more golden brown than most restaurants would (but far from burned). Sadly, they were a little bit more hard than crispy, and the insides weren’t really fluffy–but the taste was great.
Despite not being the perfect fries of my dreams, they were polished off at dinner and my kids wished there were more. The technique was so easy and neat, too. I’ll definitely try making them again. Next time I plan to cook them slightly less long and see if this helps with the fluffiness and crispiness.
This is the third time I’ve made the fries. I let them crisp too much this time around, but they were still good. What am I saying? They were still delicious.
I froze some of the leftover fries from my first batch, stuck them in the oven and they were fantastic. Sadly, I haven’t had any leftovers since.
My bodega only had unrefined peanut oil, which says its good for medium high heat. Can I use that for frying or should I try to track down the refined stuff??
I only Googled it so I’m not an expert but both sites I looked at suggested it had a smoking point of 320, which I’d expect to be lower than the temperature these will ultimately cook at so I’m not confident it’s going to work well.
Tried the fries tonight and will definitely do again! In spite of them getting done too soon and having to wait in the oven. The texture was soft and a bit tough at dinner and my impression is that they weren’t going to stay crisp once they got to a cool plate, no matter how quickly. I used (sorry) old oil of undetermined content with about 1/2 C. of beef fat. An unknown weight of what the store said was Yukon gold potatoes. I swirled some oil around the pot before dumping in potatoes and the rest of the oil needed. A tiny bit of sticking that came loose with no effort. I see fish & chips in our near future. I’m wondering if done-too-soon would benefit from a quick reheat in the hot oil. I’ll report. BTW, my favorite dipping sauce for fries is Heinz Zesty Cocktail Sauce.
Made these last night, also experienced the fries cooking super fast. However, I’m not sure if that was due to variations from the recipe in oil/potatoes (like others, could only find “gold” not specifically Yukon.) Tonight I’m on a different stove, Yukon golds, 100% canola oil, and I’m modulating the temperature to not be on high the entire time (as long as I can keep it boiling.) Will report back! :-)
So easy, so good! Made these for the grands and their friends. A big hit! Thank you!
Having only russets tonight, I used them with no problem! That same old oil; all I know is that it has no canola or olive oil content. The oil was sitting in the pot and I dumped the strips of potato in, shook the pot to sort-of level them and cooked on high/medium high for longer than I gave the Yukons. They didn’t get goldy but they got crisp and stayed that way throughout dinner. One thing I’ll continue doing is to slice the potatoes directly into a bowl of cold water and rinse off much of the starch. I didn’t do more than drain them a bit in a colander, but no spitting of fat happened. I’m very pleased!
Thanks for your report, Sally. I’ve only made these a few times because it’s almost impossible to find Yukons (or any gold potato) here in less than 5 pound bags. Cooking for 2, they invariably rot before I can use them all. I’ll give it a try with russets using your notes.
I wonder how these would be in the air fryer? I will try it out.
I was making a roast the other day, and I usually do mashed potatoes with my roast. But then I thought: You add the same amount of fat to mashed potatoes, and if this recipe is really as easy as Deb says, I might as well do fries. So we had pot roast and fries and my children were ecstatic. ECSTATIC. So good.
I didn’t have Yukon Golds, but I’ve always found them very similar in texture to red potatoes, and I had red potatoes on hand. It worked out great for me. They did not brown until the very last minute — I read some of the comments and nudged the burner nervously down to medium high for part of the cook time, and I don’t know if I needed too. I could have let them get a little browner. But it was so hands off and wonderful and easy. I am planning to have a lot of fries in my life in the coming years.
So easy to make! And the golden brown, crispy results converted both my dad and my coworker (both double-fry guys). I actually used a mix of peanut oil and vegetable oil because that’s what I had on hand. And I was slightly concerned about the potatoes getting brown, so I measured in the oil first, then dropped the potatoes in as I sliced the batons.
Thanks for encouraging me to get my fry on with your beautiful photos and simple, easy to follow instructions!
These were the best french fries ever–crispy and brown on the outside, fluffy on the inside. My guests loved them. I didn’t really believe this method of cooking fries would actually work–how could they not be soggy and greasy? Not sure why, but they weren’t. Perfect, easy and not messy as in the traditional deep-fry-in-hot-oil method. I’m saving the oil in the original bottle in the freezer, as suggested.
The only downside to this is that I will be eating more french fries, more often.
Whoa! This is so good and so easy! Thanks Deb!
Hi Deb – I’m trying this soon! One question – you say to turn burner to high and bring to a boil – after which cook potatoes for another 15 minutes. Is that 15 min still on high or do you reduce heat? I know peanut oilcan tolerate high heat, but we’re you concerned about it smoking/burning?
Turn burner to high and bring oil to a boil, which will take about 5 minutes. Cook potatoes for another 15 minutes;
I never comment….yet I’m obsessed with your blog. However, I had to comment b/c these french fries are incredible. They are easy to make, insanely delicious and taste better than anything from a deep fryer! I have made them at least a dozen times this month, for both family and friends, re-used my oil and the only addition is truffle salt and parmesan (because all food is a mere vehicle for truffle salt and parmesan). Thanks for being such an awesome blogger with perfect pictures, witty posts and delicious recipes.
Third try at russets tonight and the best ever! A bit more sticking than before, but not a problem. My real problem is trying to find a main course that can wait for the french fries, rather than the other way around. Suggestions?
I can’t help but wonder what other deep-fried things don’t have to be deep-fried. I don’t think anything with batter would work, but doughnuts?? Deb?
Hi! I made this soon after you posted and they were amazing. We tried a second time this weekend (yukon golds and canola) and they were mushy and a mess and never crisped, even after an extra long boil. Could it be the canola vs. peanut oil? Over crowded potatoes?
It was so sad.
Did they get fully brown so you had to take them out because they were going to overcook or were they lighter than your first batch?
Lighter and soggy/mushy!
As a former fry cook, that sounds like either too low heat, or overcrowding.
Ok, so I did this recipe with coconut oil, which set me back a few more bucks than if I had used peanut oil. They came out beautifully! So good and rave reviews from my family.
I tried them with other veg, to mixed success. Carrots and cauliflower worked pretty well, but mushrooms were only ok and zucchini was a fail. The potatoes I threw in were great!
I have to admit that I didn’t really believe it when you said your potatoes only soaked up 4 tablespoons of oil. I recently made fries this way and when I poured the oil back into the bottle, it was almost full!
Finally made these and LOVED them! We actually cut our potatoes *too* thin using this method (I didn’t know there could be such a thing for french fries, but they fried up so nicely that I wish they were a little more potato-y). Will cut in a more wide way next time.
Perfect for accompanying lobster rolls or burgers. And we actually found that they stayed crisp the following couple of days, so we ate them cold with leftovers (and they were still delicious).
With each post like this I gain a little more hope in humanity.
Thanks for sharing.
Dang it. Now I have to go home and make these.
Can you strain and reuse the oil with this method? Thanks!
Yes, you can.
Thanks for the recipe!
While it seems like making French fries this way would result in really greasy fries, that is not the case. It’s the best and easiest way to make fries. Yummy!
Thank you so much! I will never make homemade fries another way and it is crazy that hardly anyone knows this simple way to make perfect fries.
Ok, this is going to be a problem… These potatoes are absolutley what French fries should be. Light and almost fluffy (?) on the inside and perfectly crisp on the outside. (I cut them a bit fat.) The recipe is so easy and my house doesn’t smell oily. I made them tonight and all the while I’m saying to myself “there is no way this is going to work”. Then, like magic, they went from pale and strange to golden and crisp. Yup, this is going to be a big problem.
I can’t believe this worked!! I put these on to fry while I grilled my burgers. BEST FRIES EVER!
I was fortunate enough to be able to fry these in beef tallow, and it worked great. The fries were done in about 15 minutes, and were very dark brown, but not at all burnt or overdone – the insides were nice and fluffy. They did not get crispy, even though they boiled furiously the whole time (after starting cold), but they were delicious. The kitchen did not smell and they did not spatter, two huge wins in my book. We grilled hot dogs and had them with your quick pickled veggies for a yummy and fun summer lunch!
These are perfect! I saw this recipe a little over 2 months ago, and I’ve gone from making fries one or twice a year to at least once (often twice) a week.
This technique has also helped me to understand how frying works at a more fundamental level, and made me less paranoid about grease fires, so I’m enjoying a few more fried treats, as well.
As for details, I use an ancient (circa 1960s) electric range, so it takes a little longer for the heat to get to temp (or to adjust the temp while cooking) but the instructions are otherwise the same. Takes about 7 minutes on high to bring the oil up to temp (inch and a half in a large cast iron pan), and I cook them for 35-40 minutes to get a really nice, deep golden color with darker, crispy edges.
No muss, no fuss, just excellent fries with so little effort that I’ve made them as a quick afternoon snack, too.
i made french fries by your recipe last night…it so crispy…me and my friend love it!!
Wonderful!!! Best way to make fries!!! Thank you so much!
Do we need to worry about the oil catching fire at all?? I’m new to frying, and I’m terrified of a grease fire. 30 minutes at high heat scares me a little!! Any tips??
**I did try a small batch of these, and it was great, but worried that a big batch may be a different story.
These are so great! Please listen to the no soaking message! My first batch I did soak the potatoes as I was not thinking! They just don’t work if soaked in water first. They just get soggy and don’t get crispy.
Perfection! I cannot believe how much time and energy I have wasted over the years following all the steps, of rinsing, first fry, second fry etc. I poured the used oil (grape seed) through a sieve and it is now waiting in the fridge to produce another batch of yummy fries sometime very very soon!
is it possible that a gas stove is not hot enough to bring the oil to a full boil? I’ve got the oil in a le creuset on high, and while it’s swirling, i have not reached boiling. I have a 5 burner older kenmore dual fuel elite stove w/ 14200 btus…
This strategy sounded great but it didn’t work for me. The fries browned in the first 15 minutes and were still mostly limp. Directions say “Turn burner to high and bring oil to a boil, which will take about 5 minutes. Cook potatoes for another 15 minutes.” Is the heat supposed to be reduced after oil is brought to a boil? Maybe I kept the heat too high?
They weren’t like real french fries but I ate them anyway. :)
No, you can keep it at a boil, as it says. I’m sorry they didn’t work well. You used yukon golds, yes?
I made these and used a mandoline to cut the potatoes to 1/4”. They shrank when cooked, and I think yours in the photos, cut by hand, were larger than 1/4”. Mine were tasty but shrunken – next time I’ll cut them larger.
Quick question as I’m thinking of making for breakfast! Do you keep pan on high while cooking the fries or medium high (essentially watching that it doesn’t bubble over)? I have an induction stovetop so it get hot fast and stays at a great hot temperature but I don’t want to cook too fast that they burn and not cook through.
Awesome as always! X
Made these tonight for dinner, I did exactly as instructed in the recipe, PERFECTION! So perfect I might never go through a drive through again (because let’s be real, fast food is all about the fries). Thanks, Smitten Kitchen!
Deb this was a dangerous skill to teach me. I had them on the table after work even, with burgers and dashing to the shops to get another litre of peanut oil. I probably could have let them cook slightly longer but still amazing.
This method is one I learned in Home Ec class when I was in the 8th grade. I am now 71. I have been using this method ever since. I even use it when I go with packaged frozen french fries. Always with great results. It was called the “cold start” method.
I used to use peanut oil, strain it, store in fridge.. Lard is actually healthier for you than ANY vegetable oil…. So now I use Lard, and keep it in my Granpappy fryer on the counter…. Lasts for 6+ months……. LOVIN IT !!!
These were amazing. They take some faith. In the early stages it seemed like they couldn’t possible turn into crisp, delicious fries, but then they do! I’m a huge fan!
Have you tried this method as cubed potatoes ? Ty
Works just fine!
Hi Deb! I love your blog and your method for fries is spot on. I may have short cut that makes it even easier… I use the frozen French fries from Trader Joe’s. They’re cut into just the right size and they are the best frozen fries that I’ve found. They even do well baked in the oven. But you’re right – nothing beats fried French fry 😁
These were so so so good. And so easy. Thank you so much for sharing!
My Mom makes the most awesome fries that I can’t seem to imitate – cuts them up lengthwise, never any symmetry, doesn’t rinse or soak except for after peeling them, throws them into a warm-ish mix of vegetable & olive oil.
They come out perfect.
Every. Single. Time. She’s a friggin fry wizard.
This was the easiest, most delicious thing I’ve made in a LONG time. My family thought I was a genius. I can tell that this will become a requested favorite. Thank you!
This was the easiest, most delicious thing I’ve made in a LONG time. My family thought I was a genius. I can tell that this will become a requested favorite. Thank you!
We made these last wekend and used just one large potato. I was concerned there would be an oily mess but no such thing occurred. These were so incredibly easy and they were so incredibly delicious! They werent all the same width but I think thats a plus as some of the skinny bits had a wonderful crunch. We poured off the oil and stored it in the fridge for the next go round. Be sure to serve on a hot platter as they cool quickly. Thanks!
These sound fantastic. Do you have to use peanut oil?
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I have made the “easiest French Fries” twice now and send you love and kudos for a brilliant recipe! I made them Sunday for friends to put into their falafel pitas because all the best falafel used to come with fries. The fries may have been the stars of the meal. Who knew! I have never liked frying because of the oil splash. This way avoids all that and is not scary. I used peanut oil and some canola for the taste, they do not taste greasy and they are just brilliant. Thanks for a great recipe!
Just made these! I only had regular Idaho potatoes on hand, I didn’t measure anything, and they still turned out perfectly. You’ve changed my LIFE.
My mother made these and they were fantastic. Cooked through, crisp, but she only made a half batch just to try it out and they were gone very fast. Next time, we’ll make a full batch. Thank you, Deb. :)
I’m happy to save the frying oil, even though it sends my husband over the moon with the ick factor. But what about adding duck fat (and I have some)? Will that pollute the clean oil? Just wondering. Thanks!
I have an electric stove. So are you telling me that I just put it on high and leave it on high? Won’t that burn them? I would love to try this can you please answer :-) thank you
I haven’t tested this on an electric stove but a few people have verified that it works just fine on one.
In case anyone is wondering, I made these with russet potatoes because that’s what I had on hand and they were fine. They were a little bit hard, more like oven fries, but not a disaster by any means. Looking forward to trying the recipe as written with waxy potatoes once we make our next grocery store run.
Hi! Love your blog <3
First try – I burnt them terribly. Didn't use enough oil (did not cover all potatoes completely) and they stuck to the bottom and burnt. I thought my heat was too high and that I cut them too thin. So 2nd try, I lowered the heat to medium and cut them exactly 1/4".
Some came out good, but most of them had a "dehydrated" texture to them.
Do you think my heat was too low this time? It was not as rolling of a boil as my 1st try – more like a rapid simmer.
What kind of potatoes did you use?
OH MY GOD! These are 100% easier than the pre-rinsed, double-fried, finicky fries I had been making (infrequently, due to the hassle) for the past 10 years. Have already made them twice in the past few weeks since, hey, why the hell not?
If/when I have to go on cholesterol pills I will blame you. While eating these fries.
I am always looking for a great quick homemade french fry recipe. This recipe is one that even I can handle. Thank you! My husband will be happy.
What other oil would work? My boy has a peanut allergy.
Yes, use a vegetable oil intended for frying.
Can you use another oil as well? My kids are anaphylactic to peanuts AND tree nuts. I know most peanut oil is highly refined and the peanut allergy shouldn’t be an issue, but they’re the kind that can’t even be in the room with a nut so I do t want to risk it!
Yes, you can use a vegetable oil. I check labels and look for one that says it’s good for deep-frying (usually an inexpensive brand like Crisco or Wesson).
I really want to figure out what went wrong for me. Used yellow potatoes, followed instructions exactly. After 15 minutes TOTAL, they were very dark, on the verge of burning. I got them out of the oil and they were just very limp and not crisp. Do you turn the heat down after it comes to a boil? I used plain ol’ vegetable oil. Not the best taste, but typically good for frying. Thoughts?
I did not actually believe this would work – so I had to try it! And, of course, like every recipe I make from you, not only did they work, but we’re amazing! And amazingly simple – No more frozen French fries! Thank you Deb!
I did it and it came out perfect!!!! I’m forever yours!
I tried these and they weren’t good. Followed the recipe very closely. Took them out right at the 20 minute mark, salted and served. They were dry and overcooked, even though they looked perfect. How do I know when you take them out next time?
I have been craving fries hard-core during COVID quarantine and made these. They were DELICIOUS, but they turned brown after the first 20 minutes, even though they weren’t finished. They were not golden like this. Anyone have tips? I used Peanut Oil in a dutch oven and there was virtually no mess. They tasted delicious.
Kelli, mine did not crop up and did not brown much either and I cooked them much longer than the recipe said. I thought it was my “county gas” instead of “city gas” I also used a dutch oven and I wonder if that was the problem. When ever I see a fry pan full of oil and food like Deb used it makes nervous.
Hi Deb! LOVE this recipe! The first time I made them they were perfection! The second time, not so much. Forgive me if I missed this tip, but my Yukons were on their last leg and the fries never crisped up….they were not as golden so I’m not sure if I did not fry long enough or needed to use fresh potatoes……any ideas?? Thx!
I made these tonight, my were a little soggy also. I use canola oil, no peanut oil at my local store. I also use the burnner on my gas grill, and don’t think I get the BTUs out of it as you do with city gas, next time I will try the stove. But it was such a lovely evening I hated to cook in side.
This just changed my life. I’ve had shallow fry fries my whole life and they’ve never stayed crispy after they cool. These are freaking delicious. Highly recommend!
Hi, would this work with Russet potatoes?
Mine were soggy. I followed the recipe exactly. I used vegetable oil and fried them for 30 minutes. Should they have gone longer to crisp up? Should I have dried them better? Maybe vegetable oil isn’t the best?
I tried these this weekend and they did not work. I had slightly more than the recipe called for, but not enough that it would make such a difference. Cooked them for a super long time past when they should’ve been done and they never got crispy. Not uniformly, anyway. A few did, but for the most part they were “done” as in not raw, but never crisp. It was my first time making french fries so I was bummed. I will try again with the used potato oil, but this time with russets. Fingers crossed!
These are amazing! Only after reading the comments below did I realize I did not use Yukon Golds but Russets. It worked fine and they tasted great! You may have already answered, but have you ever tried with sweet potatoes?
I made these with canola oil and “Klondike goldust” potatoes. They were still quite soft/soggy and very greasy when I pulled them out at 30 minutes, so I checked comments on here, then dumped them back and kept frying for another ~15 min. Turned out delicious and very crisp!
Well, maybe it’s because I didn’t use the right sort of potato (my store had “gold” but not specifically “yukon gold”), but this did not work for me. I followed the recipe and my fries LOOK like the ones in the picture, but they weren’t anywhere near crispy enough for my tastes, and they were pretty greasy too. :( Anyone have any idea what I did wrong? (I used a fry thermometer just out of curiosity, and the temperature was mostly in between 230 and 260 degrees F. The fries/oil did what Deb said they would do, though, so I don’t think I messed up because of the oil temp.)
Hi Julie — Did they brown up? Were they still soft when they browned?
I used black truffle salt and served them with my own garlic aioli dipping sauce. Divine!
These turned out absolutely perfect! I moved to Norway last year and lately, I’ve been missing the most random foods from home. Yesterday I longed for ballpark-style garlic fries. These were SO easy to make, and the ideal texture for tossing in salt, lightly sautéed garlic, fresh parsley and a dusting of parmesan! It brought me right back to scarfing down an entire tray down myself at an afternoon SF Giants game with friends. I will definitely make these again (and again and again)!
Forgot to add – I used Asterix potatoes (which is what we had on hand, but luckily they are great for making fries). I also peeled the skins, so I diverted a *little* bit from the recipe – but the concept worked flawlessly!
These are so delicious I made them twice in one week, and I’m not somebody who fries regularly. The second time I decided to try for thicker steak fries, so I cut them using an apple slicer/corer thingie (now it’s not a single use gadget anymore!). They came out perfect!!
These fries were amazing! Easy recipe, came out just perfect!! Will definitely make again..and again
I made these last night in extra virgin Spanish olive oil and they brought me right back to Spain. Nobody does fried potatoes better than the Spaniards and I realize now it’s because of the EVOO (Spanish). This method just simplifies everything. Save the oil afterwards to use again and again as they also do in Spain.
I’m sure these are delicious, but I can’t justify 6 cups of oil for anything. I love coating everything in a little oil in a bowl, spreading them on a parchment-covered cookie sheet, and roasting at high temp for 25 minutes. That satisfies the French fry lover in me just fine!
AS wonderful as this re oil. cipe is, it still creates a significant ‘fried food’ smell that remains in the kitchen for a long time.I am very sensitive to strong smells ( my kids called me “the bloodhound”) so I came up with a new way to make french fries, or any fried food. THE AIR FRYER – which is just s new name for a convection oven. I can make 2 lbs of chicken wings with a scant 1 T of oil., 3 lbs of french fries i with 1 T oil, fried chicken with 1 T oil., fried fish, fried onion rings, etc. And there is NO SMELL. No spatttered counters -No grease. The air fryer basket goes right into the dishwasher – clean up is minimal. The flavor is the same – the texture is the same. I didn’t believe it, but it’s true. Best small appliance I’ve ever bought.
Oh yes, thank you Deb – I would never have thought of starting my fries in cold oil! It worked with the potatoes we have over here – I think I used the not so waxy Maris Piper but the result was just fabulous. I left the skins on as I cut and they were crisp as can be. Much love xx
God, what a beautiful sentence. “Last week we had 13 friends over for moules-frites”. Can you even imagine? *sigh*
Soon again, I hope. xo
made these tonight and they were amazing! This is my only way to make fries from here on out. Thank you!
I made these tonight and they are sooooo delicious!!!!! Thank you for the recipe. Yum
Hi all! I made this tonight, but didn’t made the full batch. My fries turned brown within 5 minutes??
Used a cast iron skillet, single layer, peanut oil. Was my burner to high?
I so want this to be a success! Please let me know what I did wrong 😑
I tried this recipe last night. Used peanut oil on high and the fries got very dark within 5-7 min and the never got crispy. Not sure what I did wrong.
I finally tried this recipe in the last year, and love it! I made it in a 10 inch skillet with one or two potatoes for two people, and it might finish up a little faster than 20 minutes. I just recently picked up a little 1 quart fry daddy, and wondered if the cold start method would work. CAN CONFIRM, I put oil in and then potatoes, plug it in and start timing once it comes to a boil. About 12-15 minutes does the trick, depending on how thin I cut the potatoes. Dangerously easy to make these, and when I filter the oil afterwards it truly uses almost none at all.
I finally got the courage to make this last night (especially seeing that most people reuse all that oil). My only complaint was that I didn’t have enough potatoes because my family thought these were the best fries they’ve ever had. We sprinkled a little truffle salt on them and wow, so incredible! Can’t wait to make these again with a much bigger batch of potatoes!
Wow! This is a life changing recipe! I don’t know if I am ever making oven fries again.
Looks easy and delicious. What do you do with the left over peanut oil after cooking?
This has always been a challenge for me
The only snag is that, after the chips are done, one has over a litre of used cooking oil to use up. Who wants a panful of used oil sitting around?
It’s almost impossible for most households to dispose of sustainably.
I had bookmarked this recipe a few months ago and decided to try the recipe today. OMG! Delicious fries in about 15 minutes. I made a small batch and cooked them in avocado oil in a smallish dutch oven. They were among the best fries we have had. Thanks for this wonderful simple recipe.
This is the only way that I make fries now! Where was this all my life! And you are correct, we eat them more often now which generally makes life better!
Deb, have you tried this method to clean fry oil? It worked for me.
Love homemade fries but I never know what to do with all the “leftover” oil. Can you let it oil, strain it (or not) and save it to use next time (for fries)? I do t like to pour it down the drain or into the garbage!
We will never have take out fries again. Ever. And each different fry size had its own reason for being perfectly delicious! It’s probably for the best that we didn’t discover these earlier in the pandemic….but I sure am happy we know about them now!
The best French fries I have ever made. And so easy, too. This has become my go-to method for making fries at home.
You had me at French Fries, but really sold me with easy. This recipe was quick and easy and produced fabulous, tender yet crispy tasty fries. This will be my go to method….thank you!
I just love your writing style/way of thinking/sarcasm/sense of humor. I’d read your blog for that alone. And the recipes & excellent photos, of course.
I assume you turn the heat down from high when the oil comes to a boil.
made these and they were great! Always soaked them in cold water first but won’t be doing that now. And bye the way I used russet cause that’s what I had on hand, came out perfect, thank you
Omg finally a homemade fry that is good! And easy! I’ve avoided frying fries at home, always trying to get a good, crispy baked fry. It doesn’t work. This is so easy and they were so good! No more soaking, drying, blah blah blah. This one is getting saved!
I might fight you for them as well…this sounds like great easy way to make my favorite food in the world, tied right there with guacamole and chips!
Mine cooked way too fast and got pretty dark. I think our induction range + the cast iron skillet just was more heat than I bargained for. Next time I’ll use a thermometer gun and try to keep things at 350. Does that sound about right? I KNOW my next try will be better!
I wouldn’t worry about the temp here, just take them out as soon as the color is right, even if it’s sooner.