Crispy, Homemade Oven-Baked French Fries
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These homemade french fries emerge from the oven with exceptionally crisp edges thanks to a simple trick: soaking the cut potatoes in hot water for 10 minutes before baking.
Every summer, when the potatoes start arriving in our CSA, I am blown away by their flavor, by how they need nothing more than olive oil and salt, by how many potatoes we consume as a family each week. When I was at the farmers market last week, I asked the woman at the Barber’s Farm table why the summer potatoes were so good. She responded: “Because they’re fresh!”
I mean, if most — all? — vegetables taste their best at their peak season, why shouldn’t potatoes, too? They should, and they do, but I think that because potatoes have the added virtue of storing well, which allows us to enjoy them well past their harvest, we often associate them with winter cooking.
And with many a gratin and mash on the horizon, it’s certainly easy to overlook potatoes this time of year. But thinly sliced or julienned, coated in olive oil, showered with salt, roasted until crisp, summer potatoes couldn’t be more irresistible. Or could they?
After weeks of making completely delicious, no-fuss, oven “chips” and “fries,” I decided to explore the matter further. Could the fries be crispier? Better? After finding little guidance in a few of my favorite vegetable-focused cookbooks, I turned once again to the ever-reliable America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook, a book that has been open on my counter for weeks. And, of course, they had a trick. And fortunately, the trick was simple.
How to Make Crispy French Fries at Home
The ATK method calls for soaking the cut potatoes in hot water for 10 minutes before baking them. When developing the recipe, the Test Kitchen sought inspiration from the technique used when making traditional French fries, which is a brief blanching in hot oil or water before the final fry.
This blanching step “not only disrupts the starch molecules inside the potato (encouraging a fluffy interior), but also washes away some of the starch on the outside of the potato (preventing a leathery exterior).”
Here’s the method, in sum:
- Wash potatoes and cut them, lengthwise, into small, even wedges or sticks.
- Place the potatoes into a large bowl, cover them with hot tap water, and let them soak for 10 minutes.
- Drain the potatoes, dry them thoroughly, then toss with olive oil and salt.
- Arrange the potatoes on an oiled baking sheet and cover tightly with foil.
- Bake for 5 minutes, remove foil, and continue to bake for 20 to 25 minutes, rotating the pan after 10 minutes, until the fries are golden and crisp.
- Sere immediately, seasoning with more salt as necessary
When I made the potatoes this way for the first time, everyone around the table agreed that these were especially good, especially crispy on the edges, especially creamy on the inside. I haven’t looked back since.
Update: I now cut them a bit smaller: more like 1/4 inch thick:Print
Crispy, Homemade Oven-Baked French Fries
- Total Time: 60 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings
- Diet: Vegan
Slightly adapted from The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook
A note on potatoes: Russets are most often cited as the best frying potato. Unlike many potatoes, Russets will release their starch (which is what causes potatoes to absorb oil) upon being soaked or rinsed. I’ve had success with Russets but also with a handful of others from our CSA and the farmers’ market, including Salem, Red Chieftain, and Kuka Gold.
- I now always slice up 3 Russet potatoes — I look for smallish ones and I aim for a total weight of 2 lbs. or just under — which is perfect for my family. For this amount of potatoes, you’ll need an extra-large sheet pan.
- If you are using a standard sized sheet pan, 2 Russet potatoes sliced will likely fit in a single layer.
- Instead of pouring 3 tablespoons of oil directly onto the sheet pan, I now line the sheet pan with parchment paper and I toss the potatoes with all of the oil (1/4 cup) as opposed to splitting up the oil between the sheet pan and the potatoes.
- I roast at 450ºF convection — I find that my potatoes cook a little more evenly when I cook them at a slightly lower temperature for longer.
- I don’t stir the potatoes once.
- 2 to 4 Russet potatoes, about 1½–2 pounds total, see notes above
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- nice flaky sea salt such as Maldon for seasoning at the end
- Adjust an oven rack to the lowest position, and preheat the oven to 475ºF (or 450ºF convection — this is what I do now). Cut the potatoes lengthwise, into 1/4-inch thick sticks: it’s helpful to cut the potatoes into 1/4-inch thick slabs first; then into 1/4-inch sticks.
- Place the sliced potatoes into a large bowl and cover them with hot tap water. Let them soak for 10 minutes.
- Drain the potatoes and dry them thoroughly with a tea towel (a bath or beach towel gets the job done better!). Line a sheet pan — extra large if you have it — with parchment. Place the potatoes on top of the parchment, drizzle with the 1/4 cup olive oil and sprinkle with the teaspoon of salt. Toss to combine.
- Spread the potatoes in a single layer on the baking sheet and cover the sheet tightly with foil. Bake for 5 minutes, then remove the foil and continue to bake for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are golden and crisp. Check on the potatoes after 10 minutes — if they are not browning evenly, rotate the pan. Note: previous versions of this recipe call for flipping the potatoes, which I always found problematic, and then baking for another 5-10 minutes or so. If you’ve made this recipe and didn’t have trouble flipping, you can continue to do so. Otherwise, bake until the fries are golden and crisp, rotating the pan as necessary to help them brown evenly.
- Remove from the oven, and season with more sea salt and/or any other seasonings you wish. Serve immediately or as soon as they are cool enough to eat.
- Prep Time: 25 minutes
- Cook Time: 35 minutes
- Category: Vegetable
- Method: Oven
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: crispy, oven, fries, roasted, simple
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90 Comments on “Crispy, Homemade Oven-Baked French Fries”
Let me try this again, since auto-correct blundered.
This is The Best fry recipe I’ve made! For that matter, it’s the best fries—restaurant or non, that I’ve ever eaten! YUM!!
I was skeptical of wasting foil for 5 minutes of use, but it’s worth it. I wouldn’t change a thing.
Thank you for sharing your recipe! I can’t wait to make this recipe on repeat!
So happy to hear this, Tish!! I feel like my kids live on oven fries during the winter 🙂
I followed this recipe exactly and my potatoes stuck to the pan. When I tried scraping them off, they turned to mush. I tried adding more oil half way through when I realized this was happening but still have a tray full of mush. What did I do wrong?
Jessie, I think what may have happened is that you tried to scrape them/stir them too soon … when you try to stir them before they’ve developed a crust on the side touching the pan, they’ll stick and then, yes, turn to mush. If you give it another go, I would wait to stir till you see that the bottom of the potatoes are brown and crisp — they will release easily if browned enough.
What kind of oil did you use? What material is your sheet pan?
Hi. Love this recipe!! We are a ‘Friday Night Burger’ couple and these fries make us feel like we’re eating out!! One question – can you cut and blanch in hot water ahead of time? Then maybe freeze until cook time? We host a lot of people on weekends at our Lakehouse, so I need to figure out a way to speed up the process!! Thx!!
So great to hear this, Kelly!
Honestly, I don’t know because I’ve never tried and I would hate to lead you astray by giving you the green light. I worry about freezing, though I’m not sure why … frozen potatoes are obviously a thing at the grocery store. When I worked in restaurants, we stored cut potatoes in water for over 24 hours at times, so I think you could definitely cut them, blanch them in the hot water, and keep them like that for a day or so, but I don’t know if that helps you at all?
My dad used to freeze fries made with potatoes from their garden, and they worked out nicely. I believe he blanched them for a bit then just gave them a pat dry and froze them in the large freezer bags.
Another great recipe that works every time! Thank you, Ali!
So nice to hear this, Christina! Thanks for writing 🙂 🙂 🙂
Delicious! It took a little work but it was perfect self-care. I always cook to please other people but this was all mine. I’ll definitely make these again and I might even share with my family next time.
So nice to hear this, Candace! Thanks so much for writing. These fries are comfort food for me as well.
OMG, loved these! Pure alchemy. After being so successful with your brownies and focaccia, you are my cooking and baking guru!
Awwww 🥰🥰🥰🥰🥰🥰 This means the world, Cassie! Thanks so much for writing 🙂 🙂 🙂
I’m over the moon to try these! Do you think I could get decent results at 425? My smoke detectors go off when hear builds in my house and 425 is my max. temp.
Yes, absolutely! The potatoes may take a little bit longer to get evenly golden, but the lower temp should work just fine. Good luck! Hope you love them 🙂
Thank you for this delicious sounding recipe. Do you think it would work with sweet potatos too?
I have never tried with sweet potatoes, but some of my friends have and have reported it does work — I can’t imagine the fries would be as crispy — I’ve never had luck making crispy sweet potato oven fries. Definitely worth a shot, but I would manage your expectations — sweet potatoes just don’t behave like regular potatoes.
Thank you so much for this response! I thought I was just not very good at getting sweet potatos to be crispy. And, now I feel so much better knowing it isn’t me as much as it is probably the potatoe!! I really appreciated hearing that! You are the best!!
Oh no… not you at all!!! I’ve really only had success with getting sweet potatoes crisp if I deep fry them, and even then, it’s only a modest success 🙂 🙂 🙂
Just took these fries out of the oven and burning my mouth while eating them. So crisp and delicious!
Oh yay! So nice to hear this, Karen. And so nice to hear from YOU 🙂 🙂 🙂 Hope all is well.
I made these last night and they were delicious – my granddaughter even wanted me to give the recipe to her Mom! I love your cooking videos, but my favorite ones have your children playing the piano in the background. I am a former piano teacher and the songs bring back such sweet memories!
So great to hear this, Cheryl 🙂 🙂 🙂 It is so satisfying when the kids enjoy their vegetables, right? Thank you for the kind words regarding the videos. Means a lot. I love cooking when the kids are practicing. I just hope they keep it up. Thanks for writing!
This is the best french fry recipe I have ever made at home. It was the perfect addition to the burgers and chocolate banana milkshakes I made for my granddaughters (8, 16, and 18 years old) during our annual Christmas weekend together.
Truly a five star crispy delight.
So nice to read all of this, Bruce! Chocolate-banana milkshakes + burgers + fries — what a fun and memorable meal for your granddaughters. Thanks for writing, and enjoy the rest of your holiday season!
Without fail, your recipes are always the BEST! I have tried countless online recipes for oven fries and no matter what, they always burn. These came out perfectly crisp and golden. I’m thinking because of the 5 minutes with the aluminum foil? I so appreciate this recipe and it is going to be the only one I will use in the future. Thank you Alexandra 🙂
So nice to read this, Lisa 🙂 🙂 🙂 These are a staple for us, and yes, I think that 5 minutes under the foil is key for preventing burning. Thanks for writing!
Just had the oven fries for lunch. Sprinkled on smoked paprika before baking. Super, super yummy! Many thanks.
Great to hear, Nana!