Crispy Baked Fries
BREAKING NEWS. Baked Fries that are actually crispy! After slicing, baking, and salting more potatoes than I care to count, I have for you a foolproof method for how to make French fries crispy in the oven. No more compromising texture for the sake of making baked French fries healthy. Pull out the spuds and get your dip ready, because it’s Fry-Day!
This recipe is sponsored by McCormick.
While I’m no stranger to oven fries, up until now I hadn’t found a recipe that I considered a legitimate alternative to the real-deal, deep-fried French fries you’d find at a restaurant.
Most baked fries I made at home became soggy quickly after emerging from the oven, a problem I assumed was unavoidable…and that I easily mitigated by smothering the fries in all manners of cheesy deliciousness (reference: Mexican Chicken Enchilada Fries; Chicken Bacon Ranch Fries).
Or, if the oven baked fries were crispy on the outside, the tradeoff was that the insides would be dry and caky. No thank you.
Still other methods for homemade oven fries, while effective, were too fussy. I’ve read all about the cornstarch trick (an extra step in which the cut potatoes are carefully tossed in cornstarch prior to baking), but after trying it once, I decided that it was too much of a hassle and too messy to be worth it.
I wanted crispy baked fries that were golden on the outside and tender on the inside, all for a minimum amount of effort. Goldilocks much?
So, HOW DO YOU MAKE FRENCH FRIES CRISPY IN THE OVEN?
Without spending hours tossing and rinsing and boiling and drying. Without excess oil. Without wishing you’d hit up a diner or drive through instead?
I decided to find out.
After extensive experimentation with different varieties of potatoes, baking times and temps, and seasonings, today’s Crispy Baked Fries are the answer!
Let’s get the bad news out of the way right this second: You do have to get the potatoes wet and dry them off. There is no way around this. Embrace reality, and trust me that it will be worth it.
Placing in the sliced potatoes in a bowl with very hot water cooks them just enough to ensure the insides become nice and tender, while the outsides crisp but do not burn.
If you’ve ever had double-fried French fries (HEAVEN. It’s how the Pioneer Woman does hers. Could there be a better endorsement?), the concept is the same. Cooking the fries once at a lower temperature than again at a higher temperature creates the ultimate inner and outer texture, whether the fries are deep fried or oven baked.
Flavoring the Crispy Baked Fries
The second critical component to perfect baked fries is seasoning.
White potatoes are quite bland on their own (a reason I’d usually opt for Grilled Sweet Potato Fries instead) BUT, that also makes them an ideal vehicle for new flavors.
I headed to my spice cabinet for baked fry inspiration and, after being appalled by how out of control the scene had gotten (more on that momentarily), found a lone container of McCormick Dill Weed begging to be put to use.
Maybe it’s because I spent my entire life dipping my fries in ranch dressing, but the moment I saw the dill weed, I knew I wanted to make ranch-seasoned fries. The dill weed, combined with garlic powder, onion powder, and salt gave the fries a zesty, herby flavor that makes them impossibly addictive.
Since I’m turning over the secrets to the best-ever crispy baked fries today, I’m going to show you a little something else…my spice cabinet. Up until last week, I had to stand on a stool to see most of them. As I was digging for the dill weed, I realized just how old some of them were too. It was time for a little spring cleaning.
This is the before and after:
I moved some of my most-used spices onto this inexpensive countertop rack (you could also put the rack in your pantry if your cabinets are larger than mine) to make them more accessible, and spent time discarding spices that have gone bad so that they wouldn’t impart an off (or bland) flavor to my dishes.
It felt SO GOOD to whip my spices into shape that I’m planning to tackle our guest bedroom closet this weekend. Wish me luck!
If you are planning to do a little spring spice cabinet cleaning yourself, here are a few key tips that I learned from McCormick, an ultimate spice authority:
- Sight: Check that the colors of your spices and herbs are bright and vibrant. If the color has faded, so has the flavor.
- Aroma: Rub or crush the spice or herb in your hand. If the aroma is weak, it is time to replace it.
- Taste: Give the herb or spice a taste test. If it lacks flavor, it is past its prime.
- “Best By” Date: Ground spices last 2-3 years, whole spices 3-4, herbs 1-3, and seasoning blends 1-2. <—I was amazed (and a little embarrassed) to find a number of mine that were pushing beyond this.
How to Make Fries Crispy Again
- In the unlikely event of leftovers, you can reheat the baked fries by preheating your oven to 400 degrees and placing an empty baking sheet in the oven while the oven preheats.
- Spread the leftover fries in a single layer on the hot pan, then pop the pan into the preheated oven for 5 to 8 minutes. Watch the fries carefully the last few minutes to make sure they do not burn.
- If you’ve ever reheated French fries from a restaurant, you know nothing replaces the just-cooked taste (the fries will dry out a bit), but they did at least perk up somewhat.
A Few Final Baked Fries Recipe Notes
- I tested the recipe with both russet and Yukon gold potatoes, and while both do work, I preferred the final texture of the baked fries made with Yukon golds. While both potato varieties crisped nicely on the outsides, I found the insides of the russets to be drier, while the oven fries made with the Yukon golds were more tender and creamy.
- As the recipe is written, these are vegan baked fries, but if you worried about keeping them dairy free, a delicious recipe option is to toss the finished baked fries with a few tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese just before serving.
- If you are looking for baked steak fries, I’d suggest the fries from this Baked Fish and Chips recipe, as the method and cooking time/temps below are more suitable for thinner, matchstick-style fries.
Happy Friday/Fry-Day! If you try this recipe for ranch-inspired Crispy Baked Fries, I’d love to hear what you think. Your comments mean so much to me!
Crispy Baked Fries with Ranch Seasoning
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil — divided
- 1 1/2 pounds golden yellow potatoes — Yukon Gold or similar, about 4
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt — plus additional to taste
- 1 teaspoon McCormick Garlic Powder
- 1/2 teaspoon McCormick Dill Weed
- 1/4 teaspoon McCormick Onion Powder
- 1/4 teaspoon McCormick ground black pepper
- Optional toppings: chopped fresh chives — fresh parsley, freshly grated Parmesan cheese (or nutritional yeast to keep the Baked Fries vegan)
Place a rack in the lower third of your oven and preheat to 450 degrees F. Drizzle a large rimmed baking sheet with 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, brushing it as needed so that it nicely coats the pan.
Scrub the potatoes and peel if desired (I leave the peels on). Slice into 1/4-inch-wide sticks. Place the potatoes in a large bowl, then pour very hot tap water over the top so that it covers the potatoes by at least 1 inch. Let sit 10 minutes.
Drain the potatoes, then transfer them to a clean towel and dry as completely as you can, changing the towel as needed. Rinse and wipe out the bowl you soaked the potatoes in, then return the potatoes to the bowl. Drizzle with the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle with salt, garlic powder, dill weed, onion powder, and pepper. Toss to coat, making sure the spices and oil are well distributed. Spread the potatoes into a single layer on the prepared baking sheet.
Roast in the lower third of the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until turning golden underneath. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and, with a large, firm spatula, carefully loosen the fries from the bottom of the pan. Flip them in large sections as best as you can so that the potatoes rotate and brown evenly on all sides (no need to painstakingly flip every single one). With your fingers (be careful—the pan is hot!) return the potatoes to a single layer. Place the pan back in the oven and continue baking until the fries are as golden and crisp as you like, about 5 to 10 additional minutes (30 minutes total was ideal timing for this crispy-fry lover). While the fries are hot, sprinkle with any desired toppings and a bit more salt to taste. DEVOUR.
- These baked fries are best enjoyed the day they are made. If you do have leftovers, place a rimmed baking sheet in your oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Once it is preheated, carefully remove the pan and spread the leftover fries right onto it. Return the hot pan to the oven and let the fries crisp for a few minutes, just until warmed through (I find about 5 to 7 is plenty). Watch carefully the last few minutes so that the fries do not burn.
- You can swap russet (standard baking) potatoes for the Yukon golds (no changes to the recipe needed), but I found that the Yukon golds gave me the best oven fry texture overall. The insides were creamier, while the outsides became nice and crisp.
Nutrition InformationAmount per serving (1 (of 4)) — Calories: 218, Fat: 11g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Sodium: 281mg, Carbohydrates: 30g, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 1g, Protein: 4g
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