Easy Homemade French Fries

Before making these French fries, I had never deep-fried anything in my life. Sure, I had watched my and grandma fry calamari for Christmas Eve dinners, and the lingering smell of fried fish in my hair and on my clothes was proof that I had witnessed the frying, but I had never taken any frying projects on myself. Then last week, I decided it was high time to jump right in and made not only one, but two, fried recipes. Both will be featured here this week, starting with these French fries. Now, I love French fries. Love them with ketchup, with ranch, alongside burgers and sandwiches, on their own, piled high with cheese and bacon. However and whenever. It never really occurred to me to make them at home, however, because I (mistakenly) thought they would be a hassle – messy and time-consuming – and I wasn’t totally convinced that they would be all that much better than French fries I consume away from home. I couldn’t have been more wrong. These are easy, quick and DELICIOUS.

Prep is super easy – all you need to do is get your Yukon gold potatoes and slice them up into your French fry batons, which should take less than 10 minutes.

Then you toss the potatoes into the oil, together. Without heating up the oil first. I know, it sounds crazy, but it totally works.

You get the oil up to a boil, cook for about 15 minutes, then start tossing the potatoes while frying an additional 5 to 10 minutes until they are nice golden brown. And that’s it! Seriously couldn’t be easier.

You take them out of the oil, drain them on some layered paper towels, season them how you’d like, and then dig in!

I am so excited about adding these homemade French fries to my cooking repertoire – totally delicious and any time I’m craving French fries I know I don’t have to wait until I’m eating out somewhere, I can make them right here at home! And I have the ability to season them however I’d like. Such a liberating little frying adventure!

One year ago: Peanut Butter Cup Rice Krispy Treats
Two years ago: White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies
Three years ago: Hearty Whole Wheat Bread

Easy Homemade French Fries

Yield: 4 servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:

2½ pounds Yukon gold potatoes, scrubbed, dried, sides squared off, and cut lengthwise into ¼-inch by ¼-inch batons
6 cups peanut oil

Directions:

1. Combine the potatoes and the oil in a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot. Cook over high heat until oil has reached a rolling boil, about 5 minutes. Continue to cook, without stirring, until potatoes are limp but exteriors are beginning to firm, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, line a baking sheet with a double layer of paper towels.

2. Using tongs, stir potatoes, gently scraping up any that stick, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until golden and crisp, 5 to 10 minutes longer. Using a skimmer or slotted spoon, transfer fries to paper towel-lined baking sheet. Season with salt (and pepper, if desired) and serve immediately.

Note: Do not use sweet potatoes or russet potatoes; the starch content won't hold up to frying in this manner.

(Recipe adapted from Cook's Illustrated)

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53 Responses to “Easy Homemade French Fries”

  1. Jen of My Tiny Oven on July 26, 2011 at 12:07 am

    Fries are my nemesis! I have never met a fry I didn’t like. I need these right now…

    Reply

  2. Alli on July 26, 2011 at 12:21 am

    I am so scared of frying. I picture grease splatters, minor wounds, and subpar results. You have inspired me.

    Reply

  3. Katrina on July 26, 2011 at 12:51 am

    These look super scrumptious!

    Reply

  4. jaclyn@todayslady on July 26, 2011 at 1:04 am

    Oh my goodness! Those look amazing. I’ve never deep fried anything before either. For some reason I thought it would be difficult to make fries if you dont have a deep fryer but I’m so glad I’m wrong!

    Reply

  5. Cass on July 26, 2011 at 2:59 am

    They look delicious, and yes they are super easy to make. Any reason why you used peanut oil? I’ve always used canola oil or olive oil, but I am curious if they taste better with peanut oil? or it gives it a little twist? Thank you. Love your blog!

    Reply

    • Michelle on July 26th, 2011 at 10:14 am

      Hi Cass, I typically wouldn’t use olive oil for frying, so for most things vegetable oil, but the peanut oil was recommended for these and I have heard about French fries using peanut oil many times before. It’s delicious! :)

      Reply

      • Cass on July 26th, 2011 at 2:12 pm

        I will have to try it out then :) Thank you!

        Reply

  6. Sasha (The Procrastobaker) on July 26, 2011 at 3:12 am

    My gran used to make something similar with home breaded fish n peas every friday :) they were delicious and i will definitely try your method out to see if i can recreate them even slightly, lovely recipe thank you :)

    Reply

  7. Brittany @ Itty Bits of Balance on July 26, 2011 at 6:01 am

    Thanks for this! I’ve only attempted fries in the oven but I feel like frying them will be much more satisfying ;)

    Reply

  8. Lauren at Keep It Sweet on July 26, 2011 at 6:14 am

    I’ve never deep-fried either. These fries look so good!

    Reply

  9. Nuts about Food on July 26, 2011 at 7:05 am

    I also only recently got over my fear of deep frying. Once you do, you wonder what took you so long…

    Reply

  10. Lori on July 26, 2011 at 7:49 am

    Thanks for posting. They look awesome. I wish I could have a plate for breakfast!

    Reply

  11. Heather (Heather's Dish) on July 26, 2011 at 7:58 am

    i made homemade fries for the first time last year and they were so delicious! definitely superior to most restaurant fries and i felt good knowing how fresh they were :)

    Reply

  12. Lori @ RecipeGirl on July 26, 2011 at 8:31 am

    You know, I have been thinking a lot about making my own french fries lately. So good with some fun seasonings, right? These look like they turned out great!

    Reply

  13. Lisa @ Sunny Seed Stories on July 26, 2011 at 9:00 am

    I never would’ve thought not to heat up the oil first, but I can see how that would work out beautifully. Thanks!

    Reply

  14. Ann on July 26, 2011 at 10:36 am

    Help! Those look SO amazing I fell off my chair….now I’m stuck in a puddle of DROOL!

    ….ick! Why couldn’t I have fallen on a plate of those french fries?

    Reply

  15. Jared @ Random Food Blog on July 26, 2011 at 10:40 am

    I’ve only tried frying once; it was chicken and a disaster. This is making me seriously reconsider my aversion. Heinz 57 is my current dip of choice!

    Reply

  16. Jill on July 26, 2011 at 10:59 am

    This is a dangerous thing…. now I know how to make french fries at home…. I’m going to pretend that this never happened. :)

    Reply

  17. Lynne @ 365 Days of Baking on July 26, 2011 at 11:05 am

    We haven’t done our own fries, ’cause I’m big on making sweet potato chips. They are so delicious!. I’m going to have to make these fries now though.

    Reply

  18. Divya Yadava on July 26, 2011 at 11:25 am

    The thought of frying at home intimidates me, but this makes it look easy. I’m going to have to try this out!

    Reply

  19. Hester aka The Chef Doc on July 26, 2011 at 11:26 am

    Yay! I’m a sucker for awesome french fries and making them at home saves you the trouble of having to go out to buy some. It’s very affordable and super-delicious. Oh, and piping hot, woot woot!

    Reply

  20. Liddy on July 26, 2011 at 11:35 am

    I’ve got a Hamilton Beach Deep Fryer…would this recipe work in that? I think the oil might take a bit longer to heat up in it (not sure, but it seems that it might, because the oil is deeper, rather than more spread out as it would be in a Dutch oven ). Not sure how that might affect this recipe with the potatoes already in the cold oil.

    Reply

    • Michelle on July 26th, 2011 at 11:41 am

      Hi Liddy, I have never used a deep fryer so I couldn’t say for sure, but I would think if you use the same amount of oil and heat it according to the directions it should be fine.

      Reply

      • Liddy on July 26th, 2011 at 12:08 pm

        Okay, thanks! I mainly have the deep fryer for frying up okra, and haven’t used it for anything other than that yet. (I’m a born and bred Yankee who’s been in the South for years and now have to cook fried okra for my Southern husband and kids.) ;) I’m going to give this a try…those fries look TOO good!! :)

        Reply

  21. Kim Bee on July 26, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    I love these. May have to try this method out. I use a deep fryer and make fries once every couple of weeks. So much better when you make them yourself. I love that you used peanut oil. I have not yet as I find it pricey but I need to change my oil soon so may give it a whirl after seeing these. I am now craving fries and will probably make some for lunch. lol

    Reply

  22. Martin on July 26, 2011 at 12:20 pm

    These look good, but are they mushy or crisp? I make my fries (I love fries as well) basically the same, but after chopping them into fries I put them in ice water for about 1 hour. Drain them, this is to help remove some of the starch, on either paper towels or a dish cloth. I heat my oil up to 325, place them in the oil for 5 min. then increas heat to 350 for about 10 – 15 minutes. This makes my fries crispy like “I” like them.

    Reply

  23. Linda on July 26, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    Did you fry these in the cast iron pan? If so, how much oil did you end up using? Unless you have the largest cast iron pan I’ve ever seen, I can’t imagine it help six cups. :) Did you have splatter issues with the lower sides?

    Reply

    • Michelle on July 27th, 2011 at 7:41 pm

      Hi Linda, I actually did use a 12″ cast iron skillet because I only made a 1/3 batch, but for the full recipe you would definitely need the Dutch oven/heavy pot.

      Reply

  24. Jeff on July 26, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    A million years ago when I was a bit younger (1989) I spent a few weeks working the fries only station at the O. We’d blanch them first then store until we needed them. I still have the faint burn scars on my arms from the hot oil. Fun as that was I quit to work at the King’s Court because it was a better job with the free movie option.

    Reply

  25. Dani Katarina on July 26, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    YUM!!! french fries are one of my favorite foods!!

    Reply

  26. Rosie on July 26, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    I’ve made fries this way too! Love it!!! And it’s SO easy.

    Reply

  27. Cat on July 26, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    Michelle, I learned the secret of making perfect fries when I spent a summer in Paris in college, way back when the dinosaurs roamed the earth…Anyway, there’s a reason that they’re called “French fries.” Know that perfect, crispy, golden melt-in-your-mouth goodness of Micky D fries? Well, they’re using the French method. Ever see how they retain that outer crispiness even after awhile? Home made fries might be awesome when they first come out, but they lose that outer crispiness and become soggy realllly fast.

    For some reason, very few people in this country know the secret to making the perfect fry. Until now, that is, because I’m going to share the secret with everyone who reads your blog…

    You need to fry them twice. Yup, that’s it.

    The first frying can take place anytime before hand. You can do it in the morning of the day you are serving them for dinner, or you can just let each batch rest until when you’ve done the initial frying on all batches, then immediately turn around and give the first ones their second frying. No need to let them cool before you give the second fry.

    With Micky D’s, they give them the first frying at a central commissary, IQF (Individually Quick Freeze) them, bag them, then distribute them frozen to the retail outlets, where they are held frozen until needed, then given their second frying.

    The first frying is just to seal the outer starches and par-cook them. You fry them for a few minutes (2-3, depending on how big each load is) and remove them from the oil before they start to brown. The timing isn’t crucial, so long as they’ve had a couple of minutes and haven’t browned yet. All you’re doing is sealing the outer starches and beginning the cooking process.

    When ready to serve, heat the oil back up and give them a second frying to bring them to that mouth-watering, appealing golden brown.

    And that’s it. Simple, uncomplicated.

    No need to refrigerate them between the two fryings, and no need to soak them in cold water before you start cooking them. Make sure the oil is heated up to proper temperature (350-375) before adding both times. Starting in cool oil permits additional oil absorption. Frying in preheated oil makes sure that your fries will seal quickly, thereby uptaking very little oil, which will be limited to the exterior surface only, easily removable with a toss on paper towels. Healthier, if the word “healthy” can be applied to fries.

    BTW, just so you know I have my bona fides, I’m a retired chef. This is always how I made them after my lesson, at the tender age of 19, at the side of a lovely French matron, who was known for her great cooking ability. My fries were famous. In later years, I rarely make them, since neither I nor the hubs can keep our paws off them. Plus, I hate the cleanup. Lazy in my old age.

    You can do the initial frying and freeze, yourself, for later use, BTW. Just be sure to spread them out on a cookie sheet in a single layer, not touching, and freeze. Bag them up only when fully frozen, and you’ll be able to separate out as many or as few as you want. They will keep for up to 6 months. IQF method involves flash freezing, which we can’t do because the typical home doesn’t have a flash freezer (way too expensive,) but it works quite well the way described above.

    Somehow, in France, it seems that everyone knows by osmosis that this is the way fries are properly made. Don’t know how that piece of info either never made it or became lost here.

    But be sure to give this method a shot. It will be a good excuse why you have to make more fries (you can make the heavy, burdensome sacrifice of eating fries again so soon because it’s for research, you know. There. Don’t you feel better already?!) You’ll be amazed by the results. Promise.

    Reply

    • Michelle on July 27th, 2011 at 3:20 pm

      Hi Cat, Thanks so much for sharing your preferred method for French fries. I have definitely heard of the “double fry” method, but wanted to correct one misconception, that double frying reduces the total amount of oil absorption. This recipe that I posted comes from Cook’s Illustrated, which is usually my go-to place when I first start researching recipes that I have not attempted before because of the tremendous amount of research they put into each recipe. They actually did a comparison of the method I posted here vs. the double fry method and had a lab analyze both for oil absorption. This recipe has 13% fat versus 20% fat for the double fry method.

      Reply

      • Amy at Baking and Mistaking on August 1st, 2011 at 3:49 pm

        But what about compared to a single fry method in hot oil? I have always been taught that putting food in oil that is not heated up results in greater absorption of oil – this recipe seems to encourage serious oil absorption (but looks pretty delicious!)

        Reply

      • Cat on November 18th, 2011 at 12:09 pm

        Hmmmmm. I did read that, Michelle, but I can’t help but be skeptical. Perhaps it has to do with how hot (or not) the oil was on the initial fry, or maybe various types of potato uptake differently? In any case, there are too many variables to definitively state that because one batch had that percentage of uptake, that all will. If you break one of the double-fried sticks in half, you’ll be impressed with how thin the actual crust, or saturated, part is.

        In his definitive tome, “On Food And Cooking” by Harold McGee, he refers to deep frying as a “dry” cooking technique, meaning that the exposed surfaces of the food are immediately dehydrated by the high temperatures, while the inside retains its moisture. He states that food deep fried at too low a temperature absorbs more oil, because the frying has ceased to be a “dry” method of cooking. The molecules in the surface of the food actually act as a “wick” and draw up the oil. This would seem to refute the possibility that something that begins in room temperature oil and comes to frying temperature relatively slowly would absorb less oil than something that is instantly seared by high temps.

        But hey, I’m all for trying new things. Never met a deep fried food I couldn’t get behind (no pun intended!)

        Reply

  28. Cat on July 26, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    Oh – and one more thing. This method works for any variety of potato you have on hand. My fave is the good, old-fashioned russet, or baking potatoes, because I enjoy that super crispy outside, and insides that are soft and somewhat dry, like the insides of a baked potato. Commercial outlets, like Burger King and Mickey Ds use them, which is how they get those super long ones (always my favorites. The longer, the better!) But experiment and find out which works best for you. MORE research to be done!

    Reply

  29. Cindy B. on July 26, 2011 at 7:22 pm

    They look great!

    Reply

  30. Pam on July 26, 2011 at 9:19 pm

    Wow. The photo makes these look like the best french fries ever! I’m sure they taste nothing like the junk one finds at the average restaurant. I love the method of frying and baking, combined.

    Reply

    • Carol on November 19th, 2012 at 12:44 am

      I didn’t see anything about *baking*?

      Reply

  31. Lissa Brooks on July 26, 2011 at 11:31 pm

    I’ve made this recipe from Cook’s Illustrated’s website and it does work. It’s pretty amazing, but they turn out really well. You just have to use Yukon Gold potatoes according to their site – nothing else will work.

    Reply

  32. Mike@The Culinary Lens on July 27, 2011 at 7:31 pm

    I was going to point out the double fry method as being better but I am glad i read the comments and responses. I am amazed that this method has less absorption. This is so much less hassle and with a spatter guard you are made.
    Siracha has become my new ketchup

    Reply

  33. Todd on July 27, 2011 at 10:44 pm

    I made these tonight, and they were the best homemade french fries I’ve ever made or had. They were out of this world.

    Reply

  34. Ian on July 27, 2011 at 11:58 pm

    Oh goodness. I wish you hadn’t posted this. Now I don’t have a reason to ever leave my house…

    Reply

  35. Mrs. Diner on July 29, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    Yum! Love homemade fries! We like coarse salt & freshly ground pepper on ours. I also put mine under the broiler for 1-2 minutes at the end to get them a little extra crispy.

    Reply

  36. Colleen on July 29, 2011 at 5:03 pm

    Completely DID NOT work.. Fries turned into mush and had my bubbie had to through it all away…. He was so pissed. Horrible recipe!!!

    Reply

  37. Mike@The Culinary Lens on July 29, 2011 at 5:17 pm

    If the fries turned to mush my guess would be you had too many fries i the pan in relation to the amount of oil. I tried this and it worked fine.

    Reply

  38. Paula on August 4, 2011 at 4:10 pm

    I love crispy home-made fries. Yours look wonderful. I always drain mine really well, then pour them into a paper bag lined with a few layers of paper towel. I shake a bit of salt over them, close the paper bag and shake like crazy. This gets most of the oil off of them and they are nice and crispy and ready for a side of dipping gravy!

    Reply

    • Michelle on August 6th, 2011 at 11:53 pm

      Oooh thank you for the paper bag tip, I will definitely try that next time!

      Reply

  39. Dee Carney on August 7, 2011 at 7:20 pm

    I made these today and oh my! They’re just as simple as the instructions indicate! The only thing I did a little differently was turn down the heat from high during the first 15 minutes they cooked. I kept the rolling boil still going, but I was afraid on high heat, I’d be reaching for the fire extinguisher before long. lol

    Reply

  40. Mo on March 2, 2014 at 9:40 am

    Hello,
    Wanted to try these in a crock pot with adjustable temperature. What temp do you recommend setting the thermostat at ?

    Thanks!
    Mo

    Reply

    • Michelle on March 2nd, 2014 at 11:33 pm

      Hi Mo, This would not work in a slow cooker. You need to fry over a direct heat source.

      Reply

      • MO on March 11th, 2014 at 4:20 pm

        Hi Michelle,

        I found out what we have is a slow cooker/fryer combo Dazey Chefs pot. . It has a basket and all for frying. So what temp do you recommend me setting the dial for? It goes up to 400. Thanks so much LOVE primanti sandwiches cannot wait to try these out!

        MO

        Reply

        • Michelle on March 12th, 2014 at 3:49 pm

          Hi Mo, While I haven’t tested specific temperature, but I would guess that 350 F would work well. You may have to do some trial and error.

          Reply

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