If there is one food I have a weakness for, it’s French fries. Whether they’re on the side of a burger, sandwich or just the main event, there is nothing as comforting and delicious as a plate of crispy fries. The bad news is that most people fry their French fries in lots of oil to get them crispy. Some methods even involve frying them twice! The good news is that there are ways to make crispy fries without using much oil or any oil at all — see 5 Alternatives to Frying Food That Taste Great! The even better news is that I’m going to let you in on the secrets to making perfectly crispy oil-free French fries. You’re welcome.
First, choose the right potatoes. Russets and Yukon Gold make the best fries. Sweet potatoes are also great for fries. Avoid waxy potatoes, like Red Bliss or New Potatoes. You can peel them if you want to; I usually don’t. Scrub the potatoes and let them dry completely. Cut the potatoes into thin, even strips, about 1/4-inch thick. Thick wedges are yummy, but they won’t get as crisp.
We want fries that are crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside. One step in achieving that is to reduce the amount of starch in the potatoes by soaking them in water. Some people like to soak potatoes in cold water while others prefer warm water. Either way, soak the potatoes for about 15 minutes. Then drain them and pat them completely dry.
Another technique some people use is to par-cook the potatoes before they go in the oven. This can be done by putting the sliced potatoes in the microwave for four minutes on high. Another method is to par-boil them for five minutes. Just put the potatoes into a pot with cold water. Bring the water to a boil over high heat and let the potatoes boil for five minutes. Then drain them and pat them completely dry.
Once the potatoes are dry, it’s time to season them. You can go as crazy as you want here with different seasoning blends. My favorite spices for fries are garlic powder, paprika and black pepper. Whatever spices you choose, don’t add salt until after the fries are done. Salt releases water which will interfere with the fries getting crispy. Toss the potatoes with the seasonings to evenly distribute them. If you wanted to, you could also toss the potatoes in a few teaspoons of cornstarch or arrowroot powder to make an extra crispy coating. These Dill Pickle French Fries are a great place to start when experimenting with fry seasoning – they are salty, tangy and bursting with dill flavor just like dill pickle chips! Seasoned with fresh dill, garlic, mustard and tangy apple cider vinegar, these fries are baked in the oven until crisp. These Baked Shoestring Fries are seasoned with garlic and thyme while these sweet potatoes get a Latin Spice Mix. With these under your belt, you can start to get creative with variations that suit your own tastes.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line your baking sheets with parchment paper. This keeps the fries from sticking to the trays and helps them to become crisp. Arrange the fries in a single layer and be sure they have space in between them. Use as many baking sheets as necessary or cook them in batches. If the baking sheet is too crowded, the potatoes will steam and get mushy.
Put the baking sheet on the middle rack in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes. Flip the fries and rotate the pan so the front now faces the back of the oven; this ensures even cooking in case the oven has hot spots. Place the tray on the top rack of the oven. Turn the oven up to 425 and bake for another 20 minutes or until the fries are to your liking. When you remove them from the oven, sprinkle them with salt and more seasoning.
Now that you have your perfectly crispy fries, you need something to dip them into. Make your own Healthy, Organic Homemade Ketchup. These Rosemary Fries are dipped in an amazing apricot mustard sauce. Cinnamon-Spiced Sweet Potato Fries get a dip in apple-date butter.
Sometimes you just need some pizzaz … some zest … some enchilada sauce! These Enchilada Fries are just the thing to make fries exciting again. Can there be anything more indulgent than potatoes, gravy and cheese? This Vegan Poutine gives you all three in one incredible dish. For more ideas, see how to Turn Condiments from Ordinary to Extraordinary.
Now that you’re an expert in making super crispy French fries without frying them in oil, try your hand at fries made from other veggies like rutabaga or turnip. Check out how to Add a Twist to Your Favorite Fried Side With These 20 Veggie Fries.
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Lead image source: Dill Pickle French Fries