Crispy Baked French Fries

crispy baked French fries

I’m back from New York! Sunshine is streaming through my windows, Cookie is snoozing on the armchair and my air conditioner unit is humming. It’s good to be home. I’m still processing my trip—it was wonderful—but I’m not ready to put it all into words just yet. Thank you all so much for your amazing food recommendations, though! I knew you wouldn’t let me down. It was a whirlwind trip and I wish I could have tried every single recommendation, but I think we managed to eat our way around the city.

russet potatoes

One major takeaway from my trip is that good food is good food, no matter where it is made. I’m just as happy eating Shake Shack’s crinkle fries in Madison Square Park as I am with Johnnie’s fries here in Oklahoma. And for the record, Oklahoma is not an unfortunate place to live. I’ve returned with a renewed sense of appreciation for this place. Lastly, these baked fries might be lower in fat and healthier than their fried counterparts, but they are unbelievably crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. I only post exceptionally tasty recipes, y’all.

soaked french fries

I feel like I owe those of you who offered suggestions a quick rundown of what and where I ate, so here we go: brick oven pizza at Roberta’s in Bushwick, a hot dog from Shake Shack (when in Madison Square Park… eat a hot dog), authentic New York pizza at Carmine’s Pizzeria in Williamsburg, just about the whole menu at Momofuku Milk Bar in Williamsburg and Midtown (I tried the white Russian milkshake, a chocolate-chocolate cookie, blueberry and cream cookie, compost cookie, candy bar pie, pistachio and almond croissant—let’s pretend that I walked enough to burn all that off) and an unforgettable eggplant sandwich at Momofuku Má Pêche.

We also tried bagels with lox and cream cheese in Madison Square Park (I’m not into lox), Cuban food somewhere in Brooklyn, gelato and beer near Times Square and Indian food in Queens. I can’t forget to mention the stellar little plates of finger food and custom cocktails (like this one) served at the Saveur Food Blog Awards party. Here’s a video of the event by lovely Aube, if you’d like to check it out. I also had a grand time at Veronica‘s rooftop potluck. As you can imagine, magical things arrive at the table when about 15 food bloggers get together to share food and drinks. I’m still dreaming about Yossy‘s cheese sticks and strawberry pastries, and Veronica’s all-buckwheat, gluten-free version of my crêpes turned out marvelously.

Crispy baked french fries recipe by Cookie and Kate

Needless to say, my stomach is full and my mind is buzzing with recipe inspiration. I can’t wait to try cooking my own renditions of my favorite finds. For now, though, we’re going back to basics with perfect baked French fries. I learned the technique from the geniuses of America’s Test Kitchen. Their trick? A ten-minute soak in hot water prior to baking. I could hardly believe that baked fries could be so crispy, but it’s true. I made a second batch this morning with my new baking sheets just to be sure of it!

oven baked fries by Cookie and Kate

4.5 from 10 reviews
Crispy Baked French Fries
Author: 
Recipe type: Side
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 2 to 4 organic russet potatoes (about 8 ounces each)
  • ¼ cup plus 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • Sea salt and ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Adjust an oven rack to the lowest position and preheat the oven to 475 degrees Fahrenheit. Scrub the potatoes and cut them, lengthwise, into 10 to 12 even wedges. The trick is to first quarter the potatoes lengthwise, and then cut each quarter lengthwise into 2 to 3 wedges (I sliced mine a little too thin).
  2. Place the sliced potatoes into a large bowl and cover them with hot water (I used hot water from the tap, but others have suggested that pipes can leach impurities into hot water, so it may be best to use cool tap water that has been heated on the stove). Let them soak for 10 minutes. This step releases some of the starch in the potatoes and lets them absorb moisture, which leads to crisp outsides and moist interiors.
  3. Cover a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Drizzle ¼ cup oil onto the paper, then sprinkle it evenly with about ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Drain the potatoes and pat them dry thoroughly with a tea towel or paper towels. Toss the potatoes with the remaining teaspoon oil and mix evenly.
  4. Arrange the fries in a single layer on a baking sheet and cover the sheet tightly with foil. Bake for 5 minutes, then remove the foil and continue to bake for 10 minutes. Rotate the pan and cook another 5 to 10 minutes, until the underside of the potatoes are spotty golden brown.
  5. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and scrape the fries loose with a spatula. Then use tongs or the spatula to flip over each wedge (keep the potatoes in an even layer). Continue to bake until the fries are golden and crisp, about 5 to 10 minutes longer. Rotate the pan as necessary to help them brown evenly. Season with salt and pepper (thinly sliced green onions and shaved Parmesan are optional) and serve hot.
Notes
  • Lightly adapted from The America's Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook.
  • I suggest buying organic potatoes because conventionally grown potatoes are on the dirty dozen list for being high in pesticides.
  • The recipe specified canola oil, so I used my organic, expeller-pressed canola oil for this recipe. I would use olive oil, but I'm afraid it might start smoking in the oven.
  • Feel free wipe the foil clean and save it for next time!
  • I tried soaking the fries in cold beer instead of water and the fries turned out great. I couldn't detect much of the beer flavor, though, so I'll stick with hot water. I also brushed fresh, minced garlic over the fries before baking—tasty, but the garlic got a little too brown. Maybe I will try again, but brush on the garlic when I flip the fries to prevent burning. I might try curry powder or other spices next time.
  • If you like this recipe, you'll also like my recipe for crispy sweet potato fries! (The secret? Corn starch.)

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Comments

  1. says

    I’ve seen so many french fry recipes that swear by the soaking approach for the crispiness factor but usually it’s way longer and I’m too impatient for that. I’ll definitely be trying this one out, I can handle 10 minutes :)

    • says

      America’s Test Kitchen says 10 minutes is just the right amount of time. Hope you’ll give them a try soon! I warn you… they are dangerously good.

  2. says

    Welcome back Kate! You travel like I do, always about the food. Fun to hear about all of the places you tried. We’ve traveled quite a bit – even on the east coast – and have never been to NY! Now I know some places to try… + Fries look fantastic, amazing how that quick warm water soak totally improves the fry texture!

  3. says

    Hi Kate! So glad we finally met while you came to visit NYC and could join the potluck party on Friday. I love that these fries are baked AND crispy, I’ll need to try this technique next time I get my hands on some potatoes. In the meantime, stay awesome and come visit soon!

  4. says

    I didn’t have one single french fry on this New York trip! Can hardly believe it, but now I can make up for that deficiency by trying these crispy, golden wedges of awesomeness.

    Stoked that you had a good time too! Was so fun meeting you and all the fab blogging gals. Also very impressed by your threshold for sugar with the Milk Bar experience! Your putting me to shame there.

  5. says

    I’ve had this recipe on my to-do list for so long! {I love this cookbook} I always have trouble getting crisp fries; my poor family has to slurp down soggy ones. So I better get on this. Lovely photos!

  6. says

    Coming from the UK, the home of fish and chips, these look absolutely amazing. Can’t wait to try these out and best of all they are healthier than their fried counterparts! Thanks for sharing

  7. says

    I love baking my fries, they always turn out great but are never crispy. So thank you for sharing the cutting and soaking trick to make the crisp happen. So glad to know you had wonderful time… I so wish I could get the chance take part in such an experience someday and get to meet my favorite food bloggers and more!

  8. says

    Instead of the hassle of flipping over the potatoes mid-way I place the potato pieces single layer on a wire rack instead of a baking sheet. I can already tell you that my potatoes come out Crispy on both sides w/o flipping – I do also spray the wire rack with a non-stick spray to prevent sticking.

  9. says

    I always roast chips rather than fry them and they turn out absolutely delicious. Add a couple of whole garlic cloves and some stripped rosemary twenty minutes before they finish cooking and you have heaven on a plate!

  10. says

    Sounds like such a fun trip! I’ve only been to NY once in 8th grade with my family. I really need to go back! I’d love to see Oklahoma some day too, like you, I don’t think it is an unfortunate place to live at all. I’m sure Cookie is happy to have you back.

  11. says

    Sounds like you had a great time in NYC. It is always nice to come home though isn’t it? When I was a kid my dad used to deep fry everything. Whenever he made fries he would soak the potatoes in warm water for up to an hour before throwing them in the fryer. I had no idea that trick would work with oven baked fries. I’ll have to give it a try!

  12. says

    These look awesome! And it sounds like you made some good choices on your trip… it can be almost overwhelming trying to eat everything you think you should in New York. I lived there for a few years and still knew I could never get to everything I wanted to try.

    I will say, I tried soaking the potatoes one time for oven fries, and I found no difference from how I normally do them, so I don’t do it. As long as the oven’s hot enough and I’m using russets and I give them some room and flip them, the texture still turns out perfect.

    Also, every time I make them, I wonder how much less oil I’m actually eating – but not enough to actually want to look too seriously into the numbers. :)

  13. says

    Sounds like a great trip to NYC – it’s way to easy to just eat and eat your way around the boroughs and never get bored! Those fries look fantastic – I totally agree on the soaking.

  14. says

    Glad you had a good time in NY and got to try some good food while you were here! And I’m glad I got to meet you last week at Veronica’s. I’ve been browsing through your recipes and getting inspired by all the recipes and photos, esp the colorful salads and baked goods! And these baked fries look so good; such a simple method that I’ll have to try in the future!

  15. says

    It was so, so nice to meet you too. You are an absolute delight and you are certainly right about good food being good no matter where you are. It’s always nice to take a trip and return with a new appreciation for where you live, it’s like the universe telling you that you are making the right choices. I’m sure Cookie missed you big time and is glad to have you home too! I’ll have to give this recipe a shot too. We eat oven fries all the time, but I’ve never tried this technique.

  16. says

    Yummy yummy! If I had seen the post earlier, I will definitely made them but it’s really late now [greece]…I’m sure I’m gonna see them in my dreams! Go to beeed (yeah) :p hehe..
    xxxFiC.

  17. Aaron Agopian P. says

    Yum! These are SO good. I made them for my wife, Hana, and she was so impressed! Thanks for posting. It was fun to do.

  18. Dawn says

    Just made the fries for my family for eating during watching football. Came out really, really good! Thank you for the great directions and extra notes! This will be a recipe that I will use over and over again that are easy enough to memorize.

  19. Donald Sherbondy says

    I’d like to offer up a suggestion…one thing I’ve always hated about trying to make crispy French fries in the oven, is having to turn them over halfway through the cooking process. Well guess what works wonderfully well…spraying an oven proof cooling rack with your favorite, non-stick coating that’s then placed on the cookie sheet…baking the fries on the cooling rack allows the heat to surround the fries evenly and you won’t have to mess with going to all the trouble of turning the fries at some point any time during the cooking process. I also do this with chicken wings, it works so good.

  20. R. family says

    This recipe was a mess! I followed the directions exactly but the potatoes STUCK to the parchment paper – flipping them while they were hot took a long time, ripped up the paper and broke the fries into several pieces. It would have been much easier to just straight-out fry them (to be honest, these were so greasy that they probably aren’t much of a health savings compared to fried ones).

    Back to the drawing board to look for new oven-baked fries :-(

    • says

      I’m really sorry the fries didn’t work out for you. I have never had anything stick to parchment paper so I don’t understand how that happened to you. Bummer.

  21. Jenna says

    I love this recipe!! I am on my second time making them and they are a hit with my family!! They went great with my turkey burgers and tonight I’m having a fry craving and I’m making them now! I didn’t use the parchment paper (I have great nonstick pans) and I used Italian seasoning, paprika, onion and garlic powder. LOVE LOVE LOVE these! Thank you!!

  22. Curly says

    I did these without the parchment paper on a regular cookie tray. Only one or two stuck to the tray. They came out beautifully and were so yummy my daughter is asking to have them every Tuesday. Thanks a bunch!!

  23. David says

    I tried this recipe and the fries turned out great– much crispier and flavorful than fast-food fries. I do have a question– would you have any advice on how to make them softer and more “bendy”..? Should they maybe be submerged in water for longer than 10mins? Thanks!

    • says

      Glad you enjoyed the fries, David. I’m just guessing here, but I think that for more bendy fries, you could bake the fries for less time, and/or cut them into a more traditional French fry shape rather than wedges. Hope that helps.

  24. Chrisitna says

    I have been searching for the perfect baked fry recipe and this looks great! Mostly I have read to soak the potatos in ice cold water versus warm, so that is the biggest difference here. Though, I am concerend about suggesting HOT TAP water…I have been taught and read never to use hot tap water for cooking (always cold and heat to warm the water), it is likely to draw unwanted elements from the pipes. Thoughts?

  25. says

    These look amazing!! I’ve baked fries at home many times but always struggle to get them crispy. Now I know what to do :) Just one question, is the 1/4 cup oil meant to be spread on the parchment paper itself?

  26. Richard says

    Hi, thank you for recipe and so happy we found it. My 5 year loved store-bought French fries, but not homemade and definitely not potatoes. I love homemade fries and I can eat potatoes raw.

    My 5 year old helped pick the potatoes, scrub and pat them down. Now he wants these again, and hopefully this will be a stepping stone to other potato recipies.

    • says

      Richard, thank you for commenting! I’m glad your little boy enjoyed the homemade fries! Maybe someday he’ll prefer them to the store-bought kind.

  27. MPaula says

    I had heard that the potatoes were to be soaked in COLD water not hot. Other than not tasting the beer, was there any difference between using hot versus cold liquid?

  28. Mollie H. says

    Hi, I’ve read that it’s never a good idea to use hot tap water for preparing food, because it has been stored in a heated metal tank where sediment builds up over time, so it could contain contaminants, and the heat can leach lead from places where metal pipes have been soldered. Better to use cold tap or filtered water, heat it up in the microwave, and pour it over the potatoes to soak in. Just my two cents!

    • says

      Hey Mollie, thanks for your input. I’ve heard that from another commenter since publishing this post. I’m sure it depends on the pipes. I’ve also heard that microwaves change the molecular structure of food/water so probably heating water on the stove is the safest bet.

      • Mollie H. says

        Hi Kate,
        I looked it up, and it’s the Environmental Protection Agency that recommends you don’t use hot tap water for cooking or drinking. Here’s a link to the article on their website: http://water.epa.gov/drink/info/lead/lead1.cfm

        No, I think those stories about microwave cooking being bad for your health have all been disproven. It’s perfectly safe to heat water and food in the microwave.

        In the meantime, I tried your recipe, and the french fries were delicious! Thank you! I will be using it from now on.

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