Homemade French Fries

I’ve gotten pretty good at making homemade potato chips, but I’ve never tried to make french fries. It’s such a cumbersome process in that you have to fry the potatoes two different times at two different temperatures. And the frozen bags of pre-cut fries always come out soggy and limp. In my mind, french fries are one of those things (like Chinese food) that’s easier, better, and cheaper to buy somewhere else. However, a recent episode of America’s Test Kitchen introduced a cheap and easy method for making fries at home and I thought I’d give it a try.

This is so simple. All you need is a quart of peanut oil and 2½ pounds of yukon gold potatoes. The actual recipe calls for an additional quarter-cup of bacon fat for flavoring, but I didn’t have any on hand. All you do is slice the potatoes into quarter-inch squares with a mandoline. If I didn’t have a mandoline, I probably wouldn’t attempt this recipe.

Drop the potatoes into an empty dutch oven and pour in the peanut oil.

Set the heat to high and don’t touch the pot. Once the oil comes to a rolling boil (about 7 minutes), reduce the heat a tad and let it go untouched for 15 minutes.

At the 15 minute mark, carefully stir the potatoes, making sure to scrape away any pieces stuck to the bottom. At this point, you’re eyeballing the fries. You want to occasionally stir them to make sure they don’t stick together and to see how brown they are. It’ll take another five to ten minutes before they’re done.

Remove the golden-brown french fries to drain on a mesh rack or on paper towels. Immediately season them with salt and let them cool for a minute or two. Finally, serve with whatever dipping sauces you like. We’re big fans of dipping french fries in our South Carolina-style barbecue sauce.

These really came out great. Even the dark brown ones weren’t burnt; they were just extra crispy. I’ll definitely be making these again, probably the next time we have some extra chili (and cheese) left over.

Homemade French Fries
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3 thoughts on “Homemade French Fries

  • April 21, 2011 at 4:25 pm
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    I’m not sure I get the timing. Are you saying 7 minutes for the oil to come to a rolling boil, and then 15 minutes more before you start to stir the potatoes, and then another 5-10 minutes until they’re done? That’s a total cooking time of 27-32 minutes. Do I have that right? Also, I would have thought that starting the process cold would result in the potatoes soaking up a tremendous amount of oil — is that not the case?

    Thanks.

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  • April 21, 2011 at 4:39 pm
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    John, you’re right about the timing:

    “potatoes in pot > room temperature oil in pot > set to high > once it reaches a rapid boil, let it go untouched for 15 minutes > after 15 minutes, stir every so often to break up the fries until they’re done.”

    The fries don’t come out greasy at all. This is the closest I’ve come to reproducing twice-cooked fries at home. The recipe might seem like there’s a lot of standing over the stove, but there’s really not. You only have to stand there for the last five minutes or so when you’re stirring. And the cooking process only consumes about a half-cup of the oil, so you can cool it, strain it, and save it for another batch.

    Best of luck,

    Chad

    Reply
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