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How to Make French Fries

Updated on August 22, 2014

Do You Know How Fast Food French Fries are Made?

French fries are almost always associated with fast food restaurants. They are eaten by tens of millions of people every day but only a fraction of these people actually make the French fries themselves at home. There is no great mystery surrounding how French fries are made but it should be noted that in a majority of fast food restaurants, there are additives included to enhance flavour, including beef fat extract, even where the fries are cooked in oil.

The inclusion of meat products in fast food French fries will of course be particularly relevant to vegetarians and vegans, who may be unaware of what they are actually consuming when they opt for fast food French fries. Why not, therefore, whether you be omnivore, vegetarian or vegan, give this incredibly simple method of preparing restaurant quality French fries at home a go? This is a technique is based on the British experimental chef Heston Blumenthal's method of preparing chips.

A Baking Potato is Perfect for Making French Fries

It is the floury/starchy quality of baking potatoes which makes them ideal for making fries
It is the floury/starchy quality of baking potatoes which makes them ideal for making fries

It is imperative when making homemade French fries that you do not ignore the importance of choosing the right type of potato for the job. This does not simply mean choosing a potato that is big enough to be chopped in to French fries! Potato varieties and availability will vary significantly around the world but choose a floury potato, one which you would use for baking, and you will know the best results with your served fries.

Chopped Potatoes are Firstly Parboiled in Salted Water

The Chopped Potatoes are Firstly Parboiled in Salted Water
The Chopped Potatoes are Firstly Parboiled in Salted Water

Peel your potato, slice it and chop each slice in to the shape of French fries. The first step is to briefly cook the potatoes in water. Note in the photograph above that a wire basket - more commonly associated with deep fryers - is being used. This is simply to make draining easier as pouring the potatoes in to a colander or sieve could cause them to break when they have been partially cooked.

Place the basket in to a pot and the potatoes inside. Add enough cold water to comfortably cover all the potatoes. Season with salt. Put the pot on a high heat until the water starts to boil. Reduce the heat and allow the potatoes to simmer for five minutes.

Turn off the heat and take the pot to the sink. Lift the basket from the water, pour out the water and refill the pot with cold water. Put the basket back in to the pot for five further minutes, allowing the cold water to rapidly cool the potatoes

An Extra Wire Basket Can Be a Useful Addition to Any Kitchen's Supplies

It is not just when making French fries that a wire basket can be used for boiling or poaching in this way. There are a great many vegetables which can be better presented when they have not been poured to be drained. Below is a wire basket which is currently available to buy individually on Amazon and which could be a very worthwhile addition to your kitchen gadgets.

Ancillary Wire Basket To Fit Pan Size:

22.86cm

If you're shopping from the UK, grab your bargain wire basket from Amazon UK. Click on the panel to the left for full details or to place your order.

Refrigerate the Parboiled Potatoes in a Plastic Dish

Refrigerate the Parboiled Potatoes in a Plastic Dish
Refrigerate the Parboiled Potatoes in a Plastic Dish

The wire basket should again be lifted from the water and the potatoes given a minute or so to drain. Carefully transfer them to a large plastic dish with a lid. Put the lid on the dish and refrigerate for a minimum of half an hour.

Deep Fryers for Homemade French Fries - Maybe you can pick up a bargain!

Presto 05466 Stainless Steel  Dual Basket Pro Fry Immersion Element Deep Fryer
Presto 05466 Stainless Steel Dual Basket Pro Fry Immersion Element Deep Fryer

This deep fryer is perfect for when you are also deep frying the accompaniment to your homemade French fries. It has two separate baskets, is fully thermostat controllable and has an oil ready indicator light to let you know when it has reached the desired temperature.

 
Cuisinart CDF-100 Compact 1.1-Liter Deep Fryer, Brushed Stainless Steel
Cuisinart CDF-100 Compact 1.1-Liter Deep Fryer, Brushed Stainless Steel

This quick heat deep fryer is ideal for when you are making a large quantity of French fries.

 
Presto 05420 FryDaddy Electric Deep Fryer
Presto 05420 FryDaddy Electric Deep Fryer

This budget deep fryer is perfect for making smaller quantities of fries and storing in the more compact kitchen.

 

The Potatoes are Patted Dry Before Being Fried for the First Time

The Potatoes are Patted Dry Before Being Fried for the First Time
The Potatoes are Patted Dry Before Being Fried for the First Time

When the potatoes are removed from the refrigerator they are going to be wet. It is important to dry off as much of that moisture before adding them to the deep fryer. The easiest way of doing this is to take a clean tea towel and lay it out flat on your kitchen work surface. Carefully place the potatoes on one half of the towel, spaced as widely and evenly as possible. Fold over the other half of the towel and very carefully pat them dry. Leave the potatoes covered in the towel that the towel may soak up as much moisture as possible while your deep fryer heats to 300F/150C.

The Potatoes are Deep Fried in the First Instance for Five Minutes

The Potatoes are Deep Fried in the First Instance for Five Minutes
The Potatoes are Deep Fried in the First Instance for Five Minutes

When the deep fryer is heated, carefully place the potatoes in to its basket and fry in the first instance for five minutes. This will effectively cook the fries but they should not at this stage be starting to crisp up or show any golden colour.

The French Fries are Covered and Allowed to Cool

The French Fries are Covered and Allowed to Cool
The French Fries are Covered and Allowed to Cool

The partly cooked fries are going to be refrigerated again but just like before, they have to be cooled first. There is no quick way of cooling them at this stage, so they should be laid on a plate covered with kitchen paper, covered with a plastic food cover with vents and left for fifteen to twenty minutes.

The French Fries are Returned to the Plastic Dish and the Refrigerator

The French Fries are Returned to the Plastic Dish and the Refrigerator
The French Fries are Returned to the Plastic Dish and the Refrigerator

Carefully dry the plastic dish in which the potatoes were earlier refrigerated. Place the cooled fries back in to the dish and the refrigerator for a further half hour minimum. This time may be spent preparing whatever you are making to accompany your perfect homemade French fries.

Perfect Homemade French Fries

Perfect Homemade French Fries
Perfect Homemade French Fries

The fries should not be dried prior to their second frying. They should be added straight from the plastic dish to the deep fryer. The second frying of the French fries is done in slightly hotter oil, around 350F/170C. The length of time for which you fry will depend on how golden you like your French fries to be on the plate. It is a good idea to check the fries after five minutes, frying for another couple of minutes if desired, until you get used to the process and your particular deep fryer. Drain again on fresh kitchen paper before service.

Thank you for your visit to this page and I hope that it is has served to show you just how easily perfect french fries can be made in the modern home. If you do have any comments or feedback to share, you may do so in the space below.

Have You ever Tried Making Homemade French Fries? - Are you going to try making them now?

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    • Gordon N Hamilton profile image
      Author

      Gordon N Hamilton 5 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom

      @JackieBlock: Thanks for the visit and comment. I hope you enjoy the fries prepared by this method. I honestly believe it makes a huge difference.

    • JackieBlock profile image

      Jackie Block 5 years ago from SE Michigan

      I made homemade french fries for my mom once, and now she is hooked. She bought herself a deep fryer and now makes them regularly. We only fry them once, so we will have to give your method a try. Thanks for sharing.