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How to Make Perfect French Fries

Updated on August 16, 2013

Perfect Fries Take A Little Longer

The best French fries are crisp on the outside and well-cooked on the inside with no hint of sogginess. When I was little my mother always made chips (the English word for fries) from scratch but most people these days dont make their own and use the frozen variety that you bake in the oven. Although some of these are not bad (and others are awful) they are never as good as the traditional twice-fried French fry. The basic way to make fries is to throw peeled potato sticks into hot oil. To get them perfectly delicious you need to know the temperature of your oil and fry them twice. It takes a little longer but really is worth the extra time.

Image credit: French fries with homemade ketchup by jeffreyw on flickr

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Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 1 hour 50 min
Ready in: 2 hours


  • Potatoes
  • Vegetable or peanut oil


  1. Peel the potatoes and cut them into sticks about inch by inch wide.
  2. Put the potato sticks into a bowl of cold water and leave them there for at least an hour or even overnight.
  3. Drain the fries and blot them dry on paper towels.
  4. Heat the oil in your deep fryer to 300 degrees F.
  5. Cook the potato sticks in batches for 4 to 6 minutes until they are soft but not brown.
  6. Remove each batch and drain using paper towels.
  7. When they have all been cooked once, turn the temperature up to 375 degrees.
  8. Cook them in batches again until they are golden brown and crunchy. Remove and drain on paper towels.
  9. Eat and enjoy.
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Why not just just throw peeled potato sticks into hot oil?

Why do you soak them in cold water first?

Soaking them removes the starch from the outside of the fries which means they will be able to become more crispy when cooked than if there was starch on the outside of the potato.

Can you use olive oil to fry them in?

Olive oil is very healthy but it is not recommended for french fries. You need an oil with a higher smoking point such as peanut, vegetable or sunflower oil.

Why do you fry twice?

The first frying at the lower temperature allows the potato to cook through to the middle, but if you continued to cook at this temperature they would be soggy at the end. The second frying at the higher temperature allows them to become crispy and golden-brown on the outside. If you just cooked them at this temperature the potato would be uncooked in the middle.

Books About French Fries on Amazon

French Fries
French Fries

This innovative cookbook has lots of different recipes for French fries. Try Chocolate Fries for a sweet dessert or the exotic Pataje Oorlog which has three different sauces. There are recipes for sweet potato fries and other non-potato fries like Green Bean Fries and Tempura Vegetables. There are also recipes for dips and sauce including Ginger Soy Dipping Sauce, Wasabi Garlic Aioli and Sweet Onion Mayonnaise.

This 128 page book is available in hardcover or Kindle edition.

Turn French Fries Into Your Healthiest Food - 100% Guaranteed
Turn French Fries Into Your Healthiest Food - 100% Guaranteed

This Kindle book was published in July 2013 and promises to show you a cooking technique that will make French fries nutritious and healthy. Click through to read the reviews and you will be intrigued!

Top 10 French Fry Recipes: How To Make The Best Homemade French Fries—Oven Baked, Fried, Sweet Potato, And More!
Top 10 French Fry Recipes: How To Make The Best Homemade French Fries—Oven Baked, Fried, Sweet Potato, And More!

French fries are the favorite side dish in America and according to this book the average American eats nearly 29 pounds of them every year. If you’re eating so many of them you need to know how to make them so that they are crispy and well-colored on the outside and light and fluffy on the inside. The recipes in this book include traditional French fries, sweet potato fries and waffle fries. All the techniques are easy and well-explained so you can’t go wrong.


Things you need to make perfect French fries

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

I prefer an oblong deep fryer but there are plenty of good round ones if you prefer. Read the Amazon reviews before you buy. I like this one and it is very affordable. If you have a big family you will probably want a larger one.

Update International Wood handle Serrator, 7-Inch, Stainless Steel
Update International Wood handle Serrator, 7-Inch, Stainless Steel

This quality serrated cutter is great for making crinkle cut fries.

Prepworks by Progressive Jumbo Potato Cutter Features Interchangeable ⅜” and ½” cutting blades for French Fry Cutter, Veggie Slicer
Prepworks by Progressive Jumbo Potato Cutter Features Interchangeable ⅜” and ½” cutting blades for French Fry Cutter, Veggie Slicer

Save time by cutting large potatoes with a single motion. I don't use one because I'm usually only cooking for two, but this can be a real labour saver if you're are doing a lot.


Reader feedback

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    • sierradawn lm profile image

      sierradawn lm 

      5 years ago

      I wondered what I have always been doing wrong! Thank you for sharing this secret!

    • Marja79 profile image


      5 years ago

      I love french fries, I usually buy them and never deep fry them. I microwave them because I have great microwave for grilling food and it has a button "crisp" which makes french fries crisp or whatever I am cooking or baking! But I could try to make my own french fries.

    • Craftypicks profile image

      Lori Green 

      5 years ago from Las Vegas

      I dip in corn starch to make the extra crispy.


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