We know they aren't healthy, but many of us can't resist the taste of a fast-food French fry. The crispy exterior leads the way to a tender, melt-in-your-mouth middle, causing us to eat them by the hand fulls, until—surprise!—there are no more left in the bag or box. And then the guilt sets in.
Now you can enjoy the same French fried potato experience without all of the guilt! This homemade deep-fried French fry recipe creates just as crispy and delicious fries as you would get in the drive-thru without any mysterious ingredients and added fat. You can select an oil that suits your taste and diet and with just potatoes and salt as the only other ingredients, you know what you are eating.
A secret to crispy fries is first soaking the cut potatoes in water—this eliminates the sugars, allowing the outside to develop its signature crunch, and removes the starch so the potato pieces don't stick to each other. This recipe calls for a deep fryer and frying basket, but you can use a heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven and mesh strainer—just make sure to attach a deep-fry thermometer to the pot to keep track of the oil's temperature. Maintaining the right heat is crucial to achieving the perfect French fry.
- 6 large
- Russet or baking potatoes (peeled and cut into strips about 1/3-inch thickness and width)
- Oil for deep frying (such as peanut oil)
- Dash of salt, or to taste
- Soak the cut potatoes in ice cold water for 1 hour at room temperature. Drain very well and thoroughly pat dry with paper towels.
- Add the oil to a deep fryer and heat to 370 F.
- Heat the oven to 200 F (to keep batches of fries warm).
- Place potato strips in a single layer in the deep fry basket. Lower basket into oil and fry in hot oil for about 3 to 4 minutes, or until golden brown and tender.
- Turn out fries onto paper towels to drain. Transfer to a baking sheet to keep warm in the oven while frying subsequent batches.
- When finished frying, sprinkle fries with salt.
Tips and Variations
The ideal oil for deep frying is peanut oil—its mild taste and high smoking point allow the food show its flavors and crisp up without burning. However, you can use another neutral-tasting oil such as vegetable, canola, or safflower, which also all have high smoking points well above 350 F.
If this version doesn't quite match up to your favorite fast-food fry, you may want to try to the double-fry method. Here you fry the potato twice—the first time to just cook the inside, the second to achieve that signature golden exterior. If you are looking for a fry without the oil, baked French fries may be a good option.