How to Fry the Perfect French Fries
The secret to achieving the perfect french fries is to fry them twice. Eliminating a majority of your potatoes' moisture before the final frying is key in order to yield a crispy, golden brown product. To help you improve your restaurant's fries, we share the best potatoes for frying, how to choose the best oil, potato preparation tips, and how to season your french fries for the best flavor.
The Best Potatoes for French Fries
The following varieties are some of the best potatoes for making french fries:
Choose a Starchy Potato with Low Moisture
The best frying potatoes have a high starch content and low moisture content. Starchy, low-moisture potatoes will yield the crispiest french fries. Once you choose a starchy variety like the ones above, you can test the moisture content of each individual potato with a saline test.
Here is how to test the moisture content of your potatoes:
- Dissolve 1 cup of salt into 8-10 cups of water.
- Place each potato individually into the saline solution.
- Look at the potato in the solution. If the potato floats, it has a high moisture content. If it sinks or is suspended in the middle, it has a low moisture content.
- Sort your potatoes, setting aside the high moisture potatoes to be used for another dish that isn’t fried.
The Best Oil for Deep Frying French Fries
The best oil for deep frying french fries is any neutral oil with a high smoke point. Canola oil and peanut oil are two common choices. A neutral oil won’t affect the flavor of your fries, and an oil with a high smoke point (the point at which an oil starts to break down when heated) will be stable throughout your frying process.
How Old Should My Oil Be for Frying French Fries?
Ideally, you should use oil that has been used a few times and has had the chance to break down a bit. Because they haven't broken down at all, the molecules in brand new oil may not bond well with your french fries. As a result, your fries won't be as crispy. On the other hand, oil that is at the end of its life in your fryer may have some residual flavors from other menu items, or it may start to smoke as a result of too much breakdown.
How to Deep Fry French Fries
The best method for achieving perfect, crispy french fries is to deep fry your potatoes twice. Below, we’ll explain the best way to prepare potatoes for frying, how long to fry french fries, and how long you can hold fries before serving.
- Wash the potatoes.
- Optional: Peel the potatoes.
- Cut the potatoes to your desired size. You can cut them by hand or use a french fry cutter for maximum efficiency and uniformity.
- Soak the potatoes for 3 to 24 hours in a water and vinegar mixture. Soaking them will help to remove the excess starch and promote crispness. To make the mixture, put 1 tablespoon of vinegar into a gallon of water. This vinegar will help to keep the potatoes from oxidizing and discoloring.
- Dry the potatoes. It is important to dry your potatoes before frying them to prevent spattering. Use a clean towel to pat them dry on a sheet pan or put them into a salad dryer to remove the excess moisture. If you store the potatoes uncovered in your cooler overnight, this will help to further dry them out.
- Blanch the potatoes by frying them at 325 degrees for 3-6 minutes.The time will vary depending on the cut of your fries. Smaller cuts like 3/8 inch will take 2-3 minutes. Larger cuts like 1/4 or 1/2 inch will take 4-6 minutes. You are done blanching the potatoes when you can bend them without breaking them.
- Cool the fries before frying them a second time. For efficiency, you can blanch several batches of potatoes and let them cool in your fridge or walk-in cooler. When it’s almost time to serve them, remove them from the cooler to be fried a second time.
- Fry them a second time at 375 degrees for 2-3 minutes. Since you have already blanched the potatoes to partially cook them, this second round in the fryer will make them crispy. Look for a golden brown exterior to know they’re finished.
- Season the fries while the oil is still hot. The hot oil will help your seasonings stick to the fries. Use salt, spices, fresh herbs, or even oils to flavor your fries.
- Serve your fries within 10 minutes of completing them. The ideal holding time for french fries is no more than 5 to 10 minutes. After that, the fries will lose some of their crispiness and become cold.
Creating the perfect french fries takes time. This process will help you to achieve the crispiest final product, but you can always adjust the frying time if you prefer soft fries. Experiment with seasonings, cuts, or even frying oils to create the best signature fries for your establishment.