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How to Make Restaurant-Worthy French Fries

A cutting board topped with a pile of hand cut freshly fried fries.
Emilee Unterkoefler

Making fries at home might feel daunting or intimidating for many, but it doesn’t have to be! We’re sharing all our best tips for making French fries at home, so you can enjoy restaurant-quality spuds any time—no fryolator required!

While it’s true you most likely won’t need any special equipment, we’ve included a list of appliances and tools that can make the process easier if you’re in the mood to shop. From selecting the most suitable spud to French-frying temperature accuracy, we’ll take you through each step. When it’s all said and done, you’ll have a basket of fries tastier than any at your favorite restaurant or burger joint.

Choosing the Right Potato

A pile of russet potatoes with a side bowl of fries and a small ramekin of ketchup.
Emilee Unterkoefler

Starch content, size, and moisture all make a difference when it comes to selecting the right spud for your frying needs. Idaho potatoes (AKA, russet potatoes) boast all those important details, making them ideal for frying.

Their starch content is also higher than waxier spuds, like red-skinned potatoes and fingerlings, which means when they’re fried in hot oil, their middles will hold a fluffy texture. Because of their low moisture content, the insides also won’t hollow out from water evaporation. Their shape and size make them perfect for slicing into gorgeous long fries, too.

OXO Vegetable Scrubber

Scrub those tubers clean with a handheld scrub brush.

Always Hand Cut Your Potatoes

A cutting board with a small pile of handcut fries, with potatoes and a chef's knife in the background.
Emilee Unterkoefler

Hand cutting each potato into uniform french fries is a laborious task, which is why many do their best to avoid it. However, some of the best things in life (like French fries) are worth the effort.

The flavor of freshly-cut fries will always boast superiority, and you know exactly what ingredients are going into your body, with no room for interpreting preservatives.

You want to cut your potatoes in half to get evenly cut fries. Just lay each spud flat-side down, and then cut it into 1/4-inch slices. Pile up a few pieces, and then cut again, making 1/4-inch fries. For thicker fries, you can make 1/2-inch cuts.

If you need a good chef’s knife, the Wusthof classic is a fantastic choice that will last you many years. The double bolster design gives this knife a professional style you’ll wonder how you ever lived without.

Wusthof Classic Chef's Knife

Great for slicing uniform fries.

Go with a Neutral-Tasting Oil

A burger and fries at a Five Guys restaurant.
Deutschlandreform/Shutterstock.com

Just like the right potato, choosing a suitable frying oil matters as well. You want to avoid any strong-flavored oils, like sesame, coconut, or extra virgin olive.

The best types to use for French fries are neutral-flavored with a high smoke point. The “smoke point” is the temperature at which the oil starts to smoke and break down, and create an undesirable flavor.

Neutral flavored oils with a high smoke point include:

  • Vegetable
  • Canola
  • Peanut
  • Safflower

128-Ounce Peanut Oil

Five Guys swears by peanut oil when it comes to fries.

Restaurants use the same oil several times and typically only change it once or twice a week. This is because fries always taste best in old oil that’s been heated and used several times. New oil just doesn’t boast the same flavor, unfortunately.

Try Blanching Your Fries First

Zulay Kitchen Skimmer Spoon surrounded by the dishes it can be used to make, including a plate of fries
Zulay Kitchen

Many French-frying fanatics swear by blanching fries before frying them. To “blanch” something (usually fruits or vegetables), you immerse it in boiling water for a short amount of time. The item is then typically “shocked” in ice-cold water to stop the cooking process.

According to Mashed, this is what they do at Five Guys before frying their fries to reduce starchiness on the outside and allow the potatoes to cook more evenly. If you do plan to blanch, a skimming spoon will really come in handy when removing your fries from hot oil.

Skimmer Spoon

Just what you need to add and remove fries from hot oil or water!

However, if you plan to double fry (which we’ll cover later), there’s no need to blanch your fries. You can just soak them in water, and then follow our directions below for frying twice.

Double-Fry for a Perfectly Crisp Exterior

A lodge dutch oven placed over a kitchen towel with a wooden spoon and some ingredients in the background.
Lodge

Instead of just tossing (not literally, though) your fries into the hot oil once, you’ll appreciate the results if you fry them twice.

Double frying allows your potatoes to cook through during the first frying session. Once they’ve cooled, you can then fry them again at a higher temperature to achieve that perfect golden crisp exterior.

Place your oil in a heavy-bottomed pot, like a Dutch oven, and then turn your heat to High.

Lodge 6-Quart Dutch Oven

Excellent for frying, braising, stewing, and so much more!

Wait for the oil to reach 325 degrees Fahrenheit (this usually takes several minutes), and then follow these steps:

  1. Place your fries in the oil using a skimmer spoon or set of tongs.
  2. Cook for 3-4 minutes.
  3. Remove the fries and set them aside on a cooling rack.
  4. After they’ve cooled, fry them again at 365 degrees Fahrenheit, until they’re golden (usually takes about five minutes).

Oil Temperature & Salt Are Important

A Dutch oven filled with a few inches of hot oil, with a candy thermometer attached to the side of the heavy bottomed pot, with potatoes and fries in the background.
Emilee Unterkoefler

If your oil’s temperature is too low, your potatoes will absorb loads of it, resulting in overly greasy fries. Alternatively, if the oil is too hot, it will crisp the exteriors too quickly, leaving the interior crunchy and uncooked.

Double frying and monitoring the oil temperature eliminates both of these problems, and will give you gorgeously golden fries with fluffy insides. It takes between 5-10 minutes to reach the desired temps of 325 and 365 degrees Fahrenheit.

This deep-fry thermometer has the durable, tough exterior necessary to measure the hottest of temperatures. It also features a temperature clamp, so you can conveniently clip it to the edge of your heavy-bottomed pan.

KT Thermo Deep Fry Thermometer

Perfect for monitoring the exact temperature needed for deep frying!

Salt is also a sure way to spruce anything up, and it’s most certainly welcome on French fries! It enhances them in just the right way before the ultimate dip in whatever condiment or sauce you choose.

Flakey Sea Salt

A generous sprinkle of flakey sea salt is something all fries need!

How to Make Restaurant-Worthy French Fries

Now that all your prep work is done, and you know all our favorite secrets and tips, it’s time to get to cooking those delicious restaurant-worthy fries.

Follow these steps:

Step 1: Scrub the spuds well and dry them thoroughly, working your way through cutting uniform pieces. We don’t bother peeling the potatoes, as we feel it’s an unnecessary time-consuming task. Cut the potato in half for evenly cut fries, lay it flat-side down, and then cut it into 1/4-inch slices. Pile up a few pieces, and then cut again, making 1/4-inch fries.

A cutting board with a small pile of fries which have just been hand cut, with potatoes in the background.
Emilee Unterkoefler

Step 2: Soak your cut potatoes in a large bowl of cold water for 30 minutes to remove excess starch. If you plan to soak them longer, be sure to cover your bowl and place it in the fridge. We soaked for a couple of hours, and they came out great.

A small bowl filled with sliced potatoes, cut into french fries soaking in cold water with potatoes in the background.
Emilee Unterkoefler

Step 3: Strain the cut pieces of potato and run cold water over them. Arrange them over a clean, dry kitchen towel and pat dry.

A small pile of potatoes placed directly over a linen so that they can air dry before being fried.
Emilee Unterkoefler

Step 4: Pour a few inches of neutral-flavored oil into a heavy-bottomed pot (like a Dutch oven), and heat the oil to about 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Check the temperature with a deep-fry thermometer.

A Dutch oven filled with a few inches of oil, while it heats up over an induction range, a candy thermometer moniters the heat before adding fries; potatoes and oil in the background.
Emilee Unterkoefler

Step 5: Place a small batch of fries in the oil using a skimmer spoon or set of tongs. Cook the fries for about 3-4 minutes at 325 degrees Fahrenheit. The oil temperature will drop once you’ve added cold fries, however, don’t wait for the temperature to rise before starting your timer. Once you’ve dropped in your fries, start your timer.

A Dutch oven filled with oil, sizzling up a small amount of fries for a few minutes at 325 degrees.
Emilee Unterkoefler

Step 6: While your fries are frying, set a cooling rack over a baking sheet. Then, using a slotted spoon or skimmer, transfer the fries to the cooling rack after they’ve cooked for about 3-4 minutes. Let the fries cool entirely.

Par-fried fries sitting over a cooling rack, as the excess oil drips over into a sheet pan with potatoes in the background.
Emilee Unterkoefler

Step 7: Bump the heat up a bit higher until the thermometer reads about 365 degrees Fahrenheit. Carefully add your partially fried French fries to the Dutch oven again. This time, cook them for about five minutes, or until they reach a lovely golden exterior.

French fries that are frying up at 365 degrees for their second frying session to creat a golden crispy exterior.
Emilee Unterkoefler

Step 8: Transfer the fries from the Dutch oven to a paper towel-lined baking sheet to soak up the excess grease. Sprinkle them with sea salt as they cool. Adding the salt immediately will ensure that it sticks better.

Homemade french fries on a paper towel.
Emilee Unterkoefler

Step 9: Serve your fries with ketchup, gravy, mayo, or whatever other dripping sauce you prefer. Bon appétit!

Homemade French fries and a cup of catsup on a wooden cutting board.
Emilee Unterkoefler

Do those look good, or what? And trust me when I say, they tasted as good as they look! The double-frying method really helped create a fluffy interior and a glorious, crunchy exterior.


Now that you’ve learned a few restaurant secrets for making delicious fries, don’t forget, you can store any leftovers in the fridge and crisp them up again in your air fryer the next day. We tried it, and they turned out delicious!

Emilee Unterkoefler Emilee Unterkoefler
Emilee Unterkoefler is a freelance food writer, hiking enthusiast, and mama with over ten years of experience working in the food industry. Read Full Bio »

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