This recipe and technique makes insanely crispy oven baked fries that you would never know weren’t deep fried. These are absolutely the crispiest oven fries I have ever found!
I have been on a mission for a long time. A mission to make baked french fries that come out just as crispy as ones that are deep fried. Sometimes I get kind of close but last week I found the holy grail of oven baked fries!
I made them for Mr. BB last Sunday for his game day food request. That happens all fall and winter during football season. Every Sunday I get some kind of game day food request, which I love because it is usually a little bit of a challenge for me to make it better than what he expects.
Last week it was homemade pan pizza, this week it was crispy oven fries. Specifically, crispy cajun fries.
I was scouring the internet for techniques on making oven fries super crispy and I finally found this one. It caught my eye because it seemed the mimic the techniques for making traditional french fries the best way you can in an oven.
This also means that it does use quite a bit of oil but that is a big part of what makes these so crispy. So these are not necessarily that much healthier than traditional fries (although I have to believe giving them a solid coating of oil is at least a little better than dunking them in a bath of oil) but the beauty of these is that you don’t need a deep fryer and you don’t have to heat up a huge pot of oil which I hate doing.
This is my take on the technique and I guarantee these will come out crispy instead of that soggy mess that a lot of oven fries end up as. I’m going to give this a go with sweet potato fries next!
STEP 1: PREP THE FRIES
Give your potatoes a good scrub and cut them into at least 1/4″ thick fries or even up to 1/2″ if you want steak fries. You don’t want these too thin here or they might break in the process. I like to leave the skins on, but feel free to peel the potatoes if you prefer.
You want to use a high starch and low water content potato for fries. Russet potatoes (also known as Idaho potatoes) are the best for making fries.
STEP 2: NUKE THE FRIES
This step was the first part of the process that caught my attention. Anyone who has worked in a restaurant that has fries on the menu knows that they go through a 2 step frying process. First you blanch them in hot oil and then you fry them a second time once the fries are ordered and about to be served.
So for these oven fries we going to nuke them in the microwave to essentially “blanch” them. Well, steam them actually. But this process is important for several reasons. #1: it jump starts the cooking process of the fries so they can be cooked faster at a higher heat in the oven to make them crispy, and #2: it helps release some of the moisture in the fries so that they don’t just steam in the oven which is what usually happens.
Cover a microwave safe bowl with plastic wrap and nuke the fries in the microwave for about 5 minutes if you cut the 1/4″ thick and up to 7 minutes for 1/2″ thick fries.
STEP 3: DRAIN FRIES AND COOL
Once the fries are done steaming in the microwave, CAREFULLY remove the plastic wrap, (SERIOUSLY THE STEAM WILL BURN YOU!) and pour them out onto several layers of paper towels to cool and drain off the moisture. When the fries are cool enough to handle, gently blot them with paper towels to remove any excess moisture.
STEP 4: PREHEAT OVEN AND BAKING SHEET
While the fries are cooling and drying out, coat a half sheet pan, or any metal baking sheet with sides, liberally with oil. Position an oven rack on the bottom rung in the oven and preheat to 425ºF. Put the oil coated sheet pan in the oven to preheat as well.
STEP 5: COAT YOUR FRIES
While the pan and oven are heating, make your fry coating. Whisk together oil, cornstarch, and salt and toss the cooled fries in the mixture. This coating will help get the fries extra crispy.
I have made fries before with a cornstarch coating that left almost a crust on the fries which I didn’t like. This recipe only uses a little bit of cornstarch and mixes it with oil instead of just dredging them directly in it. The fries did not feel like they had a coating and it made them extra crispy!
STEP 6: BAKE
Once the oven is preheated and the oil on the sheet pan is just beginning to smoke a little, arrange the fries on the pan to bake. Be very careful when opening the oven and moving around the sheet pan with hot oil.
I suggest not even taking it all the way out of the oven to put the fries on it. I just slide the whole rack out a bit and dump the fries on. Use a metal spatula to move them around so that they are in a single layer on the the sheet pan.
Bake the fries for about 15 minutes, then pull the rack out and use a spatula to flip the fries over. Be very careful when opening the oven as some steam may be trapped in. Let the fries finish cooking for about 15-20 more minutes, until golden brown and crispy.
STEP 7: TOSS FRIES IN SEASONINGS (OPTIONAL)
As soon as the fries are finished baking, toss them in seasonings if desired. We used our favorite bbq dry rub that is sort of like a cajun seasoning.
You could also use some grated parmesan, or fresh herbs like finely chopped rosemary or thyme. Really anything you want. But these are great with just a little extra salt as is too.
- 4 medium sized russet potatoes
- 1/3 cup vegetable or canola oil, divided
- 1 TBSP cornstarch
- 1 tsp kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
- herbs, spices, or other toppings as desired
- Scrub your potatoes and/or peel if desired. Cut the potatoes into 1/4"-1/2" thick fries.
- Place the potatoes in a microwave safe bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Heat in the microwave for 5 minutes for thinner cut fries and up to 7 minutes for thicker cut fries.
- CAREFULLY remove the plastic wrap and let the fries drain on several layers of paper towels.
- Meanwhile, position the oven rack to the lowest position and preheat the oven to 425ºF. Reserve 2 TBSP of the oil aside and then use the rest of the oil to liberally grease a half sheet pan or any metal baking sheet with sides. Put the pan in the oven to heat up.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the reserved 2 TBSP of oil, cornstarch, and salt. Blot the cooled fries dry with more paper towels and then put them into the bowl. Gently toss to coat the fries with the cornstarch mixture.
- Once the oven is very hot and the oil on the sheet pan is barely starting to smoke a bit, pull the oven rack out enough to access the pan and carefully pour the fries onto the heated pan. Use a metal spatula to move the fries around to a single layer. Push the rack back in and cook for 15 minutes. Pull the rack out again, flip the fries, and cook again for another 15-20 minutes until golden brown and crispy.
- Immediately toss the fries in desired spices, herbs, toppings, or simply a little more salt when removing from the oven. Serve immediately.