Homemade French Fries

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The trick to the best Homemade French Fries is a cold soak in water and two rounds of frying: a round to cook the potatoes and a round to make the fries crispy. Some of the steps can be done in advance, too, so hot-and-tasty French fries are easier than you think!

A pile of french fries on a baking sheet next to a cup of ketchup.


 

Everyone has tricks for the best homemade French fries, but all the best recipes have a few things in common: a water bath soak and multiple rounds in the fryer.

The water bath soak helps remove excess starch from your potatoes. Use cold water and let the potatoes soak at least 30 minutes. Trying to get ahead? Let them go overnight, just be sure to keep them submerged in water in the refrigerator.

Two rounds of frying leads to the crispiest possible homemade fry. The first round happens at a lower temperature, and it’s all about cooking the potatoes through without burning them. Want to get even further ahead? Do the first round of frying a couple of hours before you plan to eat, and save the second fry for showtime. Speaking of the second fry…

Fry the French fries at a higher temperature during round two. This brings the crispiness and crunch (but don’t let the oil get too hot, or you’ll wind up with scorched fries!).

Homemade French fries take effort, but these tricks help you get a leg up while putting the best possible French fries on the table.

Recipe ingredients

Ingredients for homemade French fries.

At a Glance: Here is a quick snapshot of what ingredients are in this recipe.
Please see the recipe card below for specific quantities.

Equipment and Ingredient notes

  • Potatoes: Starchy Russet and Idaho potatoes are best for homemade fries. Since starches in potatoes break down and darken when cooked, the fresher the potato, the better. Peeling is optional; leave the skins on for a more rustic look.
  • Vegetable oil: Choose a neutral oil with a high smoke point, like canola, peanut, or grapeseed.
  • French fry cutter: This is totally optional; a sharp knife is perfectly fine for cutting fries! But if you’re curious about options, be sure to check out The 6 Best French Fry Cutters (my top pick is under $20!).
A progressive French Fry cutter next to a pile of French fries.

Step-by-step instructions

  1. Peel potatoes if desired, then cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch matchsticks.
Using a Progressive French fry cutter to cut a potato into matchsticks.
  1. In the bottom of a large bowl, add cut potatoes. Cover completely with cold water and soak for at least 15 minutes (up to 24 hours).
Cut french fries soaking in a bowl of water.
  1. Drain well and spread evenly on a clean kitchen towel, patting dry on top with a second towel. Toss and continue patting until the potatoes are mostly dry, then divide into 3 piles.
Cut french fries draining on paper towels.
  1. Set a colander over a bowl for draining. In a Dutch oven, deep pot, or deep fryer, heat oil over medium-high heat to 330 degrees. Add ⅓ of the potatoes to the oil and cook 4 minutes. Using tongs or a slotted spoon, transfer to the colander to drain. Return the oil temperature to 330 degrees and repeat with the remaining potatoes, letting the grease drain for at least 10 minutes after the third batch.
Frying French fries in a Dutch oven full of oil.
  1. Increase the oil temperature to 350 degrees. Again working with ⅓ of the fries at a time, return to the oil and fry until golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes. If the oil temperature is higher than 350 degrees, the fries will brown quickly and should be removed to prevent scorching.
Frying French fries in a Dutch oven full of oil.
  1. Remove to a baking sheet, season with salt to taste, and repeat with remaining French fries.
A pile of french fries on a baking sheet next to a cup of ketchup.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: 2 pounds of potatoes yields roughly 12 ounces of homemade fries, enough for 4 servings, 3 ounces each.
  • Storage: Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. For best results, reheat in an air-fryer or oven.
  • Make ahead: The potatoes can be cut and submerged in water, stored in the refrigerator, up to 24 hours in advance. Complete the first round of frying a few hours before you plan to eat, then do the second fry just before mealtime.
  • Freezer: After the first round of frying, transfer the par-cooked potatoes to a baking sheet in a single layer (no touching), and freeze solid. Then, transfer to a plastic bag. Label, date, and freeze for up to 1 month. To finish, fry the fries a second time at 350 degrees according to the recipe, adding the fries to the oil straight from the freezer.
  • Frying safety: Use a pot that is large enough for the potatoes and allows space on top of the pot for oil to bubble up.
  • Thermometer: Safely monitor the oil as you cook with a digital thermometer.
  • Thick fries/thin fries: Slice with a knife or a French fry cutter. To keep the cooking time short, aim for 1/4-inch thick pieces of potato. Cut thicker if desired, just adjust the cooking time as needed to cook through.
  • Oven: Place a wire rack inside a baking sheet and place in the oven set to 200 degrees. This will act as a warm holding area for early batches of fries.
A pile of French fries on a plate with a cut Pork Tenderloin Sandwich.
A pile of French fries next to a Pork Tenderloin Sandwich (an Iowa State Fair classic).

More fryer favorites

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Homemade french fries on parchment paper next to a small cup of ketchup.

Homemade French Fries

The trick to the best Homemade French Fries is a cold soak in water and two rounds of frying: a round to cook the potatoes and a round to make the fries crispy.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Soaking Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 4 servings (3 oz each)
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Calories 373
5 from 2 votes

Ingredients 

Instructions 

  • In the bottom of a large bowl, add cut potatoes. Cover completely with cold water and soak for at least 15 minutes (up to 24 hours).
  • Drain well and spread evenly on a clean kitchen towel, patting dry on top with a second towel. Toss and continue patting until the potatoes are mostly dry, then divide into 3 piles.
  • Set a colander over a bowl for draining. In a Dutch oven, deep pot, or deep fryer, heat oil over medium-high heat to 330 degrees. Add ⅓ of the potatoes to the oil and cook 4 minutes. Using tongs or a slotted spoon, transfer to the colander to drain.
  • Return the oil temperature to 330 degrees and repeat with remaining potatoes, letting the grease drain for at least 10 minutes after the third batch.
  • Increase the oil temperature to 350 degrees. Again working with ⅓ of the fries at a time, return to the oil and fry until golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes. If the oil temperature is higher than 350 degrees, the fries will brown quickly and should be removed to prevent scorching.
  • Remove to a baking sheet, season with salt to taste, and repeat with remaining French fries.

Notes

  • Potatoes: Starchy Russet and Idaho potatoes are best for homemade fries. Since starches potatoes break down and darken when cooked, the fresher the potato, the better. Peeling is optional; leave the skins on for a more rustic look.
  • Vegetable oil: Choose a neutral oil with a high smoke point, like canola, peanut, or grapeseed.
  • Yield: 2 pounds of potatoes yields roughly 12 ounces of homemade fries, enough for 4 servings, 3 ounces each.
  • Storage: Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. For best results, reheat in an air-fryer or oven.

Nutrition

Serving: 3 ozCalories: 373kcalCarbohydrates: 31gProtein: 4gFat: 27gSaturated Fat: 4gSodium: 9mgPotassium: 709mgFiber: 2gSugar: 1gVitamin C: 10mgCalcium: 22mgIron: 2mg
Did you make this recipe?Tag @culinaryhill on Instagram so we can admire your masterpiece! #culinaryhill
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Meggan Hill is a classically-trained chef and professional writer. Her meticulously-tested recipes and detailed tutorials bring confidence and success to home cooks everywhere. Meggan has been featured on NPR, HuffPost, FoxNews, LA Times, and more.

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  1. Hey I have one for you simple French fries use rustic Idaho potatos do not peel wash potatos with brush next place potato on cutting board long ways cut a small piece of potato off bottom of potato will sit flat on board ( YOU HAVE CONTROL OF POTATO SO IT WON’T TRY AND ROLL ON YOU SAFETY SO YOU DON’T CUT YOUR FINGERS OFF) NEXT cut your fries accordingly steak or shoestring rinse potato cuttings in Callender to get starch off potato transfer to bowl of ice water let sit for about 30 minutes drain water place potatos on dry dish cloth remove as much water as posable now here’s where the MAGIC STARTS place potatos in your pot of cold cooking oil ( I use peanut oil ) turn stove on high and let er go cook until done