Do crispy (not burnt) oven/baked "fries" exist? If so, how is it accomplished?

Okay, I know that real, fried "fries" are impossible to beat. I don't have a deep-fryer though, and I try to eat as healthfully as possible. I've tried time and time again to bake "fries" with no success. I've used sweet potatoes, russets, and Yukon golds. I've tried soaking the raw potatoes in water. I've experimented with temperatures, and I've tried various recipes. The potatoes always turn out soggy/soft or burnt. I'm becoming convinced that crispy baked "fries" do not exist. Can someone please prove me wrong and explain how it's done right?


  • Posted by: moka
  • August 12, 2011


Benny September 26, 2012
I bought a deep fat frier and it has done a great job of taking up a huge amount of space in my closet. It doesn't do anything more than a good heavy pot with a candy thermometer and takes up at least three times the amount of space.

In terms of oven fried potatoes, I agree that you must par-cook them first. Left over baked potatoes make the absolute best fried potato in my book. Just chill them completely in the refridgerator and then slice, wedge or cut them into sticks.

another great option is to then fry them in a pan with just a little oil. Cast iron will probably yield the best product for this method;however, a cast iron will do just fine too. just fry them until your desired crispyness and rotate as needed. My pan fried potatoes usually end up with a nice dark crust. sprinkle with course salt after they are done.
Benny September 26, 2012

(correction)...;however, a **stainless steel** will do just fine too...
Food O. September 26, 2012
Not home made but Alexia brand is excellent. Especially in a pinch.
patsone August 17, 2011

I buy chunky Steak Chips - frozen - the directions for cooking on the packet states : PRE HEAT OVEN TO 180 - PLACE FROZEN CHIPS ONTO A TRAY - COOK FOR THE REQUIRED TIME. Like other folk have said - frozen chips cooked the way recommended are soft and 'gluggy' - I go against all the directions - I do preheat the oven (mine is a convection oven) -I lay the frozen chips on a tray lined with baking paper, turn the oven up to 225c. I allow the chips to thaw completely and when ready, pop the tray into the oven and hey presto 25 minutes later the crunchiest chips ever. worth a try.
South Australia
Greenstuff August 15, 2011
I'm not a huge fries person, but I sometimes wonder about buying a deep fat fryer for the rare occasions that deep fat frying is the only way to go. So, I've been watching this question with some interest. It's been fun to see some of the lengths that we go to..

BUT, I do make roasted potatoes pretty frequently, and I would put in a plug for Syronai's simple technique. They aren't French fries but they are good. And another (maybe even better) option is to replace the olive oil with duck fat.
beyondcelery August 15, 2011
My baked fries are pretty darn crispy--not like deep fried fries, of course, but pretty close. Here's what I do:
1) Heat oven to 400F. Cut yukon gold or red potatoes into 1cm thick square strips, making them as evenly sized as possible. (Even size means even baking!)
2) Toss in olive oil with salt and pepper, making sure fries are coated on all sides but not dripping with oil.
3) Arrange on a naked baking sheet so they're very close but do not touch. Sprinkle over with a bit more salt and pepper to taste.
4) Bake about 35-45 minutes, turning completely over once in the middle of that time.

The naked baking sheet allows the potatoes to form a crispy shell. It doesn't work if you line it with parchment or aluminum foil. Yes, you'll have to scrape the fries up from the sheet, preferably with a metal spatula. You'll break a few when you turn them halfway through baking. But the majority will be intact and crispy. Potatoes with a higher starch content, like yukon golds or reds, hold together better than russets.
Author Comment
The crispiest oven fries I've ever made were a steak-fry style cut (thin and wide) that I parboiled until 70% done or so. Then toss with olive oil and place on a well oiled cooling rack set on a baking sheet. The rack lets air circulate and because the fries are mostly done you can cook them at high heat (450) and the outsides crisp up without burning. It's a huge process and I don't do it often but it did work.
striped B. August 13, 2011
This is a technique i have found successful for increasing the crispiness of sweet potato fries, but might work with white potatoes too:
cut potatoes quite into quite thin fries
microwave for about 5 minutes till they're just a little bit soft
beat an egg white a bit and coat the fries
sprinkle a spoonful of flour mixed with any spices you want on the fries (rice flour is nice and crispy-making) over the fries and toss to coat. they should look well coated.
it's best to spread them on wire racks placed on cookie sheets if you can, so they get crispy on all sides. if not, just turn them while baking.
bake at 400 until they brown.
they'll be crispy!
sexyLAMBCHOPx August 13, 2011
I make baked fries or potato slices often. I submerge the potatoes after cutting in a heavily salted ice bath for about 5 minutes, then dry with a kitchen towel and coat the potatoes in canola oil on a cooling grid with a baking sheet under it at bake at 425 F, I do get crispy fries. The trick is to use a spatula to mix around about every five minutes until done. I serve & sprinkle course salt on them immediately. I find that slicing the potatoes in rounds produce the best results.
moka August 13, 2011
Thank you for so much helpful feedback! I'll some of the different techniques here, and I'll be sure to let you know which turns out to be the most successful.
virgieandhats August 13, 2011
This recipe at SmittenKitchen has never failed me (you can find it just below the recipe for mussels. Pre-boiling the potatoes seems to help them crisp more, not less. It is mystifying but delicious.
Esther P. August 13, 2011
I'm not a big homemade chip fan, as I'd rather have roast pots if I'm doing them... But you could try a few people's roast pot tricks on your chips! A light dusting of polenta or semolina will give a crunchy outside - which is a nigella recommendation, I'd suggest starting them off in the pan on the hob top- getting the oil that they're coated in good and hot before they go in the hot oven will give them a head start - toss the chips in oil with a high smoking point (ie not olive oil) and lightly fry them on the baking sheet first, turning them so that crispy thing gets going on all sides, then put them in a hot oven.
phyllis August 12, 2011
I also cook them the same way as sdebrango and they are delicious but they aren't the same as French fries. Good substitute. I'm going to try with cheese. Thanks SKK.
sdebrango August 12, 2011
Yes, thanks SKK I forgot to mention the parchment and I love sprinkling with the cheese then broiling never did that sounds fantastic.
SKK August 12, 2011
I do what sdebrango does and put the fries on parchment paper and turn them at least once. When done I sprinkled with grated provolone or parmesan cheese and put them under the broiler for just a minutes.
Sam1148 August 12, 2011
I posted a bit about hash brown the other nights. And this is NOT what you want to hear.
Yes, commercial products, such as Ore-Ida fries. Work great in the oven.

I've tried to duplicate them with my own potatoes and ended up with your results.
In industrial process, they par boil them and spray them with a cornstarch water mix..and they go into a supercold freezing system. Some Modernist cooks replicate this with liquid nitrogen for the freezing.

The best I've been able to do at home is parboiling them (sliced to fries)..soaking them in cold salty water. Drying them off, dusting with cornstarch, freezing and then baking them sprayed with some oil on a wire rack, turning them about 10 mins in and baking some more at 400. I've even tried using corn starch and bit of cornflakes ground finely for the coating--with limited results. The best results was using "Wondra Flour" as the coating before baking. (Along with some spray oil right before baking).

Now, I get the ore-ida commercial product...the crinkle cut type that isn't heavily pre-seasoned.
sdebrango August 12, 2011
I don't think any french fry you bake will ever equal a deep fried french fry. I have baked them somewhat successfully using yukon gold potatoes after cutting them I toss them in olive oil coating each potato, sprinkle with sea salt and bake at 450 degrees until golden brown, Make sure that the potatoes are in one layer preferably with some space in between each one. I hope this works for you. They will not be exactly like a deep fried potato but are awfully good. If you cut the potato in thin pieces it will be more crisp than a thicker fry.
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