How to Make French Fries at Home

I’m going to show you just how easy it is to make French fries at home! All you need are Russet potatoes, oil, and salt and pepper. That’s it! I like to double fry mine. It makes them super crispy. You can even make these fries ahead of time and freeze them. 

Stacy Lyn grating cheese over homemade French fries - hand reaching to take a fry
You’ll be amazed how easy it is to make these crispy, delicious French fries at home.

I’m obsessed with double frying my fries and then salting them with Kosher salt and pepper, or this all-purpose dry rub. (It’s fabulous on just about everything, including salads). I top them with Parmesan cheese for extra flavor.

What does double frying do for French fries?

Double frying French fries is an essential step to make French fries super crispy, moist, and fluffy. By frying the fries twice, you’re creating a thick crust to ensure a crispy skin and a moist center.

There are many theories about what double frying does in contrast to only frying the potato once. Personally, I’ve found this theory to be the right one: the first fry is to cook the potato all the way through at a lower temperature before actually browning it.

If you skip this step, you risk burning your French fries while trying to finish them at such a high heat. On the other hand, the fries may end up soggy if cooked at a lower heat. By frying the fries twice, you lessen their water content the first time, which makes the fries crispier and the center fluffier after the second fry.

Last but not least, I love the fact that I can make these fries ahead and them cook them the second time and have them done in a flash!

Here are a few more questions I’ve been asked about homemade fries. 

large pile of golden homemade French fries with grated cheese - fingers lifting a clump of fries
I like to grate a little Parmesan cheese on fries when I made them at home.

Let’s Talk Ingredients

To make French fries at home, you need just three basic ingredients: potatoes, oil, and seasoning to taste. It’s the varieties you choose and what you do with the ingredients that make all the difference. Then you can add any additional toppings you like, such as Parmesan cheese.

Which potatoes are best for French fries?

The best potatoes for frying are ones with a very high starch content, like Russets. Russets are super high in starch and have a low moisture content, which makes them perfect for frying, baking, and mashing.

What is the best cooking oil for French fries?

The best oil for frying anything, but especially French fries, is a refined oil with a high burning point. My favorite is peanut oil because I think it gives the fries the best flavor. Additionally, the burning point of peanut oil is much higher than that of most other oils.

What is the best cut for crispy French fries?

This is a constant argument in my house, whether it’s someone trying to define a French fry or someone trying to convince someone that the thinner the better. However, I have found that the all-around favorite cut is shoestring or a quarter-inch strip. This cut gives the perfect crispness. It also allows the fries to soak up juices, dips, or sauces, all while remaining crispy on the outside and moist and soft on the inside. 

small pile of double fried French fries next to main dish

How many potatoes per person do you need?

When having a party, a good rule of thumb is to figure on one Russet potato per person.

I like to make about one medium Russet potato for each person when I’m serving fries as a side. However, no matter how many you make, it’s always doubtful that any will be left over. 

Do you have to soak the potatoes before frying them?

Yes. I highly recommend soaking the fries before cooking because this will remove excess starch and thus prevent the fries from sticking to each other. Keeping them separated, in turn, will help the fries to cook and crisp evenly. 

What is the best temperature to fry fries at?

For the first fry, you want the oil a little cooler, around 300, so that you can cook the fries without giving them too much color. For the second fry, you’ve got to crank up the heat to 350 to ensure a crisp outer layer, making sure not to add too many fries. 

Can you make fries ahead?

Yes! Yes, you can absolutely make French fries ahead of time. I wouldn’t recommend frying the fries twice ahead of time, though. Instead, fry the fries for the first time, and then lay them all flat out on a cookie sheet or something so they can all fit on one single layer. Place in the freezer until completely frozen, then transfer to an airtight container. They will stay good in the freezer for up to 6 months. Remove the frozen fries from the freezer as needed and fry them in 400° oil until golden and delicious.

Cooked homemade fries on white kitchen cloth with liberal grating of Parmesan cheese
Does anything look more tempting than a pile of golden, crispy fries?

How to reheat French fries – what is the best way?

If ever you find yourself in the unique position of having leftovers, reheating the fries is simple and easy to do. All you have to do is spread the fries in a single layer on a cookie sheet and place them in a 400 degree oven for 5 to 7 minutes, or until your liking.

What can I serve French fries with?

French fries are the most versatile side dish in America. They are always welcome in my house. Some of my favorite things to serve them with are: 

7 Tips for Making the Best French Fries at Home 

Here’s a quick summary of my tips for perfect homemade French fries.

  1. Soak your fries in cold water for about 30 minutes before frying. 
  2. Dry the fries thoroughly to keep the oil from popping.
  3. Double fry French fries. The first time, fry in lower temperature oil of 300°F, and the second time, use a higher temperature of 350°F. 
  4. Use plenty of oil for frying.
  5. Use Russet potatoes.
  6. Don’t overcrowd the pan with fries. Cook in batches.
  7. Salt fries liberally. 

How to Make French Fries at Home

It's super easy to make golden, crispy fries at home. Just follow these tips.
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Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 4 people

Ingredients
  

  • 4 large Russet potatoes cut into ¼ inch slices
  • 3 cups peanut oil for frying or as needed
  • Kosher salt to taste

Instructions
 

  • Place cut potatoes in a large bowl and cover with water. Allow to sit for about thirty minutes.
  • Line one baking sheet with paper towels and another baking sheet with a cooling rack.
  • In a deep fryer or a Dutch oven, heat oil to 300°F. With a spider utensil, lower about ¼ of the potatoes into the oil and fry for about 5 minutes. With a spider or slotted spoon, remove the fries to the paper towel lined sheet pan and allow to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining potatoes.
  • Bring the oil up to 350°F. Using a spider, add for the second time ¼ of the potatoes. Fry potatoes for about 5 minutes, or until the fries are golden brown. Remove the fries to the cooling rack. Liberally sprinkle with salt. Repeat until all the fries are golden brown.

Notes

Note: It’s ok if the temperature reaches 350°F before putting the next batch in. The temperature doesn’t need to drop below 350 on the second fry.
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