Homemade French Fries
Homemade French Fries! French fries are relatively cheap to pick up. However, if you prefer homemade then this post is for you. It will help you get delicious crisp homemade fries that are not too dark or look homemade.
Or if you know your potatoes are going bad. Bake them in the oven and then freeze them for French Fries. It’s the perfect way to avoid waste when it comes to Potatoes. It also makes it easier to handle when cutting the fries.
Brine for Homemade French Fries
The trick with deep frying things is that alkaline items brown fast. While Acidic items take a longer time to brown. For French Fries, we want nice golden crisp fries. So we have to lower the PH level considerably. This is also the same method for homemade chips.
Utilizing Vinegar to do this works. Just like it works with Apple Pie or Crisp. Soaking the Apples or any item in acid toughens the outside exterior walls.
In the case of French Fries. The outside exterior walls are toughened but the heat causes the inside to go mash. This is exactly what we want in fries. a nice mash inside and crisp on the outside.
Once we have the fries soaking in the Vinegar Solution for a bit, they will turn whiter and the exterior will toughen.
The Salt gets absorbed by the Fries minimizing the need to salt the fries after they are deep-fried. You still may need to salt but not nearly as much if any at all.
Adjusting the Infused Flavor
These fries really are exceptional and a must-try. Adjust the seasoning to your liking. Less salty use less salt, more salty use more salt, on the sweet side, add sugar, some additional flavors add Broth Powder – Chicken, Pork, Beef or Vegetable, Umami add MSG, Malty use Malt Vinegar instead of white Vinegar.
Mash Center Fries
In the Boil Method. We Boil in the vinegar solution just enough to tender the fries for about 10 minutes this is to soften the inside so when we deep fry.
It will further cook releasing the water in the form of steam. If the center is not tender enough it will hold unto water and if the center has too much water you will never get a crisp outside.
Baked Potato Method
This is now my preferred method of making homemade fries. These are really good!
You bake the potatoes and then refrigerate them. You can peel the skin while they are warm enough to handle or after they have been refrigerated.
After refrigeration – Slice them into Fries. They are extremely soft so be gentle.
Place in the Brine Solution for 1 1/2 hours. Strain well before deep frying. The Potato is already at mash consistency pretty much and further cooking when deep-frying softens it even further.
Deep Frying Fries
Deep fry first to extract all the water out in the form of steam and to apply more heat to create a mash center. Continue to deep fry until the steam has subsided. We then remove them from the fryer and allow the Deep Fryer to come back to temp (400 F).
At this point, we could just freeze these to deep fry later or if needed now, wait for the fryer to come back to full temp before frying for a second time.
Deep Fry a Second time. The Second time is to evaporate all of the water. Continue to cook until there is no more steam.
The Third Fry is for final Crisping. With the Oil as highest as it will go deep fry for the third time only for a few seconds in order to crisp the fries. Remove from the Oil and immediately Salt if needed.
French Fry Seasoning
You can season fries with pretty much anything but below are some ideas.
- Flavored Popcorn Seasoning
- Old Bay Seasoning
- Creole or Cajun Seasoning
- Taco Seasoning
- BBQ Rubs
- Malt Vinegar with Salt & Pepper
- Ranch Powder
French Fry Dips or Sauces
For Dipping Sauces or Sauce to squeeze over some Fries check out my Sauce Recipes.
Testing Potato Preparations
I ran a test because I was curious on what impact did the various cook methods have on the final product. After testing, I found one Cook method that was superior to the rest. I’m talking crispy French Fries with a Pillow or Cloud Mash. These were so good I couldn’t stop eating them.
It use to be that I would Boil the French Fries after letting them brine for 3 hours. Which isn’t needed because when I ran these test I brined for 1 1/2 and they still turned out golden. Anyways unto the test.
First Batch – Boiled Whole Potatoes, peeled and sliced into fries.
Second Batch – Baked whole Potatoes, peeled and sliced into fries.
Both go into a Brine of 8 Cups of water, 1/2 C Vinegar, and 2 Tbl Kosher Salt for 1 1/2 Hours. I skipped the beef because I was just testing but man o man would these be even better if I did.
Both Batches Strained and Deep Fried.
The first batch came out crispy and light golden, just like my original recipe.
The Second Batch came out extremely crispy.
After letting them sit a bit I tested the Crunch again. The Batch that was Baked in the Oven was far superior. So much so that this is my standard now for homemade fries.
I believe that Baking them Dry without any water yields far better results than if you were to boil them either already cut up or whole and then cut up. The enemy of Fries is Water. We only introduce the water component after the Potato has been cooked and only to Brine which toughens the exterior walls and Infuses Flavor into the Fries.
Previously I boiled the Fries in the Brine and it does work to get Golden Crispy Homemade. You can still sometimes go soggy because of the retained water. Not so with Oven Baked Potatoes and the added benefit is that any time your potatoes need to be used up. Bake them and freeze so you can make fries later. No Waste and the best method for homemade fries.
See this is just one example. The Previous recipe called for Brining and then Boiling the Fries. However further experimenting revealed that a Baked Potato is by far the way to go.
I am always looking to improve and if I find a Method or any other thing that gives better results I change over to that. It’s all Trial and Error with the end goal to achieve the Best Recipes and methods. Enjoy! If you are already addicted to Fries…..I’m sorry 😉
- Bake the potatoes until just soft about 45 minutes – 1 hour at 400 F
- Peel the Potatoes when warm enough to handle or let the potatoes cool and peel or chop with the skins on.
- Refrigerate overnight before chopping into fries
- Handle Carefully as they break apart easily.
- Brine for 1 1/2 hours in Brine Solution.
- Strain very well before deep-frying
- You can freeze the Potatoes whole or after the first deep fry to cook at a later time. Just lay them out on a baking sheet to freeze. Once frozen fill a Freezer Ziploc Bag with the frozen Fries.
Homemade French Fries
- Deep Fryer
- 8 large Potatoes
- 8 C Water
- 1/2 C Vinegar – white or malt
- 2 Tbl Kosher Salt
- 1 Tbl Beef Powder – optional
- Scrub the Potatoes and Pierce the ends to allow steam to escape. Bake the Potatoes in the oven at 400 F for about 45 minutes or just soft. Let cool and Peel the Skin off. Refrigerate to cool the potatoes down before slicing into fries.
- Fill a pot up with all ingredients. Place the fries into the Pot carefully and leave for a 1 1/2 hours. After Brining, give it a gentle mix and Strain the Potatoes out well.
- Place the fries into basket to deep fry at highest temp around 400 F. This will immediately drop your heat but keep the fries in there for about 5 minutes or until the steam has lessened a bit or is gone. Lift the fries out and let the oil come back to temp.
- Once the Oil comes to temp, lower the fries back in and cook until there is no more steam and pretty good color. Lift the basket out again and let the oil return to temp.
- Deep Fry the Fries for the Third Time but only for a few seconds 20 seconds or so. Remove the basket and dump the fries into a steel bowl and Season if needed and Serve.