Assuming you don’t have a deep-fryer, making good french fries from scratch at home can be a tricky skill to master. Despite best intentions, baked fries often come out somewhat soggy and sad. Below are a few tips and tricks to turn everyday potatoes (or even sweet potatoes!) into delcious, crispy, flavourful baked french fries.
Preheat the oven to 400F.
Peel your potato variety of choice (russet is a good choice, or sweet potato for something a little different) and slice them into strips of your preferred thickness. If crispy is important to you, avoid cutting these into huge thick wedges, but if edible is also important to you, you don’t want your potatoes julienned either – they’ll be burnt to a crisp. Try to find a nice happy medium thickness.
Now this next step is very important. If you skip it, you will ruin the magic of the crispy outside and perfectly soft melt-in-your-mouth inside. Put your sliced potatoes in a bowl of ice-cold water (seriously ice-cold, if there are ice cubes in the bowl, you’re on the right track). Now leave them soaking for at least 20 minutes.
While your potatoes soak, mix 2-3 tbsp of olive oil with the spices and seasonings of your choice. Those who like their fries simple and pure may just want to add a dash of salt, but those who want to add some kick can add cayenne, chili powder, garlic powder, paprika, or whatever other flavour strikes your fancy. Dashes and pinches of each spice will do the job, but if you’re into measuring, I’d recommend starting with about a 1/4 of a tsp of each, and increasing from there (easier to add than take away).
Once the 20 minutes is up, drain your potatoes and toss them with your olive oil mixture. I find the easiest way to do this is to add it all to a sealed tupperware container and shake vigorously. You want your potatoes to be well-coated, but you don’t want them so over-saturated that they end up sitting in huge pools of oil when you put them in the roasting pan.
Spread out the coated potato slices on a roasting pan, and try to avoid over crowding them. Bake them in your preheated oven for 30-45 minutes (this will vary depending on the thickness of your potatoes, so watch them carefully) flipping them over once about halfway through.