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Best Oven Fries

by on October 12, 2007 · 13 comments

The original version was created by Julia Davison for Cooks Illustrated and you can find it, along with scientific explanations for why things are done the way they are, in the Jan-Feb 2004 issue.

Best Oven Fries

Best Oven Fries

3 (8 oz) Russett potatoes, peeled
5 tablespoons vegetable oil or peanut oil
Salt and ground black pepper

Adjust oven rack to lowest position. Preheat oven to 475 degrees F.

Cut each potato into about 10-12 equal size wedges. Soak potato wedges in a large bowl of hot tap water for 10 minutes.

Pour 4 tablespoons of the oil into a 12×18 inch heavy duty rimmed baking sheet.

Sprinkle 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper over the oil; swirl it around. Salted oil helps keep the potatoes from sticking quite so much.

Drain the potato wedges and pat them dry on a layer of paper towels. Remove as much moisture as possible.

Wipe out the bowl you used for soaking and return potato slices to bowl. Toss potatoes with remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. Lay potatoes in pan with salted oil.

Cover pan tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 5 minutes. Remove foil and continue to bake until golden – 15-20 minutes (check at 15). Rotate pan halfway through.

Using a spatula, scrape potato wedges up off pan and flip them over. Bake another 5 to 15 minutes or until potatoes or golden brown all over.

Lay fries on a big stack of paper towels to drain. Add extra salt if desired.

Makes about 3 servings (or 4 small servings)

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Published on October 12, 2007

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Jenna October 12, 2007 at 8:28 am

I have made potato “fries” this way before, because naturally… they are much healthier. However, I didn’t soak the wedges in water prior. What does this do, and does it make them any crisper?

I also flavored my potatos with Old Bay to make “crab fries”. Amazing!

Jancd October 12, 2007 at 8:03 am

Here’s my favorite “non-recipe”:

3 potatoes – peeled, washed, and sliced evenly
1 T. flour
1 T. parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Toss together and spread evenly on a jelly roll pan. Sprinkle with olive oil and bake at 425. Check and flip after 15 minutes. Cook until golden brown and delicious. I did not notice the smoking of the kitchen when cooked at 425.
Ummmm good.

Anna October 12, 2007 at 8:47 am

Jan, I’m going to have to try your method. I’ve seen a few versions which use Parmesan cheese and it sounds like it’s a good trick for adding texture and flavor. Todd’s not a Parmesan cheese fan, though. The trick here is to get the fries to tastes as close as possible to deep fried fries.

Jenna, what I like about oven frying is not having to deal with pulling out my deep fryer and changing oil. I guess this particular recipe is a *little* healthier, but I’m not so sure. If you deep fry at the proper temperature, your fries absorb about the same amount of oil as they would in a recipe such as this. At least that’s what I’ve read. But this way is more convenient. The soaking is supposed to help prevent the potatoes from having an overly thick, overly brown crust. That thick crust is caused by surface sugars, and the soaking removes those surface sugars. The water also (according to CI) “improves the creaminess and smoothness by working its way between the strands of gelatin starch resulting in a fry that has a good surface crunch and a smooth interior.”

Now some people take the opposite approach when deep frying. Say you want browner, crispier fries with a darker crust. As I understand it, you soak the fries in Coca Cola or sugar water to INCREASE the surface sugars. I’ve done this before and it works too. But that trick is for deep frying.

Jackie October 12, 2007 at 9:37 am

I love, love, love fries. I can’t wait to try this recipe.

Jackie

Todd October 12, 2007 at 10:29 am

I can personally attest to how good these are. Especially with vinegar.

Kelly October 12, 2007 at 12:40 pm

I love that you are branching out on your blog!

allen October 12, 2007 at 8:43 pm

You know, toss a few unpeeled garlic cloves in while the potatoes are baking and ….yum

Therese October 13, 2007 at 8:48 am

Anna:

Another version on the oven fried potatoes. Cubed sweet potato’s/small red potatoes and fresh rosemary…olive oil and sea salt. 425 oven….turn them at 15 min…bake until golden.

YUM!!

Abi October 16, 2007 at 11:54 am

I guess I’ll have to branch out from my Ore-Ida ways. They look deeelicious. Thanks for posting something a little different. Maybe it should become a Friday tradition!

Anna October 16, 2007 at 3:02 pm

Abi, some of the Ore-Ida fries are okay, but I like that other brand that begins with an A. Alexi or something like that.

Abi October 18, 2007 at 12:52 pm

Alexia is the brand. They make a lot of good pre-made foods (including pesto pizza rolls). What’s sad is that a lot of the ‘convenience’ food that I enjoy and eat at home I don’t put up on HeatEatReview.

My preferred Ore-Ida potatoes are the spicy Texas wedges. Yum.

Katie October 19, 2007 at 9:50 am

these were perfect!! thank you so much, i’ve been trying to make baked fries for ages and they never turn out right, always sticking, mushy, etc.

my boyfriend took one bite, looked at me, and said “oh. my. god. we are making these EVERYDAY!”

:)

Anna October 19, 2007 at 10:23 am

Abi, I’ll try the Texas fries when I’m in a hurry.

Katie, I’m glad you liked them. Coincidentally, I made another batch last night too. They were great.

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