Crispy, golden, Homemade French Fries are better than any fries you might get at a burger joint or restaurant! Perfect french fries at home are easier than you might think using the simple techniques in this double-fried french fries recipe!

An image of golden brown homemade french fries on a baking sheet with a bowl of ketchup for dipping.

I love french fries, but I am picky about them. Perfect french fries need to be hot, thick, and crispy on the outside but soft on the inside. No ultra-thin shoestring fries or soggy, cold fries for me.

My mom was born and raised in Pocatello, Idaho, and I spent every summer there as a kid at my grandparent’s house. So we definitely have some Idaho potato pride in our family.

If you’re new here, I have an ongoing project called American Eats where I visit the best known foods for each state, and this time it’s Idaho! Which obviously means potatoes! If you’ve driven through Idaho before, you may have seen the signs “Free ‘taters for out-of-staters”. Those Idahoans are crazy about their spuds!

When I was growing up, homemade french fries were a HUGE treat that my mom would make every now and then when we were grilling burgers for dinner. They are simply amazing and are worlds away from most restaurant fries that taste only of salt.

We like to enjoy these fries with ketchup, or a super simple homemade fry sauce made by combining equal parts ketchup and mayonnaise. It’s a total Utah/Idaho thing, but super delicious!

 An image of a basket filled with french fries and a bowl of fry sauce.

Or top them with feta cheese, garlic, herbs, and lemon juice like in these Baked Greek Feta Fries.

How to Make Homemade French Fries

  1. Wash & peel:  Give the potatoes a good scrub and peel them with a potato peeler. You can leave as much or as little peel on as you like.
  2. Cut & soak:  Slice the potatoes into 1/4″ to 1/2″ sticks using a large knife. I prefer thicker fries so I always go with 1/2″ sticks. Place the cut fries into a large bowl of cold water, covering them completely, and so for at least an hour and up to overnight. Rinse the fries well, then dry completely using paper towels or a dish towel.
  3. Fry:  Heat a few inches of oil in a large pot or dutch oven to 300 degrees F. Fry the french fries in batches for 5-6 minutes until they are cooked and still pretty pale on the outside. Transfer the par-cooked fries to a large baking sheet lined with paper towels. Repeat with all remaining fries.
  4. Fry again:  Increase the oil temperature to 400 degrees F. Fry the french fries in batches again until golden on the outside and crispy, about another 3-4 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon or tongs to another baking sheet lined with clean paper towels to absorb excess oil. Season immediately with a generous sprinkle of salt. Repeat until all fries have been fried.

A collage of images showing step-by-step how to make french fries. An image of a large baking sheet piled with crispy, golden brown french fries.

Double-Fried French Fries Method

The method I advocate for making the best homemade french fries is the double-fried approach. First you fry the potatoes at a lower temperature to cook them. Then you fry them again at a higher temperature to crisp the outsides of the fries, giving you the best texture.

Frying only once at the higher temperature results in fries that are crisp outside but not cooked very well on the inside. And frying only once at the lower temperature means the insides get cooked, but the outside is underdone so the fries are limp and soggy.

Double-fried french fries give you the best of both worlds.

There is another method where you start the fries in cold oil, which I hear works really well because as the oil heats, it cooks the fries at the lower temperature and then crisps as it reaches the higher temperature. But my main problem with this approach is that it only allows you to cook one batch of fries because you are left with a pot full of hot oil and no way to cool it down. Which doesn’t really work for our fry loving family, since we all want more fries than can be cooked in one batch.

An image of hands dipping homemade french fries into a bowl of ketchup.

What kind of potato makes the best french fries?

When it comes to classic french fries, you definitely want to use russett potatoes. They make the best french fries, hands down.

You will want to wash them and partially peel them before cutting into stick for french fries. You can peel them entirely, or leave a lot of the potato peel on for a more rustic look and taste, which I like to do because I like the extra texture it imparts to the finished fries.

How do you cut potatoes for french fries?

First, wash and peel your potatoes, then use a sharp knife to cut a small slice off one side to give you a flat, stable surface to work with. Lay the flat side down on a cutting board and slice anywhere from 1/4″ to 1/2″ slices lengthwise (I tend to like thicker fries). Then lay those slices flat and cut into sticks of the same size for french fries.

The most important thing is to be consistent so that the fries cook evenly in the oil.

You can also cut french fries using a mandoline if you have one, which gives even more consistent results. Just be careful of your fingers!

Do you have to soak potatoes before frying?

If you want crispy, firm fries, then yes, you need to soak the potatoes before frying into french fries. Soaking the sliced potatoes in cold water for at least an hour or two is important to get rid of some of the starch in the potatoes. This helps them fry up extra crispy. Soaking for longer (up to overnight) is even better.

But if you are in a rush and want to skip the soak, at least rinse the cut fries with cold water before frying. Even just a rinse will get a lot of the starch off the outside of the potatoes and make a difference in your fries.

After soaking the fries, be sure to dry them really, really well using paper towels or a clean dish towel.

If your homemade french fries keep turning out soggy, chances are not soaking them beforehand is part of the problem.

What is the best oil for french fries?

I recommend using vegetable oil, peanut oil, or canola oil for frying french fries. Do not use olive oil, which has a lower smoke point than other options and will burn before your fries get crispy.

Tips for the Best Homemade French Fries

  • It might sound like a lot, but you should plan on about two russet potatoes per person when making french fries.
  • Keep in mind that the oil temperature will drop when you add the fries so be careful not to overcrowd the pan. Use a good thermometer clipped to the side of the pan to monitor the temperature of the oil. 
  • The thinner you cut the fries, the crispier they will be and the faster they will cook.
  • If you have leftover fries, you can stick them in an airtight container in the fridge and reheat in the oven at 350 degrees F for 15-20 minutes until hot. Leftover french fries actually reheat pretty well!

An image of hands dipping homemade french fries into ketchup and fry sauce.  

Can I bake french fries instead of frying?

You can make baked french fries and they are delicious too, but they definitely aren’t the same as real french fries like you get with the double-fried french fry method.

To bake french fries, follow the same steps of cutting, soaking, and patting the fries dry, then drizzle with oil and toss. Arrange on a baking sheet in a single layer and back at 450 degrees F for 15-20 minutes, then turn the fries over with a spatula and bake for another 10 minutes until crispy and browned.

Foods That Go Great With French Fries

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Homemade French Fries
Yield: 4 people

Homemade French Fries

Crispy, golden, Homemade French Fries are better than any fries you might get at a burger joint or restaurant!  Perfect french fries at home are easier than you might think using the simple techniques in this double-fried french fries recipe!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Additional Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 8 Russet potatoes
  • 2-3 quarts peanut or vegetable oil for frying (about 8-12 cups)
  • Salt

Instructions

  1. Wash and peel potatoes. Carefully slice off on side of each potato to create a flat surface, then slice the potato into 1/4" to 1/2" inch slices. Lay the slices flat and slice into 1/4" to 1/2" sticks.
  2. Place sliced potatoes in a large bowl filled with cold water and soak for at least 1 hour and up to overnight. Rinse well, then pat dry with a clean dish cloth or paper towels.
  3. Fill a large pot or dutch oven with a few inches of vegetable, canola, or peanut oil. Heat to 300 degrees F. A candy thermometer that clips to the side of the pot is helpful for keeping the temperature consistent while frying french fries.
  4. Working in batches, fry a few handfuls of the sliced potatoes at a time for about 5-6 minutes, until cooked through but still very pale. Remove from the hot oil to a baking sheet lined with paper towel using a slotted spoon or tongs. Repeat with remaining potatoes.
  5. Once all of the potatoes have been partially fried, increase the heat to 400 degrees F.
  6. Working in batches again, fry a few handfuls of the fries for another 3-4 minutes until golden brown and crisp on the outside. Transfer to another baking sheet lined with paper towel using a slotted spoon or tongs. Season with salt, tossing to season evenly. Repeat with remaining fries.
  7. Serve hot with ketchup or fry sauce for dipping.

Notes

The oil temperature will drop when you add the cold potato sticks, so be careful not to overcrowd the pan, especially with the first fry.

Thinner-cut fries will cook faster and be crispier than if you cut thicker fries.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 365

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Curious about foods from other states in my American Eats series? Check them out below!

Alabama • Alaska • Arizona • Arkansas • California • Colorado • Connecticut • Delaware • Florida • Georgia • Hawaii • Iowa • Louisiana • South CarolinaTexas