Crispy Oven Baked Fries


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Thanks to a simple trick these oven-baked ‘fries’ turn really crispy and delicious. To fear a comparison with real fries from the deep fryer these healthier padawans need not.

Doesn’t most childhood memories somehow also involve fries (ok, depending where you live)? Like for instance the best fries you eat are those after a swim at your trusty bathing resort (sugar pearl bracelets were also a big thing). For a lot of us memories featuring fries actually won’t stop with adulthood. Fries are über beliebt (popular) no matter what age – how the French would say.

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Speaking of which until now the origin of fries remains not crystal clear as the French are still arguing over that prestigious spot with the Belgians. Though in no other country they are so beloved like in Belgium where they are not just side dishes but star as the main attraction, the pièce de résistance. Typically double fried in beef fat. Oh, and there waffles? Devine.

Actually Belgian Waffles brings back faint memories when I visited a Belgian music festival called Pukkelpop in 2012 (I used to be quite the festival hopper though not completely sure if that’s now a thing of the past). It was a very huge festival offering a great selection of bands. However the food was terrible. Vastly expensive and just bad lacking any love. Except for the waffles (and fries for some of us). They were our bright spot in an otherwise culinary dark place that was also very dusty.

Back to fries. What a pleasant surprise to find out that fries fresh from the oven made from real potatoes are actually quite tasty and also very doable, too. If only I knew it much, much earlier. Probably wouldn’t indulge so much on store bought processed fries for the oven. Hey, better late than never!

Two tricks for crispiness and convenience

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There’s actually two tricks involved that will make them cook much faster, super crispy on the outside, soft and cooked through on the inside. One important step to get crispy fries is to de-starch them. Let the cut potato sticks take some water baths to get rid of most of the starch. After that you will in step two precook them in the microwave before they get crispy and brown in the oven.

Two step cooking adaptation

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This method with precooking the potatoes in the microwave can be considered as an adaption for the baked version since original fries are double fried. First frying is to cook the inside at lower temperature and second to get them extra crispy at higher heat.

A good way in general (most of the time) whenever you are not boiling your high-starched potatoes to parboil them in the microwave before you cook them by the actual intended method, i. e. roasting or baking. Which otherwise would take so much longer.

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Crispy Oven Baked Fries
Serves 6
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr
Ingredients
  1. 6-10 (1000g / 2.2 pounds) large organic low-starch potatoes
  2. 1-2 TS olive oil
  3. 1-2 TS finely chopped flat leaf parsley, for topping
For the spice mix
  1. Salt and pepper, to taste
  2. Pinch of cayenne
  3. 1 ts paprika
  4. 2 ts dried Herbes de Provence (or mix dried oregano, thyme and rosemary) – optional but recommended
  5. ts = teaspoon (5ml), TS = tablespoon (15ml)
Instructions
  1. Cut the potatoes, skins on, lengthwise into thin 1/3” fries and place them in a large bowl filled with cold water. Drain the starchy water and refill with fresh water, let the potatoes sit a few minutes in the water, then drain again.
  2. In the meantime mix all the herbs and spices in a small bowl, set aside.
  3. Put potatoes back in the bowl and toss with the spice mix.
  4. Preheat the oven to 230°C (450°F).
  5. In batches place the potatoes in a large microwaveable bowl, cover up with a second bowl leaving a small steaming hole. Now microwave them for about 10 minutes at 700 watt (8 minutes at 1000 watt) to precook the potatoes.
  6. Carefully drain the microwaved potatoes in previous used colander then toss with olive oil, and spread them single-layered on an oven rack lined with parchment paper.
  7. Bake them for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and crispy on the medium shelf. Rotate the rack after 15 minutes or at least when half way through around the other side (one-eighty degrees turn).
  8. Right before serving top the fries with chopped parsley.
Notes
  1. Leaving cut potatoes in water to de-starch is the trick to get them so crispy in the oven.
  2. The fries will cook faster on an oven rack rather than a baking sheet.
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Equipment

  • The Basics (cutting board, chef’s knife)
  • Large bowl – for mixing the potatoes.
  • Colander
  • Small bowl or plate – for mixing the spices.
  • Two large porcelain bowls – for microwaving the potatoes
  • Oven rack – recommended over a baking sheet

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18 Comments on “Crispy Oven Baked Fries”

  1. I definitely could devour a bowl of these yummy fries right now, they look delicious and are so much better for you as they are baked!

  2. Jackie says:

    I’m confused. It says place the potatoes in a bowl and cover with another bowl. When done drain them. Is there water in the bowl or is it just liquid from the potato?

    • Oanh says:

      It’s the liquid from the potatoes since you season the potatoes before steaming them in the microwave. Especially the salt will draw out liquid from the potatoes. You could also season them *after* microwaving them but the reason to do that before is to ‘open’ the herbs and spices up and merge.

  3. Sue Hutson says:

    Cayenne and paprika absolutely ruin french fries, in my own opinion. For the pre cooking – par boiling, yes – but my gut instinct tells me that microwaving thinly sliced potatoes for 10 minutes will just ruin them. I only par boil fries for less than 5 minutes anyway!

    • Oanh says:

      If you have a high powered microwave in mind then yeah, cut down the time. The 10 minutes are referring to 700 Watt (that’s the maximum power my microwave got which is also for German standards on the lower side).

      I’d also like to emphasize that the recipe calls for low-starch boiling potatoes (with a long cooking time). Microwaving them for 10 minutes on 700 Watt is rather necessary with this sort of potatoes. This won’t be too long to make them mushy.

      If you want to skip on the microwaving part altogether you could also use more floury higher-starch potatoes. But needless to say adjust the recipe to your preferences and what works for you.

  4. Marie says:

    Is it possible to make this recipe using sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes? What adjustments would be needed?

    • Oanh says:

      Generally yes, it’s possible to make oven sweet potato fries. They cook rather quickly, so you can **skip the whole microwaving part**. However the more challenging part is to get them nice and crispy. The few times I tried my luck with sweet potato fries they weren’t convincingly crispy.

      Though I didn’t put mine in a water bath to destarch them. Maybe that’s working (like it does with real potatoes). Also coating them with cornstarch is supposed to help.

      I highly recommend using spices that can counterbalance their sweetness like (pinch of) cayenne or red dried chili flakes.

      Oven setting and cooking time stays about the same.

  5. Anna says:

    Don’t you mean batches, not badges?

  6. Trudy Johnson says:

    I am intrigued with this recipe and will try it tomorrow.

  7. Anne says:

    In Step 6 you say to “Flip the shelf after 15 minutes”. Do you mean switch top shelf with bottom shelf, or turn fries over to crisp other side? Thank You.

    • Oanh says:

      You rotate the *rack* around the other side (180° turn). It remains on the same medium shelf the whole time.

      (Wasn’t clear enough in the directions.)

  8. Lesley says:

    Parsley – on fries! Whatever next in pointlessness! Otherwise good method

  9. M.E. B says:

    Just made these… wonderfully crispy, so far the only recipe that worked. I only microwaved them for 7 minutes (regular baking potato). Next time will omit cayenne, but loved Herbes de Provence!

  10. AW says:

    These look great! Do I put the fries directly on the oven rack, or buy another rack? Thanks!

  11. Ann says:

    I used to MW the potatoes first but I stopped doing that. I live at high altitude now and I have had to adapt the way I cook. The best result for me is to slice the russet potatoes into thick matchsticks, toss with coconut oil and coarse salt. Place these in the skillet in a somewhat single layer but a bit jumbled is ok. Bake in oven, center rack 350° until bottoms of fries are crisp. Do not turn or toss fries. Set oven to low broil, 450°, which is the temp with my oven. Cook until tops are nicely browned, center rack. No need to flip these fries and they are crispy and tasty. Season afterwards. I lived in Europe so I love fries with mayo. My cat also likes these a lot! >^..^<

  12. Donna says:

    I don’t have a microwave we are off grid so how would you do that step?


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