The easiest way to make french fries at home

Posted June 8, 2017 by Mike

There’s nothing more satisfying than effortlessly turning raw ingredients into a simple, iconic dish; like taking a handful of flour, eggs, water and turning it into fresh hand shaped pasta. It’s the kind of easy skill that comes with long practice and it always shows, and it’s always awesome to achieve.

That’s why I’ll go to immense effort to achieve that effortless skill. And for me, there is nothing more out of reach than getting french fries right at home. There’s just something about them that, especially in shoestring form, are better done on a commercial factory scale: In-n-out’s fries famously suck, Shake Shack had to walk back their fresh in-store french fries. Heston Blumenthal seemingly has it figured out, as long as its British chip sized, but what we’re looking for here is something more classic, something closer to shoestring.

When I saw this post on Quora, I jumped at it. It seemed almost too simple and good to be true, just a few easy steps, although it involved two overnight rests and lots of drying in the fridge. The basic idea was pretty obvious: dry cold fries will explode in hot oil, and if you do it twice, you should get perfectly crispy fries.

The easiest way to make homemade french fries -

I had to try it, but more to the point, I wanted to pit it against other simple home recipes. My selection process for the other challengers was emotional, not scientific. I chose the best fries we had ever eaten: Heston’s perfect pommes frites, along with our nemesis recipe, Kenji Lopez Alt’s similarly named recipe.

The first time Steph ever made fries, she used Kenji’s recipe. An experienced deep fryer, she was confident in her abilities, but somehow, possibly because the fries were too wet from the brine, the hot oil overflowed the pot and almost scalded her. Luckily, we didn’t have a gas range at the time; I shudder to think what might have ensued if we did.

I modified these recipes to fit shoestring fries, this usually just meant any hard boils were closer to simmers and cooking times were shortened. I felt it was a fair test of what was the best method for getting shoestring fries at home.

So, without further ado, the results:

The easiest way to make homemade french fries -

Heston’s Perfect Triple Cooked Chips

Heston’s perfect chips took 5 hours. I boiled the potatoes on a low simmer for 10 minutes instead of his original 30, but they still came out completely broken. Not his fault; his original recipe was for inch thick chips, not 1/4” shoestrings. They came out very crispy and quite similar in taste, if not in looks, to the fries Steph and I had at Dinner in London.

The easiest way to make homemade french fries -

Kenji’s Perfect Thin and Crispy French Fries

Kenji’s fries take 2 days and are specified to be shoestring sized, so I followed his recipe to a tee. His came out more intact than Heston’s but still broken, I’m not sure how he managed to avoid the broken ones on a high heat boil, but I suspect that’s why his lead photo is only of 12 intact french fries. In the end, the recipe was about twice as involved as Heston’s, with vinegar and agitation needed, but looked and tasted better with more intact fries (marginally more intact).

The easiest way to make homemade french fries -

Random Quora Dude’s Method

The Quora recipe took 3 days but mostly zero effort. The post was short on details, so I invented them as I went along. The first thing I noticed was that they discolored while drying in the fridge. After frying, they recolored themselves but seemed to be the least crispy, and therefore, most disappointing of the bunch. As I ate more and more of them however, it ended up that they had the best, most potatoey flavor and satisfying crisp (as opposed to the boom-in-your-face crunch of the other two). I felt like I could eat endless amounts of these guys, and that made them the winner for me.

Thinking that I could optimize on this recipe, I tried condensing the process into one long day. By 10pm that night, I ended up with soggy fries that couldn’t hold a candle to their 3 day brethren. Something magical seems to happen on the third day.

Was this easier than just throwing some Ore-Ida or McCains fries in the oven? No, but it was far, far more satisfying, and I’m guessing either (or both) Steph or I will be improving this recipe as time goes by, until one day we’ll just effortlessly be able to throw together an easy batch of french fries that can rival the best french restaurants, or McDonalds.

Do you guys have a good french fry recipe? I’m all ears.

Potato love

The easiest way to make homemade french fries -

How to Make French Fries at Home

1 potato per person

  • Large russet potatoes, cut into 1/4″ shoestrings
  • Oil for frying
  • Salt

Soak your potatoes for 30 mins to 1hr. Blot dry with a paper towel and arrange on rack. Dry in refrigerator overnight.

The next day, heat your oil to 375°F. Ensure your potatoes are completely dry (dry with paper towels if needed). Fry your potatoes for exactly 1 minute. Drain and place back on rack, and dry in fridge overnight.

On the final day, heat your oil back up to 375°F. Blot dry any excess oil on your potatoes with a paper towel, then fry for exactly two minutes. Drain on a rack, salt immediately, and enjoy as soon as possible.



  1. I don’t know if it’d be a weekly occurrence with so much prep involved, but still, I’m intrigued to give it a go!!


  2. It sounds like you are making my dreams come true. I have had so many fakes attempts at French fries at home that I had given up hope. But I can’t wait to try these!!

  3. irene says:

    This is very informative. Are the potatoes soaked in warm or cold water for the 30 -1hr period? How are they dried overnight in the refridgerator, in an open plastic container or left open?

  4. Ruby says:

    oh no – the very easiest way (and delicious too) is the America’s Test Kitchen way of putting shoestrings in room temp oil and bringing it up to boil on high heat. It never sputters or spits and you only stir them once. Hey presto – perfect fries

  5. gary says:

    These make me insane they are so good (use peanut oil), we make them once a week probably:

    In addition to being the best fries ever to come out of my kitchen, included triple fried,etc., they are BY FAR the easiest. I have been telling everyone I know to make these!

  6. Iqra says:

    Though tastes and preferences differ, the perfect French fry generally has a crunchy exterior and a light, fluffy interior. Finding the right balance is tricky, though, as making French fries that are too crispy will result in a tough exterior that goes beyond crispiness.

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