Salt, oil, and potatoes —three simple ingredients somehow creates one of the most popular food items in the world. Honestly, have you ever met anyone who doesn’t love french fries?
Even though they are relatively simple to make, the hardest part probably is in the cutting method. Not all of us have great chopping skills.
So in this article, we will discover three easy ways to cut potatoes into fries at home.
The methods we have selected are tried and tested and honestly, foolproof. Anyone can cut perfect fries within minutes!
Equipment for Cutting French Fries
Before we jump into how you can cut your potatoes into fries, you need to know about the best equipment for it. All the things we are mentioning come from personal trial and error processes.
Best Potatoes for Fries:
If you think all potatoes are the same, then you are going to be super surprised by our next part. Did you know there is the best potato type to make the crispiest french fries? Do you really think the fries you eat at McDonald’s’ are the same as the ones you use at home?
If you have followed all the best french fry methods and recipes and yet fail to make crunchy, tender fries at home, you need to check what potatoes you’re using. Most of us use whatever is available in our local groceries.
- The best type of potatoes for your hand-cut French fries is Russet Potatoes also known as Idaho Potatoes.
The reason why they are the best is due to their higher starch level. They are much denser and dryer than other types which means your fries will be super crispy.
Here are some of the reasons to use Russet potatoes for your next fresh cut French fry session
- Minimum moisture and water level
- Has a fluffy texture after frying
- High in fiber and nutritions
- Makes long, straight fries
- Very delicious and crispy after frying
Whatever you use, do not use waxy potatoes as they will make your fries very soggy and oily. Waxy potatoes have a higher moisture level which is perfect for gravy and meshing. But for frying, you need something that does not absorb too much oil.
Again, we use whatever oil is available in our pantry. What many of us don’t know is, each type of cooking oil has a specific purpose. You shouldn’t use just any oil for frying. This is due to the different smoke points of different oils.
Best oil for french fries or any type of deep frying is something that can handle very high heat. Most oils start to break down at medium to high temperatures. This causes them to burn and adds a bitter, bad, smoky smell to your food.
Some of the best high-smoke level oils include:
- Canola oil
- Sunflower oil
- Refined peanut oil
- Corn oil
Another thing to keep in mind is the flavor of the oil itself. Some oils have a distinctive smell or aroma that works excellently for certain dishes.
For example, sesame oil has a delicious toasty, nutty smell that compliments stir fry or grilled food a lot. But if you use sesame oil on steaks and chicken wings, it’s going to taste strange.
That’s why we really enjoy canola oil and sunflower oil for frying as they don’t alter the flavor of the fries and can handle a lot of heat. If you don’t want to use vegetable oil, there are many good vegetable oil substitutes in the market.
To cut potatoes into fries and wedges, you don’t need any fancy kitchen equipment and knives; a simple chef’s knife is all you need. But there are many varieties of chef’s knives out there.
As it is the most used kitchen gadget for all sorts of chopping, you need to have a good quality one with razor sharpness and durable edge retention.
Japanese knives are known for their quality craftsmanship. You can check out our best Japanese knives list to know more about this.
You will find many affordable cutting boards all over the market that are made out of plastic. As tempting as it may seem, all the professional chefs recommend not buying one of those.
That’s because plastic cutting boards move around a lot.
The best type of cutting board is the one that’s made out of real woods. Real wooden boards are heavy, dense, and solid. This makes them very good for cutting and chopping.
How to Cut Potatoes into Fries
There are many different methods of cutting french fries. Today, we will talk about three different ones that work wonderfully.
Classic French Fries:
- If you are going for classic french fries, peeling is an essential step. Before you peel your potatoes, thoroughly rinse them and remove all dirt.
Then use a vegetable peeler to peel off the skin. After that, pat them dry and put the potatoes on your chopping board.
- As classic fries are a bit thicker, cut each potato into ¼ to ¾ inch slices. Cut them lengthwise first.
- Stack all the pieces together and cut them into ¼ inch strips. They should all look almost identical. It’s perfectly fine if some pieces end up looking a bit uneven. Classic fries are mismatched and homier looking.
And there you go, your potatoes are ready for frying!
We all love some home fried on weekends. They are much easier and healthier as they are not cooked in deep oil. Here’s how to cut your potatoes to make diner-style home fries:
- Rinse and wash your potatoes using cold water and gently pat them dry.
- Use a chopping knife or chef’s knife to make ½ slices lengthwise. These slices are much thicker compared to classic french fries.
When you are cutting them, hold the potato with one hand and use the other hand to cut. This provides a secure grip.
- You can leave the skin on or off depending on your preference. We like to keep the skin on as they add extra crunchy after frying.
- Stack the slices and cut them again into ½ inch stripes. So far the process is pretty much the same as regular fries.
- Then cut each stripe into two/three different sections depending on the size. Each piece should be ½ inch so they will all look like rectangular cubes.
You can of course cut them whichever size you want. The smaller the pieces, the faster they will fry.
If you plan on baking them, you can cut them into a bit larger pieces. Otherwise, they can turn out to be too dry. And that’s about it!
Restaurant-Style French Fries:
Ever noticed how crispy restaurant french fries are? A big secret behind their picture-perfect fries is the way they are cut. Restaurant-style french fries are much thinner than regular fries.
You can imagine what a pain that would be to cut for average home cooks like us. Most of us have very limited knife skills.
If you are not much skilled at chopping, like us, there is a cheat-sheet that can help you cut perfect fries every time. You guessed it, we have to use a mandoline.
If you use a cross-cutting mandoline, this becomes the easiest thing ever. We have a suspicion that a lot of restaurants also use this method to cut their fries. Controversy!
So here’s how to make restaurant-style french fries using a mandoline:
- For a basic mandolin, create even potato slices which you then have to cut using a knife. Make sure the slices are not too wide while cross-cutting them manually.
- For the cross-cutting mandoline, all you have to do is pick the slice width you want and push the potatoes through it. Does it need any more explanations? It’s so easy. Just be careful and use a finger-guard to protect your hands.
Tips for the Perfect Homemade French Fries
Now that you know the best way to cut your potatoes into fries, it’s time to properly make them. There are actually many different methods and ways to make french fries.
Each person has a favorite but today we will share with you our tips to make the crispiest fries in the world! Too much? Well, it will be better than anything you have tried yet.
Here’s our step-by-step guide to make the perfect french fries:
Step 1: Let your sliced potatoes sit in a bowl of water for 10-20 minutes depending on how much time you have. Professional chefs soak their potatoes for 24 hours before frying them the next morning. This process removes all the starch from the fries and makes them super crispy.
Step 2: After that, dry your potatoes with a clean towel. You can spread them on an oven rack and pat them with a paper towel to remove as much moisture as possible.
If you have the time, let them sit like that in the open air for an hour or more. We know, it feels like too much work for french fries but hey, crispy fries require dedication!
Step 3: If you have a deep fryer then use that as it’s the best way to fry them. If not, use a deep frying pan and put enough oil to totally submerge the fries in it. Let the oil become moderately hot.
Step 4: Put all the fries into the hot oil and blanch them for a few minutes. The time actually depends on how big your potatoes are. But as a rule of thumb, wait till the fries are cooked but do not have any color yet.
Step 5: Bring them out of the oil and let them sit on the rack until they are cold. If you are making larger batches, you can do this in sections to save time.
Alternatively, you can blanch a bunch of fries and store them in the freezer to make frozen french fries. We love doing that for quick snaking!
Step 6: Take your cold blanched fried and put them in super hot oil for a second time. This time you’ll see the oil almost bubbling. Let them fry until they have a beautiful golden brown exterior.
Some like their fries a bit deeper in color. So feel free to fry them until you’re satisfied.
Step 7: Bring your crispy fries out of the oil and put them on top of a paper towel. Season them with salt and pepper while they’re hot.
You can of course use any seasonings to make them your own. And that’s it! It’s time to enjoy!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
01. Are Sweet Potato French Fries Healthy?
If you are comparing them to a bowl of salad then, no, they are not. But if you are comparing sweet potato french fries with normal fries, they might be better for you.
Sweet potatoes contain around 15 grams more carbs per serving and require less fat and sodium than regular fries. They might not be the best for a carb-free diet, but they sure taste delicious!
The best way to enjoy sweet potato fries is by baking or air frying them. This makes them super crispy and fluffy while using little to no oil.
Cutting sweet potatoes into fries follow the same steps we have mentioned in this article. So feel free to try them as well.
02. How Do I Reheat Fries to Make Them Crispy Again?
If you’ve ever had cold McDonald’s fries, you know they taste horrible. When fries cool down all the moisture from the inside comes to the surface. This makes them soggy on the outside and bland on the inside.
It’s not a pleasant experience at all. Well, there is a way to give your fires another life. Put them in a baking tray and heat up the oven to 350°F.
Let them cook for 7 minutes and your fries will become super crispy and delicious. You can also use an air fryer to do this.
03. Why are My French Fries Not Crispy?
If your french fries are not crispy then it’s probably because your oil is not hot enough. You need to cook your fries in two batches.
The first time the oil needs to be in moderate heat. The second time it needs to be on high flame. If you cook it all the way with medium to low flame, it’s going to turn out as greasy and soggy.
And there you have it! Cutting your own homemade french fries is that easy. We like to batch make a bunch of them and freeze them in ziploc bags.
This way, we can have french fries anytime we want, whether for a lazy Sunday afternoon or as midnight must-have snacks. The choice is yours!
Which type of fries do you like the most? Let us know in the comments down below!