Crispy baked french fries at home? Yes, please! These healthy french fries bake in your oven, and today I’ll share the secret for getting crispy fries every time.
The Key To Crispy French Fries
Why soak potatoes for French fries? Soaking the sliced potatoes in water helps to draw out some of the starch from the middle of the potato, resulting in a sturdier, crispier French fry.
Out of curiosity, I tried soaking potatoes 3 different ways:
- in cold water
- in hot water
- in salted water
You can definitely notice a difference between soaked and un-soaked fries (the un-soaked ones go limp when you pick them up) but there’s not a huge difference between the type of soaking methods above.
Why use salt water for soaking potatoes? There’s moisture naturally found in potatoes, and moisture is drawn to higher concentrations of salt. (This is a process called osmosis.)
So, if you put the potatoes in a salt water bath, that will help draw out some of their moisture, resulting in crispier fries.
I noticed that the fries soaked in salt water turned out slightly crispier than the other methods, so that’s what I recommend trying here, but just know that any soaking is better than no soaking at all.
How long do you need to soak potatoes? Soaking potatoes for 15 to 30 minutes is sufficient, but you can soak them for up to an hour, if you have other things to do around your kitchen. I think soaking any longer than that would be unnecessary.
How To Make Them
To make baked French fries at home, start by slicing the potatoes into thin, French-fry-like shapes. I like my fries to be 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch thick. The thicker the fries, the more tender they will be on the inside.
Thinner fries = crunchier fries.
Once the potatoes are sliced, transfer them to a large bowl of salt water. I add 1 to 2 tablespoons of salt to the water, and let them rest for 10 to 30 minutes, depending on how much of a hurry I am in.
The longer you soak the fries, the crispier they will be.
When the fries are done soaking, drain the water from the bowl and dry the potatoes very well. Dry the bowl, too, so you can use it for the seasoning.
Return the potatoes to the dry bowl, and toss them will olive oil. I use 1 tablespoon of olive oil for 1 pound of potatoes.
In a small bowl, stir together the French fry seasoning, then sprinkle it over the potatoes, tossing well to coat them evenly.
Arrange the seasoned potatoes on a large baking sheet, making sure that the potatoes aren’t touching each other for maximum crispiness. Bake at 400ºF for 20 minutes.
When the timer goes off, remove the pan and flip (or shake) the fries so they will crisp evenly.
Then return it to the oven to cook for 15 to 20 more minutes, until the fries are golden. Keep an eye on the smaller fries, as they might need to be removed earlier.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which variety of potatoes work best for fries? Russet potatoes are considered the “gold standard” for french fries, because they become very crispy on the outside, with a neutral flavor and tender interior.
Yukon gold potatoes will also work, if you’d like a creamier inside, that isn’t quite as crisp on the outside.
Prefer to use an air fryer? Try my Air Fryer French Fries, which cook faster and turn out ultra-crispy.
Baked French Fries (Perfectly Crispy!)
- 1 pound Russet potatoes (about 2 large potatoes; or use Yukon gold)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt (I use Real Salt brand), plus extra for salt water
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper (optional, for spicy fries)
- Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Slice the potatoes into 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch pieces, keeping in mind that the thinner you slice the fries, the crispier they will be. Try to keep them evenly sized, to promote even baking.
- Fill a large bowl with cold water and stir in 2 tablespoons of salt. Place the sliced potatoes in the salt water and let them soak for 15 to 30 minutes. This will help them bake up crispier. When the potatoes are done soaking, drain them, and dry very well with a towel. (Dry the soaking bowl, too, so you can reuse it for the seasoning.)
- Add the potatoes back in the dry bowl, and toss them with the olive oil. In a small bowl, stir together the french fry seasoning by combining the celery salt, 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, and black pepper. Shake the seasoning over the fries, tossing well to coat evenly.
- Arrange the fries in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Make sure the fries aren't too close together or touching. (An over-crowded pan of fries will steam together and won't get as crispy.) Bake at 400ºF for 20 minutes. When the timer goes off, remove the pan and flip the fries to promote even crisping.
- Return them to the oven to bake for 15 to 20 more minutes, or until they look golden and crispy. Keep an eye on any smaller fries that might burn; they could need to be removed earlier. (Note– thinner cut fries will bake faster than thicker cut fries; so thinner fries might not need to bake as long.)
- Serve the fries warm right away with your favorite dip. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days, but keep in mind that the texture won't be as good when they are reheated. (They tend to dry out more.)
If you try these Baked French Fries, please leave a comment below letting me know how you like them! And if you make any modifications, I’d love to hear about those, too.