The Definitive Guide to Making Fries at Home

Piping hot fries straight from the fryer are hard to resist, and when they’re topped with herbs and aïoli? Forget about it
Healthier Frying

Norman King talks about his new cookbook 'The Way to Fry'

Thinkstock / Bozidar Jokanovic

Enjoy these French fries plain or with your favorite sauce.

When you find that ideal fry, golden brown on the outside, fluffy and soft on the inside, and not a drop too much oil, never let go — it’s the unicorn of the French fry world. If you wonder what really goes into turning potatoes into crunchy fries, you may be surprised to learn that the steps are a little more difficult than throwing potato sticks into hot oil, but not nearly the challenge that you might think.

Click here for the definitive guide to making fries at home slideshow.

Here is the definitive guide to making fries at home. Those crispy potatoes are hard to resist, and now The Daily Meal is here to give you all the information you need to fry a batch yourself. From the oil to the potatoes, we are delving into the science of cooking to give you the most comprehensive look at this starchy classic. You’ll be devouring a homemade plate of your favorite potato treat in no time.

Whether you dip your fries in straight ketchup, garlicky aïoli, or concoct the perfect balance of ketchup and mayonnaise for “fry sauce, all you need to do is follow this guide, choose your sauce, and eat them right away for flavor like you’ve never tasted before.

The Potato

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The potato is crucial to the success of your fries. Russet potatoes, Bintje, and the less-common (in the United States, at least) Maris Piper make excellent choices for frying. Their high starch content results in a fluffy French fry. Equally important to your choice of potato varietal is its water content; too much and your fries will be soggy, too little and they will be crunchy throughout.

The Oil

Photo Modified: Flickr / Cottonseed Oil / CC BY 4.0

Not all oil has the same smoke point. Because French fry oil needs to be heated to 400 degrees F, oil with a high smoke point is crucial for keeping the smoke detectors at bay. Vegetable oils with a neutral flavor tend to be the best choice. Safflower, peanut, and corn oil all have smoke points of at least 440 degrees F. Canola oil has a slightly lower smoke point at 400 degrees F, but can be used as long as you closely watch the thermometer.


Angela Carlos is the Cook Editor at The Daily Meal. Find her on Twitter and tweet @angelaccarlos.