After doing some serious research and development (and eating way too many french fries), we figured out a couple tricks to make the perfect copycat McDonald’s spuds. Beside the one secret you need to know for making the best french fries, McDonalds has a couple other surprises that set their potatoes apart from others.
First, McDonald’s adds dextrose, which is just a fancy name for sugar, to their fries before they’re cooked. The added sugar caramelizes during the fry process which helps achieve that soft golden color that makes them so distinct. To do this at home, simply soak your cut potatoes (russets of course) in water mixed with a little corn syrup for 30 minutes. The other secret to McDonald’s perfectly tasty spuds is that they are flavored natural beef seasoning. A shortcut that we found yields a similar end product to the current version of the fries, but makes life much easier: adding some beef tallow (rendered beef fat) to the frying oil when cooking the potatoes for the second and final fry.
Beef tallow can be found in the freezer section of most quality butcher shops.
- 1/2 Cup corn syrup
- 3 Cups water
- 4 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/8-inch sticks
- neutral frying oil, such as peanut, vegetable, or canola
- 1/2 Cup beef tallow
- 1/4 Teaspoon beef bouillon
- Fine sea salt
In a large bowl, mix the corn syrup and water together with a whisk until fully combined. Add the potatoes to the bowl and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or up to an hour.
As the potatoes soak, fill a Dutch oven or large pot halfway full with the frying oil and heat on medium until it reaches a temperature of 350 F.
Remove the potatoes from the water solution and carefully pat them dry with a kitchen towel, making sure to absorb as much water as possible.
Working in batches, so as not to overcrowd your frying, add a couple handfuls of potatoes to the oil and fry them for 2-3 minutes, gently stirring so they don’t stick together. Remove them from the fryer and place on a paper towel-lined baking sheet. Once you have fried all the potatoes for the first cook, transfer the baking sheet to the refrigerator or freezer for 15-30 minutes to allow them to cool down and firm up.
While they cool, add the beef tallow to the frying oil and increase the heat to medium-high until it reaches a temperature of 400 F.
Remove the potatoes from the refrigerator and, again working in batches, add a couple handfuls of the par-cooked potatoes to the oil and fry them for 5 minutes or until golden brown, gently stirring so they don’t stick together. Remove and drain the fries from the oil and add them to a large bowl.
Immediately season with beef bouillon, salt them to taste, and toss until every fry is evenly coated. Serve and enjoy hot.