If you have ever tried to make French fries at home, the results were most likely a let-down. Perhaps your spuds turned out golden brown and crisp on the outsides, but were still hard and undercooked on the insides (nobody likes al dente potatoes) — or maybe the insides were tender and perfectly cooked, but the outsides were pale and soggy. Head to your favorite burger joint or local neighborhood restaurant, though, and not only are their fries cooked flawlessly on the interior, but they also have a crunchy exterior. So what’s the deal?
Here’s the secret: In order to get perfect French fries, almost all chefs and professional kitchens use a double-fry method to cook their potatoes. Very similar to the one reason restaurant fried chicken tastes better than yours, this two-step process ensures that your spuds will cook all the way through, while also achieving that GBD (golden-brown-delicious) crust that everyone loves. So how do you do this at home? Well, it’s actually pretty simple, and all you need are a few ingredients: some good old-fashioned russet potatoes cut uniformly (so they all cook at the same rate), frying oil, and salt.
First, fill a Dutch oven, heavy-bottom pot, or electric deep-fryer about halfway with frying oil and par-cook the potatoes in a relatively low temperature, about 325 to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. The point of this initial fry is make sure the potatoes cook through to the center, but don’t take on any color. This may seem strange, but stay with us... The cooking time for this will depend on the size of your spuds, but be patient, during this process, not to rush and dry out the potatoes. Remove the fries from the oil when a toothpick pokes through with ease, and drain them on a wire rack to cool, or refrigerate until ready to use.
Next, increase the temperature of the same oil to 375 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and fry the potatoes for the second time. This step will not take nearly as long, as you are just looking achieve a nice color and crust on the outside of your fries. Once the spuds look GBD, remove from the oil, season liberally with salt while they're still hot, and enjoy your restaurant-quality French fries. If done correctly, this should yield fries that are crunchy but still tender to the bite, making for a delicious eating experience. Now that you know how to make the perfect French fries, pair them with one of our 50 best burger recipes.