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The Secret Technique for Getting Crispy Oven-Baked Fries

Is there anything better than a batch of perfectly baked French fries? Crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, these golden spears have satisfied cravings for decades. Want to make your own fries without soaking them in a Jacuzzi of messy oil? Read on.

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pile of potatoesShutterstock / zorbital

Pick the Right Potato

Grab Russet (aka Idaho) potatoes for your baked French fries. They’re high in starch and low in water, so they’ll bake up nicer than other varieties. Plan on using one medium potato for each person at the table.

Are you using the right potato for your recipes?

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pile of cut potatoesShutterstock / Sea Wave

Head to the Cutting Board

After scrubbing the potatoes, you can peel them or leave the skins on for a little extra fiber. Carefully slice the potatoes into 1/4- to 1/2-inch-thick fries. Any thinner and you risk the chance of the fries drying out during baking or falling apart in the next step.

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potatoes being soaked in waterShutterstock / ffolas

Soak ’em

Ready for the ultimate secret to crispy baked French fries? (Insert your own drum roll here.) Soak those spuds! Drop the fries into very cold water for 45 minutes. This process, called blanching, will help remove excess starch. You can even set them in the refrigerator if you want. After blanching, rinse the fries and dry them between two clean kitchen towels.

Pro tip: If you’re making a big batch of fries for a large group, add a tablespoon of lemon juice to the water to prevent the potatoes from browning, and soak the spuds for a few hours.

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drizzling oilpressxto/Shutterstock

Season Well

Treat the fries to a light coating of olive oil to help them crisp up while baking. Season with salt, garlic powder or herbs. For easy cleanup, put the fries, oil and seasoning into a resealable storage bag. Close the bag and shake it up! Or, if you’re in the mood for extra flavor, try one of these homemade spice blends.

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turning up the ovenShutterstock / plantic

Turn up the Heat

Make sure that oven is hot by preheating it to 400° to 425°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or with aluminum foil that’s been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Try not to overlap the fries so they brown equally, and don’t crowd them too tightly in the pan as you’ll need to flip the fries halfway through the baking time. Bake 30 to 40 minutes or until golden brown and crisp.

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french fries and ketchupBrent Hofacker/Shutterstock

Enjoy

And there you have it: crispy, crunchy fries without a deep fryer. Feel free to get creative with seasonings or experiment with different oils. So what are you waiting for? Grab a few potatoes and bake up a batch tonight! Psst: They go great with our favorite burger recipes.

Mark Hagen
The former owner of his own catering business, Mark’s been part of the Taste of Home team for the past 20 years. His work has also appeared in Quick Cooking, Light & Tasty and Country Woman magazines as well as in various Pillsbury and Betty Crocker cookbooks. When he’s not spending time in the kitchen with his Westie, Rocco, he’s working in his yard, doing stand-up comedy or devouring a platter of nachos. (Most likely the latter.)

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