Learn the secrets to the best oven-baked French fries that are tasty, crispy, and healthy. Cut them yourself or use frozen fries. Just follow these easy never-fail step by step photo instructions.
All the food blogs have oven-baked french fries, so I'll jump in too. But I'm lazy; I don't want to be flipping halfway through. I don't want to precook in any way. I what relatively simple prep and even simpler cooking. But I want crispy and tasty too. I'm so picky. I want it all (and so do you!)
A darn good fry.
Potatoes that are higher in starch are recommended for both deep fry and oven French fries. The most common is the Russet potato, but Yukon Gold potatoes are also a good choice. Due to skin texture, I recommend peeling Russets but not needed with most other potatoes.
Many people want to call all "Russet potatoes" as "Idaho potatoes," but that is not correct. There is no variety call “Idaho Potato,” but it is a registered trademark owned by the Idaho Potato Commission.
So there are Idaho Russet Potatoes (usually my choice), but there are over 30 types of potatoes grown in Idaho and all fall under Idaho Potatoes.
You can use almost any potato for this recipe. But this is not a sweet potato recipe. They need some special tricks to get crispy that I'm not covering.
❄️Frozen French Fries?
Yep, and the technique is the same. But start at the step of coating with oil. Don't do the soaking. Also, since they are starting colder, they may take a bit longer.
👨🍳Preparing the Potatoes
You can leave the skin, but I suggest peeling if using Russets. Other potatoes have thinner skin, and peeling is more a personal choice.
Cut the potatoes into ¼ inch strips. You can make them bigger but will need to adjust your cooking time. I use a mandolin, but please follow the safety recommendations of the manufacturer if you do. Otherwise, just a good knife will do.
The potatoes need to be soaked for 15-20 minutes in cold water. Then dried well before proceeding. If you skip this still, you will have a mushy mess.
Always preheat the oven for this recipe. I think convection is important if you are using the rack not to have to flip the fries.
You need to cook at a high temp. I suggest a 425° convection. If you don't have convection, then 450° is good, but some ovens will smoke with 450°. Then do 425° without convection and add a few minutes. You can cook at a lower temperature, but the fries will be less crispy.
The exception will be very thick fries where a slightly lower temperature like 375°convections would be fine since the higher cooking temperature would get the outside of the fry done before the center is cooked.
About 30 minutes works very well. Look for the final color you want.
Remember, thicker fries will take longer, and if your fries are too thin, they may just burn without crisping.
The length of time for baked French fries will vary, depending on how thick you cut them, your oven, and of course, personal preference.
I highly recommend using a rack. If you put them up on a rack and use convection, they will brown all around, and you do not need to flip them halfway through.
Never overlap fries. If they touch some, they will be ok since they will shrink a little and still brown. But overlap causes them to clump together and undercook in those areas.
A light coat of oil adds some taste.
Put the salt on before you bake.
By using the oven, they will crisp up again. A microwave will leave them mushy.
Preheat your oven to 400° with a baking tray on a middle rack. Once preheated. Remove the tray and spread the leftover fries single-layered on a baking tray. And then bake again for about 6 minutes. Thinner fries take less and thicker takes more.
🖼️Step-by-Step Photo Instructions
Start with a couple of medium russet potatoes. That will make four servings. Preheat oven to 425° convection. If you don't have convection, you can use 450° or stay at 425°, and it will take a bit longer.
Peel potatoes if desired. Cut your fries. I use a mandoline, but a knife will do. ¼ inch thick, please.
Place in cold water and soak for 15 to 20 minutes.
Rinse the fries with cold water, place them on a towel, and dry well.
Dry the bowl and put fries back in and mix with about a tablespoon of oil.
Prepare a baking sheet with aluminum foil and a rack. Spray with PAM. Spread the fries on a prepared rack. Do not overlap, but they may touch a little. Give a light sprinkle of coarse salt.
Bake until golden brown. About 30 minutes.
Crispy Baked French Fries
- 2 russet potatoes - medium
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt - to taste
- 1 tablespoon oil
- Start with a couple of medium russet potatoes. That will make four servings. Preheat oven to 425° convection. If you don't have convection, you can use 450° or stay at 425° and it will take a bit longer.
- Peel potatoes if desired. Cut your fries. I use a mandoline, but a knife will do. ¼ inch thick is recommended.
- Place in cold water and soak for 15 to 20 minutes. Rinse the fries with cold water and place on a towel and dry well. Dry the bowl and put fries back in and mix with about a tablespoon of oil.
- Prepare a baking sheet with aluminum foil and a rack. Spray with PAM.
- Spread the fries on a prepared rack. Do not overlap but they may touch a little. Give a light sprinkle of coarse salt.
- Bake until golden brown. About 30 minutes.
My Private Notes
- Very easy recipe to cut in half or double.
- I suggest Russet or Yukon Gold potatoes but other potatoes can be used. But this is not a sweet potato recipe. They need special treatment.
- I like thinner fries so I cut ¼ inch wide but wider is fine but will take a few more minutes to cook. If streak fries, I would lower the temperature by 25° and add some more time.
- You can use frozen fries. Start at the step after soaking/drying. They may take a bit longer.
- A little oil is needed for crispy.
- I like to salt before cooking.
- Fries can touch but overlapping is a problem with cooking.
- If you do not use a rack and convection, you do need to flip the fries halfway through.
- Two large potatoes will make enough fries for four servings and fill a half sheet pan (18X13 inches).
- You can reheat cooked fries. Preheat your oven to 400° with a baking tray on a middle rack. Once preheated, remove the tray and spread the leftover fries single-layered on a baking tray. And then bake again for about 6 minutes. Thinner fries take less and thicker takes more.
To adjust the recipe size:
You may adjust the number of servings in this recipe card under servings. This does the math for the ingredients for you. BUT it does NOT adjust the text of the instructions. So you need to do that yourself.
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Editors Note: Originally Published: September 23, 2012. Updated with expanded options, refreshed photos, and a table of contents to help navigation.