Learn the secrets to the best oven-baked French fries that are tasty, crispy, and healthier. Cut them yourself or use frozen fries. The perfect side dish for burgers or any casual meal.
All the food blogs have oven-baked french fry recipes, 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 also want crisp and tasty. I'm so picky; I want it all, but so do you!
Baked French fries are healthier than the deep-fried fries you get at fast-food restaurants. While it would be a stretch to call them heart-healthy, you do get to control the oil and calories. So, relatively healthier but not really healthy.
👨🍳How to this recipe
- For frozen fries—go to step 4.
- For homemade fries from raw potatoes: Scrub, peel (if Russets), and cut Russet or Golden Yukon potatoes into ¼ to ⅜ inch strips for French fries. A mandoline in highly recommended.
- Soak in cool water for 15-20 minutes, rinse and dry completely with paper towels.
- Coat with vegetable oil or olive oil. You may use unthawed frozen French fries starting at this step but cooking may take a bit longer.
- Using a rack on a large tray, spread the fries into a single layer, and season to taste. If no rack, you may use parchment paper but will need to flip half way through cooking.
- Bake at 425° convection until golden brown—about 30 minutes. Season again while still hot if desired.
🥔What Potatoes to Use
Use raw potatoes or even frozen French fries. Russet potatoes, frequently called Idaho potatoes, are the most commonly used for fries, but Yukon Gold potatoes are good for French fries with creamy centers.
Due to skin texture, I recommend peeling Russets, but peeling is not needed with most other potatoes with thinner skins.
After cutting into ¼ to ⅜ inches, the fries need to be soaked in cold water for 20-30 minutes to remove starch, then dried well before proceeding. If you skip this step, you will have a mushy mess that will not be crisp.
You can use almost any potato for this recipe. But this is not a sweet potato recipe; they need some special treatment to get crispy fries.
❄️What is different when using frozen French fries?
Not much is different if you are using frozen fries—the technique is mostly the same. Do not thaw the frozen fries before cooking. Don't do the soaking. Start at the step of coating with oil. Also, since they are starting colder, they may take a bit longer.
Just salt added after the oil and after cooking will be fine for most people. If I feel like the 1960s, I use table salt. Otherwise, a coarse salt like kosher or sea salt.
You can add other spices like paprika, garlic powder, chili powder, or a touch of cayenne pepper work well.
You can make them unique with a Cajun seasoning mix or ranch dressing mix.
You can also add some grated Parmesan cheese with a sprinkle of parsley or chives after cooking while still hot.
🌡⏰Oven Temperature and Time
The best oven temperature is 425° convention, and it will take about 30 minutes to bake French fries. Always preheat the oven. Using a convection oven with a rack will get more even cooking with no need to flip the fries during cooking.
The length of time for baked French fries will vary, depending on how thick you cut them, your oven, and of course, personal preference.
If your fries are too thin, they may burn without crisping.
Very thick fries, like steak fries or potato wedges, need a lower initial temperature since the higher cooking temperature would get the outside cooked before the center is done. About halfway through cooking, increase the temperature to get a crispy finish. Total cooking time will be longer, and since they are thicker, you can check an internal temperature—potatoes are fully cooked at 200°-210°.
By elevating French fries, all sides will cook better, especially if using convection.
If you don't have a rack, using parchment paper, a silicone baking mat, aluminum foil with a coating of cooking spray, or a sheet pan with a good coat of oil will work, but the fries will need to be flipped halfway through cooking.
Never overlap the raw 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.
The easiest way to reheat is a few minutes in an air fryer. But the best way seems to be the oven if doing a large amount.
Oven Reheating: Preheat your oven to 400° with a baking tray or pizza stone 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 5-8 minutes. Thinner fries take less, and thicker take more.
1) When using raw potatoes, be sure to soak the raw fries for 20-30 minutes in cold water to remove surface starch.
2) If using frozen fries, do not allow them to thaw even a little.
3) Be sure to dry as completely as possible before adding the oil.
4) Fully preheat the oven and use convection if you have it.
5) Use a rack and if not using a rack, be sure to flip.
6) Cook to a dark golden brown.
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Step-by-Step Photo Instructions
Start with a couple of medium russet potatoes (about one pound). That will make four servings—preheat oven to 425° convection. If you don't have convection, you can use 450° or stay at 425°, which will take a bit longer.
Scrub the potatoes and if using russet potatoes, peel the potatoes. Cut your fries ¼ to ⅜ inch thick. I suggest a mandoline, but a knife will do.
Place in cold water in a large bowl and soak for 20 to 30 minutes.
Drain, rinse the fries with cold water several times, place them on a paper towel and dry well.
Dry the bowl, put fries back in, and stir 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. Season again while still hot.
Crispy Baked French Fries - Fresh or Frozen
- 2 russet potatoes - about 1 pound
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt - to taste
- 1 tablespoon oil
- Start with a couple of medium russet potatoes (about one pound). 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.
- Scrub the potatoes and if using russet potatoes, peel the potatoes. Cut your fries ¼ to ⅜ inch thick. I suggest a mandoline, but a knife will do.
- Place in cold water in a large bowl and soak for 20 to 30 minutes.
- Drain, rinse the fries with cold water several times, place them on a paper towel and dry well.
- Dry the bowl, put fries back in, and stir 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. Season again while still hot.
Your Own 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.
- I like thinner fries so I cut ¼ inch wide but wider is fine but will take a few more minutes to cook.
- You can use frozen fries. Start at the step after soaking/drying. They may take a bit longer.
- Oil is needed for crispy fries.
- I like to salt before cooking and after cooking.
- Seasoning options are discussed in the post.
- 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 cooking.
- Two large potatoes will make enough fries for four servings and fill a half sheet pan (18X13 inches).
- You can reheat cooked fries in an air fryer. In the oven: 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 take 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.