From America's Test Kitchen Season 10: Best Burgers and Fries
Our recipe for Classic French Fries works beautifully, but we’ll admit that it sometimes seems like a lot of trouble. We challenged ourselves to devise a shortcut that would give us crisp, golden fries with less work.
Oven-frying is the usual “quick” method, but we wanted real french fries. We started with an unorthodox procedure of starting the cut potatoes in a few cups of cold oil. To our surprise, the fries were pretty good, if a little dry. Because russets are fairly dry potatoes, we wondered if a different type of potato would work better. Sure enough, Yukon Golds, which have more water and less starch, came out creamy and smooth inside and crisp outside. A bonus was their thin skin—we could save time by not having to peel the potatoes. We were almost there, but the fries tended to stick to the bottom of the pot and they also tended to clump. Stirring seemed like the obvious solution, but this tended to break the potatoes. After some experimentation, we found that leaving the fries undisturbed for 15 minutes, then stirring them, kept them from sticking and from breaking apart. Thinner batons were also less likely to stick. These fries had all the qualities of classic french fries, without all the bother.
Serves 3 to 4
Flavoring the oil with bacon fat (optional) gives the fries a mild meaty flavor. We prefer peanut oil for frying, but vegetable or canola oil can be substituted. This recipe will not work with sweet potatoes or russets. Serve with dipping sauces (see related recipes), if desired. See "Cutting Potatoes for French Fries," below, for help on cutting even batons.