The secret to making better frozen french fries

Americans love potatoes – it’s our favorite vegetable. Mashed, baked, fried, scalloped, and even boiled, any way you slice a potato, it’s delicious. Every year we eat a whopping 110 pounds of the tantalizing tuber per person (via NPPGA). Nearly 30 of those pounds are in French fry consumption, alone (National Geographic). There’s no denying that something magical happens when you cut a potato and fry it to crispy perfection. A sprinkling of salt, a dip of ketchup, and it’s heaven on your tongue. 

You’d think that with the love affair we all have for French fries that the average person would be an expert at frying them up, but the truth is, they are pretty difficult to prepare and the oil fry is quite messy. Sadly, those bags of frozen fries you pick up at the grocery store never come out quite as good as restaurant fries. But why? According to the Food Network, the frozen bags are already fried to perfection before they go in the deep freeze — so why can’t we get them to taste like a fresh batch of McDonald’s? Because, according to RJ Harvey, the culinary director at Potatoes USA, we’re not using the right tools and techniques to create evenly crispy, golden fries (via Insider).

For better frozen French fries, use an elevated rack

The trick to perfecting frozen fries that are baked in the oven is proper air flow. According to the experts at Epicurious, when frozen fries are sitting on a baking sheet, they release moisture and get soggy on the bottom. If they are elevated on an oven-safe cooling rack, the oven acts almost like an air fryer, allowing hot air to circulate around the fries, and create even cooking. 

Chef Harvey agrees. He told Insider, “Baking frozen fries on an oven rack ensures even cooking and allows air to flow all around the fries, which increases your chances of getting golden-brown fries from the oven.” One important caveat, don’t try to save time by throwing the fries in a cold oven. Make sure it’s properly pre-heated so, as Chef Harvey explains, “the fries are crispy on the outside and light and fluffy on the inside.” 

Alexa, add frozen fries to shopping list …

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