How to make the best oven baked fries

So right now I should be preparing some wedding invitations, but instead I’m here to share my love of french fries. They are my one weakness (maybe because I’m french ha!), when I go to a restaurant I usually get french fries as my side, or a poutine if I can. For those of you who are not familiar with poutine, its a delicious Canadian dish that consists of french fries smothered in brown gravy and cheese curds. In my opinion, its the perfect dish! Some people, like myself, eat it with ketchup, and you can add other tasty things like chicken, beef or lobster. But for now, I’m going to focus on just french fries, because you need the perfect side dish to all those great burgers you’ll be making on the BBQ this summer.

Once again this is a compilation of a bunch of different recipes I have tried over the years. I have recently come across some great tips on Pinterest that have been real game changers! For years I’ve been making home made fries in the oven, they are much healthier and you can add your favorite seasonings and spices. My fries always tasted great, but often they would be too dry, almost like chips, or they would turn into a messy mushy pile because they were too soft and not crispy. I was having a difficult time finding the perfect balance. So I gathered the tips and tricks I came across over the last few months and put them to the test, and here are the results:

What you need:

4-6 large potatoes (approx. 4 portions)
olive oil
salt and pepper
garlic powder
chili powder

Preheat the oven to 420 degrees, place your pan (I use a medium sized cookie sheet) in the oven while its heating up. This is trick #1, once your fries are ready for the oven, the pan will be nice and hot and they will start to cook as soon as they hit the pan. This will help them get crispy on the outside and also keep them from sticking to the pan.

While the oven is heating up, clean and rinse the potatoes, then cut them into strips. I like them a little on the thicker side, I use the classic knife and cutting board combo, no fancy gadgets. And I always leave the skins on, so much better. Once the potatoes are cut place them in a large bowl full of cold water for about 15-20 minutes. This is trick #2, the fries will soak up some of the water and this will help them from getting too dry while they are cooking. You will end up with crispy fries on the outside and fluffy potato goodness on the inside.

Once the fries have had time to soak, drain them, pat them dry with some paper towel and put them back into the large bowl. I always start by adding about 1/4 – 1/3 cup of olive oil first and then toss the fries to make sure they are evenly coated, this will help the seasoning stick to the fries and will also help them from sticking to the pan. I add a dash of salt and pepper, a sprinkle of garlic powder and just a little chili powder for a little kick, once again make sure to mix well so the fries are evenly coated. You can really throw in lots of different seasonings, whatever floats your boat!

By now your oven and pan should be nice and hot, please use oven mitts to remove the pan from the oven (ouch!). Dump the fries onto the pan, you should hear them start to sizzle, but don’t be afraid to move them around, make sure each piece is lying as flat as possible on the pan and the pieces are not all clumped on top of each other. This is trick #3, it will help make sure they cook evenly and that each piece can reach its true crispiness potential.

Bake the fries for 30-40 minutes, depending on how big your batch is. I set the timer for the half way mark, just to check on them, but at this time don’t touch them! This is trick #4, I know every fiber in your body is telling you to flip them over, or even just shake them up a bit, but don’t. The olive oil is going make sure they don’t stick, if you are a bit concerned you can add more oil to make sure, if you try to move them around at this point you will end up with a mushy mess. The fries have not had enough time to cook yet so they won’t just slide around or be flipped easily. Once the entire cooking time has passed, pop them out of the oven and use a spatula to gently move them around the pan, a few may resist, but they should come around with out much trouble. I like to place the fries on some paper towel to soak up some of the left over oil before serving them.

And there you have it! The best oven baked fries you will ever make. I made them tonight to go with some homemade big macs (https://recipesontheriver.wordpress.com/2013/03/14/home-made-big-macs-and-updates/), they were so tasty that I ate them all before I could take a picture. I’ve used this recipe with white, yellow and red potatoes and they all seem to work very well. I have not tried to make them with sweet potatoes yet, that’s next in line for the test kitchen. I’ll let you all know how they turn out!

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