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How to Make Frozen Fries Crispy in Your Oven

How to Make Frozen Fries Crispy in Your Oven
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Fries that are crispy yet light and fluffy on the inside are a delicious and desirable treat. Using frozen fries saves time and effort in the kitchen. Oven-baked fries use less oil than deep-frying on a stovetop, and it’s easier to clean up afterward.

Your frozen fries will be crispy when baked in the oven if you make sure to pre-heat your oven to the correct, hot temperature, 400 F – 425 F. Baking time is 20 – 30 minutes. As ovens and product instructions vary, check that the fries are the color you want before taking them out of the oven.

There are many ways to ensure those frozen fries turn out crispy and delicious. As a health-conscious person, you may also be wondering whether baking your frozen fries is a healthier method of cooking than frying them in hot oil. And if you don’t particularly like to buy packaged fries at the grocery store, how can you make and freeze them yourself?

Let’s explore.

How to Make Frozen Fries Crispy in the Oven

Don’t thaw the fries before using them. If you put them into the oven frozen, you’ll find they’ll come out with a better texture and flavor.

Your oven must be hot at the right temperature before adding your fries so that the outside crisps up nicely. Check your package of fries for the recommended baking time and temperature.

This will differ with different brands. Usually, around 400 F is hot enough, for about 20 to 30 minutes.

If you’re using a convection oven, and the package recommends baking your fries at 400 F for 20 minutes, set the convection to 375 F and check if the fries are crispy and colored after 15 minutes.

A baking time of 20 – 30 minutes for frozen fries is a guideline. The length of time will vary, depending on the thickness of the fries, your oven, and your personal preference. Take them out when they are the final color you want.

Thicker fries will take longer, while thin fries will bake faster.

Bowl of Thick Fries

A slightly lower temperature will work better if your fries are very thick. The higher temperature would get the outside of the fry done before the center is cooked.

If the fries are skinny, they could burn without crisping, so keep an eye on them and adjust the time accordingly.

It helps to pre-heat your baking tray in the oven. Covering the tray with aluminum foil, shiny side up, helps brown the fries and makes cleaning up afterward easier.

Never overlap fries. Overlapping them causes them to clump together, and they’ll be undercooked in those areas. Leave at least ½ inch between each potato stick.

Flip the fries and rotate the baking sheet around after 15 minutes.

Some chefs recommend using an open oven rack instead of a baking tray. In this way, air flows all around the fries, which increases your chances of getting evenly colored fries from the oven.

If you put them on a rack and use convection, they will brown all around, and you won’t need to toss them halfway through.

You do not have to add oil to your frozen fries. However, your fries will be crispier, and you may prefer the taste if you add some oil before baking. If you prefer softer, less crispy fries, omit the oil.

You could spray the fries with a cooking spray or drizzle with oil. Mix with your hands to make sure they’re all lightly coated and the oil is evenly distributed. The oil coating will give the fries a golden appearance and crispy texture.

You could also place the fries in a bag after spraying them with oil and then shake them so that they are all coated with the oil.

Fries will be delicious and crunchy for about 10 minutes after coming out of the oven. After that, they could become limp. When planning your meal, make the fries the last thing to come out of the oven so you can serve them hot.

Reheating Oven-Baked Fries

Oven-Baked Fries

It’s best not to reheat fries in a microwave oven as they won’t be crisp. Once again, preheat the oven to 400 F and place the baking sheet on a middle rack.

When the oven is at the desired temperature, remove the tray and spread the fries in a single layer on the baking tray. Toss them in a bit of oil again and bake for 6 to 8 minutes till heated through.

Enhancing the Flavor of Your Oven-Baked Fries

The natural potato flavor will be enhanced by pairing your fries with acidic ingredients. Some suggested toppings are citrus juice, vinegar, hot sauce, and pickles. These will all contrast nicely with the richness of the crispy fries.

However, too much liquid acid topping can make the fries soft. Just add a light spray after taking the fries out of the oven.

It’s best to add the seasoning salt after the fries come out of the oven, as the salt will attach to the fries better immediately after removing them from the oven when they are still piping hot. This will help in achieving the best flavor.

Finely milled salt will stick better to fries than coarse, flaky salt.

Your fries may also be tastier if you sprinkle them with garlic powder, fresh rosemary, or other seasonings such as peri-peri or paprika.

Are Baked Frozen Fries Healthy?

Frozen French Fries

We may think that frozen fries are healthier because we’re baking them in the oven rather than submerging them in oil on the stovetop. However, bagged frozen fries have been fried in oil before they’re frozen. They’re cooked twice in the factory.

First, they’re blanched in hot water and then fried in vegetable oil. Some brands use trans fats and palm oil which are not good for heart health.

There’s a significant disparity between brands regarding the ingredients in frozen fries. Some bagged brands add a lot of salt before freezing: check the sodium on the package label. Others contain dextrose, a form of sugar.

Some companies use batter when pre-cooking the fries. The author of the food section of the Irish Times states: “That batter has a lot more than the usual flour and water. It also has modified maize starch, modified tapioca starch, cornstarch, rice flour, turmeric extract, paprika extract and salt. Turmeric and paprika add colour and some spice.

The others are there to aid in processing one way or another by helping the chips to keep their shape or moisture. The question is whether you want to eat those additives or not.”

If you’re concerned about the ingredients in the packaged fries you buy, it’s easiest to choose a brand that uses only fries made with potato and fat. For example, one brand has only potato and sunflower oil listed as ingredients.

Others may have potato and vegetable oil, but beware as the oil could be one that’s not particularly healthy such as palm oil or soya bean oil.

How to Make Healthier Oven-baked Fries

Assortment of Spices

When you bake the fries in the oven, you can use heart-healthy olive oil. Measure two tablespoons to drizzle onto the fries and toss lightly. You’ll use even less oil if you spray the fries with a light mist of the oil.

If you want to reduce the sodium content of the fries, you can omit the salt and select a spice that will add flavor without the extra sodium. Try fresh garlic, cumin, paprika, thyme, or rosemary.

Most of us love ketchup with our fries. Store-bought ketchup can contain a lot of sugar and calories. Instead, make your own, so you can control the ingredients and keep the sugar content down.

Or you could try mixing ketchup with Greek yogurt to cut down on the sugar and provide some protein.

Are Fries Baked in the Oven Healthier Than Fast Food Fries?

For the most part, frozen fries that you bake in the oven are healthier than fast food fries. Many fast food places add more salt and flavoring ingredients that might not be healthy, even though they are delicious.

What to Do with Unused Frozen Fries

If you aren’t going to use the whole bag of frozen fries at one time, make sure you use a bag clip to close the bag securely before placing it back into your freezer. Or transfer the uncooked frozen fries to a freezer-safe container that can be sealed.

If you put the opened bag of frozen fries back into the freezer, they might develop freezer burn or ice crystals, and then they won’t be tasty when you bake them.

Which Are Tastier: Crinkle-Cut or Straight Frozen Fries?

Crinkle-Cut Fries

Some chefs prefer the crinkle-cut because they maintain there’s more area to cook with all the grooves in the fries. So they say the fries became crispier and crunchier than the straight fries.

Some also point out that the grooves in crinkle-cut fries improve the “scooping” ability: they allow eaters to scoop up more sauce, such as ketchup, than straight fries do.

Freezing Home-Made Fries Yourself to Bake in The Oven Late

If you enjoy the convenience of taking frozen fries out of the freezer and baking them in your oven, but you are not keen to buy packaged frozen fries, you can prepare and freeze them yourself.

Doing this allows you control over the ingredients, and you can cut the fries to the size you prefer.

Blanching and freezing your fries ahead of time will cut down on your cooking time later. An added benefit is that blanching the fries will produce the fluffy, creamy interior we know and love.

Steps in Making and Freezing Fries

Step 1: Peel and Cut

Wash four medium potatoes under running water, and pat dry. Then peel them to remove any bacteria in the peel and trim off eyes, scabs, bruises, and green spots. Rinse again and pat dry. Cut the potatoes into ½ inch thick strips or the thickness you prefer.

Step 2: Rinse the Starch from the Potatoes

Choose a large pot to hold the potatoes without crowding and fill it with cold water. Drop the potato sticks into the water to rinse off the excess starch and surface sugars. You can leave them in the water but put the pot in the fridge if the soaking time is longer than 2 hours. Remove the potatoes and proceed to the next step.  

Step 3: Blanch the Potatoes

Blanching your fries in boiling water will partially cook the potatoes. The process that causes lost flavor, color, and texture will slow down thanks to the blanching.

Place a pot of water and one teaspoon of salt on the stovetop and bring to the boil over medium-high heat. Add some of the potatoes, and let the water boil again. Boil the potatoes for 2 – 5 minutes, depending on the size and thickness of the potato sticks.

Don’t overload the pot: it may be necessary to work in batches.

The potatoes should be cooked until tender; otherwise, they could turn black when frozen. You can test if they’re ready by sticking a knife into the center of the potato. The inside should be softer than a raw potato, and the blade should easily sink all the way through with no resistance.

Meanwhile, pour ice water into a large bowl. Using tongs or a slotted spoon, move the blanched potatoes to the ice water bath. Repeat the blanching and cooling with the remaining potatoes.

Step 4: Dry and Mix with the Oil

Gently drain the potatoes in a large colander. Place them (spaced apart) on paper towels to dry. Dry thoroughly with a kitchen towel. Place the fries and two tablespoons of oil in a large bowl and toss to combine.

Step 5: Freeze the Potatoes

Place the fries in a single even layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet and make sure they don’t stick together. Freeze until solid. If you are freezing a lot of fries, you can layer the fries using parchment paper between the layers to keep them separate.

Step 6: Bag and Store

When the fries are frozen, transfer them into freezer bags. It’s essential to remove the air from the bag and seal it well. It also helps to label and date the bag. Frozen fries can last in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, you’ll be taking delicious, crispy fries out of the oven and enjoying a satisfying meal. Whether you use bagged frozen fries or ones you make and freeze yourself, crispy fries are comfort food for us all.

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