You’ve Been Making Homemade French Fries The Wrong Way!

Homemade French fries with ketchup.

When you think of homemade french fries, you might think, why bother? But homemade fries are easier to make than you think, and contrary to popular belief, they don’t require a double fry like many recipes call for. I’ll show you how to make the best deep fried potatoes at home with this simple method.

holding Yukon Gold Potatoes.

Homemade fries

Most folks don’t bother with making homemade fries thinking it messy, a hassle and fearing lackluster results. At least, that’s what I thought until I actually did it myself and was not only surprised at how simple (and satisfying) it was, but how good deep fried potatoes can be when you make them from scratch.

This french fry recipe is my go-to if you want enough for a group of 2-4 people. There are no fussy ingredients, and it’s simple enough for any level of cook and produces excellent results.


  • Potatoes – We recommend Yukon Gold because they have a good balance of starch and water.
  • Peanut Oil – the best for frying.
  • Sea Salt – look for a fine sea salt, not the flaky Maldon salt.

Special Equipment for this recipe:

  • Large Dutch Oven
  • Kitchen Spider
cutting spuds.

The traditional method for making deep fryer potatoes

The traditional method for making homemade french fries calls for frying not once, but twice.  

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The first deep fry cooks the potatoes inside, while the second fry crisps the outside.

It’s the classic way french chefs make their “pommes frites” and the main reason I opt for the drive through when craving deep fried potatoes. But not anymore.

soaking the spuds.

This from scratch french fry recipe discards the traditional methods and instead goes for efficiency. Cooking and crisping the potatoes SIMULTANEOUSLY.

I know. It blew my mind too!

How to make homemade french fries

  1. Cut the potatoes into thin fries about ⅓” to ½” thick (no need to peel the spuds).
  2. Transfer the potatoes to a bowl of fresh, cold water and swish to rinse.
  3. Drain, rinse again and pat the potato sticks dry with paper towels.
  4. Fill a sturdy dutch oven with peanut oil and add the potatoes to the COLD OIL. You heard me.
  5. Put the pot over the heat and bring to a boil over medium to medium high heat.
  6. Use the kitchen spider to stir and agitate the french fries as they cook, every 2-3 minutes.
  7. Cook until the potatoes are tender inside and crispy outside, about 25-30 minutes.
  8. Transfer the homemade french fries to a rimmed baking sheet lined with several layers of paper towels, newspaper or brown paper bags to soak up any excess oil.
  9. Sprinkle with sea salt and serve.

Ditching the double fry for homemade fries

I first heard about this unusual technique on NPR, during an America’s Test Kitchen segment.  

This episode was revelatory to me — because they suggested that deep frying potatoes only once with very little hands-on effort would result in magically crisp-tender fries — and use about 1/3 less oil.  Whaaat???  Easier and healthier?  

Why you’ve been making homemade french fries the wrong way

Their premise was that as the oil heats to the optimum frying temperature, the potatoes are actually cooking through on the inside. By the time the oil is hot enough to fry, the potatoes are cooked and only need to finish crisping.

It was all too much to believe, so I did the only thing I could.  I tried it.  And was amazed with the results.

wfrench fries in cold oil
add fries & oil to a dutch oven

What are the best potatoes for homemade fries?

I think Yukon Gold potatoes are the best potatoes for fries. They have a balanced level of moisture and starch, not to mention potato flavor and Yukon Golds produce excellent results.

What about other potato varieties?

  • Russet potatoes are very starchy and fluffy, producing a slightly drier french fry. Good, but IMO, not as good as the Yukon Golds.
  • Red or white waxy potatoes have more moisture and can result in a soggier french fry, which is exactly what we DON’T WANT.
  • Sweet potatoes contain a lot of moisture as well, so the fries likely won’t be as crisp as homemade Yukon Gold fries. That said, I haven’t actually tried it — yet. I will report back.
frying the potatoes.

Is it necessary to soak the potatoes first and for how long?

Yes, giving the potatoes a soak in fresh, cold water will remove the excess starch and help prevent the french fries from sticking together as they cook.

There are different schools of thought on how long to soak the potatoes initially. Some, like Balthazar’s executive chef, Riad Nasr soaks his potatoes for 8 hours. Others like the late-great Anthony Bourdain, thought that a long soak removed too much starch and changed the sugar content of the fries.

Since this recipe is for homemade french fries and we want to keep it simple (and do-able) for a family dinner side dish, I’ve opted for a 20 minute potato soak, followed by a rinse.

potatoes after cooking.

Are these french fries healthier than others?

One of the things that really intrigued me about these from-scratch fries, was the theory that they soaked up less oil than the twice fried potatoes.

To confirm, I used a brand new bottle of peanut oil for frying and used a sharpie to indicate the level of oil in the container.

I fried the potatoes, let the oil cool and then carefully poured the oil back into the original container (using a funnel and help from my husband).  It filled back up nearly to the top.  Maybe three tablespoons was actually absorbed in the whole batch.  Incredible.  

french fries draining.


Are french fries healthy?

They aren’t unhealthy. I mean, yes, they’re fried in peanut oil, but because of the method, not as much oil gets soaked up by the potatoes. A single serving, is about 350 calories, which compared other “indulgent food choices” seems relatively small. That said, it depends on what type of diet you’re following. Folks who are watching their carbs, probably should enjoy them sparingly.

Are french fries gluten free?

Yes, they are!

Are homemade french fries vegan?

Yes, they are!

Can you freeze homemade french fries?

No. Fries need to be enjoyed immediately, hot from the fryer.

Is it better to par boil potatoes before frying?

No. The best part of this french fry recipe is that you can skip the parboiling and double frying because the french fries will cook through and crisp at the same time.

adding salt to fries.

These crispy homemade fries are perfectly browned and not a bit greasy.  They make a delicious side dish for BBQ Bacon Burger, Chili Hot Dogs Recipe and bourbon marinated flank steaks.

My tasters loved these french fries with a dusting of fine sea salt and ketchup. (Pro-Tip: Do not mess with ketchup. There was an uproar and subsequent boycott of a brand (which shall remain nameless) which I bought on sale. Evidently, Heinz is the only ketchup allowed in our house).

I loved that I could have the potatoes deep frying on the stove while I was also preparing the rest of our meal. I didn’t need to hover over the pot, just stepping in every so often to give it a stir and assess their progress.

What to serve with deep fried potatoes

french fries with ketchup.

More amazing potato side dishes you’ll love:

dipping fries in ketchup.

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french fries draining.
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4.40 from 38 votes

World’s Easiest French Fries

Homemade french fries are easier to make than you think. This cold fry method uses less oil and makes crispy light, non-greasy deep fried potatoes that are perfect with burgers, hot dogs and more.
Author: Lisa Lotts
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword fries, potatoes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4


  • 4 medium Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 32 ounces peanut oil for frying
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt


  • Fill a large bowl halfway with cold water. Set aside. Using a sharp knife or mandoline, slice the potatoes into thin fries (about 1/3″-1/2″ thick).
  • Transfer the cut potatoes to the cold water and soak for 20 minutes.
  • Swish the potatoes in the water with you hand and drain the water from the potatoes.
  • Refill the bowl with cold water and rinse again. Use paper towels to pat the potatoes completely dry.
  • Add the oil to a medium dutch oven and put the dried potatoes into the cold oil.
  • Place the oven on the stove and turn the heat to medium-medium high. The oil will bubble briskly once it comes to temperature.
  • Cook the potatoes for 25-30 minutes until crisp outside and tender inside, stirring occasionally every 2-3 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, line a baking sheet with paper towels and set aside.
  • Use a spider or slotted spoon to scoop out the fries and transfer them to the baking sheet. Immediately sprinkle the fries with salt. Serve.


Calories: 349kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Sodium: 307mg | Potassium: 702mg | Fiber: 4g | Vitamin C: 19.4mg | Calcium: 51mg | Iron: 5.5mg

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  1. 5 stars
    I love the idea of this, and they almost worked for me. Not sure what I did wrong but it was very hard to get them crispy. I took them out after about 40 minutes from start to finish. Personally like a slightly softer french fry and they tasted great to me. But might not want to make them for guests. I only had canola oil, and my Dutch oven is large. Could either of those have been an issue? As you said, they weren’t greasy at all. Oil came to a boil and stayed there, but maybe I needed it a different temp? Would love to get this recipe down because usually I wouldn’t bother with fries because of needing to fry them twice. Thanks!

    1. If the oil is boiling, it’s at its highest temperature, so I don’t think there’s a way to increase that. However, I do have a few thoughts on getting the fries crisper — Perhaps a slightly thinner potato cut would make them cook faster and help to crisp. Not overloading the Dutch oven with potatoes — there should be plenty of room for them to float around in the oil. Finally, after they’ve fried and drained on a paper towel, transfer them to a wire rack set over a baking sheet and put them in a 375°-400° oven for 5-8 minutes — that should take them to crisp-town.

  2. Angie Asks Alot says:

    Is it 25 minutes from turning on the burner or 25 minutes from when the oil starts boiling?

  3. Tried this. It was easy and the results were good, but they still don’t hold up to twice-fried potatoes, which I glaze with a bit of truffle oil.

  4. Hi, would this work with an electric deep fryer?

    1. Yes, you should be able to use an electric deep fryer (not an air fryer). Just start with the cold oil as directed.

  5. 5 stars
    The method is actualy nothing new. It’s called confi, witch is a French way of cooking in oil, instead of frying.
    In the original method you coock your potatos, meat, veggies, fruits in the oil on 90 Celsius or sometimes even less.
    The method was invented a long time ago and was used mainly to preserve the dish.

    If you cock your meat confi, and than put in a jar covered with oil, and store it in a cool dark place it will last years!

    Even though the method was invented to preserve the dish, witch the name of the method suggest (confire in French, to preserve), it is often used by novadays chefs because what is also preserves is water.

    The oil is the thing that transports taste, if you put plums and apples in the oil in witch you prepare your confi duck or confi turkey it will have a very strong plum and apple taste.
    Confi is a lot stronger taste adding agent than water.

    The other advantage of confi is the fact that even though it penetrates the meat like water can not, it dose not mix with water inside your meat, so it dose not take taste out of your dish. Contrary to cooking in water.

    Try coocking your meat confi.
    I am making a confi duck every Christmas.

    And always remember never put you’re confi used oil down the drain.
    It has all the smell of the duck and veggies, and can be a marvelous agent to frying potatoes and other vegetables you are going to add to your duck. And also it is a great base for the sauce.

    Try it out and I guarantee you are never gonna prepare your thanksgiving turkey any other way.

    1. 5 stars
      I very much appreciate your explanation on this cooking method, thank you so much, you are very kind and I have such a better understanding, especially on tips with the used oil. Great advice!

  6. Rae Laidley says:

    Yes, putting the fries in cold oil works! The fries were absolutely perfect. I don’t cook fries often, but will definitely use this method.