Ah, French fries, one of the most common guilty pleasures. How can you ever say no to French fries? After all, they are everywhere and they go with everything.
But seriously, potatoes have become such a staple ingredient in modern-day cooking that every renowned culinary school dedicates an entire class to them.
While you absolutely do not need to go to school to learn about potatoes, there are certain subtleties that come with the process of cooking them in various ways, including deep-frying them.
Initially, you need the perfect type of potato if you want to even get close to cooking the perfect French fries. Then, you need to follow a few simple but important steps and possibly wait a bit longer than you would normally want to before you reach that incredible moment of tasting the delicious crispy fries.
Before you get to that part, you need to know which potatoes are the best for fries. Today, there are several hundred types of potatoes sold on the market.
So what are the best potatoes for fries? The best potatoes for fries are Russet and Maris Piper potatoes. Maris Piper is mainly limited to the market in the United Kingdom and Western Europe, so the Russet is the best potato for fries worldwide.
Continue reading below as there is a lot to learn about potatoes in general, as well as the process of deep-frying the best fries in your life.
Perfection comes from the minor details and we guarantee that you will learn more than one or two tricks from this thorough guide on the best potatoes for fries.
Types of Potatoes – Starchy Vs Waxy Potatoes
Potatoes are usually divided into two main categories and a third one that could be placed somewhere in the middle.
These two categories are better known as starchy and waxy potatoes.
Based on their characteristics, each type is suitable for different dishes while there are also those that are moderately suitable for nearly any cooking application called all-purpose potatoes.
Waxy Potatoes – Best For Boiling, Baking, Or Roasting
On one of the sides of the potato spectrum stand waxy potatoes. Their distinctive features are low starch content and high moisture.
In other words, they will keep their shape when heated or cooked which is why most cooks do not use them for dishes with mashed potatoes. Waxy potatoes also characterize with thinner skin and creamier flesh than starchy potatoes.
In most cases, waxy potatoes in the store will be small and round. This is because they are usually harvested at a relatively younger age than their starchy counterparts.
This category includes the majority of red-skinned potatoes, as well as most kinds of blue, purple, and fingerling ones.
Waxy potatoes are particularly suitable for any type of cooking application including frying but they definitely do not perform as well as other potatoes. In other words, use them for boiling, baking, or roasting but make your French fries from potatoes with higher starch content.
Waxy potatoes come in all varieties but the most common examples are New Potatoes, Russian Banana, Red Bliss, French fingerling, and others.
Starchy Potatoes – Best For Deep-Frying (Fries)
As the name suggests, these potatoes have high starch content and simultaneously, less moisture.
Logically, you can tell that starchy potatoes cannot hold their shape and are also highly absorbent. This makes them particularly suitable for deep-frying and French fries in particular.
Without a doubt, you know the most common variety of starchy potatoes – the Russet. Coincidently, this is also known as the most suitable potato for French fries.
Of course, there are many good alternatives that you can pick up instead and we will discuss them thoroughly in the following sections.
All-Purpose Potatoes – Best Of Both Worlds
All-purpose potatoes, otherwise known as floury potatoes, combine the best of both worlds. They are neither too starchy, neither too watery.
This makes them suitable for practically any type of cooking application including frying. The most common variation of all-purpose potatoes is Yukon Gold.
Now that you have a clear idea of the types of potatoes, which are the best ones for fries? Besides the Russet, there are several other variations that will serve you just as good as Maris Piper.
The Best Potatoes for Fries
There are two types of potatoes that you can use to achieve the ultimate French fry greatness:
- Russet Potato
- Maris Piper Potato
1. Russet Potato
What makes the Russet the number one choice for the perfect fries? Wouldn’t the perfect French fries be made out of something outside the box that you’ve always missed?
Absolutely not, the Russet is as classic as potatoes get. It looks exactly as they draw potatoes in cartoons. And to make the best fries, you need nothing but a suitable potato and a little bit of additional knowledge.
Imagine a perfect portion of fries. If you are uncertain, imagine the fries at your favorite food stop. If we are on the same page, the fries in your head should have a golden brown crisp shell and a fluffy and soft texture. At least, these are the characteristics of the well-cooked French fries.
There is no better choice than the Russet if you want a perfectly crispy shell. In terms of texture, we believe that the Russet falls short only to one other popular potato called Maris Piper.
We will discuss it in-depth bellow but due to the fact that Maris Piper is mostly spread in Europe, the Russet remains the absolute choice due to its availability everywhere.
The Russet is also known for its great nutritional value.
Potatoes from this kind are rich in fiber and antioxidants, as well as many vitamins and metals. However, starchier potatoes are usually higher in calories which is why they are not always perfectly suitable for everyone.
Here is a small chart with the most important nutritional figures based on a medium-sized Russet potato that is compared to the daily values of a 2000-calorie diet.
|Per 1 medium-sized potato||Russet Potatoes|
||Grams||Mg||% Daily Value|
2. Maris Piper Potato
The British are known for their love of potatoes. Quite literally, they have potatoes for every season as well as numerous specialized dishes. In other words, the British know their potatoes, and their most renowned type for French fries is called Maris Piper.
Maris Piper has been around since the early 60s. It grew to become the most popular type of potato in the United Kingdom but as we already mentioned, it is not as common in most other parts of the world. This is why we recommend Russet instead as it is available nearly everywhere.
As for characteristics, Maris Piper is nearly identical to the Russet with minor differences that we already mentioned. Potatoes from this type stand out with their incredibly floury texture which further improves the taste of the well-cooked fries.
The following nutritional chart of Maris Piper potatoes will be made in comparison to a regular medium-sized Russet potato which is around 175 grams.
Since Maris Piper potatoes are not even nearly well-known compared to Russets, we will stick to the main figures that we are certain of.
|Per 1 medium-sized potato||Maris Piper Potatoes|
||Grams||Mg||% Daily Value|
How to Make the Perfect Deep-Fried French Fries
Now, we know that fries are not the most common dish that you would prepare for days. On the contrary, the desire for fries appears without any warning and it is usually so strong that we want them immediately.
Nevertheless, if you want to reach a new level of French fries, you should follow this thorough recipe that will take you from the beginning stages of the preparation all the way to the first bite of pure happiness.
Step 1: Wash your potatoes thoroughly.
Step 2: Peel your potatoes and cut them. Depending on the type of potatoes you choose, you may even decide not to peel them. As for the cutting part, we would suggest cutting them in a way that is close to your favorite takeout fries. At least, we feel like adds another layer of satisfaction in the end.
Step 3: One of the main keys behind the perfect French fries is the soaking period. Normally, professionals advise that you soak them for around 24 hours. While waiting this long is always rewarding, you can always decrease the soaking time and leave them as long as you want to. As we said, the urge for French fries is often too strong to wait too long.
To keep your potatoes from oxidizing and losing their color, add 1 tablespoon of vinegar for every gallon of water.
Step 4: As soon as you feel like it’s time to cook, dry your potatoes using a clean towel or at least pat them over a sheet pan to remove all excess water. If you are not in a hurry, you could use your cooler to dry off the potatoes for a few hours or even overnight.
Step 5: Start your cooking process by blanching your potatoes at moderately heated oil. How long they will need depends entirely on their size. The best way to know when to them out is when they can bend without breaking.
Step 6: You need to cool down your fries before you get to the second frying. To make your time worth, make a larger batch of fries, and put it in your fridge.
Step 7: Fry your potatoes for a second time with higher temperatures. Since you blanched them already and cooked them to a certain degree, they will now get that golden brown crispiness that we all desire and love.
Step 8: Season while hot and enjoy!
What type of oil should I use for French fries?
Even if you have successfully followed all the steps to make the perfect French fries, the results may not be satisfying if you haven’t used the correct oil.
Oil plays a major role in deep-frying. Different types have different smoke points. What you want is an oil that can handle high heat. If the smoke point is low, your fries will not get that perfect crispiness that you wanted.
Your best choice of oil should be neutral oil that will not change the original potato taste of your fries. If not, you can use any of the other popular oils that are known for their resistance to high heat – canola oil, peanut oil, cottonseed oil.
You can also use the most common types of oil like vegetable or sunflower but they are not always as good.
Why do I need to re-use my old oil for fries?
The perfect oil for French fries will always be the one that has had the chance to break down to a certain degree. In other words, you should use oil that has been used one or two times previously and then filtered, if possible.
If you need a more in-depth explanation, brand new oil will not bond with your fries as good as oil whose molecules have broken down. This will lead to less crispiness on your fries which is exactly the opposite of what we want here.
Why should I double fry my French fries?
Double frying works with a variety of other foods and is necessary if you want to get to the satisfying type of crust on your dish. Simply said, the process of frying is, by all means, drying up the ingredient.
So, when you fry your potatoes for the first time, you are removing as much of that moisture as possible. After all, you soaked them for a certain amount of time.
In other words, the first frying has the purpose to cook your potatoes as much as possible on the inside. Then, the second one has the purpose to get them that delicious crispiness.
How do I reheat fries and make them crispy once again?
Even with all our apparent love for fries, we cannot always eat all our food, right? There is a common misconception that old fries are not fit for eating just because they have lost their crispiness and a lot of their taste. Perhaps this was caused by all the fast-food brands that sell lower-quality products that go bad if you do not eat them in 30 minutes.
Anyway, there is a good and simple way to reheat your fries and give them a little bit of that original crispiness:
- Step 1: Take your leftover fries and chop them into small pieces.
- Step 2: Take out a heavy-bottom pan and heat up some oil to medium-high heat. All you need is a few tablespoons.
- Step 3: When you feel like the oil has heated up, add your small pieces of French fries and cook them until they get crispy again. This may take less than 5 minutes while it could also take more than 10. It depends on how much moisture they have absorbed since you originally cooked them.
When your fries are ready, try to remove all excess oil with paper towels and serve immediately. Of course, you cannot expect to get the same amount of crispiness from this reheating but you will surely make them crispier than they were.
We should learn not to throw our leftover food to waste. In most cases, there are ways to make it better than it looks after it has stayed in the fridge for a day or two.