Frozen fries have changed the way we consume French fries at home. There was once a time when you had to peel, cut, and fry generic potatoes only to be disappointed when they didn’t come out as you would expect them.
There are a lot of factors that go into making the perfect French fry. The potatoes, temperature, technique, and timing make all the difference between McDonald’s-level fries and home-cooked fries!
But when it comes to pre-packaged frozen fries, there are a few things that you need to keep in mind.
How long to deep fry frozen French fries? Frozen fries should be deep-fried at around 350°F for 5-10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fries. Slim-cut fries can be prepared within 5-8 minutes while chunky cuts can take about 8-10 minutes.
Read below to learn more about how to cook frozen fries, the best tips and tricks, and the perfect timing required to cook fluffy and crispy French fries at home!
How Are Frozen French Fries Made?
Before we explain how to fry frozen French fries at home, it is important to know how they are made since their preparation at the factory plays a huge role in their cooking time at home.
Frozen fries are prepared the same way as home-cooked fries but there are a few factors that give pre-packaged fries an advantage.
The first is the potatoes themselves. Not all French fries are made the same! It is common to get varying textures and flavors from different types of potatoes.
The type, size, and age matter when picking out the perfect potatoes for French fries, and manufacturers source only the best potatoes from around the region.
Frozen French fries go through multiple processes to achieve that distinct crispy and fluffy texture. Here is how:
The potatoes are first cut and then blanched in hot water for some time. This renders the outside skin of the fries and makes them a bit soft.
Blanching also helps the fries achieve a long shelf-life as it kills off any bacteria or spores on the fries too.
Once blanched, the potatoes then rest in cold water, and depending on the brand, they might go through another dunk in hot water too!
The fries are quickly fried in an industrial-grade fryer that half-cooks the fries at a certain temperature. This process just takes a few minutes but it results in a crispy exterior when they are refried at home.
This frying process is important as it adds flavor with the use of industrial and specialized cooking oils and it also helps the fries achieve a crispy exterior and a fluffy interior.
The oil also prevents the fries from sticking to each other while packaged.
Every manufacturer has their secret sauce when it comes to the preparation of the fries but most of them follow the same procedures with a few minor adjustments!
After they have been blanched and half-fried, the fries are then moved to a flash-freezing machine where they are frozen to below 0°F temperatures. This allows the fries to retain their texture, moisture, and flavor.
Keep in mind that slowly freezing them will result in low-quality and dry fries so they have to be flash-frozen. The fries are then kept at 0°F and can last for about a few months at home.
How to Cook Frozen Fries at Home
Cooking frozen fries at home is easy. All you need is the following:
- A large heavy-bottom pot
- 1-2 liters of cooking oil
- 2.2 lbs. frozen fries
- Cooking thermometer
- Add oil to a large pot and heat it until the oil reaches a temperature of 350°F. Lower the heat so the oil maintains this temperature.
- Open a pack of frozen fries and add them 1 cup at a time. Be careful while adding frozen fries to the hot oil as the oil may splatter. Continue adding until you have the right quantity. Do not overcrowd the pot as it may cause them to not cook properly.
- Cook the fries for about 5-8 minutes or until they have a golden-brown color, make sure that you move them around every 3 minutes.
- The fries should crispen by the 6–8-minute mark. Once you are satisfied with their texture, simply remove them from the heat and take them out on a plate.
- Season as required and serve hot!
Tips & Tricks
There are many tips and tricks that you can follow to get the most out of frozen fries at home. Here are a few things that you need to keep in mind when frying pre-packaged fries:
- If you don’t have a thermometer, then there are visual cues that you can follow to help you make crispy fries. For example, start with medium-high heat and let the oil heat for about 5 minutes.
- Once the oil is heated, simply drop just one French fry and see if it floats. If the French fry sinks to the bottom, then that would indicate that the oil hasn’t been heated enough. Wait until the fry floats to the top and starts to form bubbles around it before adding more fries.
- When you cook the fries, you will notice a lot of bubbles around them. These bubbles form as the moisture within the fries is released and evaporated. Remember, less moisture will lead to a crispy French fry!
- You can even cook the fries past the 8-minute mark if you still continue to see a lot of bubbles around the fries. Once there are noticeably fewer bubbles and the fries start to catch a golden-brown color, turn off the heat and take them out.
- Always season the fries as soon as they get out of the deep frier. Some people make the mistake of waiting until the fries are warm—this is wrong! Season the fries when they are hot and toss well so the salt crystals can melt and cover all of the fries equally!
- While you can place the fries over a paper towel, we recommend that you drain the excess oil using a sieve and put the fries over a plate without the paper towel. The towel may make the fries soggy, especially if you are using thicker-cut fries.
- If you want to use the towel then the best practice would be to move the fries around the plate every 2-3 minutes. This is an important step and even if it seems like overkill, it is essential if you want perfect tasting and incredibly textured fries at home!
How To Make Frozen Fries At Home
There is a convenient way to make large batches of homemade frozen fries that you can use just as you would use the commercial varieties.
Here is what you need:
- 2-3 lbs. of russet potatoes, peeled and cut
- Ice cubes
- 2 large pots
- Clean the potatoes, peel them, and cut them as per your preference. We recommend going with medium-thickness so that they cook evenly.
- In a large pot, add water and bring to a boil.
- While the water boils, fill another large pot with water and add ice cubes. Check the water to see if it is cold before proceeding.
- Work in batches and add half a pound of fries into the boiling water and blanch (boil) the potatoes for about 3-5 minutes or until the potatoes are slightly soft. To check, poke them with a fork or knife, they should be softer than a raw potato but not completely cooked or mushy.
- The goal here is to cook them halfway or about 60-70%.
- When appropriately boiled, remove all the fries from the pot and immediately drop them into the ice bath and let them cool for about 10 minutes.
- Once the fries are cool, take them out of the ice bath and dry them with a paper towel. Lay them on a baking tray and put them in the freezer at 0°F for about 1 hour. Once frozen, move them to a freezer-safe plastic bag and repeat the above steps for the rest of the batches!
You may have noticed that we didn’t half-fry the French fries and only blanched them.
The reason why we skipped the frying process is that the fries wouldn’t be able to freeze quickly enough to retain their texture especially after being fried and may become soggy and overly oily.
However, this method works great too and will provide you with the same great French fry experience!
Here are a few great related questions for deep-fried frozen French fries!
Can you bake frozen fries?
Yes. Frozen fries can also be baked at 450°F for about 12-15 minutes. While they won’t be as great as fried fries, they will still make for a healthier and more tasty snack!
Should you wait and defrost the fries before cooking?
No, you don’t need to wait for the fries to defrost. You can simply add them to hot oil and cook them within minutes. Be careful when adding frozen fries to the hot oil!
Also, it would be wise to first take out your desired serving of fries and then store the pack back in the freezer so that the remaining fries don’t spoil and can maintain their quality.
Can frozen fries be air-fried?
Yes, frozen fries can also be prepared in an air fryer. To cook them, simply preheat the fryer to 400°F and cook the fries for 15-20 minutes or until golden-brown and crispy!