I know Americans love to hate on the French, but from my standpoint, they've given us a lot of things we should all be thankful for, like French kissing, casual sex, Pepé le Pew, and of course, French fries. Well, maybe not...
There's actually a few ideas as to how French fries came to be. One claims that potatoes were once thought to be poisonous, until some genius started eating them. Once proven edible, the vegetable became quite popular and some awesome French chef in Paris said, "Why not fry these bad boys?"
Tell me that doesn't make your mouth water.
Many historians and journalists have discounted that story, attributing it to simple assumptions. "French" fries were most likely created in Belgium. Americans serving during World War I saw Belgian cooks cooking potatoes in oil, and since these cooks were speaking French, the soldiers assumed they must be French.
Personally, I don't really care who came up with it, I just know they're delicious. The only downside is how much of a pain in the ass they are to make. Cooking fries at home never seems to produce results as tasty as the ones you get at a restaurant. So, here are a few hacks to help you get better, crispier fries, whether you're baking, frying, or just reheating them.
If you're making your fries from scratch, give them a 30 minute soak in warm water before dumping them in oil or putting them in the oven. This removes excess starch and adds some moisture to the fries right before you cook them.
You can also blanch them by tossing them in boiling water for one to two minutes, then putting them in cold water to stop the cooking. I prefer soaking since I seem to always overdo the boiling part and my fries end up turning into mush.
Whichever method you choose, just make sure you dry them really well before cooking, since excess water will prevent them from reaching their full crunch potential.
Redditor LiquidArrogance laid out his method of getting crispier fries by crumpling up his aluminum foil before he lays the fries down.
By crumpling the foil you allow for better air circulation as the ridges form little airways for the heat to travel through. The better the heat circulates, the crispier you fries will be. This method can be used for a myriad of foods like bacon, pizza, chicken nuggets, and more bacon.
Just like the wrinkled foil method, using a perforated baking pan will help increase circulation in the oven. The holes allow for the heated air to pass up and through instead of being trapped under a flat sheet or pan, which can lead to unevenly heated food.
If you don't have a perforated pan like this one, you could always hack a cookie tray you don't mind sacrificing by drilling holes in the bottom. If you don't have an extra baking tray, you can also poke holes in an aluminum foil sheet using a fork or pen.
If you have a cooling rack, this is another great way to better ventilate your oven-baked fries.
Big squares are ideal for larger cut or homestyle fries. Just place a cookie sheet or foil sheet underneath the rack if you want to prevent any potential drippage from hitting the oven floor and stinking up your whole house when it begins to burn.
It may sound strange, but baking is one of the best methods to cook bacon if you don't want to deal with all the grease splatter on the stovetop (and your skin—ouch). Plus, using this cooling rack method guarantees you'll get that perfectly crispy crunch every time.
Whatever you do, don't forget the foil on this one. I promise, you do not want to clean that up.
Who would've thought a freezer would be part of a cooking method? Well, if you want McDonald's-style French fries, you're just going to have to trust me.
After frying your fries for about a minute, shake off the excess oil, place them in a container and toss them in the freezer for a few hours. The moisture trapped inside the fries will freeze, forming tiny crystals, while the outside will solidify, creating that delicious crunch.
Once they're frozen, you can throw them back into the oil and fry until crisp and golden. Since they were already partially fried, this shouldn't take as long as cooking them from raw. Your fries should be super crispy on the outside and double fluffy on the inside.
If you're looking to replicate McDonald's fries at home, be sure to check out my previous article to see how they make them, plus a few other favorites like the Big Mac and McMuffin.
Got any more tips and tricks for making better, crispier fried or baked snacks? Let us know in the comments section.