Ready-made frozen French fries, whether you’re talking about fries from McDonald’s or homemade ones from Betty Crocker, are convenient and delicious, but there are some factors you should know to make sure your fries stay as crispy as possible.
Frozen French fries are a quick and easy way to cook up some potato deliciousness. But if you’re not doing it right, you might as well be eating plain potatoes instead of the fast-food favorite. Here are some common mistakes people make while using frozen French fries, and how to avoid them, so you get the most flavor out of your frozen French fries.
10 Mistakes with Frozen French Fries to Avoid:
- You leave them in the bag
Storing fries in a plastic bag leaves them vulnerable to freezer burn and spoils their crunchy texture. However, they also lose moisture while in the freezer and can develop a weird taste that lingers on your tongue.
Instead, transfer your fries to an airtight container after bringing them from the store and keep them in the fridge until you’re ready to use them. If you want to freeze your fries (and some people think they taste better that way), leave them uncovered for about 15 minutes on each side so that any condeh some spacensation forms on their surface can dry, then place them back into their original bag wit in between each fry.
2. You Fry them Twice
If you follow a recipe that instructs you to fry your fries twice, once at a lower temperature and then again at a higher temp. Stop!
Twice-fried fries are a delicacy in some places, but those fancy fries can be loaded with fat. If you fry your frozen french fries more than once, you may end up adding lots of unwanted calories to your diet, and that could lead to weight gain. That being said, it’s important to keep an eye on how much oil you use while frying your frozen fries.
3. You Microwave them
Starchier varieties of potato, like those used for fries, do best when heated on a stovetop, air fryer or in an oven. Microwaving them causes uneven cooking; some parts get mushy while others remain raw.
If you fear fries remaining undercooked, try blanching your frozen fries first. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add them in small batches (or do so with multiple batches). Once they float, just one or two minutes after they hit boiling water, they’re ready to drain and move on.
After that, you can carry on with deep-frying, air frying or over-baking your fries. The extra step may seem inconvenient, but it helps make sure that you get evenly cooked fries. Nobody likes biting into undercooked spuds. Many air fryer manuals come with cookbooks or recipes for finger foods such as chicken tenders, fish sticks, and frozen french fries. If you want to try making perfect frozen french fries in an air fryer, please make sure you read the recipe carefully before you start.
4. Not Preheating Baking Sheet Before Oven-baking the Fries
Baking your frozen fries on a cold baking sheet means that some of them will stick to it. For evenly cooked french fries, make sure your baking sheet is hot before tossing your fries in there. If you preheat your baking sheet with some hot water, it will be ready to go when you put your frozen fries on it. It’s best to toss them in a hot oven and let ‘em cook well until they’re golden brown.
The same goes for popping them into a piping-hot air fryer, but there are no worries about sticking! Whether they’re oven-baked or deep-fried, frozen french fries are best cooked using high heat at first before reducing to a lower temperature. This makes both sides of the fries brown and crispy while allowing steam to escape and keep them fluffy inside.
5. You Don’t Thaw Your Fries
If you don’t know, thawing means bringing frozen food to normal room temperature or making them at least partially frozen. Most frozen fries need to be at least partially thawed before you blanch or cook them. If they’re too cold, they’ll become mushy or break apart as soon as they come in contact with heat. How long will it take them to thaw? Most packages recommend letting them rest at room temperature for 30-45 minutes.
But keep in mind that cooking times also depend on how thin your fries are cut and whether you plan to leave them a little longer, to crisp them up. All things considered, give your fries an hour to reach an optimal state of tenderness and crispiness.
6. You Don’t Eat Them Right Away
Many fries come in a big bag. If you leave it sitting around for a few days, it will begin to release moisture, and then re-freeze when put in the freezer again. Unfortunately, your frozen fries left outside may take on moisture from the surrounding air, making them soggy and limp.
Also, keeping in your freezer for too long will make it absorb smells of other food, like raw fish, meat, cooked food, etc. that can affect their quality. If you want your fries to remain fresh, crispy and delicious, eat them right away or transfer them to an airtight container in between uses, to keep them fresh.
7. You Put Ketchup on Them
It may be your favorite condiment, but ketchup isn’t made for frozen fries. The sugar in ketchup will start to caramelize and make your frozen fries soggy much faster. If you want to eat them with something, try plain old salt or a savory sauce like garlic mayo. Just be sure not to drown your fries with too much.
Extra moisture is an enemy of fast-cooking frozen foods since it traps steam in with food and forces it to cook longer than it otherwise would. That’s why we save condiments for fresh-cooked meals. Ketchup on a fresh burger can only help enhance flavors, but on french fries, not so much.
Moreover, putting ketchup on fries is like putting lip gloss on a banana: it completely ruins them. If you need some form of condiment with your fries, go for mustard or mayo for healthier options.
8. No Adding Acidic Ingredient to Your Fries
There’s a reason why people recommend adding vinegar or lemon juice to fries. Adding an acidic ingredient to your fries will help lower their pH levels and enhance their natural flavor. This is especially important if you are storing the fries for long period, or if you want to freeze them well. If you’re planning on eating right away, however, go ahead and skip this step.
So, the next time you want your homemade frozen fries to taste almost like those from the best fast-food chains, make sure you add a bit of acidity to it.
9. Adding Salt in the Midway of Cooking Fries
By adding salt before you finish cooking, do not only risk overcooking them but will also infuse your fries with too much salt. Instead, wait until it’s done cooking to add seasonings. Remember, adding salt at different times can affect texture as well as flavor.
Adding salt to frozen fries midway through cooking can cause your fries to lose their shape. Instead, sprinkle salt after they’ve been cooked and before you serve them with your favorite toppings.
10. Not Following the Frying Instructions in the Package
If your recipe asks you to fry at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, don’t turn off the heat after only 10 minutes. This can lead to burnt, soggy french fries. For a crispy outside and fluffy inside, follow all cooking instructions as stated in your recipe.
If you have a different make or model of fryer than what was instructed, adjust frying time accordingly. The rule of thumb is to add an extra 15 minutes whenever you change equipment or ingredients that impact timing (lower temperature setting on an electric fryer will cook quicker than a larger pan with hot oil).
One way to check if they are done is by poking the fries with a fork; they should be cooked through but firm enough that you get no squishiness when you poke them with your fork.
Frozen french fries are a great savior when you are craving them so bad. So, the next time you feel like eating some french fries, instead of calling your favorite takeout spot, consider making your own at home by taking out a bag of frozen goodies. You’ll have more control over what goes into them, and it might not be as bad for you as you thought.
But whatever you do, don’t microwave them! That’s not a safe way to cook frozen french fries.