French fries are oddly reserved for fancy steak houses and drive-thru windows, yet this beloved potato side could be homemade and stocked in the freezer for the next time a fry craving strikes. It only takes four steps to freeze, and then these fries can be baked (or fried if you're a die-hard fry fan) and eaten in less than 30 minutes. Ketchup for dipping is optional, but highly recommended.
Why Freeze Your Own?
My local grocer actually has a whole dedicated potato section of the freezer aisle. With a case filled with hash browns, tater tots, curly fries, and frozen french fries galore, you might be wondering why anyone would bother with making their own frozen fries. Freezing your own french fries is cheaper and gives you control over the ingredients, and because you cut the fries yourself, they can be exactly the size you prefer. Truthfully, I keep a bag of frozen tater tots stashed in my freezer at all times too, but now I make and freeze my own fries regularly.
Simply slicing potatoes and roasting them takes at least 45 minutes from craving to consuming. Blanching and freezing potatoes ahead of time cuts down on cook and prep time, with blanching in particular producing that fluffy, creamy interior we know and love in fast-food fries.
Get the details: The Potato Secret Behind Great French Fries
Blanching French Fries
Commercial french fries — both the kind from the grocery store and drive-thru — are quickly boiled before flash freezing. Many traditional french fry recipes call for the step too. This quick dip in boiling water partially cooks the potatoes and draws out some of the starch, rendering the fries tender and fluffy on the inside, while crisp on the outside once frozen and cooked.
The blanching water can also be seasoned with salt to enhance the fries. This little addition makes the resulting fries taste more like their frozen grocery store counterparts. Dunk the blanched fries into a bowl of iced water to prevent overcooking.
Most frozen foods are frozen with a blast chiller. As it sounds, this machine blows frigid air directly onto everything from peas to shrimp to rapidly freeze food. While blast chillers are becoming more readily available for restaurant use, the only way to replicate this kind of fast, even freezing at home is to spread foods out into an even layer on a baking sheet to freeze so that they don't stick together.
Once frozen, move frozen fries to a zip-top freezer bag for longer storage. Frozen fries can be stored in the freezer for up to 6 months. You can easily double or triple this recipe to really stock your freezer full and then simply take out and bake as many (or as few) fries as you need.
Baking (or Frying) Your Frozen French Fries
You can absolutely fry these frozen french fries — fill a large straight-sided skillet with about an inch of oil, bring the oil to 350°F, and fry for three to four minutes per side or until golden-brown — but honestly, I never bother. A hot oven will give you the same crunchy satisfaction. Because the fries are coated with oil before freezing, you can put these frozen fries right onto a baking sheet and right into the oven for roasting. Sprinkle with additional salt or your favorite spice blend and enjoy these anytime fries.
How To Freeze Your Own French Fries
What You Need
4 medium Russet potatoes (about 2 pounds total)
8 cups (2 quarts) water
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Vegetable peeler (optional)
Rimmed baking sheet
Tongs or slotted spoon
Paper or kitchen towels
- Peel and cut: Rinse the potatoes and pat dry. Peel the potatoes, if desired. Cut the potatoes into 1/2-inch-thick sticks or your desired thickness.
- Blanch: Bring the water and salt to a boil over medium-high heat in a large pot. Add 1/4 of the potatoes and cook for 2 minutes. While the potatoes are cooking, prepare a large bowl of ice water. Use tongs or a slotted spoon to immediately move the blanched potatoes to the ice water bath. Repeat with blanching and cooling the remaining potatoes in 3 more batches.
- Dry: Drain the chilled potatoes from the ice bath and lay them out in a single layer on paper towels or a clean kitchen towel. Pat with more towels to dry completely. Place the fries and oil in a clean, dry large bowl and toss to combine.
- Freeze: Place the fries in a single layer on a parchment paper-lined rimmed baking sheet and freeze until solid, 6 hours or overnight.
- Bag and store: Transfer the frozen fries to a gallon zip-top freezer bag. Label the bag with the contents and baking instructions and store in the freezer.
- Bake: When ready to cook, bake on a rimmed baking sheet on the middle rack of a 425°F oven until golden-brown, flipping the fries halfway through, 20 to 25 minutes total.
- Deep-frying: You can absolutely fry these frozen french fries — fill a large straight-sided skillet with about 1 inch of vegetable oil, heat the oil to 350°F, and fry in batches until golden-brown, 3 to 4 minutes per side.
- Storage: The frozen fries can be stored in the freezer for up to 6 months.