Make Homemade French Fries Even Better By Starting With Cold Oil

Are you a French fry fanatic that spends your downtime researching ways to make better fries at home? We've got a culinary trick that will make your heart skip a beat — you need to start with cold oil, instead of hot, when deep frying your patatas. While it may sound odd, this method allows your fries to slowly soften, become super crispy on the outside and absorb less grease than the traditional method. 

To understand why this occurs, let's look at the science behind it. When taters are added to hot oil, they begin to lose their moisture as they cook. This lost moisture is then replaced with oil as the potatoes absorb the cooking fat they're surrounded in. However, when fries are cooked in cold oil that slowly comes to temperature, more of that moisture is retained, which means less oil is absorbed back into the body of each fry. The final result? Beautifully crisp fries that have an audibly crisp exterior and comfortingly soft middle without a greasy texture. Starting your fries in cold oil is also more convenient than using hot oil. You can simply add your chipped potatoes and oil to your Dutch oven at the same time and turn up the heat until the fat begins to bubble. 

Steer clear of stirring your fries

The key to making French fries with cold oil is to leave them alone. Bear in mind that the potatoes will have started to cook gently before the oil begins to bubble vigorously, which means they'll be delicate; stirring them could break the tender matchsticks into pieces. After about 15 minutes of bubbling, the fries will crisp up, creating a crunchy shell and fluffy middle. While you'll need to monitor your frites, you won't have to attend to them continuously with this stress-free method, which also eliminates the dangerous and messy splatters that can occur when dumping raw potatoes in hot oil.

Preparing fries in this way avoids all the faff involved in the popular staggered French fry cooking technique where chipped potatoes are cooked at a low temperature to soften them first before they're fried for a second time at a higher temperature to crisp them up. While this method works for restaurant chefs that need to part-cook several batches of fries before service, it isn't as useful for the home cook who's only frying a couple of servings. Another awesome benefit to starting your fries in cold oil is that it gives you the opportunity to add more flavor to your taters. Simply add aromatics, such as fresh herbs and cloves of garlic, to your oil and the potatoes will absorb all of that delicious fragrance as they cook.