After a long day, you're looking to cook up a delicious meal. You decide on having french fries on the side! However, it comes out too soft and soggy for your liking. What can we do to get the crispy results we crave? If that's what you're trying to figure out, we've found the answer - let's take a look at how to do so!
To avoid soggy fries, the answer lies in the cooking method you choose and your situation. Are you cooking a fresh batch of fries? You might be doing a step incorrectly. Do you want to reheat leftover fries and revive their crispiness? You'll have to consider your reheating options to get a crispier outcome.
The answer above only scratches the surface of what makes good crispy fries. Like most dishes, getting the perfect batch is almost like a science of its own. The way you reheat the fries can influence the outcome. Additionally, if you're making a batch from scratch, you might want some tips to make them crispy from the get-go. If you're interested in finding out how to do so, keep reading ahead.
Why Are My Homemade Fries Soggy?
Let's tackle the first situation at hand. You want to make homemade fries but, they're always coming out soggy. Why is that? To understand why it happens, we'll have to look at the process fries go through.
Cooking fries means using the deep-frying method. There are other ways to cook them, but deep-frying is one of the most popular ways. Regardless, whether you're deep frying or baking, the heating is uniform in both ways. What this means is that the fries cook on all sides at once.
In comparison, cooking on a cast iron or the grill uses one-directional heating. Secondly, as some suggest, oil has a large volumetric specific heat. In simple terms, it allows for quicker cooking times and keeps oil hotter for longer.
What makes the outside crispy is the way starch reacts when you warm it up. When they are warm, they clump up and form granules. Though, they won't stay as clumps for long. They grow large enough to burst. The remnants of the tiny burst form the crust in hot oil.
All in all, this reaction is what causes the crispy fries we all know and love. But, how do we get to ensure they're crispy for as long as we want them to be?
Getting A Crispy Result
It's better to employ all the best methods straight from the get-go. This way, you can ensure you get the results you want. The first step is to choose your cooking method. Some methods are not favorable to your desired outcome. So, we'll go over the worst choices first.
Can You Microwave French Fries?
The question shouldn't be, "Can you microwave french fries?" It's more of, should you microwave french fries? If you want a quick way to enjoy fries, it's the most convenient way. Does it get you the crispiest results? Unfortunately, no.
Microwaves work by targeting the water molecules present in food. Once they penetrate your fries, they'll begin to excite the water molecules in the fries. This reaction will heat the fry but, it won't give you a crisp fry. Instead, you'll end up with steamy and soggy fries. Yuck.
Cooking with an Oven
Now you might be thinking, let's use the oven! It cooks the fries on all sides. So, it probably has the same effect that deep-frying does. As some suggest, cooking fries in the oven is as close you'll get to deep-frying.
It will produce a crispy crust. But, in some cases, you might burn the outer shell before the insides are ready.
For the best result, using a deep fryer will produce the crispy fries your taste buds crave. If your fries are soggy after the first time frying them, there's even a method that allows you to fry them a second time. Some users suggest frying it the first time until the insides are ready. From here, you will let them cool off. Then, you fry them again.
This method ensures the outside is crispy. Additionally, the insides will be ready to be consumed. As they claim, doing a double frying method reduces the water content inside the fries. Therefore, it'll keep them crispier for longer.
Of course, the double frying method varies on the thickness of your fries. Do you have thin fries? You'll want to be careful about how long you leave it in the fryer. It can burn the outside and dry the insides out.
Do you have thick fries? These are the perfect kind to use this deep frying method!
You might run into other blogs or forums that recommend you rinse the potatoes before you fry them. This method is a bit controversial. But, if you want to try it out, you should make sure to dry the potatoes thoroughly afterward. Regarding the crispiness of the fries, too much moisture won't end well for your fries.
Starch absorbs moisture as it warms up. In this process, it seals the surface. However, too much water content will result in a greasy and soggy mess. So, it's crucial that you dry the potatoes after rinsing them under cold water.
How Do You Fix Soggy Fries?
Whether you're reheating fries or fixing your initial homemade batch, salvaging fries is always possible! The way you can go about doing so is by cutting them into two-inch pieces. Since deep frying requires a bit more effort, you can opt to use a cast iron pan for this method.
Use a few tablespoons of vegetable oil and set the cast iron over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, it's time to place the fries on the cast iron. Let them cook for 5-10 minutes. Stir the fries throughout this period.
Do this until you see the fries develop the crisp outer layer. When they're crisp enough for you, transfer the fries to a plate lined with a paper towel. This way, you remove any excess oil. Your fries should be crisp and ready to serve!
How To Keep French Fries Crispy in a Lunch Box
Packaging fries is just as much of a nightmare as making them at home. After all, a fresh batch of them will most likely build a lot of moisture in a lunch box. As a result, you end up with soggy fries at home, school, or work.
The solution to this problem is opting for paper packaging. Additionally, the container you use must have ventilation holes to allow steam to escape. Though, you don't want the holes to be too large. In that case, you'll end up with cold fries.
Lastly, as some suggest, don't wrap the fries too tightly. You want to promote airflow instead. To sum it up, wrap the fries but not too tightly with paper packaging. When choosing a container, use one that provides adequate ventilation. Lastly, space the fries out.
Use all these steps together. In the end, you'll likely retain the crispy outside of the fries.
How To Make Fries Crispy Outside and Soft Inside
As mentioned above, you can employ the double frying method to get a crispy outside and a soft inside. For the first deep-frying session, you will cook the fries at a lower temperature. This first step allows the insides to cook throughout.
Take the fries out and allow them to cool. Once they're ready, cook them in the deep fryer again. However, this time your focus is on developing the outer layer. So, you'll need to cook at a higher temperature.
However, one thing to note about this method is that there are doubts the first frying phase does anything to the interior. As one chef suggests, double frying's main concern is the outermost layers. A fry that goes through this method develops a crust twice as thick as one that's only fried once.
So, how do we get a fluffy inside?
It might seem like a weird step. But, one chef reported great success in getting the perfect fries once he froze them beforehand. To get a crispy exterior and a soft interior, you need to reduce moisture. By freezing them, you allow the water content to form into sharp and jagged crystals.
These crystals penetrate the cell structure of the potato easily than in its liquid form. So, once you heat them, more moisture is released as steam.
How Do You Crisp Fries in the Oven?
We don't all have the fortune of owning a deep fryer. For that reason, we can look at the oven to save our day! Plus, it's one of the simple options. To get fries crispy in an oven, you'll need to:
- Get the oven hot. By hot, some recommend really hot. To get the best results, preheat the oven at 450-500 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Using a baking sheet, spread the fries in a single layer on the tray.
- Leave it in the oven for 3-5 minutes.
- Remove and enjoy!
Like most dishes, getting fries to an ideal state can seem like rocket science. There's so much going on that you might not always get crispy fries right away. Hopefully, you've found the answer you've been looking for with the information above!
Before you go, do you have other french fry concerns? Do you want to use a food processor to cut your fries? To find out how to do so, check out our post here.
Do you need more information on getting the crispiest fry? We have more to cover! If you'd like to find out, check out our post here. Until next time!