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French Fries

3 to 4 servings
Prep info
15 min prep + 35 min cook
Prep time
Not set
Cook time
50 minutes
Time required
50 minutes
Oven preheat


  • 2.5 lb Yukon gold potatoes (floury potatoes; King Edwards work well.)
  • 6 c oil (peanut or vegetable oil)
  • 1/4 c bacon fat (strained, optional)


1. Scrub the potatoes, dry them, square off the sides, and cut lengthwise into 1/4"x1/4" batons.

2. Combine potatoes, oil, and bacon fat (if using) in large pot or Dutch oven.  Cook over high heat until the oil has reached a rolling boil, about 5 minutes.  Continue to cook, without stirring, until potatoes are limp but exteriors are beginning to firm, about 15 minutes.

3. Using tongs, stir potatoes, gently scraping up any that stick, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until golden and crisp, 5 to 10 minutes longer.  Using skimmer or slotted spoon, transfer fries to thick paper bag or paper towels.  Season with salt and serve immediately.


Notes from Source: (all down to the line are notes from the source) 

When we wanted a french fry recipe with half the oil and no double frying, we tried submerging the potatoes in cold oil before frying them over high heat until browned. With lower-starch potatoes like Yukon Golds, the result was a crisp exterior and a creamy interior.  Flavoring the oil with bacon fat (optional) gives the fries a mild meaty flavor. We prefer peanut oil for frying, but vegetable or canola oil can be substituted. This recipe will not work with sweet potatoes or russets. Serve with dipping sauces (see related recipes), if desired.

Our easier approach to cooking French fries does not preheat the oil and calls for one prolonged frying instead of the quicker double-dip in hot oil used in the classic method. But does the lengthy exposure to oil lead to a greasier fry?


We prepared two batches of fries using Yukon Gold potatoes, our preferred spud for the cold-start method. We cooked one batch the conventional way, heating 3 quarts of peanut oil to 325 degrees and frying 2½ pounds of potatoes until just beginning to color, removing them, increasing the oil temperature to 350 degrees, then returning the potatoes to the pot to fry until golden brown. Total exposure to oil: less than 10 minutes. The second batch we cooked according to our working method, submerging 2½ pounds of spuds in 6 cups of cold oil and cooking over high heat for about 25 minutes, with the oil temperature never rising above 280 degrees. We then sent samples from each batch to an independent lab to analyze the fat content.


Our cold-start spuds contained about one third less fat than spuds deep-fried twice the conventional way: 13 versus 20 percent.


Fries absorb oil two ways. As the potatoes cook, they lose moisture near their surface, which is replaced by oil. Then, as they cool after being removed from the hot grease, oil from their exterior gets pulled in. Because our cold-start method cooks the fries more gently, less moisture is lost (but enough so the fries stay crisp) and less oil is absorbed during frying. Plus, this approach exposes the spuds to just one cool-down, versus the two cooling-off periods of the classic method, so less oil gets absorbed after cooking as well.


SJ Note 20 Aug 2011: Very tasty!  Omitted the bacon fat, and more or less followed the recipe (used sunflower oil and King Edwards; Yukon golds aren't available here).  Definitely a keeper!