Crispy and Savory: Mouth-watering French Fries Recipe

When it comes to making homemade french fries, there are a lot of different methods out there. Some people swear by deep frying, while others prefer oven-baking. But today, I want to introduce you to a different method that has revolutionized the way I make fries at home: the cold oil method.

Cook’s Illustrated is known for their meticulous recipe testing, so when they published their “Easier French Fries – Cold Oil Method” recipe in their magazine, I knew I had to try it out. After experiencing firsthand how easy and delicious this method is, I can confidently say that it’s my new go-to for making homemade fries.

The traditional method of frying requires heating up the oil first and then adding the potatoes. But with the cold oil technique, you start with room temperature oil and raw chips. This makes it much easier to achieve perfect results, and it eliminates the need for complicated temperature adjustments or frequent stirring.

Not only is this method easier than traditional frying, but it also produces an incredibly delicious product. The fries come out crispy on the outside with a creamy interior that will have you wondering why you ever bought frozen fries from the grocery store. With this recipe, you’ll be able to impress your friends and family with restaurant-quality french fries without ever leaving your kitchen.

So if you’re ready to step up your fry game and discover a new favorite method for making homemade fries, keep reading for our detailed instructions on how to make “Easier French Fries – Cold Oil Method”.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Easier French Fries - Cold Oil Method (Cook's Illustrated)
Easier French Fries – Cold Oil Method (Cook’s Illustrated)

As a lover of french fries, I have always been on the lookout for the easiest and most delicious way to make them at home. That’s why I want to share with you the “Easier French Fries – Cold Oil Method” recipe by Cook’s Illustrated, which I guarantee you will absolutely love.

First and foremost, this method uses half the oil of traditional deep frying methods, making it a healthier option without sacrificing the taste and texture of the delicious slender fries. What’s more, by starting with cold oil and cold water and using high heat, these homemade fries are guaranteed to have a crisp exterior and creamy interior that will make your taste buds dance with joy.

Not only is this recipe easier on your waistline, but it also saves you time in the kitchen. The method requires no preheating or blanching of raw chips before cooking, as is typically done in other homemade french fry recipes. Instead, you just combine potatoes with cold oil in a large Dutch oven, heat it up until it reaches a rolling boil, and let it cook for five minutes without stirring. Talk about simple!

And don’t just take my word for it. This recipe has been tried and tested by Cook’s Illustrated themselves, as well as esteemed chefs like Joel Robuchon and popular food bloggers like Smitten Kitchen. It has even been featured on America’s Test Kitchen as the best way to make crispy oven fries.

In conclusion, if you want to indulge in delicious homemade French fries without feeling guilty or spending hours in the kitchen, then look no further than the “Easier French Fries – Cold Oil Method” recipe by Cook’s Illustrated. Trust me; you won’t regret it!

Ingredient List


  • 2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt

The ingredients required for this recipe are simple and commonly found in most kitchens. The potatoes are the star of the show, and it is important to select the right variety for frying. Yukon Gold potatoes have a good balance of starch and moisture, making them perfect for french fries. Additionally, they have a buttery flavor that lends itself well to this recipe.

The type of oil to use is another crucial factor in making french fries. Vegetable oil is a good choice because it has a high smoke point, meaning it can handle high heat without burning.

Lastly, we need kosher salt to bring out the flavor of our fries. Kosher salt has a larger grain size compared to table salt, which helps it adhere better to the surface of the fries.

The Recipe How-To

Now that we have gathered all the necessary ingredients, it’s time to get started with making the Easier French Fries – Cold Oil Method recipe. Follow these easy steps and you will have delicious, crispy french fries in no time.

Soak potatoes in cold water

Firstly, start by soaking 2 1/2 pounds of Yukon Gold Potatoes in cold water for at least 30 minutes. This will remove the excess starch and help to make them crispy when cooked.

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven

After soaking, drain the potatoes and pat them dry with a paper towel. While doing this, heat half oil, half room temperature oil (1 quart of oil) in a large Dutch oven over high heat until it reaches a rolling boil.

Add potatoes to the oil

Once the oil is hot enough, add the potatoes to the Dutch oven and cook for 5 minutes without stirring. This is crucial in achieving the perfect cut and crispy texture.

Cook till crisp

After five minutes, continue cooking until they are without stirring until they are golden brown and crispy (approximately 10-15 minutes). Using tongs or a slotted spoon, transfer the fries into a paper towel-lined bowl to remove any excess oil.

Season with salt

Lastly, season your homemade fries with Kosher salt while still hot and serve immediately.

Following these instructions step-by-step will lead you to delicious slender fries with a crisp exterior and creamy interior. Enjoy this dish as a side or snack for any occasion!

Substitutions and Variations

Are you ready to take this recipe to a whole new level? With a few substitutions and variations, you’ll be able to put your own spin on these delicious French fries.

First up, the type of potato you choose can make all the difference in the world. While we recommend using Yukon gold potatoes for their creamy texture and buttery flavor, you can try other varieties such as russet or even sweet potatoes. Just keep in mind that the cooking time may vary depending on the type of potato you use.

For those who want a healthier option, consider using an air fryer instead of deep frying in oil. You’ll still get crispy and delicious fries without all of the extra calories.

Looking to add some extra flavor to your fries? Try seasoning them with different herbs and spices such as rosemary, garlic powder, or paprika before frying. You could also experiment with dipping sauces such as ranch or sriracha mayo.

If you don’t have a Dutch oven, don’t worry! You can use any pot that’s large enough to hold the oil and potatoes comfortably. Just remember to make sure that the pot is deep enough so that there’s no risk of oil spilling over.

Finally, if you’re feeling adventurous, there are a variety of toppings and condiments that can take your homemade fries to the next level. Cheese or gravy toppings are popular choices in Canada while some people like to enjoy them with ketchup, vinegar, or even mayonnaise.

In conclusion, there are endless options when it comes to making French fries at home. Get creative and experiment with different techniques and ingredients until you find your perfect variation!

Serving and Pairing

Now that you have made these delicious, slender fries, it’s time to serve them up and pair them with the perfect dish. These french fries are so versatile that they can be served as a snack on their own, or paired with your favorite protein for a satisfying meal.

If you plan to serve these fries on their own, I recommend seasoning them with a generous sprinkle of kosher salt while they are still hot out of the oil. Pair them with a dipping sauce such as ketchup, aioli or even sriracha mayonnaise for an extra kick.

For those who are looking to make this into a main meal, these fries go perfectly with classic American foods like burgers and hotdogs. Try serving these slender fries alongside a juicy cheeseburger or hotdog for a delicious and indulgent meal.

If you’re feeling adventurous, why not try pairing these fries with international cuisine? French fries are often served in France as pommes frites alongside steak frites, which is a popular dish consisting of steak and fries. Pairing these homemade french fries with a perfectly cooked steak is sure to impress your guests.

In summary, these versatile homemade french fries can be served on their own or paired with various dishes for an indulgent and satisfying meal. Whether you’re sticking to classic American fare or experimenting with international cuisine, these crispy, creamy potato interior fries are sure to complement any dish.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

Once you’ve mastered the art of making homemade French fries using the cold oil method, you will want to prepare them again and again. But what happens when you have leftovers? Can these be frozen or is it best to toss them in the trash?


If you’re hosting a party, you can prep your potatoes ahead of time so that they are ready to fry when your guests arrive. Soak your potatoes in cold water a day before for best results. Cut them as desired and place them in a bowl with cold water in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use them.


As with any leftover, it’s important to cool down your fries completely before storing them away. If possible, store the fries in an airtight container or ziplock bag at room temperature, but never let them get wet or damp. Keep them in a cool, dry place where they will remain fresh for up to three days.


While reheating fries is not always desirable because they can turn soggy, there are ways to restore their crunch without having to deep-fry them again. To reheat your stored fries, preheat your oven at 375°F (190°C) and lay your fries out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Heat for five minutes or until they are crispy and warm enough.

One tip for reducing baking time is using an air fryer instead of an oven. Alternatively, you can reheat your fries back in the original pan over medium-low heat for 5-10 minutes – this method works well especially if you’re cooking small batches.

So don’t let leftover fries go to waste! Whether it’s preparing ahead of time or reheating later on, these homemade French fries will still be just as delicious as when they were first made!

Tips for Perfect Results

Now that you’ve mastered the cold oil method for making delicious homemade french fries, here are some additional tips to ensure your fries turn out perfectly every time.

1. Keep the Oil at the Right Temperature

One of the key things to remember when making homemade fries using the cold oil method is maintaining the right temperature. You want to start frying in cold oil and gradually increase the temperature to achieve crispy fries with a creamy interior. Make sure you heat the oil slowly and steadily so that it reaches a rolling boil after 5 minutes. This will ensure your fries cook evenly and don’t become too oily.

2. Don’t Overcrowd the Frying Pot

When frying French fries, be sure not to overcrowd the pot. Too many raw chips in the pot will lower the temperature of the oil too much, resulting in soggy and greasy fries.

3. Soak Potatoes in Cold Water

Soaking your potatoes in cold water helps remove excess starch and sugar which can cause fries to stick together or burn easily. It also ensures that your potato french fry stays crispier after being fried.

4. Dry Potatoes Thoroughly

After soaking your potatoes, dry them thoroughly before frying. Excess water on potatoes causes hot oil to splash up, and this can be dangerous especially if you are just learning how to fry.

5. Use Kosher Salt

Kosher salt not only adds flavor but also helps absorb moisture from the potatoes and makes them crispy.

6. Use Yukon Gold Potatoes

Yukon Gold potatoes are an ideal choice for homemade french fries as they are high in starch which gives them a creamy texture when cooked.

By following these additional tips, you’ll be able to make homemade french fries that are crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, and seasoned perfectly with kosher salt – truly mouthwatering delights!


For those who are new to making homemade french fries, it is quite common to have many questions. From the type of potato to use for this dish to whether to soak the potatoes in cold water or not, the mysteries only deepen. In this section, we will answer some of the most frequently asked questions about the Easier French Fries – Cold Oil Method recipe, so that you can achieve the best tasting and easiest french fries every time. Let’s dive in!

What is the cold oil method?

Picture this: you take a pot of oil and non-battered vegetables like potatoes or brussels sprouts, and set it over high heat. As the oil heats up, the veggies gradually soften and cook. Rather than going directly into a hot frying pan, the veggies get a head start in heating up along with the oil. This cold-start frying technique allows the food to slowly cook through, resulting in crispy and browned vegetables.

What is the cold oil method for chips?

When it comes to cooking chips, there’s a simple technique that you can use which involves using room temperature oil and adding in the raw chips all at once. This cooking method is known as “cold frying” and eliminates the need for a thermometer to monitor the temperature. So, let me share with you some tips on how to perfectly execute this cooking method.

Should you soak potatoes in cold water before making French fries?

To achieve the ideal French Fries, start by filling a big bowl with cold water and submerging sliced potatoes. Allow the potatoes to soak for a minimum of 2-3 hours. Soaking the sliced potatoes in cold water is key for obtaining deliciously crunchy fries. This process eliminates excess starch from the potatoes, guaranteeing a perfect consistency.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, the Easier French Fries – Cold Oil Method (Cook’s Illustrated) recipe is truly the best way to make crispy, delicious french fries at home. The technique of starting with cold oil and combining soaked potatoes provides crispy and creamy potatoes that no deep fryer can match. The ingredients are simple and easily accessible, making it ideal for home cooks of all skill levels.

With this recipe, you won’t have to worry about complicated techniques or messy deep-frying. Instead, you can enjoy delicious slender fries with a crisp exterior and a creamy interior using just half the oil traditional recipes use. Plus, with our tips and tricks for perfect results, you’ll be able to make restaurant-quality french fries right in your own kitchen.

So go ahead and try this method out for yourself. Once you taste how amazing these fries are, you’ll never want to go back to those mediocre store-bought versions again. Whether as a side dish or snack, they’re sure to impress even the most demanding of guests. So why wait? Give it a shot today and see what all the buzz is about! You won’t be disappointed!

Easier French Fries - Cold Oil Method (Cook's Illustrated)

Easier French Fries - Cold Oil Method (Cook's Illustrated) Recipe

These delicious, slender fries have a crisp exterior and a creamy interior, contain 1/3 less oil than traditional methods, and could not be easier to make. Recipe is from Cook's Illustrated (July, 2009) and the method is attributed to Michelin-starred French chef Jöel Robuchon. It skips the usual rinsing and soaking and you only need to fry once. You must use Yukon golds (Russets are too starchy).
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Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: French
Keyword: < 60 Mins, Beginner Cook, Belgian, Brunch, Deep Fried, Easy, European, Kid-Friendly, Kosher, Low Protein, Lunch, Potato, Vegan, Vegetable, Weeknight
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Calories: 3111kcal


  • 2 1/2 lbs yukon gold potatoes, scrubbed, dried, sides squared off, and cut length-wise in 1/4-inch batons (strips) (about 6 medium)
  • 6 cups peanut oil, for frying
  • kosher salt


  • Combine potatoes and oil in large Dutch oven. Cook over high heat until 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 12-15 minutes.
  • Using tongs, stir potatoes, gently scraping up any that stick, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until golden and crisp, 5-10 minutes longer.
  • Using skimmer or slotted spoon, transfer fries to thick paper bag or paper towels. Season with salt and serve immediately.

Your own notes


Serving: 607g | Calories: 3111kcal | Carbohydrates: 57.1g | Protein: 5.3g | Fat: 324.3g | Saturated Fat: 54.8g | Sodium: 11.3mg | Fiber: 5.1g | Sugar: 2.5g

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