Unfried Fries

I realized this week that I hadn’t done a potato post in a while. We have potatoes at least once a week and oven fries are one of our favorite ways to make them. We usually have them with hamburgers, oven-baked crispy fish (or any fish for that matter) or sandwiches.

Rich discovered a few years ago that if we cut the potatoes into cubes instead of regular French fry shapes, they get crispier in the oven and don’t break when you stir them. Feel free to make regular French fry shapes if you prefer.

The absolute key to getting crispy oven fries is not to crowd the pan. You want lots of space between the pieces of potato, no matter what shape you cut them. If you are doubling the recipe, use two pans or you will end up with a few crispy pieces and mostly soft, steamed potatoes. Trust me on this. I think I have finally learned that lesson, though I seem to forget on a regular basis when I am doubling the recipe. Do as I say, not as I do.

Oven Baked French Fries
from the Cook’s Life
Serves 4, doubles easily

Feel free to adjust the spices to your own tastes, even keeping them as simple as just salt. Use dried rosemary, garlic powder, salt and pepper for a nice variation. Don’t be tempted to substitute chopped garlic for the garlic powder – it burns. Any kind of potato works – red, russet, Yukon Gold…use what you have on hand.

1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for greasing the pan
Paprika
Garlic powder
Salt
Pepper
Ground cayenne (optional)
4 large potatoes

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and lightly grease your largest baking sheet with olive oil. Don’t use cooking spray – it tends to leave a sticky residue on the pan at the high cooking temperature.

While the oven is heating, measure 1 tablespoon of olive oil into a large bowl. Add several healthy shakes or pinches of paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Add a dash or two of ground cayenne. You aren’t going for really hot here (unless you like that), just a little zing. Feel free to skip the cayenne. Stir the spices and oil and set aside.

Peel the potatoes, if you like, or scrub them well. Cut them into approximately 1-inch cubes, or into fairly uniform French fry shapes. Drop the pieces into the oil mixture as you cut them.

Gently stir the potatoes to coat them with the oil and spices.

Pour the potatoes onto the baking sheet, adding any oil that is in the bottom of the bowl.

Spread the potatoes into one layer, with as much space as possible between the pieces. Use two baking sheets if necessary.

Bake at 450 degrees for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. You might have to use a spatula to pry/scrape the potatoes up from the baking sheet when you stir them.

The fries are done with they are crispy, browned and slightly puffy.

Serve hot. These are best the day they are made, they lose their crispness as leftovers, though they are still tasty.

Download the recipe here.

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9 thoughts on “Unfried Fries

  1. Hi Sarah,

    Love, love, love your great recipes and also love the way you write! So glad Mary got us hooked up to your blog. Keep those good recipes – and your helpful tips – coming my way. I have told you before how much we love potatoes – gonna try some of your cubed “fried” potatoes tonight with a steak and salad. Yum! Thank you for the inspiration you provide me, Sarah.

    • I have had shiny pans (except in the corners where there is build-up from frequent use) for more than 10 years now and I have never noticed a problem with browning. The only “darkish” baking sheets I ever had were non-stick ones, but I gave up on those years ago after having to replace too many flaking ones.

  2. We love our potatoes this way. But I also have the habit of overcrowding them. I pour the oil in a plastic bag, in goes the onion -and garlic powders, some turmeric and the potatoes. Close the bag and shake everything around. Then dump all on the cookie sheet .I do not oil the sheet. Never needed it.Mine is also a light colored sheet.

    • I had them stick a few too many times, so I always lightly oil the sheet, but very, very lightly. I hate to make a golden crust on them and then lose it because it sticks to the pan. 🙂

    • They are the only fries that will ever come out of my kitchen. I have never deep fried anything, but if I am going to try it, it will be doughnuts, not french fries! Love my oven fries. 🙂

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