appetizers, savory, sides, snacks
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Perfect Shoestring French Fries

Do you have one of these? It’s a mandoline slicer. If you don’t have one, first things first.  Buy it here.


Next, familiarize yourself with the most amazing and terrifying piece of equipment a kitchen has ever seen. Seriously, it’s like something out of a horror flick. I always vacillate between terror and amazement when I use it. Watch your fingers and always keep a reverent respect for this thing. Or prepare for stitches.

If you’re wondering why I even bother, then you probably haven’t used one.  It’s only the most fantastic time saving device ever (and clearly designed by a Type A personality that craves uniformity).

Plus, anything that has a “French Fry” setting is good with me.


If you have the ability to slice up some potatoes, you’re already 75% of the way to making some fast food caliber french fries.

(If you don’t think fast food and/or dirty drive thru burger joints provide the best french fries known to man, stop here. I can’t help you.)

I usually go for a potato per person. This looks like a lot of fries, but 1) they’re just that good and 2) would you serve someone 2/3 of a baked potato? No.

1 Potato per person. We had a group of 4. You do the math.


That thing with crazy spikes coming out it? That’s what’s going to preserve your fingerprints. Do not move that potato back and forth without the guard. Plus, in addition to the safety offered, it gives you the leverage to push the potato against the blade with ease.

Look at those future french fries!


THAT is why I risk my fingertips.

That, and I’m a fat kid at heart.

Fill a large bowl with beautiful, uniformly cut fries.


When you’ve finished slicing, rinse the cut potatoes under cold water until the water runs clear.


Dirt is gross.

When the water is clear and clean, fill up the bowl so that they potatoes are submerged. If you’re not in a hurry, just pop the bowl in the fridge.  If you’re like me, and counting the minutes until you can fry these up to perfection, add a few ice cubes to chill the water. Then put the bowl in the fridge.


I don’t know why the temperature matters, but it does.


Have a beer.

Go for a run, you’ll feel less guilty in a bit.

When your fries have been able to soak for at least 2 hours, bring them out of the fridge, drain the water off, and lay them out on a thin layer of paper towels to dry.


Have you ever fried something that’s still covered with water?

Make sure they’re very dry.

Trust me.

Heat up your canola/corn/vegetable/peanut oil (whatever you have really) to about 350-375 degrees.  I have a deep fryer but it’s not a necessity.  A dutch oven on your stove top will do, just make sure you have a thermometer handy. Also make sure you don’t let the oil spill over.

If oil does spill over, keep baking soda nearby. Do not throw water on it.

Sorry for all the safety lessons. They all come from the experiences of a “friend” who may or may not know what it’s like to catch on fire.

Fry them up in batches, for about 5-8 minutes.


They should start to stiffen and get a glossy, sealed texture about the surface.  Don’t leave them so long they brown up, that comes next.

Have a pan lined with paper towels to drain the oil and let them cool.


Do this with all every last one until you have a big pile of flaccid french fries.


Let them cool completely, at least 20 minutes.  You can leave them like this up to about 4-5 hours.

I imagine at this point you could even freeze them for a quick fix later, but I haven’t tested this theory. If you test it, let me know.

After the fries have cooled, put them back in the fryer, oiled heated once again to 350-375.

Watch them closely, they’ll brown up quickly.


Drain on a paper towel and add salt while they’re still smokin’ hot.

That’s it. Really. French fries don’t take a fancy recipe, just patience.  Maybe you want to add some curry powder, cheddar cheese, or gravy if you’re Canadian. Let them be the base for all delicious french fry creations, or enjoy them in their perfect, natural state with a little ketchup or Ranch dressing.


Happy Football Season. Stay tuned for more fried creations.


  1. Pingback: Homemade french fries | Gourmet Foodnet

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