Frozen fries, in my opinion, are the next best thing after sliced bread.
Wouldn’t you agree?
Ever since becoming available pre-cut and frozen, you don’t have to spend your time in the kitchen, peeling and slicing potatoes whenever a french fry craving strikes. All you need to do is to take that bag of frozen fries out of the freezer and cook them.
But if you tried to microwave frozen fries when you were short on time expecting golden greatness but only to be met with disappointment at the results, I’ll let you in a little secret about where you’ve gone wrong.
Frozen fries, aren’t like other frozen foods which you can just pop in the microwave and get ready to eat in a few minutes.
These creatures require a bit more effort unfortunately to transform from icy cold to crunchy gold.
If you’re thinking, “That doesn’t make them a convenience food anymore if I have to put extra effort in”. Don’t worry, I’m going to change your mind with these super simple tips on how to cook frozen fries.
But what is the BEST way to cook frozen fries? Straight from the freezer into the microwave? Thawed out? Air fried? Cooked in the oven?
Read on ahead as I take on the quest for “the Great Crunch” aka perfectly crunchy fries every time.
Can you microwave frozen fries?
Yes, technically I guess you can.
But would I recommend it? No.
Unless you follow the proper steps and use the right tools, microwaving will leave your frozen fries limp and soggy.
Still, If you are short on time and prefer to figure out a way to get your fries crunchy in the microwave, then worry not because through some trial and error I have solved this mystery for you.
Why shouldn’t you microwave frozen french fries?
It was actually through my kids that I first found out that microwaving frozen fries leaves them limp and wet (two words that we don’t want to be associated with our fried foods).
They were looking for a quick snack and I was busy with work, so they helped themselves by keeping a plate of the frozen fries in the microwave and cooking it for a few minutes, only to be met with disappointment as the bell dinged.
When we tried to dry off the wet fries by cooking them for a few more minutes only worsened our situation, for now, we had a plate of stiff wooden fries that were not at all eatable (I ended up frying a new batch of fries in oil eventually, so all that time I thought I would save, I didn’t)
It was only then I discovered that:
- Frozen fries are only pre-cooked, which means the potatoes are blanched in hot water and then given a quick dip in hot oil before being frozen. So a simple spin in the microwave won’t cut it.
- Microwaving them cooks them from the inside out which means all the interior moisture will turn to steam first, which is what makes the frozen fries limp and soggy instead of crunchy.
Are crunchy fries even possible using the microwave?
While microwaving frozen fries may not give you the exact same results as deep-frying, nevertheless it still is doable.
It also requires the use of a few additional materials, but if you are short on time and willing to go for it then yes, it definitely is possible. All you need to get crunching is some,
- Baking paper
- Microwave-safe plate
- Oil spray
How to microwave frozen fries?
Follow the steps below to get the best out of your frozen fries.
- Place a sheet of baking paper on your microwave-safe plate.
- Add a small number of fries to the plate
- Spray with oil and toss, so that every fry is coated evenly with the oil.
- Put the plate in the microwave and microwave on high power for around 4-5 minutes.
- When the time is up toss the fries again and keep them in the microwave for another 4- 5 minutes, running your microwave for a total of approximately 10 minutes.
- The fries should be done at this point now. Be careful of heating them for too long because they will then become dry and hard.
- Let the fries cool down before serving.
5 genius hacks for getting the best out of microwaving frozen fries:
- Don’t skip the oil. Always brush on or spray a little coating of oil so that the fries don’t dry out and can crisp up in the microwave. You need it to get that fried golden color on your fries.
- Parchment/baking paper is also a no-compromise zone. It is responsible for making sure the moisture from the fries gets absorbed into the paper rather than staying on the fries and making them soggy.
- Don’t overcrowd your plate. Only microwave small batches at a time, approx. ½ cup, to make sure all the sides of each and every fry gets heated evenly.
- Dust off any additional frost on the surface of the fries but don’t thaw.
- Do not salt before cooking. Salt draws out moisture from the food and you may end up with soggy fries. Save the seasoning for later when the fries are done cooking.
What is the best way to cook frozen fries?
Now you’re cookin’. I’m guessing you think that a microwave reduces your cooking time, but I hate to break it to you that it’s actually doing the opposite of that.
While microwaving may be efficient when you have just a small batch to make for yourself. For bigger batches, a microwave isn’t convenient because you can only cook small portions at a time, and even in that stopping every 5 minutes or so to toss the fries around then starting again, till they are fully done.
Here are some other methods that I find way better when I have to make bigger batches of frozen fries:
Deep frying is a classic way of making frozen fries to get the crunchy exterior and soft center.
I know what you are thinking, that’s a lot of oil to heat up, not to mention calories, that can’t be healthy!
You’re right, it’s not.
That’s why I prefer to oven-bake my fries instead.
Pros: It’s the most foolproof way to get perfect fries each time.
Cons: You have to keep an eye on the fries at all time since hot oil and a flame is involved.
A lot of oil is needed to heat up, which may take a lot of time.
I find this method the best way to do large batches of fries at a time and it also saves me from those nasty oil splatters.
Are the results comparable to deep-frying? Yes, probably the closest ever from all the other methods.
To get oven baking, you’ll need:
- A baking sheet
- A baking rack/grill
How to Oven bake frozen fries?
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
- Spray the fries with oil and toss to coat evenly on all sides.
- Place the baking rack/grill on top of the baking sheet.
- Spread the fries in a single layer, in the preheated oven for about 15-20 minutes, flip once during the cooking process and continue cooking for a further 5-10 minutes or until golden and crispy to your liking.
- Use oven-safe mitts to take the fries out, let them cool, and season with salt.
Again a great tool to make frozen fries with a minimal amount of oil, while giving you that great crispy crunch.
An air fryer can be more efficient than an oven for making frozen fries because the central heating element and fan circulate hot air throughout the chamber so the fries cook evenly on all sides and remain crunchy without getting soggy.
You will still need to lightly oil your fries though to ensure a golden color.
Getting more Bang for your Buck from your frozen fries:
The internet may be divided on whether it is possible to replicate the crunch and color of fries using the microwave.
While I know this may be hard to hear, do remember they are called french fries for a reason.
Here are some tips that can take your frozen fries to the next level:
- If baking in an oven, always preheat the pan before adding the fries. By preheating the pan, you ensure that the outer layer of the fries is seared and gets crunchy.
- Always add acid to the fries. Why do you think ketchup goes so well with fries? or why is salt and vinegar a classic combo? It’s the acid in both these elements that accompany the fries so well.
- Remember to salt at the right time. Salting before cooking will make your fries too limp, but if you salt them just as they come out from cooking (while they still have that glisten of oil on them) the salt will stick to the fries giving us a better flavor profile.
- Don’t thaw them out. While it may seem that thawing fries before cooking will help reduce the cooking time, it is actually the opposite with fries.
When you thaw out fries, the fry’s surface which was sealed during the precooking process gets broken and all the internal moisture can leak out (which may contribute to limpness).
From the humble potato to the ultimate comfort food, french fries satisfy everyone’s snack craving.
They are the Yin to the Yang of fast food since they accompany almost everything so well.
Whether you prefer them crinkly or curly, slathered in cheese and jalapenos, or just plain ketchup, this mouth-watering treat is sure to be loved by one and all.
Just make sure to choose any of the above methods for a golden guarantee, whenever you want to satisfy your cravings.