Baked Oven Fries

I’m all for easy weeknight meals and most nights when I get home from work, I’m pretty organized in the meal department.  Every week, I plan out a menu and keep it on the side of the fridge so that in the mornings, I’ll know what I need defrost and in the evenings, I’ve got a game plan for the meal at hand.  I’ve shared plenty of my weeknight meals with you here but it isn’t often that I share a side dish and that may be why I’m so excited to share these baked oven fries with you.

Simply cut the potatoes into wedges and after a short soak in some hot water, the wedges head into the oven on a baking sheet that you’ll have coated with vegetable/canola/peanut oil.  And believe it or not, it isn’t the olive oil that makes these fries so flipping amazing – it’s the soak!  The water pulls out some of the starch from the potatoes which allows them to bake up perfectly tender.  The oil on the baking sheet is what you’ll need to crisp up the outsides of the potatoes so don’t think you can skip this step to cut back on calories – the editors of Cook’s Illustrated always think of everything.  I’ve made these fries a few times and I feel like you can allow the potatoes to soak for between 10 and 20 minutes – 10 is the recommended time by CI and over 20 minutes results in a hollow oven fry…and nobody likes a hollow fry!

To further ease up my weeknight, I’ve been pairing these fries with bbq chicken burgers.  I make double-batches of burgers, shape the burgers, and freeze them in 2-pack portions so they are ready to pull from the freezer when we’re craving them.  I’ve also always got a batch of bbq sauce (included with the burger recipe) in the fridge to slather on the burgers…and perhaps to dip the oven fries in as well.  We adore these baked oven fries and we’re moving further and further away from buying frozen, store-bought fries and tator tots.  I think the natural next step is to grow our own potatoes – and you may see that happening in the next couple of years!

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Baked Oven Fries
source: Cook’s Illustrated, The New Best Recipe, via Annie’s Eats

Ingredients:

  • 3 russet potatoes (about 24 oz. total), peeled and cut lengthwise into even sized wedges
  • 5 tbsp vegetable, canola or peanut oil, divided
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 475˚ F and move an oven rack to the second-lowest position.  Place the potato wedges in a large mixing bowl.  Cover with hot water; soak for 10-20 minutes.  Put 4 tablespoons of the oil onto a heavy, rimmed baking sheet.  Tilt the sheet side to side to evenly coat the pan with oil (a pastry brush can also help with this).  Sprinkle the pan evenly with the salt and pepper.  Set aside.
  2. Drain the potatoes.  Spread the wedges out on layers of paper towels or on clean kitchen towels.  Pat dry with additional towels.  Wipe out the now empty bowl so it is dry.  Return the potatoes to the bowl and toss with the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil.  Arrange the potato wedges on the prepared baking sheet in a single layer.  Cover tightly with foil and bake for 5 minutes.
  3. Remove the foil and continue to bake until the bottoms of the potatoes are spotty golden brown, 15-20 minutes, rotating the baking sheet after 10 minutes.  Using a metal spatula and tongs, flip each potato wedge keeping them in a single layer.  Continue baking until the fries are golden and crisp, 5 -15 minutes.  Rotate the pan as needed to ensure even browning.
  4. When the fries are finished baking, transfer to a paper-towel lined plate to drain some of the grease.  Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.  Serve warm.

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  • July 27, 2011 at 6:59 AM

    I love the technique here. I bet these are nice and crispy on the outside and kind of fluffy on the inside. CI knows their stuff – thanks for sharing this recipe – I will have to try these!

  • July 27, 2011 at 8:22 AM

    I love this recipe! It is just perfect (good for sweet potatoes, too).

  • July 27, 2011 at 8:52 AM

    I have yet to try this recipe, but this may be the push that I need. I am trying to be better at working on side dishes.

  • Kris
    July 27, 2011 at 9:05 AM

    Can’t wait to try this!

  • Sue
    July 27, 2011 at 11:20 AM

    Hi Tara,

    I never thought to try this with the wedges but I do almost the same thing with my roasted potatoes, however after draining them, I bang them around in the pot a bit, this roughs them a tiny bit and makes the outsides even crispier. Love them! Cheers!

  • July 27, 2011 at 11:22 AM

    Yummy! These look so delicious and love your photos! 🙂

  • July 27, 2011 at 12:06 PM

    There is something to be said for homemade fries! Yours look lovely.

  • July 27, 2011 at 2:43 PM

    These look delicious. I must try these out. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  • July 27, 2011 at 5:32 PM

    I, too, enjoy homemade fries, and bake them 99% of the time… the other percent is when hubs cries for fried ones 🙂

  • July 27, 2011 at 8:00 PM

    What a great idea to soak them! I bake them all the time as well, but have never done that step. I know it makes a huge difference when you fry them – not sure why I never put two and two together! Thanks!

  • July 28, 2011 at 2:48 AM

    ZOMG, Tara. I’m so getting some potatoes soon to do this. I love the soaking technique! I’ve never done it with fries so, I’m looking forward to getting this wonderful oven fry!!! I’m a potato lover so, this is right up my alley 🙂

  • July 28, 2011 at 7:20 PM

    Hey there – thanks for the side-dish share. I do something similar, based on a side dish I had at a Greek restaurant – instead of soaking them in the water first, i toss the cut potato wedges in some salt, pepper and oregano, then place them in the oven, with 1/2 cup of lemon juice and 1 cup of water and about 1/4 cup (more or less to your desire) and slow bake them – delicious! i’m sure you could bypass most of that and add just the lemon juice to give those home fries a nice zing 😉
    Cheers
    K

  • August 19, 2011 at 2:18 PM

    as a cook’s illustrated fan myself, i always appreciate seeing their recipes brought to life, especially on such a beautiful blog. i can’t wait to try this myself. congrats on being on the blogger spotlight on the feed!

  • MummyBites
    April 12, 2013 at 6:23 PM

    Oh you must grow your own potatoes! It’s so easy these days!

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