Ultimate Oven Fries


“The savings in calories and fat are no reason to eat an oven fry – it has to taste good.”

This is the quote from Cook’s Illustrated Magazine, and I agree completely.  If you’re a food aficianado and not a regular reading of Cook’s Illustrated, it really would be worth your while to buy an issue and read it through.  I’m constantly amazed by the writing, and I’ve never seen anything like it.  They won’t just give you a recipe, they’ll tell you exactly how they tested the recipe, and what factors needed to be in place to really make it work.  It’s an invaluable magazine for the day when you truly want to understand what’s happening in the kitchen, and why your food works.  Or, perhaps, why it doesn’t.

Like most people, we enjoy comfort foods.  Oven-fries are a great option to accompany burgers and chicken, and this recipe delivers a crunchy crust with a creamy smooth interior, the sort of fries that melt in your mouth and make you smile.  Even my daughters decided they tasted pretty good, which means I’m going to have to begin buying more potatoes.  That’s the kind of problem I like to have.

The content below is as it appears in the magazine.  Give this one a try, and enjoy!

Take care to cut the potatoes into evenly sized wedges so that all of the pieces will cook at about the same rate.  Although it isn’t required, a non-stick baking sheet works particularly well for this recipe.  It not only keeps the fries from sticking to the pan, but, because of its dark color, encourages deep and even browning.  Whether you choose a nonstick baking sheet or a regular baking sheet, make sure that it is heavy duty.  The intense heat of the over may cause lighter pans to warp.


  • 3 russet potatoes (about 8 ounces each), peeled, each potato cut lengthwise into 10 to 12 evenly sized wedges
  • 5 tbsp vegetable or peanut oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


Adjust oven rack to lowest position; heat oven to 475 degrees F.  Place potatoes in large bowl and cover with very hot tap water; soak 10 minutes.  Meanwhile, coat 18 x 12-inch heavy-duty rimmed baking sheet with 4 tablespoons oil, and sprinkle evenly with the 3/4 teaspoon salt and and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.  Set aside.

Drain potatoes.  Spread potatoes out on triple layer of paper towels and thoroughly pat dry with additional paper towels.  Rinse and wipe out now-empty bowl; return potatoes to bowl and toss with remaining 1 tablespoon of oil.  Arrange potatoes in single layer on prepared baking sheet; cover tightly with foil and bake 5 minutes.  Remove foil and continue baking until bottoms of potatoes are spotty golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes, rotating baking sheet after 10 minutes.  Using metal spatula and tongs, scrape to loosen potatoes from pan, then flip each wedge, keeping potatoes in a single layer.  Continue baking until fries are golden and crisp, 5 to 15 minutes longer, rotating pan as needed if fries are browning unevenly.

Transfer fries to second baking sheet lined with paper towels to drain.  Season with additional salt and pepper to taste, if necessary, and serve.


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