Making Oven Fries is a quick and easy way to cook up tasty root veggies. I have tried this basic recipe with carrots, potatoes and sweet potatoes – with great results every time! The cook times with very based upon the veggie, and the size of the cut, but the basics are the same. The photos here are from when I tried this with purple potatoes. They taste the same as fingerlings, but are purple! If you are going for normal potatoes, Russets are the best. Peeling the Russets is recommended, or else they taste more like baked potatoes than fries. You probably don’t need to peel thinner skinned potatoes. No matter what veggie you use, it is important to make the slices or wedges are even and not too thick.
There are also some more advance techniques you can throw in to improve texture. The first is soaking the potatoes for 15-30 minutes before seasoning them. For starchy potatoes, like the Russet, the soak helps remove some of the surface starch, giving the fries a great crust than is not too tough or thick. The other “Advanced” technique is covering the baking sheet with aluminum foil for the first 5 minutes. This allows the fries to steam and cook all the way through. Doing this helps ensure that that they cook through without overcooking and have a creamy center texture.
You can also get creative with the flavorings you toss the veggies. The most basic is salt and pepper. You can kick it up though, try rosemary and smashed garlic or red pepper flakes and chili powder! If you want to keep it simple just add in some garlic powder and celery salt.
Based on a recipe from Cook’s Illustrated
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 nonstick 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 oven 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
- Or other root veggies such as carrots or sweet potatoes
- 5 tablespoons vegetable oil or peanut oil
- Table salt and ground black pepper
- Or other fun flavor pairs: Garlic and Rosemary; Pepper flakes and Chili powder; Lemon zest and Thyme
- Adjust oven rack to lowest position; heat oven to 475 degrees. Meanwhile, coat 18 by 12-inch heavy-duty rimmed baking sheet (see note) with 4 tablespoons oil and sprinkle evenly with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; set aside.
- Advance Technique: Place potatoes in large bowl and cover with hot tap water; soak 10 minutes. Drain potatoes. Spread potatoes out on triple layer of paper towels and thoroughly pat dry with additional paper towels.
- Toss potatoes with remaining 1 tablespoon oil (and any additional flavorings you wish to add). Arrange potatoes in single layer on prepared baking sheet. Bake 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 single layer. Continue baking until fries are golden and crisp, 5 to 15 minutes longer, rotating pan as needed if fries are browning unevenly.
- Advance Technique: Before placing the baking sheet in the oven, tightly cover with foil and bake 5 minutes. Remove foil and continue to bake as directed.
- Transfer fries to second baking sheet lined with paper towels to drain. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste and serve.