When you’re standing there looking at your package of frozen French fries, it’s hard to imagine that the results could ever come close to a fast-food giant like McDonald’s. It’s okay because you can get there, or at least pretty darn close.
The history of French fries is traced back to Belgium, which makes us question if there is anything authentically “French” about them, but nevertheless, they have become a staple alongside American burgers, steaks, fish n’ chips, and much more. For a lot of us, French fries are a delicious treat that we allow ourselves on “cheat days”.
So, how long should you fry frozen French fries? Frozen French fries should be fried for around 4 minutes for baskets that are ¼ full of fries. Frying time can vary depending on how large of a batch and what you’re using.
We’ll give you a closer estimate below and other methods to cook frozen French fries that can come out pretty good as well if we do say so ourselves.
4 Cooking Methods for Frying Frozen French Fries
You don’t necessarily have to fry frozen French fries, but it is a surefire way to achieve authentic crispy on the outside and soft on the inside results. We’ll explore how you can cook frozen fries starting with the most traditional method.
Of course, we start with deep frying. While it does produce the best results in our opinion, there is no question about the mess it can make and the extensive cleanup that follows. Nevertheless, we have to talk about it.
You’ll need a deep fryer filled up with oil and heated to about 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grab the fryer basket and fill it with fries until it’s about ¼ full. You don’t want to pack it too tightly or you’ll get unevenly cooked fries.
It’s going to splatter and pop when you lower the basket into the oil, so make sure to do it slowly and maybe even don some protective gear (or just wear long sleeves). Fry for about 3-4 minutes for baskets that are ¼ full of fries, or until you see the lovely golden tan.
When the timer dings, shake off the excess oil from the basket gently and pour the fries onto a waiting plate with paper towels to soak up the extra grease. Repeat the above steps for the rest of the fries.
Frying on a Stovetop
Don’t have a deep fryer? That’s ok! You can also get the same results on the stovetop, albeit it’s a bit slower. The technique is pretty much the same as well, but it could make more of a mess as the oil splatters around the stovetop so maybe place aluminum foil around to keep the mess contained.
Fill up a skillet with oil, about ¼ to ½ full, and heat it up on the stove until it reaches about 350 degrees Fahrenheit. You’ll know the oil is hot when you put a wooden chopstick or spoon in and it makes little bubbles.
Pour the fries into the skillet slowly. We suggest doing it with tongs so you can have more control and get closer to the oil without risking injury.
Place enough in so the oil just covers each fry. Leave the fries frying until you see the beautiful golden crispiness show through. You can then drain the skillet and fries over a metal strainer or fish them out with the tongs and place them on a paper towel if you plan on doing more batches.
Using an Air Fryer
Air fryers are probably one of the most innovative and groundbreaking inventions for people who love fried food without mess. Not to mention, it’s a bit healthier as well and you can do so much with it! If you can’t already tell, we’re big fans of the air fryer. If you have one laying around, it can help you achieve close to McDonald’s legendary fries standards.
Use cooking spray or oil to grease up the air fryer basket and place your fries in. Again, don’t fill it up too much, anywhere between ¼ to ½ full will do. Set the air fryer to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and time it for about 15-18 minutes depending on how full your basket is.
To make sure the results are even, give the air fryer a shake from time to time just to toss the fries up to make sure they’re all cooked to the same level of perfection. Easy, right?
Baking in an Oven
Baking fries instead of frying? We heard gasps all around. We get it, it’s a bit unconventional (especially since it has the word “fry” in the name) but it’s something a lot of us do anyway. Baking is easy, clean, and neat, so why not?
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. While you’re waiting, take a baking sheet and line it with baking spray or oil. You can skip this step if your baking sheet is nonstick. There is no need to defrost the fries. In fact, fries cook best straight from the freezer to the pan, fryer, or oven.
Spread them all evenly across the tray and pop them into the oven for 10-12 minutes. When the timer rings, open the oven, flip all the fries over and bake them again for 10 minutes.
Check to see if you like the results when the time is up. If you like it extra crispy, you can leave them in there for a minute or two more.
When you’re satisfied, take the fries out of the oven and leave them to sit on the stovetop for a few minutes to cool. It’s tempting to want to sneak a fry, but be careful because it’s hot!
Reheating French Fries
If it’s a simple case of reheating French fries, then you can use the lazy man’s best friend – the microwave.
Just pop the fries onto a microwave-safe plate and set it to cook for a few minutes. We recommend only doing this once because then the fries could get soggy and we’ll add that it’s not a good idea to cook frozen French fries with a microwave.