There are a lot of rules for making crispy
french fries, and while most of our favorite restaurants are getting it right, some fast
food fries still don’t end up as crispy as we would like. Here are some secrets from the professionals. If you want to fry potatoes to crispy perfection,
you need to start with the right deep fryer, because it’s an appliance specifically designed
to heat oil to a precise set of temperatures. There are versions for home cooks, but commercial
fryers are in a league of their own, and the pros argue that they make better fries. They’re designed for heavy-duty use, holding
the fryer oil at exact temperatures for hours. Many of them are hooked up directly to a gas
line, too, which allows restaurants to recover temperatures faster. The other important thing these commercial
appliances allow you to do is to reuse fryer oil very efficiently, and that’s surprisingly
important. It turns out that aged oil actually makes
the fries crispier than new oil. You see, the fats in the oil start to break
down as it’s exposed to heat. That might sound bad, but it’s a huge plus
when it comes to making crispy french fries: The oil molecules in this aged oil will bond
more effectively with the food, resulting in a crispier product. That doesn’t mean all aged oil works. When the oil gets too old, it can start to
smoke, which creates an off-flavor for your french fries. It’s also important to filter the oil really
well to remove any food bits or impurities that can burn. The specific temperature of the frying oil
matters — a lot. Deep frying works because the hot oil dehydrates
the surface of the food, creating a crust that prevents the absorption of too much fat-filled
oil. It basically forms a protective barrier, but
it only works at the correct temperature range. Drop below the range, and the crust will form
too slowly, allowing the oil to soak into the food. That can create a soggy, oily french fry instead
of a perfectly crispy one. On the other hand, frying at excessively hot
temperatures can burn the outside of the potato before the inside cooks through. What’s the secret? It turns out that the range of 325 to 400
degrees Fahrenheit is perfect for fried foods. Fast food restaurants know the true secret
to making the crispiest french fries: Fry them not once, but twice. It’s the secret that Burger King, Five Guys,
and Wendy’s uses to make their fries crispy on the outside but soft on the inside. They typically start by frying the cut potatoes
at around 375 degrees Fahrenheit for about a minute. When the fries start to turn a light golden
brown, they remove them from the heat and let them cool for 10 to 15 minutes. This first round in the fryer par-cooks the
potato, starting to cook the insides of the french fry while simultaneously building a
protective crust on the outside. Once the potato is cooled, they fry it a second
time until the fry is crispy and golden. The temperature will need to be around 375
degrees, although some restaurants use temperatures as high as 400 degrees. This second frying session takes a couple
minutes longer, but it results in the perfect balance between textures: soft but crispy. It’s worth the extra effort, right? “No?” “A chip up the nose, I’m afraid!” When it comes to making the perfect french
fry, the potato itself is more important than you’d think. There are all kinds of different potatoes
out there. Beyond color and size differences, potatoes
are classified as waxy or starchy. If it contains a lot of water, it’s considered
a waxy potato, and these potatoes aren’t well-suited for frying, as they turn out soggy and limp
because they don’t contain enough starches to crisp up. Starchy potatoes, on the other hand, fry up
perfectly. The starch molecules expand and burst when
they encounter the hot oil, resulting in a perfect interior texture and a crispy exterior. Most fast food restaurants use russet potatoes,
also known as Burbank or Idaho potatoes, because they make a crispier, tastier french fry that
will stand up to whatever you dunk them in. The oil fast food restaurants choose is just
as important as the potato choice. Each type of cooking oil has something called
a smoke point, the temperature at which the oil starts to physically smoke. When this happens, it breaks down the fats
in the oil, creating a burnt flavor and aroma. That’s why you want to choose an oil with
a smoke point higher than your targeted frying temperature. Those are oils like vegetable oil, peanut
oil, corn oil, canola oil, or sunflower seed oil. The smoke point isn’t the only important factor
here; each type of oil also has a unique flavor profile. Take McDonald’s. The real reason McDonald’s fries taste better
than other fast food restaurants’ is because they originally used beef tallow. They might use vegetable oil today, but they
add a chemical flavoring to the oil to mimic the way the fries tasted when they were cooked
in beef fat. A little attention to detail goes a long,
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