Quick Bites from Pender

Cold Oil French Fries – Recipe

In Recipes on February 17, 2010 at 5:02 am


These are the easiest fries you’ve ever made at home. Three (or four) ingredients, 25 minutes and you’re done — done with frozen fries, oven fries, big-hassle/pre-blanched fries and any other homemade fries you can think of.

These are the tastiest fries you’ve ever made at home. But I know you won’t believe me until you’ve made them yourself, so do both of us a favour and go make a batch right now.  Don’t be surprised if you find yourself asking:“Island Vittles, what have you done to my fries?” (obscure Canadian in-joke)


I first came across this method on Cook’s Illustrated (CI).  Their recipe credited Chef of the Century Joël Robuchon with the original idea — apparently this is how he makes fries at home.  Well, when in Rome…


This method uses a lot less oil than the traditional deep fat fry.  Peanut oil is the best for deep-fat frying, but I don’t have any around at the moment.   I used safflower oil, and added 2 tablespoons of bacon fat from my little crock on the counter.  CI suggests the bacon fat for a “meaty taste”.

I tried this method both with and without the bacon fat.  I love bacon, but I actually preferred the fries done in plain safflower oil — they were a little lighter in colour than the ones pictured, plus you can strain and reuse the oil more times if you don’t use the bacon fat.  (See tips below.)

Golden crispy exterior, light fluffy interior — these rivaled some of the best bistro fries I’ve had.  We had this batch with some ancho-mayo.  We’ve had 4 batches these in 3 days.  I’m telling you — they’re good.

Cold Oil French Fries

adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

Russet Potatoes, washed 1 large/person
Vegetable or Peanut Oil enough to cover
Bacon Fat 1 T/potato
Salt TT

T=tablespoon     TT=to taste

Square off the sides of the potatoes, then cut lengthwise into 3/8” x 3/8” batons.  Pour enough vegetable oil in to a saucepan or Dutch oven to completely cover the potatoes.

Cook over high heat, undisturbed, until the oil comes to a rolling boil.  Continue to cook, untouched for another 10 minutes.  Stir with tongs, gently scraping the bottom of the pan to release any that stick.

Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until golden and crisp, another 10-15 minutes.  Remove from the oil using tongs or slotted spoon.  Drain on paper towels, toss with salt and serve.


  • Choose a pan that is large enough to hold the fries and oil with lots of room to spare – You don’t want a spill over once the oil starts to boil.  I used 2 large potatoes and stacked them up in my tall narrow pot.  I used approx 2½ cups of oil to cover.
  • I prefer sunflower or safflower oils over vegetable oils from canola, corn, or soybean.  Most of the latter set (unless labelled organic, non-gmo) are made with Genetically Modified crops.
  • Once the oil/bacon fat has cooled, I strain it, cover it and keep it in the fridge until next time — you can use each batch of oil 3 or 4 times before it becomes to dark and smeechy.  If you don’t use the bacon fat, you can use each even more times.
  • I may be stating the obvious here, but just make sure you make enough fries for everyone in the first batch.  Once the oil is hot, it’s difficult to make Cold Oil Fries.
  • CI claims that this method will not work with russets – I’ve proved them wrong on multiple occasions.  I haven’t tried the Yukon Golds they use, but I’ll keep you posted…in the meantime, if you use Yukon Golds with this method, please let me know how they worked!

Note:  I am converted to Yukon Golds — tried them once, and I’m sold.  Check out these beauties:


  1. Well, you learn something every day!LOL
    Well done!
    Incidentally fries are not French, but Belgium!LOL again
    Best regards,

  2. Oh, wow! Of course. So simple and so perfectly obvious (once, you’ve explained it…). Making a batch for lunch. Shame on you for doing this to me. Thanks for sharing.

    • I hope your lunch was tasty…these can become very dangerous…trust me, we did many “test” batches around here. Just to confirm our initial results of course…

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