Introduction: COLD OIL French Fries & Potato Chips

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Hot, crispy homemade french fries and potato chips make a healthy comeback with the unorthodox method of cold frying.   

Here are 4 excellent reasons why you should stop everything you're doing and try this... right now! 

1. The preparation couldn't get any easier or faster. (less than 15 minutes for fries!)  
2. Your stove top remains virtually grease-free because there's no explosive flash-spatter
3. Cold frying produces healthier french fries with less fat than conventional fries.  
4. Best of all:  These fries (and chips) taste absolutely  f.a.n.t.a.s.t.i.c.  

They're sodelicious and soeasy, I've completely abandoned traditional hot-oil frying... for french fries, anyway. ;-) 

Are you skeptical?  The proof is in the pudding potato. ;-)  I want towill make a believer out of you!

Let's get started!

Step 1: Ingredients and Tools:

You'll need potatoes, oil and salt. ;-)

Potato Types: 
Small (6-8 oz) Russet potatoes: Young "bakers" have less starch than their mature jumbo   siblings. Less starch = crispier french fries.  Make sure your potatoes are fresh and firm.  Save the large tubers for smashed or baked taters. ;-)

• Yukon Gold potatoes: They're reported to be low in starch.  I haven't bothered to try them because Russets are delicious, less expensive and they're always available. 

Bottom line: Feel free to experiment.  I tend to think White or Red rose potatoes are too high in starch to make a good french fry, but that's just speculation.  Maybe you have a tuber-exotica in your pantry?  Why not try it?  

Top Secret confession: Don't tell jessyratfink, but I did make an earnest effort to improve her Sweet Potato Fries using the cold-fry method.  The sweet potato gods weren't impressed with the results and neither was I.  When I say "Jessy's recipe ain't broke", I speak from first-hand experience. ;-)

Oil Types:
• Vegetable Oil- Excellent
• Canola Oil- Very Good

The beauty of cold-frying is that the oil never reaches the smoking-point before the potatoes are finished cooking.  While I'm sure higher quality oils (such as peanut) would produce great results, I haven't tried them.  I also haven't tried cold frying with Olive or Coconut oil, but I wouldn't hesitate to experiment with them.  Please give me the 411 if you do.  I'd love to hear your results!


• A deep, heavy saucepan or dutch oven.  Flimsy aluminum or cheap stainless steel pans are not recommended.  They just don't hold the heat well. (I tried an aluminum pan once and the results were awful!)  

It's important to choose a saucepan deep enough to allow 2 inches between the top of the oil and the rim of the saucepan.

I use a 3 qt T-Fal saucepan.  It has enough room to cold fry 2 potatoes for french fries or potato chips.

Please: DO NOT use a frying pan or skillet for cold-frying.  Shallow pans are NOT safe for large amounts of very hot oil.  

• Tongs, a spider or even a pasta claw
• Paper towels 

Step 2: Cold Oil French Fries

Zero-hassle prep:

Scrub the potatoes and slice them horizontally into 3/8" sticks. There's no need to pat them dry unless you just can't stop yourself. ;-)


Stagger/criss-cross the raw fries in layers as you put them into the heavy saucepan.  Cover completely with oil. 

Put the saucepan on the burner and turn the heat to "high".  When the oil begins to boil (about 5 minutes in) use tongs or a fork to stir the fries. This helps keep them from sticking together.  Let the fries boil in the oil 5 minutes longer and stir them again.   

Continue frying for a few more minutes. The bubbling will subside and the fries will begin to brown. When golden, remove them from the oil onto a layer of paper towels.  Salt and serve devour immediately.

Bon appétit!

P.S. The leftover oil can absolutely be reused. Cool and store it in a container until tomorrow. That's probably when you'll be craving another batch of awesome, easy, delicious homemade french fries! 

Step 3: Cold Oil Potato Chips

Unlike cold oil fries, potato chips do require some advance preparation.  You need to remove as much starch from the chips as possible before frying. Otherwise, they'll stick together while frying and get chewy instead of crispy. :-(


Thinly slice the potato with a mandoline or potato peeler.  Place the raw chips in a large bowl and cover the completely with water.  (The water will turn cloudy right away. That's the starch being released from the spud.)  Refrigerate for 30 minutes, an hour, or even overnight.

When you're ready to fry, put the chips in a colander and rinse briefly under cold-running water. (This helps remove any starch that may have settled between the slices.) Allow to drain for several minutes. Pat dry with a paper towel.  It's fine to have some moisture... you just don't want them dripping-wet.


Since potato chips have more surface area than french fries, you'll need to use more oil.  Put the chips into a heavy saucepan and spread them out a bit.  Add enough oil to the pan so the chips are completely covered, then add at least anotherinch. 

Put the saucepan on your burner and turn the heat to "high".  

After about 3 minutes, the oil will begin to bubble around the walls of the saucepan. Give the chips a gently stir with a fork.  Wait a few more minutes until the oil reaches a rapid boil and stir again.  Gently stir the chips every few minutes. (You'll be able to feel their texture go from soggy to firm to crisp right through the fork.) 

As the oil bubbles begin to subside the chips will start to lightly brown.  When they're golden, remove them from the oil and place on a layer of paper towels to drain. Salt immediately.

For optimal crispiness, let the chips cool for a few minutes before serving. 

Caveat: These chips can go from "almost done" to "over-done" in a span of 20 seconds.  Keep a close eye on them

Step 4: Author's Notes and Credits:

This Instructable was inspired by member dirtymac.  We were discussing the fat-factor on my Instructable Half-baked French Fries.  He referenced and shared an article from America's Test Kitchen about cold-frying. (article here)

Well... I've been cooking since the stone-age... and I'd never even heard of cold-frying!  I was intrigued by (and skeptical of) the entire concept!

At the time, ATK didn't offer a tutorial on the process, so I just started experimenting.  In hindsight, I'm really glad I wasn't influenced jaded by any previously published accounts of cold oil french fries. 

In writing this Instructable, I've since revisited the topic with a recent Google search. There are a few tutorials online now.  I had to giggle when I discovered two very reputable sources (who shall remain nameless: Cook's Illustrated and ATK ;-) unequivocally dismiss Russet potatoes as "too starchy" for cold oil frying.  lol... not! 

This, my Instructable friends, is my favorite part of any story. It's the part where I get to jump up and holler "YES, you CAN!!!" ;-D 

Thanks for stopping by and P.S. Thanks Dirtymac!  My family loves these french fries!!!

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