Fries (Baked!)

I basically have the palate of an 11-year-old. If I were left to my own devices I would probably eat pizza, tacos, french fries, ice cream and cookies for almost every meal. These things remain my favorites even though I have gained an appreciation for fancier stuff like oysters, truffles, curry, sushi etc.. I’m a little afraid of deep frying, which is probably a good thing, but it normally prevents me from making fries at home. I’ve been experimenting with oven fries for as long as I can remember but was never completely satisfied with the results. Until now.

I recently came across a technique that improved my efforts dramatically. Cook’s Illustrated is an under-rated source for recipes. Perhaps it is because the writing is so annoying. I find reading about the process of creating the recipes kind of tedious. “1 teaspoon of salt was too much, 1/4 teaspoon not enough- we decided on 1/2 teaspoon!“- ahhhH! Also, the recipes are sometimes dull. BUT, they almost always work and some of them will blow your mind. In fact, some of my all-time favorite recipes have their origin in the pages of Cook’s Illustrated.

This recipe produces amazingly crispy and garlicky fries that are ready to be dipped in some delicious sour cream mixed with chives, or homemade ketchup or chipotle mayo. Maybe even served alongside that salad that you created and dressed with some homemade vinaigrette. However they are served, they are fantastic.

Garlicky Oven Fries (adapted from a Cook’s Illustrated Recipe)

  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 russet potatoes (about 8oz each), each cut into 12 wedges
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 475° F. Combine the garlic and oil in a large bowl and microwave until the garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer 5 tablespoons of the oil (leaving the garlic in the bowl) to a rimmed baking sheet, tilting the sheet to coat.

Add the potatoes to the bowl with the remaining oil mixture and toss to coat. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and microwave on high power until the potatoes are translucent around the edges, 3 to 6 minutes, shaking the bowl to redistribute the potatoes halfway through cooking.

Combine the cornstarch, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and cayenne in a small bowl. Sprinkle over the hot potatoes and toss well to coat. Arrange the potatoes in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet and bake, turning once, until deep golden brown and crisp, 30 to 40 minutes. Serve.

88 comments to “Fries (Baked!)”

  1. Oh, these have to be for dinner tonight – thanks!

  2. MichelleC says:

    June 29th, 2009 at 11:22 am

    I made these sans microwave on Friday night- amazing! I’ve never attempted to make french fries (the mere thought of it made me go clammy), but this recipes was approachable and delicious. Thanks so much for the recipe!

  3. Hi! I wanna try this recipe but I’m a little puzzled as to what cornstarch is. You are referring to that white powder that we sometimes use for cookies in order to rise the batter, right? Not to the flour that is obtained by grinding corn beans…I am asking because I came across your recipe via The Purple Foodie site and she said there cornstarch/cornflour and as far as I know they are not the same thing. Thank you!

  4. Yes, corn starch is the white starch that is used in baking as a thickening agent, NOT meal ground from corn. They are definitely not the same thing.

  5. These are fantastic. Go in the kitchen and make them. I was totally prepared to say my recipe was simpler (soak the potato slices,drain,dress in olive oil, salt, pepper and roast) and while they are very good, I love yours. Thanks!

  6. After making the kebabs and vinegar potatoes, I figured I had to try these. THEY WERE AMAZING. We were out of vegetable oil and used olive oil instead. Worked like a charm. Ate them with backyard-grilled turkey burgers. Best meal of the summer.

  7. Made these fries last Saturday night for my family and they were WONDERFUL!! Of course the temptation to go out over the weekend is always there, I’m trying to create meals that make us want to stay home and enjoy our OWN food! This recipe is on the permanent list of weekend “eats” ! Thanks…and my 11 year old thanks you too ;).

  8. God bless you! I’ve been searching for a good baked fries recipe as my boyfriend loooooooveees them and I would love to add another thing to the small list of things I can make that he will actually eat. PERFECT!

  9. i’ve seen some other fries recipes and they all seem to require soaking the potatoes in water for a while and then drying them before you cook them. do you have to do this for this recipe?

  10. Hi Annie, you do not need to soak them.

  11. I completely agree about Cook’s Illustrated. As much as I love my other food mags, if made to choose I think I would give them all up for Cook’s. The writing is tedious, but I am constantly amazed at how they come up with the absolute BEST way to cook my favorite foods. My all-time favorite is their tips for roasting sweet potatoes… It’s kind of a pain so I don’t use their method every time, but when I do it’s sweet potato perfection!
    Can’t wait to try your version of fries tonight!

  12. I do not have a microwave. Can I parboil instead?

  13. Hi Mary, I haven’t tried parboiling but I would guess it will work. Let me know if you give it a try!

  14. Parboiling worked beautifully! Cooked just until it gives a bit, then proceed with recipe.
    They were both crisp and creamy at the end.

  15. Would you be willing to share your ketchup recipe as well as your chipotle mayo recipe… (I just combine chipotle powder and store bought mayo).

  16. Wow! The bowl of oatmeal sitting in front of me looks even more boring all of a sudden. :-( My husband is a plastics engineer (medical plastics) and he says not to worry about food grade plastic in the microwave, FWIW. These look amazing! I have to try them this week!

  17. Hi Juliana, I just made these again this past weekend and they really are amazing. Enjoy!

  18. do you think this would also work with yams?

  19. Hi Kyla, I don’t know. In the sense that it will literally work, yes. I am not sure it would taste that good. I don’t really love yams with strong garlic flavors. They can just get so sweet. Also, you would need to adjust cooking times. Let me know if you try it!

  20. I’ve made sweet potato fries a couple of times. They are not as crunchy and don’t brown all over as nicely. And, they had to be constantly turned because of badly sticking, even with a greased baking pan.

  21. This is the second recipe in 3 days I’ve made from your site (made the corn pesto 2 days ago with fresh corn that I just brought back from Quebec). I believe that we eat first with our eyes and your food photography makes me so hungry! Thank you for sharing, love your blog.

  22. AMAZING recipe. Best baked fries I’ve ever had! Served with chipotle burgers on brioche. Super. Thanks again for a great blog.

  23. On my list of things to do … and asap!

  24. Tried these last night, fantastic! I was also nervous the garlic would be too much but it was so lovely and fragrant. I realized last minute I did not have corn starch so I used a tablespoon of breadcrumbs (yes, I realize these are totally different), but they still tasted great and looked gorgeous. Thank you!

  25. These are terrific! I made them last night to go with oven fried cod. I substituted 1-1/2 tsp Tony Chachere for the pepper, garlic powder, and cayenne; and cut the kosher salt to 1 tsp. I want to try the same technique with sweet potatoes and taco seasoning as I’ve never been happy with oven fried sweet potatoes.

    “Cook’s Illustrated” is more than annoying. They pretend to start with a clean sheet of paper with their recipes and then have you follow their tedious iterations which do not always result in “the best” whatever. Their fudge is a good example as Maida Heatter had that nailed a long time ago, and her’s doesn’t include condensed milk. Just my two cents.

  26. Just made these and my family rationed them out so nobody could take too many! Haha, they were sooo yummy and delicious. Perfectly crunchy and delicious. Thanks for the recipe Tim!

  27. Nice, Rachel! You gotta be careful with these, they go quickly.

  28. Served these with a sour cream based bacon and horseradish dip. Instant hit. Thanks!

  29. I know I’m not saying anything new here, but I just HAVE to give my kuddos to these fries. I am a big fan of fries, generally favoring the sweet potato variety, but always, always, requiring them to be as crisp as physically possible. Limp fries are my worst culinary nightmare. Maybe even worse than limp bacon. And I have to say, oven fries generally fall into that I-wish-I-could-get-on-board-but-they’re-just-not-crispy-enough! category. But these! These! They were so divinely crispy! And oh what an occasion to make them garlicky as well. The cornstarch method is genius and stupidly simple with amazing results. I also liked that they were less greasy than a fried fry. Thank you thank you thank you for converting me to an oven-fry lover!

  30. Thanks for checking in, Sarah! Glad you liked the fries. This is definitely one of my favorite recipes, and an example of why Cook’s Illustrated is so awesome. Next time I make these, I want to try a cheese sauce to dip them in…too much? I hope not!

  31. Hi Tim! Your website is absolutely gorgeous… the photos you take are beautiful, and i’ve archived many of your recipes to try once I have a chance! I wanted to ask, what’s so special about kosher salt? I’m a baker for pleasure and a student, so I usually go with what’s cheaper, but am I missing out on something?

  32. Thanks for the friendly comment, Bronte! Kosher salt isn’t that special. And in fact, for baking, regular table salt is usually preferred. I like kosher (or preferable-sea salt) for recipes like these fries because the the larger salt flakes add a little texture. You get little crunchy pops of salt when eating the fries, rather than a sort of all-over saltiness. Kosher can be nice for cooking (corn on the cob, meats, etc) and for finishing dishes, but you can always substitute regular salt, just use less. You should check out Salted: A Manifesto by Mark Bitterman, it is an amazing encyclopedia of salt. He would tell you not to use either. He advocates for us to put away our industrially produced salts and stick to natural sea salts and the like. There is a surprising amount to say on salt. ; )

  33. Apparently :P Thanks for the speedy reply, I’ll do my research on salt… and I look forward to more recipes!

  34. Made these a few weeks ago- spoiled everyone’s dinner! They were gone in minutes flat. It was a little embarrassing actually.

  35. these are ABSOLUTELY the BEST baked fries I have ever eaten. no more fried. am gonna try this recipe on sweet potatoes next.

  36. Thank goodness for these oven baked fries! I never would have bagged my wonderful sweet boyfriend without them! He now does them once a week for me, and whenever my whole family gets together he makes them then too. You got him in the kitchen! Thank you.

  37. I feel like I have to stick up for ATK/CI. I’m a chemist, and I really enjoy reading their recipe development. Honestly, I learned to cook by reading through all their (delightfully) fussy kitchen explorations, and I also enjoy their curmudgeonly prose.

    That being said, they are a little too prone to shortcuts for my taste. How many times do they say , “We tried making this with dried beans, and it was amazing! However, no one cooks with dried beans so we decided to hack it with cans.” Um, I cook with dried beans! Can you include the amazing dried bean option? But they don’t.

  38. saw these and decided to make them emidiatly :P had everything but the cayenee pepper lying around. they’re baking right now. fingers crossed \(^-^)/

What do you think?