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. Great! Now I’m even more hungry than I already was! They look so good!!

  2. The cornstarch coating is a good idea. Always wondered how people got that crunchy crunch on the outside of the potatoes. Does it help to precook them a bit too instead of just popping them in raw and seasoned?

  3. Hi. I’ve been reading you blog for awhile and I really love it! Great recipes and lovely photos. These fries look fantastic and I will make them tonight.

  4. The best oven baked potatoes I’ve ever made came from Cook’s Illustrated – though I agree that the magazine is very difficult to wade through – just give me the recipe already!

  5. Sold. I could not agree more on the 11-year-old palate thing – I’m still forcing myself to remember I love vegetables – and I’m also a HUGE fan of oven fries vs. deep-fried ones.

  6. Yum. I wish I had a plate full of these right now!

  7. oh yum! i think i’ll be making these soon.

  8. Your fries look incredibly crispy! I too am somewhat disappointed with the usual homemade, oven-baked fry, but these look like restaurant quality. Thanks for the new technique, I can’t wait to try it out.

  9. Those are some fabulous looking fries and an interesting technique to boot. Will have to give it a shot…

  10. yum!

  11. These look fabulous! Even better than the deep fried version. I’m going to have to make these very soon. Thanks for the recipe.

  12. I have also been frustrated with oven fries in the past – I really look forward to trying this recipe – they sound and look great!

  13. Ohhh. I’m hooked already just from seeing your gorgeous pictures. I also have tried every version of baked french fries I can because they remain my favorite food! I’ve never seen them made this way and I’ve bookmarked it to definitely try asap. Thank you, thank you!

  14. Those look great. My mom makes similar baked fries but she just sprinkles some olive oil, salt and pepper and lets them bake away to perfection. Can’t go wrong with potatoes!

  15. Those fries are jumping off the page! Potatoes are a rare indulgence in our household, and when I do make them, I always roast them until they are crisp on the outside like these.

  16. Yum yum yum – your photos are gorgeous. I can’t wait to try these potatoes!

  17. I don’t think I have ever tasted yummy baked french fries. Will def. try these. Thanks!

  18. Don’t you know that microwaving plastic wrap leeches chemicals into your food?

  19. My desert island food is french fries but I have a hard time enjoying them because I know how fattening they are. I make baked ones all the time but these look extraordinary. I totally agree with you on CI, I find the articles verrrrry boring and the recipes often ho hum. But you know they have been tested to death and they will always turn out which is more than you can say for many cookbooks!

  20. Another step to try if you have time, is to soak the wedges in cold water for 1/2 hour after cutting, then pat dry. It’s supposed to make the wedges go more crispy-on-outside-floury-on-inside like you get with deep-fried.

  21. Hi Ameliawig: If you don’t want to use plastic wrap, you should certainly cover the bowl in another way. The FDA and many environmental and activist groups suggest that if you use microwave-safe plastic wrap and it does not touch the food you are heating, it poses a very minimal risk to humans. Although everyone also seems to agree that studies are pretty inconclusive. But again, you should do whatever you feel comfortable doing.

  22. Good suggestion, Erra! Thanks for sharing.

  23. These sound so much better than typical french fries. I love baked aweet potato fries but these look like they’d be perfect alongside a nice steak!

  24. I’m loving your recipes!

  25. Just finished making a batch but with sweet potatoes. They don’t crisp up quite as well as russets or even yellow spuds but they are spectacular! I totally hear you regarding the 11 year old palate. After enjoying a few years of world wide cuisine, I’d say that I’ve finally moved up to a 13-14 year old palate!

  26. I just made these tonight with dinner. I have 3 words for you: A-FREAKING-MAZING.

  27. Looks great. I agree with you about the tediousness of Cooks Illustrated recipes but can’t argue the results!

  28. CarolinadeWitte says:

    February 22nd, 2009 at 8:25 pm

    Although these look delicious, nothing will ever take the place of perfectly fried potatoes in my heart. I do them the classic french way, frying them twice, and I so love them. That being said, these look great, and I will try them. However, these really don’t have less fat than regular fried potatoes, I hope everyone realises that. This recipe calls to the garlic lover inside of me, thus my willingness to try them. I just found your blog through homesicktexan, and will enjoy reading it.

  29. Made a batch for dinner tonight. They really are great! Thanks for sharing this recipe!

  30. I too have been known to eat like a teenager fried foods in my top 5!! Great receipe! i always wanted to know how to get the seasoning to stay on the fries when they bake! Now i know! Thanx E.

  31. I made these and they were fabulous! I also made them with sweet potatoes which i am know to cut up a bake at least 3 times a week and they were out of this world! Thanks so much for the recipe

  32. I made these beauties tonight, and of course I’m not disappointed. In fact, I love them, even though my version is a little messed up. I don’t have a microwave, so I partially boiled the potatoes, but after that, the cornstarch mixture didn’t completely blend in and my final product is a little powdery. I need to better understand cornstarch. On the plus side, it seems to dry out the potatoes a bit and make them crunch up nicely. Great post!

  33. I agree with your assessment of Cook’s Illustrated. My cooking skills have improved because of their recipes, yet I find I have to rush through the intro so I can get to the REAL information…I use a pan sauce from Cook’s Illustrated that turns my families into raving lunatics.

    These potatoes look incredible, and I love the concept of cooking them in garlic-infused oil.

    As to Carrie’s comment re the cornstarch…what is the purpose of the cornstarch anyway?

  34. Hi Patty: I totally agree with you on CI.
    The cornstarch gives some added crunch to the fries. It acts as a light batter and really crisps up during the oven frying.

  35. I’ve been craving salty homemade fries and these look AMAZING!

  36. Woah. These are good. I just made them… Although 6 cloves of garlic is a lot. I used 3 and it was still too garlic-y. But it was fresh garlic and not the kind from the jar… Does that make a difference do you think?

    They were amazing, but I think next time I’ll use less garlic.

  37. Hi Allie:
    I think it is just a matter of personal preference. I used 6 cloves of fresh garlic and didn’t find the flavor to be too strong at all. It could also have to do with the size of cloves being used. In any case, I am glad to hear you liked it and that you modified it to your taste.

  38. Hey Tim, I made these today and am totally floored by the results. I increased the amount of garlic, pepper and cornstarch and loved the results. Wonderfully golden and crisp. These are definitely going to made over an over again at out house.

  39. I’m so glad you liked them! I’ve made them several times since and they are delicious every time. Thanks for writing.

  40. I love these! I made them for my group of piggy’s.They would’nt believe that i did’nt deep fry them. A great surprise for all of them and they begged for me to make them again tomorrow. lol..I did one thing different though, i did’nt mince the garlic but, i grated them on my zester. Alot less work.

  41. I made these tonight using sweet potatoes. OMG. Yummy.

  42. I just made these and they were incredible. Looked just like your photos, which are what sold me on the recipe to begin with. I doubled the amount of potatoes but kept the oil the same, 12 tbs. would have been way too much!

  43. I just want to write that these are the best oven fries I’ve ever made/had and I won’t be making them any other way from now on. I think the cornstarch just MAKES THESE!

  44. Agreed! Glad you liked them too!

  45. I love your site! I’m dying to try that chocolate caramel tart – oh my. These fries look great…but I don’t own a microwave…any suggestions for pre-cooking the wedges in the garlicky oil without using a microwave? Seems like a crucial and flavourful step.

  46. Oh! And Vena Cava – Soooo Cool! I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw that post!

  47. Thanks, Jaime! It does seem like an important step and I’m honestly not sure what to do to replicate it. I would play around with roasting the potatoes for the entire cooking time. You might need to cook them at a lower temp at first to prevent burning and then raise the temperature toward to the end. If you try, let me know!

  48. Hi Tim, greetings from Singapore! I made these yesterday and they were AWESOME! Thanks so much for sharing! In case you have time to take a look –

  49. Hi Tim, I tried the baked fries (sans microwave) and they turned out great! I used red new potatoes with the skin on, roasted them for half of the cooking time with some garlic infused oil – then tossed them in that amazing cornstarch/spice mixture and returned them to the oven until they were cooked through and golden. They were really good…the cornstarch trick is one of the best little tidbits I’ve picked up in a long time! Thank you!!! Congrats on your post-iversary!

  50. Oh, yay! So glad to know that the method works well without a microwave. Thanks so much for letting us know, and for the warm wishes.

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

  52. 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!

  53. 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!

  54. 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.

  55. 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!

  56. 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.

  57. 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 ;).

  58. 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!

  59. 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?

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

  61. 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!

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

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

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

  65. 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).

  66. 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!

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

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

  69. 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!

  70. 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.

  71. 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.

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

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

  74. 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!

  75. 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.

  76. 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!

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

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

  79. 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!

  80. 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!

  81. 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?

  82. 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. ; )

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

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

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

  86. 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.

  87. 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.

  88. 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?