We all assume that making fries is easy since all you have to do is slice the potato into strips and fry them in oil until they are crispy and golden brown.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. There is no guarantee that you will always end up with crispy potatoes unless you fry them correctly.
If you are the kind of person that always ends up with soggy fries and keep asking yourself, ‘why are my fries soggy?’ this article is for you.
There are several explanations for why you end up with such fries. The possible reasons are; you used low-starch potatoes, didn’t store your potatoes properly, didn’t dry them properly before cooking, your potato strips were not long & thin, or didn’t double fry them.
This article discusses these explanations in detail. We will also discuss how to salvage soggy fries, store homemade fries so that they don’t get soggy, and tips on ending up with crispy fries every time.
Reasons why your fries are soggy
Here are some of the reasons why your fries are a bit wet, no matter how you fry your potatoes.
You used low-starch potatoes.
If you want crispy fries, you should choose the right kind of potatoes. The starch content of the potato greatly influences how your fries will turn out.
High-starch potatoes have a low moisture content hence ideal for frying. Therefore, if you want crispy fries, you should buy high starch potatoes.
On the other hand, low starch potatoes have a high moisture content. Therefore, they are ideal for boiling, not frying. If you fry low-starch potatoes, the chances are that you will end up with soggy fries.
Note that low starch potatoes brown on the outside before they lose all the moisture in them; hence they get soggy just a few minutes after you remove them from the oil or oven.
Improper storage of potatoes
It would be best if you store potatoes in a cool, dark place.
The ideal temperature for storing potatoes is between 45 degrees Fahrenheit and 55 degrees Fahrenheit. If you store the potatoes at a temperature below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, their starch converts to sugars.
Consequently, when you fry them, the fries brown at a very fast rate without necessarily being properly cooked on the inside. The result will be soggy fries that are not well cooked.
If you notice that you stored your potatoes at very low temperatures, store them in a warm place for a few days. By doing so, the sugars will regress to starch.
Failure to dry the potatoes properly after soaking or rinsing
Most recipes require you to soak or rinse potatoes in water before frying. Rinsing or soaking potatoes arguably enhances the browning of fries.
It is not critical to rinse or soak potatoes before frying, but if you do, you must dry them properly before frying.
If you place wet potatoes into oil, the temperature of the oil will go down. Hence they will take longer to cook and will absorb more oil.
Additionally, the water may prevent the fries from becoming crispy so that you will end up with greasy, soggy fries.
Not slicing the potatoes into thin and long strips
If you want your fries to be crispy, slice them into thin and long strips. By doing so, you increase their surface area.
Hence they cook faster and lose moisture at a faster rate resulting in crispy fries.
Fries with a larger surface area cook rather slowly and lose moisture at a very slow rate. Therefore, the chances are that you will end up with soggy fries.
Failing to double fry them
Double frying is not a necessity, but it sure gives you amazing, crispy fries. To use this technique, first, fry the potatoes at a low temperature. This way, the moisture content in the potatoes significantly reduces.
Once they are cooked, fry them at a high temperature. This promotes browning and gets rid of any moisture that remains after the first fry.
Be sure not to cook the fries for too long because they will become greasy if you do. No one likes greasy fries.
How to salvage soggy fries
If your fries are soggy, whether you made them yourself or bought takeout, you can always salvage them.
To fix soggy fries, you first have to cut them into two-inch pieces. Once you have cut them up, place your cast iron over medium heat and heat two tablespoons of vegetable oil.
When the oil is hot enough, place the fries in the cast iron and let them cook for ten minutes or until they become golden brown and crispy. It would help if you stirred the fries frequently throughout for them to cook evenly.
The fries will end up having a crispy layer on the outside. When crispy enough, line a plate with a paper towel and transfer the fries to the plate. The paper towel will help get rid of any excess oil.
Serve your crispy fries, and enjoy!
How to properly store homemade fries
Don’t use a lunch box if you have made fries at home and want to pack them for lunch. When you store fries in a lunch box, there is a lot of moisture build-up that will result in soggy fries,
The best way to go about storing fries is paper packaging. If you must store the fries in a container, ensure that the container has small ventilation holes where the excess moisture can escape. The downside with this is that you are likely to end up with unpleasantly cold fries.
It would also help if you didn’t wrap the fries too tightly. The fries need to have sufficient airflow.
In conclusion, use paper packaging to wrap the fries, but don’t wrap them too tightly. If you use a container, use one with ventilation holes and space the fries out to avoid moisture build-up.
Tips on getting crispy fries every time
Here are a few tips that will help you get crispy fries every time.
- Use the double frying method. It may seem like a lot of work, but you are guaranteed to get outstanding results.
- If you are using the oven to make your fries, preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. It would be best to spread the fries on a single layer on the lined baking tray for the best results. Your fries will be ready in approximately five minutes.
- If you soak or rinse your potatoes, dry them before frying.
- Let the oil get completely hot before adding in your fries.
- If you are deep-frying, use a cast iron. Your oil will remain hot for much longer, and the fries will cook faster.
- Always store your potatoes at the right temperature.
- Choose high-starch potatoes every time you want to make fries. I highly recommend using Russet Burbanks.
Getting the perfect fries is not as hard as it seems. Avoid the mistakes we have discussed above including using low starch potatoes and not drying the potatoes after rinsing and soaking them.
Use the tips we shared, and I guarantee you will end up with crispy fries the next time you make them.
Let me know whether the tips worked for you in the comments below.