Cold-Frying Your French Fries Is The Fuss Free Hack We've All Been Waiting For

·3-min read
Photo credit: Parker Feierbach
Photo credit: Parker Feierbach

Nothing beats a proper, freshly fried chip. We’re not talking a chip that’s seen a freezer here. We’re talking FRESH fresh.

So what if we told you there was a way to guarantee perfectly crisp, tender, crunchy, golden French fries without half the fuss of deep frying? WELL GUYS, GUESS WHAT.

Across the internet, there’s recently been an uptake in the number of searches for a special method to fry chips: the cold fry method.

Taking out any of the guess work but guaranteeing a perfect chip that’s actually LOWER in fat than its deep-fried counterpart, it seems almost too good to be true. So how does it work? What’s the science at play? And how do you do it at home?!

What does cold frying mean?

Cold frying is the basic cooking method of adding your raw chips and room temperature oil to the pan at the same time and heating the whole lot up together, taking away any need for a thermometer.

The chips cook slowly at the speed that the oil heats up, meaning a lovely gentle cook at first (guaranteeing a beautifully fluffy and velvety interior) before the hard fry as the oil reaches boiling, achieving that crispy crunchy casing we all know and love.

How does cold frying work?

You might assume that adding your chips to the oil before it’s hot enough would result in a super greasy French fry - and to be honest, before we’d heard of this method, we did too. But there’s actual science that explains why that doesn’t happen. Lab coats on, everyone.

When foods are cooked at higher temperatures, they lose greater amounts of surface moisture. That’s why we slow-cook meats and veggies when we want a tender, moist final product.

So, the oil slowly heats up during the cold-frying method, the chips are cooked more gently which helps them retain more surface moisture than deep-frying. This surface moisture then helps to form a barrier which stops the chips from absorbing as much oil once the oil’s up to temperature and tries to enter the chip. Basically: moister interior, less greasy interior, all-round dream.

What’s more, this means that less oil enters into the chip than it would during deep-frying, meaning a finished product that’s lower in fat. Pinch us.

Photo credit: Parker Feierbach
Photo credit: Parker Feierbach

How do you cold fry French fries?

Right, so you’re convinced and want to give it a go.

Grab yourself some peeled, chopped fries (either soaked in cold water and thoroughly dried or as-is, totally up to you). Pop them in a large, tall-sided Dutch oven or casserole dish and top up with enough neutral oil to cover. Sunflower, vegetable or peanut oil will all work like a dream.

Heat the Dutch oven on a high heat for around 5 minutes until the oil starts to vigorously boil. It’s important NOT to stir the chips! We don’t want to disturb that lovely surface moisture that’s doing all the heavy lifting for us.

Once the oil’s boiling, keep the heat steady and leave the chips to cook for a further 10-20 minutes until gorgeously golden. Again, no stirring!

Once the chips have had long enough to form an initial outer crust, give them a little stir (not too much) leave for a further 5-10.

Once the chips look too good to resist, turn off the heat. Use a slotted spoon or spider sieve to lift the chips from the oil onto a kitchen towel-lined plate. With with salt as soon as they’re drained off and serve!

As always, when cooking with oil please be super careful!

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