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Home Fries Guide: Are They Healthy & Should You Cook them In the Oven?

Home Fries Guide: Are They Healthy & Should You Cook them In the Oven?

Last Updated on 20th August 2021 by

French fries are the most commonly ordered fast food. Even when people go out to eat at fine dining restaurants, they often order French fries. Its’s far less common for people to make fries in their home, especially from scratch.

How simple is it to just open a bag of frozen fries and cook that in hot oil for a few minutes? It’s simple but not as rewarding as making the fries yourself from whole potatoes.

You might think that’s too difficult or time consuming for you to do, but that’s what everyone says before they try to make this dish for themselves. The great thing about making fries on your own is that you can control how much oil and salt goes into them and put on all of the toppings you want.

You can make them into a very healthy food, cooking your fries in the oven rather than in a pot of oil.

Fries are not something that comes to mind for most people when they think of healthy foods, but there are ways to prepare them where they retain a lot of nutrients and won’t hurt your waistline or your circulation.

If you are ready to take a break from fatty, oily fries or you just want to try your hand at a simple but appealing dish, then keep on reading to learn how to make crispy home fries in the oven.

How Healthy Are Baked Home Fries?

If you ask just about anyone, they will tell you that fried French fries are less healthy than baked French fries. That’s because when you fry foods, you are cooking them in an oil that will be absorbed into the food. So, you’re not just eating fries at that point; you are also digesting some oil. Of course, oil is very fatty and bad for your heart health and cholesterol.

However, there is something you need to know about buying frozen fries in the bag and baking them. They may already be fried beforehand, so just popping them in the oven doesn’t necessarily mean you are avoiding all the oil content you would have gotten with fried French fries. Yikes! This is why we want to teach you how to make home fries in the oven. You can seriously cut down on the fat content this way.

You know, baking your white or red potato fries is a good way to make them healthier, but you can make this dish even better for you by substituting them for sweet potatoes.

The sugar content isn’t as severe with sweet potatoes. Your body digests them slower to give you a little sugar at a time, as opposed to red and white potatoes which give you more sugar at once.

Of course, your body usually turns excess sugar into fat if you are not using it up as energy, so it’s always better to go with the slow release sugar food rather than one than just dumps all the sugar on you at once.

Another tip to keep your fries healthy is to control your portion sizes. Potatoes are packed with carbohydrates, which give you energy over long periods of time. If you don’t use that, it becomes fat, and the less you eat at once, the more under control your fat will be. So, keep portion sizes small and consider having your home fries with some healthy food to balance them out.

Also be careful of what you season and top your fries with. Excess salt is very unhealthy for you, and loading your fries with sour cream, bacon bits, melted cheese and other toppings can really destroy your blood sugar level and drastically increase the fat content of the dish.

Consider only loading up your fries lightly or occasionally with toppings. Moderation is the key to making sure that the unhealthy aspects of home fries don’t get out of control.

How to Prepare the Potatoes for Fries

To make home fries in the oven, you need to cut strips from whole potatoes. You can use sweet potatoes, red, Russet, Idaho, or anything else you like. The prep work is going to be the same for all of them, so you can follow our steps precisely no matter what kind of potatoes you are looking for.

Start by washing the potatoes, removing all the dirt and detritus. You should rinse your potatoes under running water and scrub them clean. Then, pat the potatoes dry and lay them down on a hard, flat surface- preferably a cutting board.

Next, cut the potatoes lengthwise, slicing them in half. Take one half and cut it into small strips, about half an inch wide. This may give you some thick fries, depending on how big the potato is. If they are too wide for your liking and you prefer thin, crispy fries, then you can cut the strips that are too thick in half.

Do the same thing with the other half of your potato and you should have a few fries by now. You can cut as many potatoes as you like for this recipe. Since all you will be doing is seasoning it, the recipe works for any number of fries or potatoes that you want to use.

How to Cook Home Fries in the Oven

Before you bake your fries, you need to prepare your pan. The fries can stick to the pan if you don’t grease it down or put some oil on the fries. If you are trying to keep this dish healthy (which is probably why you are baking it instead of frying your potatoes), then you can brush the fries with olive oil or another low fat oil.

Any HDL cholesterol oil will be better for your heart than LDL cholesterol oil. So, instead of canola oil, vegetable oil or corn oil, use a healthy oil like olive, coconut, or avocado.

You can season your fries before they go into the oven or after they come out. For prepping before they go into the oven, you can use garlic powder, Cajun seasoning, or a sauce to make them into marinated fries (like buffalo or garlic sauce). Once the fries come out of the oven, they can be seasoned with salt, pepper, chilli powder, parsley, or any number of other garnishes.

When baking fries, be sure to spread them out a bit. You want them to cook evenly all over, and you don’t need to flip them over halfway through to make that happen. Just make sure there is a little space between each fry and they will be fine.

You can also bake your fries with some other ingredients for added flavour. One of our favourite additions are slices of Roma or grape tomatoes. Just place these small sections between the fries to give your dish extra colour and tastiness.

You could add chopped garlic cloves, chives, onion slices, or chunks of bell peppers (or any kind of pepper). All of these will add something extra to your dish, making it more flavourful and giving it a dash of colour. There is no need to cook any of them beforehand since they can bake with the fries.

How Long Should You Cook Home Fries in the Oven

Now that you know how to cook home fries in the oven, let’s talk about how long they should cook for. Our recommended time for a single layer of fries is 40 minutes at 375° F.

This will give you fries that are tender and have a golden brown skin. They will look and taste like your standard restaurant fries.

Thin fries, like shoestring cut fries, may need to be taken out sooner. You can check them at the 30-minute mark to see if they are done.

Steak fries or thick cut fries might not be as done as you would like at this temperature and duration. You can cook them for longer or turn up the heat to 425°F partway through (at the 20-minute mark).

Make Your Fries Crispy- Here’s How

You may like to know how to make crispy home fries in the oven, and part of that comes down to how they are cooked. You can cook them at a low temperature for the first half and then turn up the heat for the second half of their cooking time.

So, to make crispy French style fries, you can start at 375°F for 20 minutes and then increase the heat to 425°F for the next 20 minutes. This will make them deliciously crispy.

For extra crispiness or to get crispy steak fries without extending your cooking time, you can do a few things in the preparation stage. First, wash your fries in cold water and then soak them for 30 minutes. This gets rid of a lot of the potato’s starch, making for a crispy fry.

Next, thoroughly dry the fries out before you cook them. Then, brush them generously with oil to help bring out that crispy texture. Finally, don’t forget the two temperature baking method to ensure a crispy finish.

Storing and Reheating Fries

We have told you our home fries in the oven recipe, but what do you do when you have leftover fries? That’s a problem, because we all know how unpleasant soggy leftover fries are.

If you reheat fries in the microwave the next day, they just don’t taste the same. They will have lost their crispiness and can be mostly mushy and unpleasant. Who wants to eat something like that?

To store your fries, put them into an airtight container in the fridge. You should eat them within the next day or two. If you must reheat them in the microwave, then just put them in for about 30 seconds. This isn’t the ideal way to have them, though.

Our recommendation would be to either use the stovetop or cook the home fries in the oven again. For oven baking, you can preheat it to 400°F and then cook your fries in there for about 7 minutes. This should make them come out nice and crispy. For stovetop heating, you can add some oil to at the bottom of a pan and cook them for a few minutes on medium heat. Once they are warm, they are ready to eat.

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I'm Pauline, a mother of four grown children, my passion for cooking stemmed from the joy i get cooking for my family. I love to try new dishes, especially when dining out but creating and sharing my own recipes is my favourite thing to do!